Major multinational end users are placing packaging machinery suppliers under increasing pressure through demands for onerous terms and conditions and unreasonable price demands.

The Confederation of Packaging Machinery Associations spoke of their concerns at a meeting staged at Pack Expo last month.

“These days, the end users are asking more and more from machinery suppliers,” says COPAMA secretary general Andrew Manly.

“They are not just looking for single machines but total solutions from turnkey line installations to overall project management and maintenance responsibility.

“But they still expect us to slash our margins and stack contract terms and conditions in their favour.

“We see an increasing need for partnerships between machinery companies and their customers to provide these solutions.

“But, if you put these partnerships under too much pressure, then one of the partners is likely to disappear.

“Essentially, these arrangements are between multinationals and small machinery builders, so it will not be hard to work out which one goes,” said Mr Manly.

The 13 members of COPAMA believe that it is imperative to initiate an international dialogue between companies and trade bodies to ensure that everyone benefits from these partnerships.

It would also enable SMEs to invest in the expertise required to meet their customers needs.