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Packaging trails the networked future (sidebar)

Respondents: Machine builders lack networking expertise

One verbatim question on the survey asked respondents whether packaging machine builders lacked networking or systems integration expertise. Several respondents replied in the affirmative. Here are some direct quotes:

“Equipment builders are still operating in the 1960s to 1970s environment and have done little to get into the 21st century.”—West Coast packaging engineer from a large tobacco company. “Machinery manufacturers are slow in applying new technologies to their equipment.”—Packaging engineer for a medium-sized Southwestern food company. “[We find] inconsistent data formats and protocols between different machinery manufacturers.”—Midwest packaging engineer for a large motorcycle manufacturer. “Our packaging requirements are simple. However, we have experienced a lack of [vendor] knowledge in networking or systems updates even to bring our rudimentary requirements into today’s world.”—Southeastern quality assurance manager for a medium-sized food company. “Everyone offers it . . . don’t know of many people who use it. There needs to be some significant payback for me to install my side of the network.”—West Coast manager for a medium-sized candy maker. “Lack of high-quality training and support.”—Midwestern manufacturing engineer for a small manufacturer in the medical/pharmaceutical industry. “No standardized systems [offered by machinery builders].” —Production manager at a large Midwestern pharmaceutical company. “[Machinery builders] don’t use nationally recognized standards and are not willing to change for project/equipment we are interested in at the time.” —Maintenance manager at a large Midwestern household chemical products manufacturer. “It has been my experience that [machinery builders] do lack networking skills and tend to shy away from this type of activity.”—Engineering manager at a large Midwestern meat packer. “We have spent extensive time and money to work with vendors to make their systems compliant with our requirements.”—Northeastern production manager for a large medical/pharmaceutical products maker. “There is no standardized interface protocol, so most machinery builders I am familiar with offer only what customer specifies and pays extra for.”—Midwestern production manager for a medium-sized household chemical products manufacturer.

There were a few positive comments that bear mentioning:

“It’s been mixed: Some builders are on top of networking, others are behind.” —Mid-Atlantic production manager for a large pharmaceutical company. “Good so far.”—Manager at a small Canadian food company. “I’m satisfied with the development process.”—Packaging engineer at a medium-sized battery manufacturer.

Next month: Packaging suppliers share their perspective on their customers’ networking expectations.

See the story that goes with this sidebar: Packaging trails the networked future

See sidebar to this article: Methodology

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