by Adam KNIGHT
Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Solution Consultancy: How to get the maximum benefits from your Markem-Imaje coding hardware and industrial software solutions

As you may already be aware, selecting the right printing technology, brand, and model is complex and depends on the application, substrate, and other factors. Industrial software solutions are, however, increasingly essential to optimizing your packaging operations and providing increasingly essential elements such as reducing waste, driving efficiency, achieving compliance, tracking and tracing, detecting threats, and engaging consumers. 

What you may not know is that it’s not just about selecting the correct hardware and software for your packaging operations but getting the most out of them in terms of production and Total Cost of Ownership on an ongoing basis: To achieve these requires much more than having a savvy IT manager in your company. As the North America Manager of Solution Consultancy at Markem-Imaje, I am frequently in contact with the production managers of major producers from many market segments ranging from confectionery to extruded plastics and would like to outline answers to some of the key questions I am most commonly asked by customers about getting the most value and output from their packaging operations far beyond the installation and maintenance of hardware and enterprise software solutions.


If I already have a printer and software from Markem-Imaje installed, why would I need your Solution Consultancy service?

While purchasing a printer and software from Markem-Imaje provides excellent tools for marking and coding, many companies need help to ensure these are fully optimized within their production environments, not just during installation but as the production requirements, equipment used, and coding needs evolve. This is where Solution Consultancy comes into play: Our Solution Consultants tailor solutions to fit specific production requirements and processes, ensuring seamless integration with existing print and manufacturing software solutions. They then analyze the current workflows to identify bottlenecks and recommend software configurations and printer settings that maximize efficiency. They also ensure that production solutions can scale with the company’s growth while remaining compliant with industry-specific regulations. This is hugely important across multiple market segments as the regulatory environment continues to evolve and demand evermore compliance requirements.

Besides working with the actual equipment, another vital part of the role of Solution Consultants is to empower teams with training and technical support, helping staff confidently use CoLOS ® and our other software solutions to their fullest potential.


What types of companies have you helped and what savings or production boosts have you generated for those customers?

There really are numerous examples from multiple sectors but to keep it short I will mention two from different market segments. We helped one FMCG manufacturer to significantly reduce their printing errors by integrating our packaging intelligence software CoLOS ® with their enterprise software solutions, resulting in a 25% reduction in waste and improved production efficiency that would otherwise have been very difficult to achieve. In another case, a pharmaceutical company needed support ensuring compliance with serialization regulations. By deploying CoLOS® with our Solution Consultancy service, they automated the coding and labeling process and avoided regulatory penalties, saving them time and costs.

In both cases, customer feedback highlighted improved compliance, increased uptime, and significant cost savings.


Can CoLOS ® software still be effective without your services or does this depends on the IT know how in the customer company?

While CoLOS ® is powerful on its own, maximizing its benefits requires thorough knowledge of production processes and IT systems. Companies with sophisticated IT teams may handle some aspects independently, but Solution Consultancy unlocks the full potential through tailored implementation and optimization as they know every aspect of our industrial software solutions inside and out.


How long does it typically take to perform a review and roll out a plan for Solution Consultancy and what factors does it depend on?

A typical review and roll-out process ranges from several weeks to a few months, depending on several different factors. Firstly, the size of the company with larger companies having multiple production lines and locations requiring more in-depth analysis. The market sector is hugely significant in time of rollout as heavily regulated industries like pharmaceuticals demand thorough audits and solutions. Another important factor is the complexity of production systems because integrating CoLOS® with existing systems requires more time if there are custom workflows or non-standard processes. Finally, it depends on the company’s resources: Quick adoption is possible if the client dedicates internal teams to collaborate with consultants.


What skillset do Markem-Imaje Solution Consultants have and can they work across all sectors and types of production lines? How many people are employed in these roles and how are they sourced?

As the role of a Solution Consultant is both complex and varied, we are very demanding in the requirements of these employees: So, besides the obvious technical expertise in CoLOS® and other software products, they need to have a strong understanding of coding and marking technologies. In addition, it is essential that they have knowledge of manufacturing processes across various industries and the necessary analytical skills to assess workflows and data structures. In terms of soft skills, they also need excellent communication skills for training and collaboration purposes.

We employ dozens of consultants globally, recruiting them from technical, manufacturing, and software backgrounds.


In which market segments do you see the most demand and expect more growth in the near future and why?

We see the highest demand currently and into the near future in three different segments. Firstly, pharmaceuticals, due to increasing serialization requirements driving a need for optimized marking and coding operations. Our services are highly in demand within the food and beverage sector because of growing consumer expectations for traceability and freshness that require ever more reliable and efficient coding solutions. Thirdly, within consumer-packaged goods (CPG), where high-quality, consistent branding and logistics coding are crucial for market competitiveness.

In all these sectors, Solution Consultancy helps companies achieve compliance, efficiency, and scalability while minimizing costs and risks, whatever the printing hardware and industrial software solutions you may have in place.


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