Spare parts, reliability and the ever-blurring line between packaging and processing continue to rank high among the factors shaping packaging and processing machinery purchases, according to "Key Attributes of Packaging & Processing Machinery and Suppliers 2012," newly released by PMMI.
The study evaluates three key areas that feed into the choice of an original equipment manufacturer (OEM): strategies, supplier attributes and machinery attributes. Researchers interviewed nearly 200 packaging professionals, processing professionals and plant managers in companies with a range of revenues that begins below $200 million and goes beyond $5 billion.
"The report really brings home the point that packaging and processing machinery buyers have to consider total systems solutions," says Charles Yuska, president/CEO, PMMI.
End users need solutions
Supporting that perspective are the definitively blurred boundaries between the responsibilities accompanying a particular job title. For example, regardless of whether they were considered "packaging professionals," "processing professionals" or "plant managers," respondents reported spending between 44 percent and 56 percent of their time working on packaging functions. Processing functions were second (23 percent to 42 percent), followed by "other functions" (14 percent to 21 percent).
Accordingly, more than half of the respondents indicated a line integration/solutions focus is a guiding strategy for their machinery purchases.
However, the report notes, purchasing strategies vary by market. For example, although food and the pharmaceutical/personal care market results are in line with the overall numbers, their leading strategies are to use prequalified/preferred vendors (61 percent) and detailed rigorous proposal evaluations (67 percent), respectively.
"Purchasing strategies will reflect the conditions and priorities of unique companies in their specific marketplaces." Yuska notes. "While a food manufacturer, may be preparing to comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act, a pharmaceutical manufacturer might be more concerned with considering serialization implementation."
Find solutions at PACK EXPO
He adds that PMMI, the owner and producer of PACK EXPO International 2012 (McCormick Place, Chicago; Oct. 28-31), has long understood this characteristic of capital expenditures, and addressed it at the PACK EXPO family of trade shows.
"PACK EXPO offers an array of suppliers that can serve the purchasing needs at just about any point on the supply chain—from concept to cartoning. But we use a customer-centric structure to help attendees pinpoint the technologies and exhibitors who will fulfill their needs," Yuska says.
The customer-centric strategy puts a spotlight on some of the specific markets PACK EXPO attendees serve. It launched in 2011 by focusing on Baking/Snack, Confectionery and Pharmaceuticals, and for 2012, PMMI has added Beverage.
A visitor to PACK EXPO will experience this strategy in a variety of ways:
* Pavilions that are the hub for particular specialties: The Processing Zone, The Brand Zone, The Confectionery Pavilion (sponsored by the National Confectioners Association), The Pharmaceutical Pavilion, The Reusable Packaging Pavilion (sponsor: the Reusable Packaging Association).
* Show-floor lounges where attendees can connect with peers and suppliers, and explore packaging and processing questions with industry experts: The Baking/Snack Break (sponsored: the Snack Food Association), The Candy Bar (sponsor: the National Confectioners Association), The Rx Lounge and The Beverage Cooler Lounge (sponsor: the International Society of Beverage Technologists).
* Conference tracks created by leading industry associations and tailored to the needs of their constituents: the Alliance for Innovation & Operational Excellence, the Association for Automatic Identification and Mobility, the International Organization of Packaging Professionals, PAC -- the Packaging Association and the Reusable Packaging Association.
Yuska stresses the point that end users play a variety of roles in their firms.
"With all that they're juggling, and all the information they need to make good business decisions, it's not surprising that end users say their preferred suppliers are the ones who have taken the time to understand their challenges—and to offer up solutions," Yuska says.
"Key Attributes of Packaging & Processing Machinery & Suppliers 2012" is available for download at PMMI.org (free to members; $3,500 non-members).
PACK EXPO International will be at McCormick Place in Chicago, Oct. 28-31, with 1,800 leading companies exhibiting in more than 1.01 million net square feet. Visit Packexpo.com to learn more and to register (cost: $30 through Oct. 8; $60 after).