Flexible, innovative and market-oriented player
In this quarterly, I look back on a good year that will be closing soon. But I mainly focus on the future – in which we, as a flexible, innovative and market-oriented player, respond perfectly to global challenges in the fields of logistics, independence and continuity of packaging processes.
We already know 2021 was another special and challenging year. Despite these circumstances, we again delivered a good performance last year. Our team and our dealers have managed to achieve significant growth. Turnover has increased, which is a great achievement because Audion also suffered, albeit to a lesser extent, from logistical challenges and parts, composite parts or sub-assemblies that were more difficult to obtain. We were sometimes confronted with longer delivery times, especially for electronic components. We anticipated this by investing heavily in our purchasing strength, for example, by almost doubling the purchasing department in terms of staffing.
The fact that we produce and assemble a lot in-house and that our suppliers are almost all in Europe, has contributed to the fact that Audion was still able to achieve very high delivery reliability and short delivery times, despite the challenges in the global logistics chains.
In 2021 we have also seen our dealer network grow, despite the restrictions in terms of travel and exhibition visits or participation. We currently have 85 dealers. In the past period, 20 new dealers have been added, including in several new countries.
Our strategy, which focuses on the four strategic target markets of food, medical/pharmaceuticals, e-commerce and industries (parts) contributed to the growth. This focus makes us more distinctive and we can better market our products and solutions and make better use of our R&D and marketing resources.
I would like to mention one important innovation in particular. Last year, together with our German film manufacturer, we heavily invested in the further development of a machine that produces ready-made bags on a roll. The unique aspect about this machine is that it processes fully automated tubular film in one go into bags on a roll with an opening on one side. These bags on a roll, or SpeedBags®, work very quickly when packing. Until now, an extra operation is required to get the bags on a roll. Because we have succeeded in removing the air from the bag in an automated process, we do not have to fold the produced bags first and put them in a box before they can be placed on a roll. We have also made an interesting video about this. This video shows the entire process. From granulate, to film and finally the end product: SpeedBags®
The film is made by extrusion. Extrusion is making a huge plastic balloon from melted granulate by means of blowing, which, after cooling, is rolled up like film. There are several film producers worldwide that do this. These film producers will soon be able to add more value and integrate it into the customer chain with the Audion converter. After all, they can now offer a finished packaging product on rolls, in almost all sizes.
In addition, these producers can deliver more locally, which benefits speed and independence. Another USP is that although there are manufacturers who now supply a similar product, they are mainly focused on large quantities (> 1,000,000 bags per order).
Our ambition is to deploy this converter in many more locations in the world. Especially for customers who are looking for competitive prices, fast delivery times and high delivery reliability per order, even with smaller quantities. We are currently in talks with several partners and would like to further develop the machine with these partners in the near future.
This also ties in well with our broader vision that we are increasingly moving towards as-a-service business models. We deliver a comprehensive packaging solution, from material to machine, as-a-service, of course. Our customers pay a price per package, which consists of components such as the machine, maintenance, service and packaging.
Using a converter is also interesting for really large packers, because it enables them to provide for their own packaging needs. Independence, continuity and speed are important business aspects that are thus guaranteed.
In addition to film packaging, the Audion converter also makes it possible to make packaging with other materials, such as a combination of film and paper or paper packaging on a roll.
A brief look ahead
In 2021, a lot of time and energy was invested in (sometimes remote) training of our dealer network so they can also better serve the ultimate end user. We will continue this in 2022 and will focus much more on digitisation. We will launch our new website and webshop next year and will further increase our presence and visibility. We previously wrote about how Audion will respond to developments in the field of digitisation, data, IOT and remote control, for example, in quarterly-2 and quarterly-3. These articles outline an interesting future in which we will play an important role in the field of packaging. As indicated, in the next quarterly, we will discuss the results for 2021 and our plans for 2022.
If you are interested in the possibilities available, I would be very pleased to talk to you.
Film Extruder & Converter
In this video, you can see how we produce bags on a roll. For example, if you are a film producer and make bags, you can put these on our specially developed machine that ensures they are turned into bags on a roll. These bags on a roll have the unique feature that they are attached to each other, but are open on one side. This ensures they can be filled very quickly in an automated packing process at your customer.
Do you have a question or need more information? Please contact us.