Packaging machinery end-users have spoken, revealing a set of recommendations for machinery manufacturers to enhance their products and better fit their needs.
PMMI Business Intelligence researchers surveyed 129 packaging and processing machinery users and conducted interviews with a sample of these companies for its 2023 report, “Purchasing Plans and Priorities.”
The researchers asked these companies to indicate a single area or issue with the greatest opportunity for improvement or to advise packaging machinery companies on how they can improve their product, services, or delivery.
Addressing operational costs of packaging machinery
Operational costs are a top priority of packaging and processing companies, as determined through the survey conducted for this report.
Respondents indicated they would like machinery manufacturers to offer solutions for improving operations cost-performance KPIs rather than focusing on product characteristics, desired speed, and throughput.
“Packaging machinery suppliers tend to focus on desired speed and performance instead of addressing key issues like product protection, cost performance, personnel capabilities, and operational improvements,” says one respondent. “All too often, we are forced to adapt to the machinery that is available when ideally machinery manufacturers should adapt their offering to solve our operational problems.”
Spare parts availability and delivery
Spare parts availability ranks at the top of the supplier evaluation criteria.
Companies generally stock common wear or standard servicing replacement parts, but when they require parts that are not of common wear, they are typically not available or have delayed shipping times.
End-users want machinery manufacturers to understand that replacement part response times are critical due to the costly nature of line closings.
These end-users consider a 24-hour response ideal, while two to three days is acceptable. They consider response times over a week undesirable.
Packaging materials knowledge and recommendations
The ability to run current and new packaging materials is high on the list of machinery purchasing decision factors among respondents. Knowledge of packaging materials and machinery is the third most important factor in supplier selection as well.
Most packaging machinery manufacturers are well-versed and knowledgeable of common packaging materials. However, with new environmental regulations on the horizon, end users are interested in information and recommendations related to new recyclable or compostable packaging materials that will meet ESG regulations.
Troubleshooting and problem-solving consistency
Engineering expertise and problem-solving ranked second in importance among supplier selection criteria. Several companies made recommendations for improvement in these areas.
Companies report receiving inconsistent responses from service technicians when problems arise. They recommend that machinery manufacturers have clear and intuitive troubleshooting databases.
Packaging machinery companies tend to prioritize sending an onsite technician and miss the opportunity to effectively troubleshoot issues over the phone first, respondents say.
Respondents also recommend that packaging machinery technicians follow a checklist when visiting companies for maintenance or problem-solving. Technicians tend to want to complete maintenance or solve problems quickly. Occasionally in their haste, they fail to complete required tasks, or they provide an incomplete solution.
Better training and more committed technicians are needed.
Need for more intuitive HMIs and simple operational manuals
End-users want manufacturers to develop more intuitive human-machine interfaces (HMIs), using icons, images, and colors to simplify the operator interface.
“Nobody receives training to use a smartphone. It is intuitive and easy to understand,” one respondent says. “We spend too much time and money training staff how to operate machinery with complex menus and screens full of data when the interface could be much simpler and more intuitive.”
SOURCE: PMMI Business Intelligence, “2023 Purchasing Plans and Priorities”
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