Miraclon responds to industry questions on COVID-19 pandemic

Emma Schlotthauer, chief marketing officer, Miraclon communicates with the packaging community about Covid-19 and her company's support to it

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Emma Schlotthauer Photo PSA| Miraclon
Emma Schlotthauer speaking at the Flexcel Utra press VIP meeting in Orlando in October 2018. Photo: PSA

How is Miraclon handling the risk of disruption to the Coronavirus outbreak?

We have been working hard to ensure continuity of supply and minimize potential disruption to our customers’ operations. Several months ago – in the very early stages of the outbreak – we set up a task force to monitor the situation and develop contingency plans. Contingency planning is complex under such circumstances and changes daily. Nevertheless, the team is committed to minimizing the disruption of supply as much as possible.

How is Miraclon affected by the current situation?

Our products – flexographic plates and equipment – enable our customers to fulfill what is classified in this time as ‘essential business’, and includes printed packaging for food, beverage, healthcare and other consumer products. They are busier than ever to fulfill demand and we’re working closely with them to ensure consistent supply in the weeks and months to come.

What action is Miraclon taking during this time to manage the crisis situation for employees and the organization?

Our people make us who we are, and we’re completely committed to making sure they can take the time they need to respond to the crisis and the impact it’s having for them, professionally and personally.

Our actions first and foremost are focused on the health and safety of our people. We’ve instigated hygiene, social distancing and segregated production in our factories, set up the systems and processes to enable homeworking for most of our employees and set up protocols for isolation should they be required.

One of the major benefits we have as a Company in these extraordinary times is that we are very used to working remotely from each other. We are a medium sized business with employees spread all over the world and therefore video conferencing, project management and meetings via Microsoft Teams are a normal part of the way we do business.

Our Customer Care teams can be based anywhere and still handle enquiries from customers and our technical support teams are equipped with remote diagnostic tools so that we can be there when our customers need us.

What solutions has Miraclon identified in order to keep things moving?

In order to support and reassure our customers, we’re focused on adding significant stock to our local warehouses and increasing production of FLEXCEL NX product lines in our factories so that we are in the best possible position to provide an uninterrupted supply of products where and when it’s needed.

Alongside this, our technical teams remain mobilized to offer the support needed to keep our customers platemaking and print operations running smoothly. We’re providing remote equipment support through secure device access, and our technical application specialists are ready to diagnose and resolve any issues over the phone, through video conference and with the sharing of materials digitally. We’ve even arranged to staff our technical centers with a minimal crew to ensure they have access to further equipment and diagnostic tools if required and have arranged to courier samples for further evaluation if needed.

We currently have a healthy supply – many months – of product in our supply chain.

What plans does Miraclon have for the near future, in case the crisis should extend over the coming months?

In addition to increasing production and ensuring our technical teams remain mobilized as mentioned earlier, we have an internal Covid-19 Task team that meets twice a week to review the situation globally and make the necessary adjustments to ensure our supply and support to customers remain uninterrupted.

How do you believe print businesses can weather the storm caused by the pandemic?

Our customers are all in the packaging printing business. They are an essential component of the consumer goods supply chain and are working hard to keep up with demand for food, beverage and healthcare labels and packaging while maximizing the safety of their own personnel. With the need to segregate production crews, run very separate shifts and, in many cases, increase output levels, those companies that have made significant investments in standardized operating procedures and print processes that require minimal intervention and deliver the highest yields are best positioned. Now, more than ever, the shift that we’ve seen over the past ten years in flexo from a ‘craft’ to a true manufacturing process is paying real dividends – and we’re more committed than ever to supporting the users of our KODAK FLEXCEL Solutions as they continue that journey.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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1 COMMENT

  1. Miraclon is one of the most determined companies in our industry. Having watched it emerge over the last three years as an independent company one is inspired by its commitment to science and its self-belief that it can help the industry with superior technology. It’s an organization that has seen tough times and these are tough people. Good people.

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