Teachout: Find a way to communicate a resounding message to customers. Namely, the current trends in our industry of multiple SKUs, faster delivery, higher quality, all at a lower cost, are driving the need to invest in technologies that overcome all these challenges. Everything from machine design, production planning, procurement and the supply can now be managed through Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) automation, thus reducing required resources by 50 percent. The ability to do more with less, through automated best practices, has proven itself to be more efficient, more productive and yield higher quality with fewer errors.
We live in the age of automation. We can do so much more with less. Everything we have now is a computer that performs a task. Unleashing the science of flexography can now take us to heights we have never seen! One of the top priorities of flexo is to continue down the path of supporting the process as a science and not a craft. Following FIRST (Flexographic Image Reproduction Specifications & Tolerances) methodology allows us to do this. With current technologies, it has never been easier to create a more consistent and predictable production workflow and allow flexo to maintain and grow its position as the most flexible printing process in the world.
Lichon: Promotion of capital equipment expansion and new state-of-the-art converting capabilities is typically something the end user or buyer of the equipment will do. We certainly recommend the buyer have it mentioned, along with a photo, in as many industry-related trade magazines as possible. It should be featured on the plant website as a new capability, along with an explanation as to what this will mean for prospective clients.
Finally, it would be nice if the buyer would also allow the OEM to mention and publicize the purchase as well.
Kusa: Nothing beats a customer visit. Travel to the print buyer’s office and ask the team what they would truly like from a printer. In fact, this should be part of the research when looking for a new press. What do your prospects and customers want?
When the press is purchased, return to the print buyer, and show samples of what you can do now in terms of quality and new features. How do you get samples? Include them in the test jobs you ask the print vendor to produce as proof of performance. That way, you can build up demand before the press is installed.
Other ideas, of course, are direct mail programs to prospects and open houses to show print buyers the new press. Ask the vendor to help—Most will.
In the end, what the print buyer wants is to be convinced that you can deliver real quality at a competitive price, with exceptional turnaround time.
Buelens: Publicize your accomplishments, and tie them back to the press and the advantages it delivers to printer/converters. For example, we have seized every opportunity to inform customers that Comexi received a 2019 FTA Sustainability Excellence Award in the Innovations in Sustainability category for its Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) of its Comexi F2 MC flexographic press. The objective of this project is to continually acquire knowledge and communicate the environmental impact of the manufacture value chain of flexographic printing presses.
Through the implementation of eco-designed products, a circular economy strategy has been established, providing customers with products that are environmentally respectful throughout their life cycle. The LCA examines the environmental, social and economic impacts of the machine in order to make across-the-board improvements, and at the same time promote healthier working conditions. The target of this analysis is to identify our environmental impact of the whole life cycle of the F2 MC.
LCA is the tool that allows the user to quantify the environmental impact associated with every stage of the product’s lifecycle—from the initial extraction of raw materials to the final waste management—while taking into consideration the entire process in between: the processing of materials, manufacturing, distribution, repairs and maintenance.
Additionally, the LCA evaluates, identifies and quantifies the use of matter, energy and emissions in the environment to objectively and unequivocally determine the manner in which these processes have the greatest environmental impact, thereby implementing strategies to lessen this effect.
Pennings: The customer can work with the OEM for some initial forms of communication. Most OEMs like to do a joint press release and social media posts announcing the sale of a new press.
Hatzilambros: Depending on the comfort level of disclosure of the acquisition of the asset, and with permission to disclose from the customer, it is possible to coordinate a press release with the various publications that cover the industry.
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.
Neetzel: Once your new press is up and running live jobs, promote it! We have a number of ways to help our customers advertise the acquisition of a new press; some of which are included in the purchase of the press and options to target specific customers.
We educate your sales staff on the press’ new capabilities in order to help them sell and build excitement with customers. We have a full-time marketing staff that is readily available to assist with promotional needs.
Beside our help, take advantage of promoting your new acquisition by taking out advertising and sending press releases on your new press to local and national trade publications, newspapers, and other media. Seek out publications that your customers read and promote your new capabilities directly to them. Ask to speak at your local flexo organization’s meetings to promote your firm and your new capabilities.