Mark Craig

Mark Craig, Vice President of Sales, Wood Division, North America at SCM Group presents an insight on their performance in the US market and use of smart machines to enhance services in the woodworking market directly from the AWFS, Las Vegas show floor.

woodandpaneleurope LIGNA was one of biggest events where SCM has witnessed biggest achievements, so how is the group performing in USA?
For SCM, the performance in USA was always quiet strong. We have experienced a substantial growth over the past five years more than doubling our business. With great growth comes lot of challenges and responsibilities that we have met. We have grown our service department substantially, we have grown our parts and service business even more than the machine sales. We feel that we will prove our position in the American market very much.
 
woodandpaneleurope Since you are in a service oriented business, like you rightly said that the service is important, will you have more service centers in America?
Well yes, we look at service more than just in a simplest way, meaning, a year ago we thought of hiring more service staff, but things got stuck. Now, SCM is absolutely the leader in developing new technologies to develop ways to share digital technologies and to share knowledge and technology. So we can have various technicians around the country. USA is a large country and we have a large team to offer support. We have technology to spread knowledge than planes and cars.
 

We also have some of the finest technicians inside our office who most of the time uses interfaces to stay in touch with other technicians out in the market. With technology, SCM has developed Maestro Smart Tech and this allows us to have static people in the office speaking to a variety of technicians. However, building an army of technicians is difficult as someone might be good at edgebanding while the other might be in SCM series, hence what we did was to upgrade each one of them to meet the demand. So we can have right man using the right machine, rather than having a wrong man using the right machine, and involve a top level of technician to fix the edgebander.

 
woodandpaneleurope United States is a massive continent, and problems in software may crop up at any time. Some of the solutions may be in software or hardware solutions. So, how quickly you will be able to reach customers and address the problems faced by the customers across the country?
Like you said, before you address a problem, you have to identify a problem. We are leaders in the IoT and with a highly developed IoT we are able to detect problems with the Maestro technology, we are able to detect incidents, alert our customers and give warning to customers and see ourselves when problems are occurring. We often apprehend the problem, the best way to eliminate issues is to avoid then and help customers to understand what can go better with the machines and we can also understand what’s going better with the machine. So, it’s a win-win, much more than it used to be and we get to learn more than the machines, because our testing programs of the machines at SCM are second to none.
 

 
woodandpaneleurope Well, there are certain unavoidable situation when you need the parts, so how many warehouses you have in America and how fast you can reach your customers and offer help?
Well, we have two warehouses in United States, and one in Canada. We have a location in Toronto, and our main location is in Georgia and our second United States based office is in Carson in California. We have the geography well covered, so as you can see, nobody is more than a few hours away. We also have a very developed system, in which our logistics have become extremely developed in this way, and we are able to offer required services. Even if we want a spare part we can offer services to our customers within 48 hours. We also can get parts of the product if and when needed and offer services to our customers within the time.
 

Though, everyone claims to do that, however, you must have the infrastructure to support such a service across the country. And it is not that easy, and we have stayed ahead of time.

 
woodandpaneleurope Now after you have introduced the smart machines and so on, how have been the response of Smart&Human factory in United States? It has been seen that it is really accepted and widely popular in Europe.

Yes, it is very popular in Europe, let’s say we are in the beginning stage of Smart machines in United States. We are showcasing the machines under Smart&Human Factory in AWFS where we have machines linked through using technology, that makes use of robotics, whether there will be collaboration of robots, and the misconception is that, this is not a technology nearly focused at replacing people. The technology is primarily focused at improving productivity and making flow of materials more efficient and effective. Many times when you put a robot in one location and you need a person from another location to control and to interfere with the robot, now they are doing a different job, but focus is being always on the flow of material of human factory.

There are dangerous situation sometimes when people doing jobs, but however, the robots are robots, whether collaborative or industrial and everything should be in place and type of operation should be analysed to improve business and enhance functions at the industrial level

 
woodandpaneleurope To do things smartly, we have experienced all the latest products in LIGNA recently, are you showcasing anything new here in AWFS?
We are showcasing primarily the same machines as we did in LIGNA recently, as these two shows are very close to each other.
 
woodandpaneleurope What new you have for the American market?
In the American market we have introduced the new Robotics in the booth, our latest Nesting 200.
 
woodandpaneleurope Sometimes we say that the philosophy of the American’s is completely different from others so how much do you think that in terms of the machines are customized to meet the need of the buyers?
I think that the American market is becoming like the rest of the world and as the global market is growing where every individual understands what everyone else is doing. Here, labour cost etc. are affecting the market. But, with time the American market is becoming more and more technology oriented. The American market is becoming more open and encouraging business. There was a time when the American market was distinctly different from other global markets and that phase is fading. American market is definitely open to listening to other countries and other continents are doing.
 

As a European-Italian company we excel in that and yes we bring technology to the American market which was not familiar to the American market. It’s a win-win, it’s a win for SCM as the customers can experience the products functionality and also see the implementation of technology in product management and services delivery.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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