On Omet's stand at drupa 2012, the six-colour XFlex X6 press took centre stage. To date, with Ferrostaal's distribution, three units have entered Asia. Christel Lee from PrintPackPublish Asia reports.
It has been two years since Ferrostaal began representing Omet in Southeast Asia. The Italian company that is known for its range of hybrid presses has been steadily anchoring its position in Europe. However, although drupa is the industry's biggest show, it wasn't the right focal point for Omet.
Paolo Grasso, international sales manager for Omet srl, commented: "Our focus is labels, therefore we will have a better advantage if we are at label expos. We have solutions for both labels and flexible packaging as well as folding cartons. Although drupa will be assessed after two weeks, I feel it's more of a show for emerging countries. We have had very few people from Europe, almost none from United States, on our stand."
David Wong, sales manager from Ferrostaal, added: "Omet has been in the industry for a long time. However for Asia, the company is just beginning to get active and the results are showing – which is very encouraging for both Omet and us in the region. We hope to see more success in the area of packaging and labelling as they manufacture a wide range of specialised presses compatible to packaging, labelling and flexible packaging. This places Omet in a good position as the market trend is moving towards both flexibility and versatility."
Although the industry has suffered from the economic downturn over the past two years, Omet's XFlex presses have successfully penetrated Southeast Asia with Ferrostaal's distribution. Grasso notes, "Things started with the change of agency for Southeast Asia. In the two years we have been working together with Ferrostaal in Southeast Asia we have managed to sell to two units of Xflex X6 to Thailand in 2011, and one to Vietnam. In 2012, we sold an Xflex X4 to Malaysia."
In response to the challenges faced in selling to Asia, Wong's reply conspicuously reflects the traditional thinking of Asian customers. "Cost is a very important factor yet it's a tricky topic in Asia. One can opt for economically-priced equipment but I am sure that doesn't offer a low-cost and high productivity benefit. We have to balance this as if the price difference is too high, investors would need to justify the cost. They will only "have no choice" if it's a niche product and there's only one supplier around," he points out.
"If the variety is wide, you need to be really competitive and I believe that applies to all European suppliers. However this can be overcome especially when it involves a combination of technologies within a line," he adds.
Grasso shares that Omet's brand is forging ahead well in western parts of the world but for Asia, more time is needed to establish the brand, "Our results reflect a big improvement in comparison to the previous years, and credit is due to Ferrostaal. We have also been successful in India and China.
Wong concludes, "The market is still there – especially for those in traditional packaging. Those companies are looking at ways to improve their margins and quality. Run lengths are shorter and such sized printing presses would be a good way to manage today's volume.
"Additionally, inline solutions and the variety of technologies able to be incorporated, give us an edge. However, customers still need to be convinced of the effectiveness of such add ons."