In most of the world, ACS Group sells auxiliary equipment to plastics processors under a handful of well-known brand names: AEC, Cumberland, Colortronic and Sterling, among others.
But in Asia, the Schaumburg, Ill.-based auxiliary major is focusing on using the AEC Inc. brand name only, and emphasizing that customers can get a variety of products from just one source.
``AEC is what everything is going to be known as in Asia,'' said Bill Desrosiers, director of corporate marketing for ACS Group, in an interview at Chinaplas in Guangzhou.
``Our focus in the Asia market is making customers aware of AEC's strengths and ability to tailor solutions to their needs,'' he said. ``One thing we've noticed is that people here know AEC for material-handling and water [products], but they don't know the full depth of products that AEC provides.''
That might include a fairly simple grinder or blender/feeder, or a complex system capable of monitoring 128 injection presses at a time.
``In the U.S., customers understand that. Here, they don't understand. So our message in this market is very different,'' Desrosiers said.
The company is making headway. For example, Desrosiers said, the firm got a foothold in the area by selling products to Western companies with plants in China. ``Now our customers include some of the large Chinese [processors],'' he said. ``That's a difference in the market from five years ago.''
AEC is taking care of some important details to help it sell products in China. Those include offering all of the company's controls in Chinese, not just English. The company's Web site and product brochures also are available in Chinese and English.
The firm has introduced some products at affordable prices in order to introduce customers in China to AEC's offerings, with the hope that clients later will be interested in AEC products with more advanced features.
On top of that, about 18 months ago, AEC started to do local assembly of some products at a plant in Suzhou, China. That marked a change: Previously, AEC has sold products in China manufactured at its U.S plants.
``We make sure all the quality [in Suzhou] matches what we're doing on the U.S. side,'' Desrosiers said.
The 108,000-square-foot factory in Suzhou handles assembly, sales and service of AEC's granulation, materials-handling and water products. It also has a demonstration center for testing and performance evaluation for customer-specific applications, engineering design services and a service and spare-parts center.
``Without bringing [assembly] here, we wouldn't be playing in this market,'' he said.