Regulation: The top growth lever for mechanical engineering companies

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In the face of massive uncertainties and economic fluctuations, it is becoming increasingly difficult for companies to find sources of stable and sustainable growth. This is especially true for the mechanical engineering sector, which traditionally depends heavily on general market developments and willingness to invest. As paradoxical as it may sound, the growing pressure from ongoing regulation offers many opportunities if mechanical engineering companies position themselves as strategic partners to ensure long-term sustainability and profitability.


The situation in the packaging machinery industry

Traditionally, the packaging machinery industry generates its growth mainly in the slipstream of general economic growth and through replacement investments. However, the global economic downturn and the resulting reluctance to invest are clearly clouding the sector’s prospects.

According to a survey by the German Engineering Federation (VDMA), companies in the sector expect a real decline in production of 4 per cent in 2024 and continued subdued investment expectations not only in Germany, but also in the important markets of the USA and China.


Double-edged regulations

The increasing number of national and European regulations are causing a great deal of tension and disruption, especially in the packaging business. They harbour numerous uncertainties and risks for companies along the entire value chain.

On the other hand, regulations as drivers of change also create new opportunities. This applies particularly the areas of technological innovation and sustainable development. Packaging manufacturers and their customers are increasingly being forced to rethink their existing practices and business models. For example, the recyclability of packaging is becoming a fundamental requirement that cannot be ignored. The upcoming revision of the Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) makes this abundantly clear.


Establishing recyclability

The need for brand owners to rethink their existing packaging solutions provides an excellent opportunity for packaging machinery manufacturers. For example, the switch from multilayers to monomaterials or the substitution of plastic with other materials cannot be realised without adapting existing technologies or fundamentally establishing new ones. Mechanical engineering companies can position themselves as competent and indispensable solution partners in this environment. The necessary technological innovations are inconceivable without them.


The pressure increases

As B+P Consultants, we experience the growing demand for advice and technical expertise in our work on a daily basis. Many brand owners from a wide range of industries are unsure to what extent their packaging portfolio can withstand the upcoming regulations. This is a fundamental problem that leads to a significant demand for assessment and customisation.


Mechanical engineering as a strategic partner

In this scenario, the role of machine manufacturers goes far beyond that of a simple supplier. As we’ve recently noted in Inside Packaging, machine manufacturers become strategic partners who not only enable technological realisation, but also provide their customers with fundamental and indispensable help in ensuring the long-term sustainability and cost-effectiveness of their packaging solutions.

In order to do justice to this increased importance, machine manufacturers need to work much more closely with their customers than in the past. Only those who understand the specific needs of brand owners are in a position to offer future-proof and customised solutions.


Enormous growth levers are possible

The new form of collaboration goes far beyond traditional business models – and potentially represents an enormous growth lever. The time is ripe for machine manufacturers to seize these opportunities and proactively shape change.

By investing in research and development, intensifying cooperation with customers and adapting to rapidly changing regulatory requirements, they can not only contribute to solving pressing environmental problems, but also open up new markets and secure their own growth in the long term.

If used correctly, regulation can become an enormous opportunity and the most important growth lever for mechanical engineering companies.

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