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Partnering: It All Starts with Trust

Over and over, I am reminded of a strange dichotomy as I decide what types of case history articles will appear within the pages of Paper, Film & Foil CONVERTER. Oddly enough, it frequently means little in terms of newsworthiness to write about a converter that offers its customers terrific service as an adjunct to a basic product. Nor is it particularly newsworthy to focus on a partnering relationship between a supplier and customer. It's understood that all companies must provide good service and work together in a complementary customer/supplier partnership. This is not news.

Herein lies the dichotomy, however. Without the ability to offer good service or to partner with companies that will encourage your company's development, you are critically affecting your potential for growth and success. These aspects of business operations overshadow any type of innovative or unusual product, material, supply, or machinery about which any editor could write a story.

In actuality, it comes down to this: A company's success is determined by how well it has developed relationships both with its suppliers and its customers. And the whole process starts with placing trust in each other.

Last month I was in the enviable situation of being a “fly on the wall.” Have you ever wished at one time or another that you could have witnessed, without being noticed, an event of some personal significance between other people? Well, I got my wish. It was a golden opportunity.

The scene I witnessed involved a meeting between a converter who held a unique position in the marketplace and one of its past suppliers who was hoping to retrieve the converter's business. Interestingly enough, the supplier had a really neat chestful of new products that had the potential for improving the converter's product line. I expected a “show ‘n’ tell extravaganza.

The conversation, however, immediately turned to past grievances, including ridiculously long lead times for delivery and personality quirks of a former salesperson who apparently had abused the customer/supplier relationship, causing a breach in trust. No new-fangled product, regardless of its features, can repair such a breach once it is made, I learned. In some cases it might take years before a new salesperson can even get a foot in the door to say, “I'm sorry. Can we start over?”

Several articles in this issue highlight the importance of trust and how this key element in a customer/vendor relationship contributes to separate but mutual success. This issue also includes the PFFC annual Buyers Guide. It can help you identify your sources for materials, equipment, and supplies, and perhaps lead you to partnering relationships that will help build your future success.

For more information on the converting industry beyond this issue's contents, be sure to visit

Once there, be sure to e-mail your feedback to me.

Rollem Insignia6 Flexo-Magnetic Die Cutter runs inline w/ Chameleon folder/gluer

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