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Relying on OEMs Through the Packaging Skills Gap

Packaging and processing companies are relying on OEMs for training, maintenance, and support amid worker shortages.

Packaging and processing end-users are searching for machinery equipped with predictive maintenance and remote services technologies.
Packaging and processing end-users are searching for machinery equipped with predictive maintenance and remote services technologies.
PMMI Business Intelligence: 2024 Transforming Packaging and Processing Operations

Packaging and processing companies struggling to attract and retain a skilled workforce are increasingly turning to their OEM partners for a hand.

That’s according to PMMI Business Intelligence’s 2024 report, “Transforming Packaging and Processing Operations,” which shares industry executives’ insights from the 2024 Top to Top Summit. Almost three-quarters (72%) of manufacturing participants said their primary challenge is attracting and retaining a quality workforce, and many are relying on equipment suppliers for training and maintenance support.

OEMs clearly have a part to play not only with on-site maintenance, but also in providing remote support and training to maintenance technicians to upskill them.

One end-user executive explained their company is working with OEMs “to improve their equipment design so as to make it easier to clean and maintain.”

End-users are actively seeking equipment that is simple to maintain and user friendly, with a respondent saying, “In some cases we’ve deliberately selected less complex machinery that is easier to troubleshoot and maintain.”

Predictive maintenance and other technology to meet skills gaps

Within the packaging and processing industry, the PMMI Business Intelligence team says it sees wider use of predictive maintenance and remote service technologies.

End-users explained they are connecting their systems with vendors via sensors and analytics “to share and exchange data and arrange urgent maintenance,” and for “efficiency monitoring and risk notifications.”

As one end user put it, “Prior to purchasing equipment, we are investigating required maintenance schedules and costs and using that in a basic TCO model. We are also asking OEMs what IIoT capabilities equipment has. Can it tie into other pieces of equipment? Can we remotely monitor it? Can the equipment tell us when it needs maintenance?”

New technologies that are helping to address shortages of skilled maintenance technicians include artificial intelligence, vendor support portals, sensor failure systems, and machine vision to conduct remote inspections by OEMs.

Some equipment providers are offering online training and documentation, 3D models of machines and virtual reality tools, remote access and support, toolless machines, and predictive maintenance.

As one OEM representative explained, “introducing IoT technology into our equipment to be able to monitor, intervene, and predict remotely, provides value-added services to customers beyond the equipment purchase.”

Staff development and technology are closely connected, with technology also providing stronger links with OEMs and equipment providers remotely.

There are innovative approaches that packagers and processors can learn from. For example, one respondent stated, “we advise our customers to apply advanced robotics and disruptive digital technologies like machine learning, AR/VR, and offline simulations to address maintenance challenges of today and the future.”

SOURCE: PMMI Business Intelligence: 2024 Transforming Packaging and Processing Operations

For more insights from PMMI’s Business Intelligence team, find reports, including “2024 Trends in Remote Services and Monitoring” and “2023 Sustainability and Technology: The Future of Packaging and Processing” at

Download the FREE report below.

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