Assisting manufacturers in making the right decision in packaging applications
Manufacturers have many choices when it comes to packaging applications and it's critical for the supplier to understand the customer's needs.
Manufacturers have many choices when it comes to packaging applications and it is critical for the supplier understand more than the customer’s general needs. Jim Verona, who leads the engineered solutions group for Mi Fluid Power Solutions and has over 30 years of experience in the industrial world, offered some advice on how they approach these problems and provide value for their customers.
CFE Media: When it comes to priorities in manufacturing, particularly as it relates to packaging, what are your priorities as a company when it comes to offering products?
Verona: It always comes down to providing a robust solution when addressing customer needs: understanding the application, the environment, how the equipment will be used and how often–duty cycle. Also, it is critical to understand the customer’s ability to support the products and equipment, or their expectations of how we would support it. We often talk about things like maintenance and even preventive maintenance, but understanding if that is realistic and if it will be implemented can help with how a product or a solution is presented and applied.
Understanding and setting clear expectations will be the difference between success and disappointment. We intend to become an extension of our customer’s organization to provide the best value. We have an impressive team of people, resources and experience that we can rally to support a diverse set of products and solutions, primarily in the fluid power and automation world.
CFE Media: How important is data and asset management? What are some of the requests you’ve received from companies looking to invest in your technology as far as that goes?
Verona: While the discussion and collection of data have been around manufacturing for a long time, the industry is now doing a better job using the data collected. In the past, we collected manufacturing or system performance data that was often just archived, but it didn’t provide specific value. These days, we better understand the customer’s goals and expectations on not only what they need and why they need it, but also how they expect to use it.
That comes from experience and more in-depth questions, the first being: Who will use the data, and why do they want it? That helps to define what is collected and then supports the presentation of the data. Data and collecting performance information continues to evolve with improvements in sensor technology and Industry 4.0-connected devices. That helps to give manufacturers more insight as to how their process is performing, which in turn helps make better products more efficiently. This will only continue to progress.
CFE Media: How important is sustainability in terms of the products you offer, but also in long-term solutions?
Verona: The sustainability of any process, product or system is critical but often defined by the life cycle of what is being produced. If the customer expects to make a product for only one year or maybe 10,000 cycles, the selection may be different than for a product that is expected to be made for 10 years. It comes down to understanding the expectations of what is produced, for how long, and who will maintain the process. We ask many questions that may go well beyond the technical specs to truly understand the need, and we listen carefully in order to come to the right solution.