The history of a partnership that started in January of 2001, aiming to increase awareness for the Solema brand in North America. Solema USA has now contributed to an average increase of 30% in sales revenue in just the last 3 years. Let’s talk to Scott Ellis, founder and owner of Solema USA.
“Hi Scott, how are you?” – “Fine Luca, and you?”
Who knew that what had started as a normal conversation, would become a moment in Solema history between Luca Parsani and Scott Ellis, in the cold winter months of November back in 2001. Just one year later, in January of 2002 and Solema USA (➜ link) was officially established.
DISCOVERING BUSINESS IN THE US
Near the end of the nineties, Ennio Mazzola and Luca Parsani, (President and CEO of Solema) had started making business trips to North America. It was during this time that they had came into contact with Scott Ellis, current President of Solema USA, who was a leading figure in the field of American graphic arts.
Let’s talk directly with Scott and see how the idea of launching Solema USA in North America came about:
«It was the beginning of 2000 and we were just moving past the Y2K scare. BTG, (whom I was working for) sold to another company in 2001. Once that happened, I started looking for new challenges in the field of Graphic Arts (➜ link). This was an area in which I had accumulated over a decade’s worth of experience in and saw opportunities in this field on a growing, global scale. The right opportunity presented itself when I met with Ennio Mazzola and Luca Parsani of Solema. We had traveled North America together on some specific projects and deveolped a very good relationship. It was a phone call in November of 2001 that together, we decided to move forward in laying the foundations of a partnership which would aim to develop the business of Solema in North America.
A ROUTE FROM PEDRENGO TO CRAWFORDSVILLE
January 1, 2002 Solema USA was officially established and based in the small, rural town of Crawfordsville, Indiana (➜ link).
As a debut, Solema USA immediately commenced the new partnership with the sale of 2 machines; a brilliant start together. Let’s hear from Scott as he describes a few milestones along the way, showing us the path that led us to where we are currently.
«A huge milestone for Solema USA was in 2003 with the sale of the first Pluton automatic palletizer (➜ link) (along with conveyor belts and stackers). Thomson Shore was looking for an automation system that would make it possible for them to manage a sewing line with as few of operators as possible. Our installation helped them achieve this goal in moving them from a crew of 23 people, to just a crew of 9 people. From that point forward, we were able to do considerable projects with them, having established this groundwork of trust and credibility.
The success of this installation then led to another sale in 2005 of the first Pluton automatic palletizer with RR Donnelley Crawfordsville (formerly LSC Communications, now Atlas Holdings) that ended up becoming the standard Pluton for most of the world today. The advances in programming that we were able to do in building a machine to accept different sized pallets, etc. enabled us to raise the bar on developing new technologies and in incorporating newer software. This need to advance our research and development processes contributed directly to our team’s working together in taking this machine to the next level; giving us an opportunity to branch out for the first time in reaching a greater pool of customers.
In 2008 Solema USA was in a position to expand once again, the research and development process, but this time in the development for the prototype for the Magic Box (automatic cartoning machine) (➜ link). At this time most everything was being carried out by hand so our main goal was to make improvements in end-of-the-line automation processes. Despite the financial difficulties of the period, this took us to the next stage; production packaging at the end-of-the-line where material handling was a labor intensive task. This innovation propelled us forward as a market leader for this particular type of automation.
Meanwhile, in Italy, in 2013 Solema SRL was strengthened with the acquisition of Roda that helped us face the difficult and challenging entry into packaging (➜ link).
The challenges we have found in the packaging industry have allowed us new opportunties to co-operate directly with both new and exisiting customers. The machines we create, building upon what Roda had established, are now able to meet even the most special needs. In our continued efforts towards greater research and development, we are able to help customers reach their goals by working to identify needs and in helping provide solutions for them that have not previously existed.
All of these partnerships and unique opportunties have served to help grow Solema into becoming a market leader in the paperboard field, for machines for corrugated converting and assembly today».
«In almost 20 years, Solema USA has added an accounting, parts, and after-sales service department as well as a modern showroom (2016) (➜ link) and an addition of a an automatic storage system (2018)» (➜ link).
What are the future objectives of the partnership between Solema and Solema USA? We ask Krystle Shelton, right-hand of Scott Ellis.
«Looking to the future, we will God-willingly exceed the expectations set, and plan to continue to grow our business. We are seeing a constant and considerable increase in the need of automation in our fields (graphic arts and paper boards) as a confirmation of the positive trend of the last 3 years, and in response to the changing needs of the North American market. »
At the end, we leave the final word to Luca Parsani for a comment on a partnership that marked a crucial step for the commercial development of Solema.
«Despite the distance and difficult times that have characterized the last few years (like the 2008 crisis and the special circumstances in the current battle with Covid-19), we have been continuously working together with Scott and will continue to do so in the hopes of building a better future for us and our customers.
With over 20 years of experience in the graphic arts, Scott has been an excellent resource for us that has directly contributed to bringing our brand into a new market where there was no footprint prior to, paving the way for new markets; helping business grow exponentially. With Solema and Solema USA teams working closely together, we aim to continue, year after year, the success started in 2002.
There are many reasons that make Solema USA a key contributor to the overall success of Solema Srl. The most important, we do not hide it, is related to the average sales that have been generated over the past 3 years that have averaged around 25% now, with a peak of 34% in 2019.
The important role of Mr. Scott Ellis and his staff is not limited only to the volume of business and turnover achieved altogether, but is also characterized by the great dedication and passion in spreading our brand all acrosss North America. He has helped us in not only maintaining strong and lasting relationships with historical customers but also in our growth as we expand and assiduously hunt for new ones.».
We would like to thank Mr. Scott Ellis and Ms. Krystle Shelton for their cooperation.
For more information about Solema USA write to Scott Ellis at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him directly at (765) 376-2280.