In PMMI’s second Virtual Town Hall a panel of consumer packaged goods (CPG) professionals from the OpX Leadership Network Executive Council convened with PMMI members to discuss questions regarding remote access, virtual FATs, beneficial sales approaches and CPG recommendations on assistance PMMI members can provide.
Moderator: Tom Egan, vice president, industry services, PMMI
Panelists: Adam Pawlick, vice president, engineering, Blue Bunny Ice Cream
Greg Flickinger, senior vice president operations, GTI
Tom Ivy, president, F.R. Drake, CV-TEK and RapidPak
Ryan Edginton, president & CEO, All-Fill Inc.
Tom Egan: Our first question one has to do especially with the CPGs. What is it you want the sales teams of PMMI member companies to do? How can we help?
Adam Pawlick: Yeah. Right now we have not changed the way we're operating from a project standpoint. We have not pulled out back on capital projects or anything else. We're continuing to move forward. Our cash position is strong so that's not a concern for us currently. My first request would be keep doing what you're doing. Try to make it as normal as possible. The second thing is we really need to proactively know how you're going to be impacted by COVID-19. Do you have some assemblies that are being purchased from China? Do you have controlled systems and people that are based out of India that don't have the ability to work remotely? Where are we going to run into problems in our projects, and proactively, how is that going to impact our timeline?
Adam Pawlick: We've got as an example of one project we're doing right now, where we're being equipment in from Denmark. That OEM has been great and are calling up and saying, "Hey, we've got an issue. We can't travel internationally. I have four people that are based out of the US that we can reprioritize their work to get their support of that install, but we're not going to delay the project by three weeks in order to do that." Because we're having that conversation early and collaboratively, we're able to make that all line up and work. I would ask, be abundantly open and honest with how this is going to impact you and how it might impact you down the road with future [inaudible 00:22:01].
Tom Eagan: Great. Adam, you still have some projects going. The communication with the OEM is a critical piece, even a little bit of over communication. Greg, how about you, from both your current and past experience?
Greg Flickinger: Same thing, especially in projects that are in motion. We want to continue to keep those projects in motion and get them installed because it's inherent that that's going to help us open up capacity and upgrade our systems. Back to the things that were just discussed is what are the potential delays that an OEM might have because of sourcing materials. The installs, as we talked earlier. First of all, if there's an SAT we're doing that remotely. The fact that we have an SAT on Friday, and we're doing that via Zoom. That way we're going to manage that the best we can. If it'll work fine then we'll ship it for the SAT. Just making sure the current projects are moving as efficiently as possible.
“The communication with the OEM is a critical piece, even a little bit of over communication.”
Greg Flickinger: Then on the other side, our engineering team are still focused on the future. They've got to continue because we know projects take six, eight, sometimes 12 months to come to fruition. We don't want to have this hiccup cost us another year in the making. Our engineering team is working more business as usual. However, we're not able to travel, both as much internally as well as our external suppliers.
Tom Eagan: Tom, same question to you from a PMMI member side. This came up in our town hall last week, and now we're getting two or three questions here on the question log this week. What is it that your sales team is doing? How are you positioning them?
Tom Ivy: Our sales team is grounded. Everybody has to work from home. What we're doing is we're starting our day out with a morning call with all the sales reps, and a plan to discuss what's going on with each customer. We have a lot of back and forth, any good instance to go to meeting every morning to talk about these are the people I want to talk to, this is conversations I had yesterday. Our plan, we'll talk about any issues, how we're doing production, attendance, can we get things out on time, are all projects scheduled, are things good, or if there's issues you've got to be concerned with and you need to communicate back with your customers. We have that dialogue and we start off in the morning with that update, company-wide, with each company.