Personal Care Industry Challenges Packaging Machinery Suppliers
PERSONAL CARE INDUSTRY CHALLENGES PACKAGING EQUIPMENT SUPPLIERS
The Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI) completed a survey in 2010 of more than sixty companies in the personal care industry along with an assessment of the market. The assessment found that those in the personal care industry were focusing more on the flexibiity and sustainability of packaging machinery when choosing their container cleaning equipment, filling machines, capping machines and other packaging machinery. Given the focus on the environment and the packaging industry in general, the argument can be made that manufacturers of packaging equipment were then, and are now, looking for ways to achieve these goals.
More surprising, and perhaps alarming, were the attitudes of the personal care industry regarding the customer service received from those supplying packaging machinery. Given the more recent PMMI study in 2012 regarding service issues, it appears that packaging machinery suppliers need to refocus efforts on customer service. The 2012 report identifies three key areas where performance seems not to meet expectations.
TIMELY TECHNICAL SERVICE
Packagers in the personal care industry seemed fairly satisfied in their dealings with packaging machinery suppliers, right up until the equipment was installed. Once up and running, many in the personal care industry stated that initial problems were not handled well by the packaging machinery supplier. If a machine performed poorly, packagers were having trouble getting anyone to respond to their requests for help. If a technician was needed on-site, those in the personal care industry had even less luck. The overall feeling was that the suppliers of the packaging equipment focused on the sale, with little interest in providing help after installation.
Several suggestions are made to counter these issues, including better training of the employees at installation. Some went so far as to suggest extensive training that would certify one or more employees of the purchasing company as a technician for the machinery purchased. Others suggested remote-driven services, such as online assistance or web/video conferencing for technical service. Finally, a third suggestion was creating a network of service technicians that would cover the entire area serviced by the provider of the packaging machinery, as opposed to trying to fly a single service technician employed by the manufacturer to every location.
KNOWLEDGEABLE SERVICE TECHNICIANS
The second issue most cited by those in the personal care industry compounds the first. Once a company was able to secure some assistance in the form of a service technician, they often found the technicians knew little more than the company about the machinery. The frustration in this area stemmed from paying a thousand dollars or more a day (in the absence of a service agreement) to have a technician look at a conveyor system, a liquid filler, capping machines or other equipment, only to discover that the technician would not be able to remedy the problem. Again, a possible solution lies in better training of employees or service technicians as well as creating a network of technicians.
Finally, the personal care industry noted some difficulty in procuring spare parts and replacement parts in a timely manner, though it was noted that American manufacturers seemed more inclined to respond and provide parts than foreign packaging machinery suppliers. The companies surveyed noted that time is money, and they expected a quick response when a machine was down. The expected response simply was not met for a number of these companies.
Overall, the assessment and study show that packaging machinery suppliers still need to focus more on customer service, but specifically post-sale and installation customer service. Supplier/customer relationships seem to thrive to the point of the installation before breaking down completely.
Liquid Packaging Solutions offers training with every installation performed, ensuring that your employees understand the machinery they are using from day one. LPS also offers a fully stocked spare parts room and has technical support available via a toll-free number. In our effort to reverse the trends laid out above, we strive to continue our relationships with our customers long after the sale and installation are complete, as we understand that our success depends on your success.
To learn more about Liquid Packaging Solutions or any of the packaging equipment, feel free to browse our website, or contact a representative toll-free today at 1-888-393-3693.