What to expect after purchasing a packaging machine
The start of a packaging machine project is a very exciting time for our customers.
They look ahead to the results: Increased throughput, better package seals, and the ability to scale production on-demand (to name a few).
But the start of a project can also prove to be demanding for our clients as there are many things that need to be determined prior to even starting the manufacture of your machine.
Today we're giving you an inside view into what your packaging machine Project Manager will expect from you after purchasing, and tips for ensuring a smooth and successful project.
Before we get into the details, remember that we rarely find two machines alike as each customer has unique requirements that set them apart. As such, the deliverables required for your packaging machine project can be vastly different from another company, even a business in the same industry as yours. Different packing machine manufacturers may also do things a bit differently than we do.
But overall, here's what happens in the first few weeks to a month after purchasing an automated packaging system:
1. Establish communication frequency expectations
Up until now, you've likely been in close, frequent contact with your sales representative to make sure the packing machine you ordered matches your specifications and needs. Now, you get to take a little bit of a 'communication break' before the fun begins! During this time, we are taking care of some internal housekeeping required to process your order. So if we are incommunicado for a few days after your order, don't panic!
This also applies to the period during which your packing machine is manufactured. We will likely have limited updates during this time simply because we are working internally to release parts, engineer various components, manufacture parts, program equipment, etc.
If at any point during your project you have any questions, concerns, or need an update, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your assigned Project Manager (PM). If you are looking for specific incremental updates, please let your PM know at the onset of the project so we are always meeting (and exceeding) your expectations.
2. Order entered into ERP system
After we receive your signed quotation, we will enter your order into our Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. This sets a whole bunch of things in motion, including invoice generation, assigning your project manager, and scheduling our resources to meet target dates.
3. Invoice and payment of initial deposit
After your signed quotation is processed in our ERP system, our accounting department will get to work on sending the invoice for the project's initial deposit. This is a critical step. The manufacturing process of the packaging machine is directly triggered by payment of this deposit. Meaning: Without a deposit, we cannot even start working on your machine.
After your deposit is received and processed, the manufacturing phase of your new packing machine will officially begin.
4. Project kick-off call
At Viking, we prefer to officially kick off the packaging machine project with a conference call that includes key players from both the customer and Viking Masek for introductions. This call also helps to set the tone for the project and is a chance to get any last-minute questions answered.
5. Assignment of main points of contact
After the initial call takes place, an assigned member of the Viking Project Management team will be your single point of contact for the duration of the project. Likewise, we will work with you to choose a single contact on your end. Just as our salesperson tends to take a backseat position after the machine is sold, we often find that the purchaser also places project responsibility into another’s hands.
Limiting communication to select key individuals ensures a smooth, efficient process and expedited, clear communication.
6. Request for customer deliverables
Within the first week after the project has been initiated, we often derive a list of 4-5 critical pieces of information required from the customer to maintain project momentum. These deliverables can include things like:
- Down payment status
- Any additional third-party involved with project
- Custom machine specs; jaw faces, infeed, discharge, etc.
- Upstream / Downstream equipment integration
- Bag sizes; total capacity now and future
- Design questions from engineering
- Ceiling heights
- Package Qualifying tests
- Description of Product or Specifications
- Fill Weights
- Schedule - Delivery of equipment vs production startup
7. Establishment of delivery schedule
Next, your Project Manager will provide an expected schedule for delivery of your packaging machine.
Timely response from the customer proves to be one of the most influential aspects of the equipment delivery schedule. We are not able to begin certain manufacturing phases until key pieces of the puzzle are known; even a slight delay of two days could adversely affect the schedule by weeks if we lose the spot in the queue. These types of situations happen often and we take every measure possible to inform the customer of what any delay could mean for the packing machine's delivery date.
8. Customer Experience Team check-in
At Viking, we are very proactive in making sure that your expectations and needs are being met, so a member of our Customer Experience Team will introduce themselves via email early on. Throughout the project, they will check in periodically to see how things are going. Sometimes they will ask you to fill out a one-question survey to rate your satisfaction level, sometimes they will share resources clients like you have found helpful, and sometimes they will just reach out to ask how things are going.
They're not trying to be annoying or sell you anything, we promise. If at any point you wish not to be contacted, simply unsubscribe or just let them know. Their feelings won't be hurt.
That said, we do encourage your participation as your feedback helps us continually improve and ensures any unmet needs and challenges can be addressed before they become full-blown problems.
Now get ready for the next phase!
After the initial steps are checked off and manufacture is underway, you need to start preparing your facility for your new packing equipment. It's never too early to start doing this as some steps take weeks to months to complete.
Download our new Packaging Automation Site Preparation Checklist to stay ahead of the game:
Originally published 6/28/2017, updated 8/14/2019.