On camera: Armin Wille (right) and his colleague Werner Ageling from Kleve talk about packaging alternatives in their very own TV studio. (Source: KHS Group)


Technical Talks by KHS: systems supplier offers digital format for interaction with customers

2:10 min Digitization
Dortmund, Germany

Numerous trade shows worldwide were canceled because of the corona crisis, impacting the modes of and opportunities for direct communication within the beverage industry. In order to further promote and strengthen interaction with its customers, KHS has established what are known as its Technical Talks.

KHS’ Technical Talks are already a fixed feature in communications between KHS and its customers – and come as close to a real live discussion as possible. The idea has gradually developed further from the initial events that informed customers about topics such as the discontinuation of control components and new service products for KHS Kisters packaging machines. New webinars are thus being staged on a regular basis as ‘live’ events, where a TV camera takes the place of the participants. In these sessions lasting 60 minutes, KHS experts present various products and conversions, focusing on the respective highlights and benefits thereof. In several feedback sessions an intensive exchange of information with customers is then sought in order to clarify specific requirements and directly answer any questions in talks – or digital chats. “Our virtual events have long ceased to be an ‘emergency measure’ limited to the pandemic,” says Armin Wille, head of Service Sales at KHS. “Rather, they form an independent platform that’s constantly evolving and keeps its options open when it comes to presenting our customers with attractive issues that go above and beyond KHS’ extensive range of services.”

Cutting carbon emissions

One pertinent topic at the moment is environmentally-friendly packaging. This concerns ways of cutting carbon emissions or the conversions needed to implement the EU’s Single-Use Plastics Directive, among other things. Issues that are of crucial importance to the customers themselves are integrated into the event to ensure that a genuine dialog can develop. This includes part discontinuation across the entire KHS portfolio, for instance, the technical solutions to which are discussed directly where possible.

The concept has been designed for global use right from the start, whereby the individual events take place regionally owing to the time difference. “We’re at our desks at a time that suits our customers; this is absolutely no problem at all,” states Wille. Technical Talks have already been held with PepsiCo in Asia, for San Miguel in the Philippines, with Heineken in Nigeria and in Brazil for the entire South American Coca-Cola network, for example.

Overcoming language barriers

The language barrier is more of a problem, Wille ascertains. “You always assume that everyone speaks English – but is it good enough to be able to converse fluently and clarify more complex issues?” This is why KHS in Brazil adopted the idea from KHS headquarters and realized it independently, integrating it into the company’s extensive range of digital services. “Even when times are difficult, our customers expect us to talk to them ‘personally’ and discuss current topics directly with them in their mother tongue. In this respect, our digital customer meetings are a welcome means of staying in contact,” says Franz Beissel, managing director of KHS Brazil. “This has encouraged us to train colleagues in other regions so that they can stage Technical Talks themselves in their own national language,” says Wille. “Everyone agrees that talking to acknowledged experts in real time is of huge benefit – both to our customers and to KHS.”

Since the launch about two years ago, over 40 Technical Talks have taken place. “In view of the great interest we’ve had, we’re now going to successively expand the program so that we can offer our customers an even more extensive service,” Wille states. In September, for example, the sustainable production of PET bottles is on the agenda, with the focus on the EU’s Single-Use Plastics Directive and tethered caps.

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