Case Study: Sibelco Europe

Working in partnership to improve bulk packaging in the supply chain

“The project is now well advanced and Cliffe Packaging has recommended several changes to the specification of the main bulk bag used at Kingsteignton, which will bring measurable benefits to Sibelco.”


– Wayne Russell, European Purchasing Manager, Sibelco


Sibelco Europe is a world leader in industrial minerals with more than 200 production sites in 41 countries. Our partnership with Sibelco began in 2013 when we were contacted to recommend improvements to their supply process. By monitoring the way Sibelco’s bulk bags were being filled, stored and transported, our team of technical experts were able to scientifically analyse and propose methods of optimising the entire process.

Key results

  • 14.4% reduction in bag unit cost from 2012 to 2015
  • 8.2% reduction in bag unit cost in 2015
  • 20% increase in bag capacity
  • Reduced bag usage based on capacity increase
  • Environmental benefits

The goal

Cliffe Packaging has been working to improve the supply chain process at Sibelco’s operations in Kingsteignton, where their products are transported in bulk bags for deep sea export. The objectives of this particular project were:

  • to guarantee the integrity of the products, ensuring they arrived with the customer safely and securely;
  • to reduce costs
  • to increase efficiencies in transport; and
  • to reduce environmental impact.


Cliffe Packaging first focused on the bulk bag with the biggest usage and was able to develop several solutions that achieved significant improvements.

Size adjustment

We found that making minor adjustments to the size of the bulk bags had a major impact, enabling Sibelco to:

  • increase the amount of product per bag by 20%, which meant an increase in payload of every container shipped;
  • realise immediate savings, as shipping costs remained the same;
  • improve impact on the environment, with fewer bulk bags required for the same tonnage, and less waste at the end of the supply chain.

Weight adjustment

Sibelco’s bulk bags were previously specified to be reused with a safety factor of 6:1 (six times the safe working load). However, returning the bags is not cost effective with deep sea export; hence Cliffe developed and tested bags for a single trip option with a safety factor of 5:1.

With the reduction in fabric weight, Cliffe Packaging helped Sibelco to not only lower bag unit cost, but to also reduce their environmental impact.

Today Cliffe Packaging continues to work closely with Sibelco to deliver value to their business.