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Lines dividing ''processing'' and ''packaging'' blurring, report says

June 26, 2012
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RESTON, Va. — 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.

PMMI is a trade association of about 600 member companies that manufacture packaging, processing and related converting machinery in the United States or Canada; machinery components and packaging containers and materials.

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 D. Yuska, President & CEO, PMMI.

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% and 56% of their time working on packaging functions. Processing functions were second (23%-42%), followed by "other functions" (14%-21%).

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%) and detailed rigorous proposal evaluations (67%), 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."

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