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Post published on 15/10/2021

Interview with Alex Carter - a view insight IMA DAIRY & FOOD Spain & Portugal

What exactly is your everyday working routine like?

After more than one year as Managing Director, my daily routine has changed.  When I joined the company, we had to realize a lot of changes, set up new processes. We had to look for a new warehouse and organize the relocation to the new building. 

My tasks can be commercial discussions with customers about new machinery, checking and discussing service offers, brainstorming on which changes have to be realized in the warehouse,… So I am happy that there’s no real routine.

 

How many people are in your team and what makes your employees special?

IMA DAIRY & FOOD Spain & Portugal has a workforce of 13 employees, with focus on our service department, which includes 8 employees.

The team is very special because having been part of Erca Iberica when machines have been manufactured locally, give them a wide vision of the business, from quotation reception till delivery and assembly.

At the same time, due to our proximity to the customers we are a 100% customer oriented team. There’s a sentence that I like very much: It takes years to get a customer and a minute to loose it. 

So all of us, we are totally involved in all the processes, with the priority to help and support our customers.

 

Why do Spanish companies choose packaging machines from the brands of IMA DAIRY & FOOD?

In Spain, customers especially use Erca machines since more than 30 years, and they are satisfied with the performance of the equipment and the service they receive.  For such reason, being Erca related to IMA DAIRY & FOOD, give the customers the assurance of the quality of our solutions.

 

What is the market share of German packaging machines in the Spanish market?

This is a difficult question to answer, but it might be not too high.  For a long time Spain has been a good manufacturing hub for packaging machines. In fact there’s a small valley in the north-west of Barcelona known as Packaging Valley due to the number of companies manufacturing packaging machines there. At the same time, the price of German machines has always been considered as “not cheap” when comparing to local manufactured ones, even the quality of the machines is well known.

 

Are there machines that are particularly in demand or are not otherwise sold in Spain?

Spain is not a country with very specific focus on one industry; so customers demand any kind of machine.  It’s true that some industries are more typical, such as wine, oil, … with a bigger demand of equipment for these sectors, but there’s not a specific concentration of certain businesses, so the answer can be: SPANISH CUSTOMERS HAVE A GENERAL DEMAND IN ALL SECTORS.

 

Are there any tradeshows dedicated to packaging machines in Spain?

Yes, in Spain we do have Hispack in Barcelona as the biggest Packaging and Process Exhibition for our region.  Historically it was an exhibition not only attended by Spanish visitors. Due to language reasons also a lot of visitors from South America tend to visit this exhibition. And there is as well small exhibiton called ‘Empack’ in Madrid.

 

If so, which ones did you attend and do they take place online nowadays?

A few years ago the group attended Hispack but it’s more important for the group to concentrate the efforts on international tradeshows like interpack. In any case, Hispack has been cancelled for 2021 but Empack is still scheduled for November; hopefully with availability of live visits.

 

How has direct customer contact or contact within the team changed during the pandemic?

The truth is that having a small structure and quite enough space for all of us, allows the team to work in the office without real interaction and everyone in its’ own office.  Despite that, I am very lucky because the team is used to work independently and they are very professional. So working from home or at the office has not made a big difference. We need to be flexible and agile to support our customers with technical support and ensuring spare part deliveries remain continuous and on time. I am very proud of being part of such a team, and in general they are doing a great job.

In relation to communication with our customers, it has changed in the way that we can only visit them when they need us. Means they do not wish courtesy or commercial visits. 

As all our customers work with us for many years, the communication is very direct and fluid through the phone, so they can easily reach us and it has not changed during the pandemic or lockdowns. If they have a request or a specific need, we have of course increased the number of online meetings like Teams ConfCalls, but urgent or important visits are for sure possible if requested by customers.

 

What would you like to see in the future?

Wow, FUTURE is a word that we have used a lot since last months, willing to see changes soon.

We do not know if things will ever be the same as before, but I hope we will get used to a new normality, mainly without fear. Professionally, when this will happen, I want my team to be able to think mainly about business, how to get new customers, better machines, excellence in service… with the main target of improving every day.

Angel Martinez
Managing Director IMA DAIRY & FOOD SPAIN & PORTUGAL