One of the bigger label industry M&A stories in recent years was the 2011 RotoMetrics acquisition of Gerhardt. Driven by the proliferation of flexible die usage in the label converting industry, the deal brought together two industry leaders and resulted in RotoMetrics taking ownership of a broader flexible die portfolio. Specifically, following the acquisition, the company offered 11 flexible die products with 28 separate variations.
While being able to offer more products may seem like a very good thing for a supplier, having so many choices can sometimes complicate a customer’s purchasing decisions. “We inadvertently confused the marketplace with tools that offered too many options and sometimes overlapped capabilities, making our customers’ selection processes difficult,” explains Molly Moroni, RotoMetrics sales director for the Americas. “As we engaged with and listened to feedback from a broad range of customers, it became clear that RotoMetrics needed to update and simplify its product line.”
Just as printers and converters recalibrate their equipment to maintain quality and predictability, RotoMetrics found it needed to consider product adjustments in order to keep the product line competitive and continue to provide customer satisfaction. Thus, RotoMetrics embarked on a rationalization of its flexible die portfolio, which, according to Vice President of Global Marketing Karen Moreland, has been a major undertaking, but one that is netting positive feedback.
Over the course of what Moreland describes as an intensive process, RotoMetrics’ flexible die product line has been refined from 28 types of flexible dies to four core products. L&NW recently caught up with Moreland to discuss the project, and the advantages to the new, streamlined product portfolio.
L&NW: You don’t often hear of a supplier removing products from its portfolio. What led RotoMetrics to take on this recalibration?
Karen Moreland: Historically, we’ve always taken pride in solving individual customer needs, and when a customer is accustomed to a particular name or brand, we hesitate to push them to change. While we certainly still customize products for specialty applications, it became clear that most of our customers are extremely busy with the challenges of running their operations and could benefit from a distilled and easy-to-choose product line.
L&NW: How were you able to narrow down the product line?
KM: We focused on the core ways that our products add value to our customers and distilled that into specific characteristics in terms of die life, blade geometry, and speed. In our custom make-to-order business it’s tempting to over-complicate the product, but by keeping customer needs as the focus, we were able to introduce discipline in our development process. This year we’re introducing the new line, Accu-Series, offering converters a full range of features within the new portfolio and enabling them to pick the individual product features they require.
L&NW: How are customers benefiting from the new product line?
KM: Condensing the product lineup makes customer ordering much simpler, and also speeds up RotoMetrics’ order fulfillment. Clients will be able to choose from a list of four products without losing any of the features available in the prior array of 11 brands with a myriad of variations. For RotoMetrics, it’s now easy to concisely communicate the benefits of each product to customers by recognizing the specific application needs they have, and to focus our continuing R&D investments based on end user market demands.
– Steve Katz