April 30, 2016 officially marked the opening of a newly expanded sales, training and service facility in Montecchio, Italy. This grand opening event was attended by a number of Agr customers and a large representation of business associates from the region and other key players within the Italian packaging industry. In addition to these customers, management from Agr International’s USA corporate headquarters took part in this event.
Marco Palma, the director of Agr Europe S.R.L., hosted the ceremonies. The ceremonies featured an extensive tour of the facility and an overview of the new capabilities and services that will be provided at this location. Guests were also treated to an expansive offering of local Italian cuisine and refreshments.
According to Mr. Palma, “Increased business in the region, especially North Africa and the Middle East, required us to consider additional space to handle our operations. We decided that it was time to move to larger quarters in order to support our customers to the level they expect from Agr. Furthermore, the old facility was limiting our ability to grow our services. We now have that capability.”
The new sales and service facility is located in the Montecchio industrial estate, an industrial park strategically located 15 minutes from Parma, midway between Milan and Bologna in the heart of the Italian packaging industry. The 1100 sq/m facility includes 900 sq/m dedicated to service and support operations for Agr equipment and another 200 sq/m housing the sales offices, conference area and training center. This new facility offers a number of amenities that are designated for optimizing the sales and support of Agr products and services throughout southern Europe, the Middle East and Central and North Africa.
Some of the amenities of the Montecchio center include the latest high-speed internet and tele-communication equipment. These new capabilities to further enhance the ability of the service group to coordinate service work throughout the region as well as to remotely communicate with customer equipment for product upgrades, rapid diagnosis and problem resolution. The center also includes a demonstration show room that showcases Agr’s newest and most popular products, allowing customers to spend as much time as they would like with the equipment to fully understand how it works and what it will do for their operations. In addition, the center also includes dedicated facilities for component/small equipment repair, a section for refurbishment and re-manufacturing of legacy equipment, calibration and recertification, equipment training and an expanded parts warehouse.
According to Robert Cowden, Agr’s Chief Operating Officer, “AGR values its European customers. That said, Agr is increasing its European presence and support. The most recent investment is the opening of the new sales and service center located at Montechio, Italy. In addition to providing a regional center for our sales and service professionals, the site will serve as an equipment showroom, including Agr’s most recent product innovation, the Sampling Pressure Tester 2. The addition of the equipment will enable our European Team to conduct demonstrations and evaluations in a manner more convenient for our customers. This is part of our global initiative to move closer to customers in order to provide timely, competitive service and support.”
Services offered at the center include depot repairs and rebuild services for all Agr laboratory products, for both the glass and plastic container markets. This Montecchio center now has expanded capabilities to provide customers with the ability to have their equipment that is in need of more extensive repairs, shipped to the center where the work can be performed under factory conditions. In many cases, this can be more cost effective than an on-site service call. Plus, it takes advantage of the specialized equipment, parts availability and the thorough testing program that is only available at the depot level.
The new center, with its large conference room and training section is well suited for training programs of all types. Future programs include high-level training on Agr equipment as well as a new offering of American Glass Research training seminars. “Over the years, Agr Europe SRL has had numerous requests from customers in the region to hold the seminars in this area but we were limited by the space available in the former facility. The new site eliminates this problem,” cited Mr. Palma. “Further, this site is a convenient and easily accessible location for Agr customers in Southern Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East. We believe the availability of these seminars in Italy will be of great interest.”
The opening of the new expanded service center in Italy is one more segment of Agr’s program to provide accessible and responsive worldwide support for Agr testing and quality management equipment. This center compliments Agr’s other service centers located throughout the world.