The Jokey Group is a leading manufacturer of plastic packaging for the filling industry. The medium-sized family business, with its headquarters in Wipperfürth, North Rhine-Westphalia, can look back at 50 years of successful business. We spoke to the managing director, Herbert Kemmerich, about the successful rise of the small start-up that has grown to become an international group of companies with 1,950 employees today.
Mr Kemmerich, how did you and your three brothers succeed at making the small family business Jokey so successful internationally?
Herbert Kemmerich: When my father first started manufacturing thermoplastics in the little town of Fähnrichstüttem near Wipperfürth in 1968, with two second-hand machines and five employees, nobody knew how great it would become one day. The company grew little by litte. In those days, plastic products were still manufactured for household purposes and not for packaging. The idea of putting a lid on a simple household bucket was innovative. That marked the beginning of the Jokey bucket. Today, it is used daily in numerous variants and for a wide variety of products, both in the food and non-food sectors.
Back then, the packaging market still used to be dominated by tinplate, aluminium and glass. Did you first have to convince customers of the advantages of plastic packaging?
Herbert Kemmerich: Customers quickly saw the advantages: plastic containers were an inexpensive, truly competitive, alternative. When compared to sheet metal and glass packaging, they are dimensionally stable, in addition to being break-proof and providing reliable protection of the contents until they reach the consumer. What is more, they are stackable and weigh less, thereby reducing costs and CO2 emissions during transport and production. Demand increased rapidly and, as early as the early 1970s, we were already able to build a larger production facility. Little by little, my three brothers and I joined the company, and my father already passed away in 1975.