Corona helped UMV find new ways
UMV Coating Systems is thriving. The business has grown with new machinery and products, and the company recently won a large order from Stora Enso. UMV’s pilot machine is used by customers from all over the world. In March, however, it did not look as hopeful.
UMV Coating Systems in Säffle, Sweden, has a pilot machine used for developing fossil-free barriers for packaging. It is one of the world’s most advanced machines of its kind. In normal cases, customers from all over the world come to Säffle to test existing solutions and develop new products. But in March, covid-19 put a stop to the pilot trials.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, everything came to a halt and we were worried that things would not go back to normal”, says Håkan Karlsson, CEO of UMV.
“There is a loss of revenue if customers cannot come here. Also, the pilot machine is an important sales instrument that brings orders for new machines and products.”
Cameras turned things around
But the company gave it some thought and quickly found a solution. A new video system with four web cameras was installed. This means that customers can do digital pilot trials from anywhere in the world. Via the cameras, they follow the laboratory results and communicate with UMV via Microsoft Teams.
“The digital test sessions have been a success. Data is presented to the customer immediately on the screen. They can be active and see what happens in the next step. In addition, they win time and save travel costs”, says Håkan Karlsson.
The pandemic also means that extensive travelling from Säffle to all corners of the world has been replaced by digital meetings.
“We had digital meetings before corona, but it was not fully accepted by customers. Now, the level of acceptance is completely different”.
Håkan Karlsson sees many advantages to digital meetings.
“Now our sales representatives can have ten customer meetings a week, in different countries. Before, they could do a maximum of three. It saves a lot of time and we will continue with digital meetings when the pandemic is over.”
A new world
The service branch of the business is more difficult to perform digitally, but UMV is looking at instruments that will help in that area as well.
“Corona is an agony, but there is a plus side. You are forced to think in new directions. It shapes a new world that also benefits the environment, for instance because travel will never reach the same levels again, I think.”