Mark Andy’s recent orders coupled with widespread, ongoing converter activities paints a positive outlook going forward as the entire label and packaging industry has adapted to meet the unique challenges presented by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
P.J. Desai, Chief Executive Officer, Mark Andy, states: “The first half of 2020 was extremely challenging due to the impact of the pandemic, and none of our businesses were untouched by it. Our business and industry continued to adapt, however, and business activity in many segments has returned to pre-COVID levels”.
Chief Business Officer, Tom Schelmbauer, Mark Andy also notes: “The bulk of Mark Andy’s install base is running strong despite the pandemic. Many of our customers tell us they are at capacity and now need more production assets. New press orders have accelerated for flexographic platforms, and across all segments, entry-level and up”.
Specific to Mark Andy’s digital business, “Across all platforms, Digital Pro to HD, Mark Andy’s digital business continues to meet expectations. Even more exciting is that the fuel for this growth checks all the boxes: new presses to new clients, and additional presses and upgrades to current clients. Consumables sales growth from new press installs and higher utilization rates of existing equipment demonstrates that our customers are adapting successfully during these challenging times. In fact, demand for refurbished presses exceeds what we have in inventory,” notes David Medlar, Vice President, Digital, Mark Andy.
Reflecting on the last few months, Desai acknowledges the numerous changes and adaptations necessary to continue manufacturing operations at multiple facilities across the globe during a pandemic. Temperature checks, PPE, social distancing, work cell modifications, and other adaptations were quickly implemented.
Another interesting pivot by the company is in its supplies business. Mark Andy Print Products (MAPP), the supply arm of Mark Andy Inc., operates a distribution center in Des
Plaines, IL that is outfitted with chemical blending abilities. The MAPP team has increased the blending of alcohol-based hand and surface sanitizers in response to COVID-19. According to Stuart Gallup, VP of Commercial, Mark Andy “Many In-plant operations we work with have pivoted to produce sanitizers for their states, and we were able to supply them many raw materials to aid in this when supply was scarce.”
On the relative stability of the supply business after the initial shock of the pandemic, Dave Telken, VP of Mark Andy Print Products, offers his unique perspective gained from customer insights. Telken notes that stability is at the core of the businesses’ supply chain, “There’s no dent in this armor. We, and the industry as a whole, continue to remain strong, agile and able to fulfill orders which have returned to normal levels during the Coronavirus outbreak.”
Desai relays that virus-related safety concerns have forced a drastic curtailment in the OEM’s industry event participation. One such unexpected change for Mark Andy is that it will not exhibit in Chicago Labelexpo Americas event in March 2021. It will participate in Labelexpo Europe in September 2021. The manufacturer also expects to participate in DRUPA 2021. Desai explains that “with COVID-19 delays, the show schedule for 2021 is too tightly packed. To better serve our customers and global partners, we will focus our efforts on Brussels and DRUPA. Both events operate on timelines that align with more normalized travel policies and a higher probability of safety.”
Desai also notes, “COVID-19 forced us to re-think how we interact with our customers, how we sell our products and services, and how we support our customers post-sale. Our team is committed to working with our customers even more closely than we did pre-COVID, even if that means virtually, over the phone, or using some other electronic technology. Today at Mark Andy, digital communication technology is increasingly utilized to conduct sales calls, demos, training, troubleshooting and even press installations.” In the age of COVID, Mark Andy’s customers have similarly adapted to this “new norm” and often prefer these methods. Desai concludes that “While nothing beats in-person demonstrations, connecting at trade shows, and welcoming suppliers and customers into our facility, we are all advancing and growing together to keep this industry lively and vibrant to meet customer needs as we move into Q4 and beyond.”