Mars, an international company, has its biggest factory in Veghel in Brabant. In fact, it is the biggest chocolate factory in the world. Veghel is for Mars, both in Europe and globally, a top location. And this is not just because of the volume it produces, but also because the innovations created in Veghel also taste moreish.
When, in 1911, Frank C. Mars made his first confectionary in his kitchen at home in the American port city of Tacoma, he had no idea that he was laying the foundations of one of the largest private companies in the world. Today, Mars products are enjoyed in 180 countries, Mars has more than 230 sites around the world employing in total approximately 65,000 people and the company has an annual turnover of US$ 30 billion. Besides being the manufacturer of the world-famous chocolate brands MARS®, SNICKERS® and M&M’S®, Mars is also the manufacturer of well-known brands of pet food (WHISKAS®, PEDIGREE®), chewing gum (FREEDENT®) and meal products (UNCLE BEN’S®).
Excellent conditions for business development
Mars and the Netherlands have a strong bond. There were even family links in the distant past. Yet this was not the reason for opening a factory in Veghel in 1963. “Mars was already in England then,” said General Manager, Jack Tabbers, of Mars Nederland. “The company was looking for a springboard to better serve the European market. In Brabant there was space, there was the labour potential that Mars was looking for and the infrastructure was excellent. The conditions for business development in Veghel were fantastic and they still are. This is also partly due to the central position with respect to the world ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp and the proximity of international airports.”
Mars in Veghel employs 1,200 staff and is with more than 254,000 tons of finished product the largest factory of the family company. The well-known chocolate products of Mars are sold throughout numerous other European countries, as well as in the Netherlands. In addition, semi-finished products are also produced in Veghel for other European Mars factories. An important Mars Research & Development Centre and the International Sales Department for all tax-free sales outlets, such as airports and border shops, is also located at the site in Veghel.
Making a difference
The success of Mars in Veghel is not only due to its large production volume and the other important functions of the site. “It is chiefly the success of our people,” said Tabbers. “They feel motivated to think of improvements and innovations with the result that we often set the tone around the world in the field of innovations and sustainability.” The facts do not lie and they show that Mars in Veghel literally makes the difference. A Dutch technical production innovation leads to worldwide recognition within Mars and is rewarded with the ‘Make the Difference Award’. “And it also leads to its worldwide application within Mars,” emphasized Tabbers. “Our staff travel all over the world to help develop, for example, new production lines at other Mars factories. In Veghel, we also lead the way in the field of sustainability. Our factory is the most energy-efficient factory. Sustainability is a common theme throughout our entire production chain. We prefer the actual reduction of our CO2 emissions to compensation. We do this together with our transport operator and our customers. Sustainability starts, for that matter, when we buy in our raw materials. When Mars sets up projects for cacao production in, for example, the Ivory Coast and Ghana, Mars looks at the social aspects as well as the ecological and economic aspects.”
It is clear that the Five Principles, which underlie the company philosophy of Mars in Veghel, are flourishing; with the result that the world concern’s market leadership is expressed in this factory, as well as in the production volume, in a number of dimensions that really matter in the new economy.