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Packagers should advise system integrators on how to improve their services

Article-Packagers should advise system integrators on how to improve their services

Packagers should advise system intergratorsThis is the last in a year-long series of columns summarizing the findings of the “Automation in Packaging” study, conducted by Packaging Digest and Control Engineering magazines last year (see

Previous installments of this series have elaborated on the study's principal findings related to packaging automation in general and packaging integrators in particular. Topics have included what packaging integrators actually do, why packagers choose particular integrators, how packagers and integrators can work together, and who is responsible for what is in a typical packaging automation project.

The study found that packagers are generally quite satisfied with the design and implementation services provided by their system integrators, but there's still some room for improvement. Here are some of the comments packagers offered when asked to identify ways that system integrators could make their services more attractive (in no particular order):

  • “An important factor is follow-through and follow-up.”

  • “Be flexible enough that your system design will be indistinguishable from our in-house designs.

  • “Be honest in what you can and can't deliver. Also, if it takes eight weeks, tell me and make it happen.

  • “Cost, cost, cost.”

  • “Service and support after the installation are more important than price up front.”

  • “Closer work/partnership with machine builders.”

  • “Ensure subcontractors and vendors meet all listed specifications. Understand the implication of other options and explain these to me.”

  • “Be more creative and never say it can't be done the way we want.”

  • “Allow customer input.”

  • “It's not the integrators, it's convincing the internal support that they will never be as good as the integrators.”

  • “Make sure you look at all packaging options. Don't just push equipment you are familiar with or tied to from a business perspective.” See “Vendors and Integrators Both Cooperate and Compete,” PD, November 2007, and “Automation Contractors vs. System Integrators,” PD, August 2008.

  • “Talk to the people who actually specify the material used on the machine for good integration.”

  • “The ability to add additional or peripheral equipment to machines and the handshaking between them is critical.” Also see “Open Architecture Systems Can be a Mixed Blessing,” PD, June 2008.

  • “24-hour tech support.” Several of these points have been explored in greater detail in related articles from PD and CE.


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