Well, it may be March, but college basketball does NOT have a monopoly on “madness”. With our year-end successes, we are in the midst of an installation frenzy that includes five (5) fully-equipped perfect binding lines that have the capacity to produce almost 23 million books per week, per shift. Add to that eight (8) saddle stitchers (and another 31 million books), all with completion dates before summer starts.
Maybe that does not sound too difficult to accomplish, but consider this: each binding line consists of six semi-trailers filled with components that need to be pieced together and tuned before we can even begin training. Factor in the rigging, waste systems, air supply, power connections, data lines, etc., and you’ve got a 20-person team on hand for a six-week installation.
When an agreement to purchase capital equipment is completed, the sale may be done, but the real work is just beginning. And, at Muller Martini, our goal is always to go beyond our customers’ expectations. It’s a tall task, but it’s also why we commit a lot of time and effort on what transpires after a sale.
Understanding a customer’s business and applications is crucial when consulting on the final equipment solution. But, while factories are churning out hundreds of thousands of parts that make up the line we will be handed to install, it is critical for all parties to be on the same page leading up to actual installation and training. And that takes a lot of coordination. Which is why some weeks 30% of my time is spent in meetings and conference calls planning upcoming installations or reviewing ones that are just finishing up. Our service and project managers spend at least double that.
It can be tedious work. Just this morning we had an internal phone call with our factory to go over a recent order. It was discovered that one piece of our sub-supplier’s downstream equipment was missing on the master layout. This caused the line to show four feet shorter than it actually was, meaning the majority of the line would have to be moved. I immediately called the customer to let them know and confirmed our recommended adjustments. It turned out that their electricians were in the plant to start installation of the electrical conduit. We put a pause on that activity and within an hour or two, sent corrected drawings back so work could continue.
We’re probably not done yet since we have two more calls, plus an on-site pre-installation meeting coming up. But it’s always well worth the time. Because when a Muller Martini machine is scheduled to be up and running, we’re confident that it will perform not only as expected but more so, for many, many years to come.