Purchasing a Flexo Press: Publicizing and Communicating Newly Expanded Capabilities to Customers

FLEXO Magazine’s 11th Annual Press Buyer’s Guide looks at the path to purchase from multiple steps:

In this article, find out how to get the word out and reach potential customers to tell them about your new press.

FLEXO’s Questions: When it comes to promotion of the new asset and its capabilities, how can the printer communicate acquisition of the new press and make it the focal point of the converter’s “Factory of the Future?”

Consensus: New equipment opens new opportunities. Work to make your press set a new bar in operations and leverage it to help increase performance of older assets:

  • Explain how the new press addresses the needs of your customers and their pain points
  • Set aside time from production to print many different samples
  • Publicize benefits internally, as well as externally
  • Stage an open house and demo the press to customers
  • Issue a joint press release with the OEM partner
  • Ask to speak at your local flexo organization’s meetings to promote your firm and your new capabilities

Offering Commentary: Mike Weyermann, vice president, sales and marketing, MPS North America; Jeff Cowan, director of business development, Mark Andy Inc; Kregg Albrecht, sales manager, label market, Matik Inc; Todd Kotila, director of business development, Converting Equipment International (CEI); Paul Teachout, vice president sales and marketing, Nilpeter USA; Perry Lichon, president, Retroflex Inc; Pavla Kusa, commercial director, SOMA; Olof Buelens, vice president, North America, Comexi; Rodney Pennings, director of sales, Paper Converting Machine Co (PCMC); Tom Hatzilambros, sales associate, North America, Uteco; and Preston Neetzel, technical sales manager—flexo, Koenig & Bauer (US)

Koenig & Bauer EVO XG
Photo courtesy of Koenig & Bauer

Weyermann: New equipment affords new opportunities. The first line of promotion needs to happen within. Training the internal sales team on how to promote the new capabilities is the most important. MPS provides a sales team training to do just this.

Seeing is believing. On many new installations, our customers set aside time from production to print any number of different samples. Samples show the new capabilities of your new asset to print buyers.

Open-door events for print buyers also work positively in order to bring attention to the investment and its capabilities.

Cowan: There are some features of new equipment that appeal solely to the converter—essentially all of the features that enable more printing in less time with less waste and energy. But for the end user, there are certainly benefits that can be marketed to attract new business if a converter needs to build up capacity.

For presses ideal for micro and short runs, just-in-time capabilities are a true value. Art today, finished labels tomorrow. With fast speeds and inline converting, this is especially true of the Digital Pro 3 with semi-rotary.

The embellishments available through flexo and digital hybrid printing are endless. With nearly 40,000 SKUs in the typical North American grocery store, shelf differentiation is more important than ever. Selling the ability to move product is likely one of the most compelling points to a brand owner.

“We can collaborate in the drafting of the announcement of the acquisition of the new machine, describe the technology of the press and the final product produced, thus amplifying the partnership and promoting the factory of the future.”

Tom Hatzilambros, sales associate, North America, Uteco

Albrecht: Promotion of your new asset and capabilities should include two strategies; one for internal promotion and one for external promotion. The two are very distinct from each other.

For external promotion, I believe that all too often the features of the press are promoted. While I do believe some packaging end users and buyers do appreciate the technology, I have found that what they mostly are interested in are the new outputs of your press. You should be promoting the new products you will now be able to produce, the higher level of quality, or the new service standards you will meet. This directly addresses the needs of your customers and their pain points.

Timing of when to promote to your customers is dependent on your market and your strategies. Some will choose to start promoting prior to install, to build some hype and interest early on, and then execute live orders as soon as possible after installation and qualification of the press. This approach allows for payback of your investment to start early and you ramp up over time as customers come on board. Others may choose to wait until post installation, R&D tests, ramping of any learning curve, and creation of customer samples to make a big market splash with confidence to execute projects more flawlessly.

Internal promotion is also very important, especially if your new asset sets a new standard for efficiencies and innovation within your culture. You want employees to be engaged in their work and to feel proud to work for their company. You want to build your culture and have employees say they would recommend working there to others.

A new press is a significant investment, and sends a message to employees that you are investing in new technology to grow the business and provide security for their employment into the future. Some techniques are good signage around your press in general and smaller signage around particular features. This is also helpful for customer tours, as your new press will likely be a show piece for important visitors.

Another good technique is incorporating video screens or posters showing production data such as uptime, downtime reduction, average speeds, quality performance, etc. Work to make your press set a new bar in operations and leverage it to help increase performance of older assets.

Kotila: One of the best qualities of owning a digital hybrid is the ability to print samples for prospective customers extraordinarily quickly and with almost no waste. There is nothing like an actual sample to demonstrate the high-quality product they will receive and how quickly they will receive it, if they go with a converter who owns a digital hybrid press.