CTS Santelé, roll-your-own tobacco manufacturer, complies with the European TPD directive and offers complete traceability of tobacco packets, from production to delivery, with two Zetes solutions: ZetesAtlas and ZetesOlympus.


  • To comply with European regulations
  • Unit marking and complete traceability
  • Retrofit production lines with serialisation capabilities


  • ZetesAtlas for the unit marking of tobacco packet
  • ZetesOlympus to track all the logistics events in the life of a product


  • Unit and aggregated packaging marking and complete traceability of products
  • One partner for full compliance with European directive
  • Better view on genuine tobacco products

In May 2019, the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) came into force imposing major new packaging and distribution challenges for certain tobacco products. Its purpose is to provide a safeguard in the fight against illegal production and trade. For tobacco manufacturers, it has created complex new challenges to overcome: all unit packets and aggregated packaging must be assigned and marked with a unique code which must be registered in a European database. In this way, every product is tracked throughout its entire life cycle.


With compliance being mandatory, the European tobacco market faces a considerable investment to meet its requirements. The Belgian roll-your-own tobacco manufacturer CTS Tobacco brought in the expertise of Zetes to help them achieve compliance. “Now our production lines are fully adapted,” says CEO Cédric Santelé.

Fully integrated enablement from Zetes

In the run-up to the deadline, Zetes implemented serialisation capabilities on the production lines of CTS Tobacco. “As soon as a packet of roll-your-own tobacco is filled, it is now assigned a unique code. Then the same process goes for the aggregated packaging with a dozen of packets and after that, the pallet is also granted a unique code before going in to transport,” says Cédric Santelé, CEO of CTS.

“We then scan the unique codes and ZetesOlympus automatically stores them in a database that is linked to the European hub. So government and customs authorities can always check whether tobacco products are genuine or counterfeit.”

Added business value through track & trace

Specifically, Zetes installed two solutions for the tobacco manufacturer in Belgium. With ZetesAtlas, CTS serializes and aggregates all packaging with a unique code, which it purchases from Incert – the government organization that provides the unique Belgian identifiers. In this way, ZetesAtlas takes care of the packaging and product identification that the TPD requires. In addition, CTS now also ZetesOlympus, a collaborative data platform that registers the assigned codes in the European hub.

“The big advantage of this combination of ZetesAtlas and ZetesOlympus is that CTS now knows exactly which package is in which box and which box is on which pallet. All the products remain visible throughout the entire logistics chain,” says Jens Holbrechts, Business Development Manager Print & Apply Solutions at Zetes.

That traceability is a major challenge for the tobacco industry. With 26 billion packets per year, the volumes in the tobacco sector are huge. Each packet has to be scanned about ten times on average between the manufacturer and the point of sale.

In this way, serialization offers more benefits than merely being compliant with the European regulations. If something goes wrong in the production process, CTS can organize recalls in a very targeted, fast and efficient way.

Introduction to the production line

The project at CTS relied on Zetes expertise and capabilities to retrofit the existing production lines with serilalisation capabilities. “In response to the European Tobacco Products Directive, we started looking for a reliable partner that could offer a total package. We searched the market and opted for the solution from Zetes for compliance and full traceability. We now have an overview of all the logistics activities and transport throughout the entire supply chain.” concludes Cédric Santelé.

We now have an overview of all the logistics activities and transport throughout the entire supply chain.” concludes Cédric Santelé.