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Welcome to HG!
Our company, HG International B.V., is a purely Dutch company with our own sites in different countries, where we employ more than 200 dedicated people on a full-time basis.
Our Head Office and our production site are located in Almere - a young, dynamic, and fast-growing town in the province of Flevoland. Our site provides us with ample space to realise our ambitions and objectives - for example, our factory produces more than 300 different HG products that find their way to millions of satisfied customers in more than 45 countries.
The history of HG
The letters HG are derived from the name of a Swedish businessman - Håkan Gip. In the early 1960s he had a number of high-quality cleaning products developed by the University of Stockholm, which were primarily intended for swimming pools.
In 1969, a small Dutch company, Van Altena B.V. from Heemstede, started to import these HG products from Sweden. This did not only prove successful in the world of swimming pools, but also amongst builders' merchants who sold ceramic tiles.
During the middle of the 1970s, the Swedish company HG was sold to a Finnish company. When they decided to move the HG factory to northwest Finland, Van Altena B.V. decided to produce the HG products in the Netherlands because of the distance between northwest Finland and the Netherlands. They purchased the HG formulas and brand rights from the Finnish company and they started up a small production facility in Oldenzaal.
After a few very successful years for the company Van Altena B.V., the Dutch economy entered into recession at the beginning of the 1980s; this led to difficult times for Van Altena, with years of heavy losses. In 1982, the Board of Van Altena B.V. decided to engage an external consultant to advise Management on a strategy that would tackle these problems and issues.
After a thorough analysis of the market, they decided to shift the focus from swimming pools and builders' merchants to the consumer market. During the same period, they also worked on positioning the HG brand - "HG would have to be the brand for all cleaning and maintenance problems in and around the house." Besides the familiar good quality, innovation also became an important pillar of the concept.
Furthermore, the company worked hard on expanding exports through importers. Belgium, the UK, and Germany were the first export countries, but many others followed suit - not only in Europe, but also in the Middle East, Asia, Canada, and the United States.
At the beginning of the 1990s, the factory in Oldenzaal, which had already been expanded several times, had become too small again and the Head Office in Hillegom also lacked room for further expansion. The decision was taken to combine both sites under one roof in Almere, and the move to these brand-new premises on the polder land (the former Zuiderzee) was completed on 1 January 1997.
In 2000, the English importer was acquired and the name of this company was changed to HG Hagesan UK Ltd. This company now operates as a 100% subsidiary.
One year later, in 2001, the Belgium importer was acquired for 100% and the name of this company was changed to HG Belgium bvba-sprl.
On 1 July 2009, HG Spain S.L. officially opened its doors and HG Italia S.r.l. started on 1 September 2011. Since that date, the Spanish and Italian markets – as well as the Dutch, Belgian, German and UK markets - are being served by our own people. In all other countries we work with local importers. Worldwide, the HG brand is available through many retail channels - from the tile trade to chemists and from DIY stores to supermarkets. All over the world consumers choose the tried and trusted quality of HG!
The departments of HG International
All these products are developed and tested extensively by our "Technology & Research" department, known internally as "our laboratory", which uses the latest technology. We also test all our raw materials and semi-finished products continuously to ensure that our HG products meet our high quality standards. We are the specialist with good reason!
Our Technology & Research Department tracks legislative developments in the countries where our products are sold. If something changes, we ensure that the required adjustments are introduced to our labelling for example.
The graphic and layout changes to all our labels are implemented in house, in our own DTP Department. The graphics studio forms part of the Marketing Services Department and produces the layout for our door-to-door leaflets, shop materials, as well as our labels. We also produce all our own films, animations, and other image and sound material for our fully automated shelf information system.
Each day, our Order Administration Department receives electronic orders from all over the world which are processed in our computer system. The Order Administration Department confirms the orders to our clients, and ensures the transport and invoicing of the supplied goods.
After processing the orders that were received by the Order Administration, our Enterprise Resource Planning, ERP, generates new production planning, purchasing proposals, and stock analyses fully automatically. All this information is analysed on a daily basis, adjusted where necessary, and processed by our Planning and Control Office - the true nerve centre of our company. They use this information to produce production orders for our Production Department.
The departments of HG Chemical
Within HG we should not speak of the Production Department, because this would not do justice to all the sub-departments that make a contribution to creating the HG products, each with their own specialisation. In reality, we can make a distinction between the following departments.
Our Automated Process Department produces our liquid products on the basis of formulas that were developed by the Technology & Research Department. Top-quality raw materials are mixed and treated to become one of our many end products.
The production of our powder-based products takes place in a different department.
All our bottles and jars are filled by the Filling Department, which is equipped with 10 fully automated filling lines to fill our products – both liquid and powder. Fitting the lids and/or the triggers is also fully automated, as are labelling and packaging. Our operators only have to check and monitor the process! All our lines have been built in such a manner that they can deal with several packaging formats, which gives us the necessary flexibility to respond to an ever increasing demand from our clients.
Without undue modesty we can say that HG is a truly unique company! Not only because of our range, the quality of our products, or our increasing success, but specifically because our philosophy to do as much as possible in house separates us from the rest of the pack. A good example is our Plastics Processing Department, known internally as KVA. This is where we produce approximately 95% of our total bottles requirement, for which we use 21 ultramodern injection and blow-moulding machines. An ingenious system of tubes is used to transport the bottles directly and fully automatically to special storage bunkers above the filling machines.
It goes without saying that a versatile company like ours needs a Technical Department - an essential cog in the wheel that does more than just tightening nuts and bolts. Our Technical Department is responsible for the preventive maintenance of all our machines – not just the filling lines, but also the injection and blow-moulding machines - and for dealing with any failures or breakdowns. The Technical Department also undertakes a range of repair works on the premises. To be able to undertake all this work, the Technical Department has a range of specialists in many areas, including mechanical engineering, process technology, computers, and PLC technology.
Our Inprint Department is a small printing workshop within production. This department ensures that the logos and address details of our retailers who distribute our door-to-door newspapers are printed on the HG newspapers.
We also want to be as flexible as possible in setting up and processing our shop displays, and therefore we have opted for our own internal department that builds displays and prepares them for shipping. This enables us to respond quickly to demands from the market.
Our Warehouse is a Department in itself. Each day it processes thousands of orders and our warehouse personnel ensures that picking and shipping the HG products runs smoothly. All with one objective - to ensure that the orders are shipped to our clients in time, wherever they are in the world. We do not only supply to importers, but also to wholesalers and even some retailers. Our warehouse is set up in such a way that it is relatively easy to respond to the large variety of demands that comes with such a range of purchasers.