The challenge of showing customers the range of pneumatics products available from SMC is a considerable one. But with the launch of the company’s Innovations Centre at their UK headquarters in Milton Keynes, the company has found a way of displaying their newest, most innovative products in a modern setting. Customers visiting the company’s UK base can also have a behind-the-scenes tour of the purpose-built facility and see at first hand how the business fulfils orders for bespoke as well as standard systems.
The company has some 11,000 standard products and 600,000 variants, and with up to ten per cent of turnover reinvested in product development every year. Such is the pace of innovation at the Japanese-owned engineering giant that ensuring the best range of products is available for customers to see is a major challenge for the company’s UK Product Promotions Manager, Pete Humphreys.
He says: “Our existing showroom had been very well-used indeed over several years, and when we committed to updating it we wanted it to do more than simply add our newest products. The entire room was completely refurbished, state-of-the-art meeting areas added, and the layout completely redesigned to give a better overview of what SMC is about – not just individual products, but how we support many industry sectors too, such as automotive, brewing and electronics. You can come in and pick up a fitting to feel how light it is, or see a standalone chiller to see how it could fit into your own application. The beauty of the Innovation Centre is looking at actual products – not photographs.”
When planning the launch of the Innovations Centre, the company took an holistic approach and now also offers customers a tour of SMC’s UK operations, to show how orders are looked after from enquiry to despatch, with the emphasis on how processes aim to maximise value to the end user. Pete Humphreys continues: “The tours aren’t just about giving prospective customers and relatively new contacts their first look at what we do – many of our long-standing customers haven’t seen for themselves the attention to detail that goes into everything we do.
“Since the launch of the Innovations Centre we’ve had lots of very positive feedback from our customers, some telling us how impressed they were at the sheer range of products we offer, and that we’ve given them lots of ideas for potential applications where they weren’t aware we can help. And some guests who’ve been on a tour have been so impressed by the techniques we use in our manufacturing facility that they’re thinking of implementing them in their own facilities!”
To arrange a visit to SMC to see either the Innovations Centre or have a tour of their UK facility contact your local SMC sales engineer, or call 0845 121 5122. To find out more about the range of pneumatics products available, you can also visit the website at www.smcpneumatics.co.uk