Machine building = risk assessment

Consumer packaged goods companies in the United States have all been busy "downsizing" and "rightsizing" and "outsourcing" for the past decade or so.

A consequence of this development is that internal packaging engineering departments at these companies are perilously thin. According to one packaging machinery OEM, Brent Smith of The Aagard Group, this can complicate things for machinery builders like his company.

"Building specialized packaging systems like we do is fundamentally a matter of risk assessment," says Smith. "And if we can't count on an experienced in-house engineer to clarify project requirements, we have to factor in a little more risk and somehow compensate from our end for that lack of experience and knowledge. We have to make sure our most experienced people analyze project requirements to make sure all bases are covered. It used to be the other way around. Engineers at the end user used to be asking all the questions and making sure we'd thought of everything,"

I'd like to hear from other packaging machinery builders and buyers about how the outsourcing of packaging engineering responsibilities have impacted them. I'm at reynolds@packworld.com, 312-222-1010, ext. 112.

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