Recent company acquisitions of Muncie Power Products’ parent company, the Interpump Group, were the first steps toward this year’s launch of several new Muncie valve lines that will accommodate high pressure systems, and offer great performance.
Besides complimenting the high performance Optimum pumps and other similar products, the new valves really complete Muncie’s inventory of major product lines. Two new lines launched this past fall with more expected in early 2014.
Reaching this milestone took more than a year of travel, research, and product trials for Product & Application Engineer Zach Holt. Introducing something new to a tried and true brand like Muncie Power means a deep dive into the product line and its capabilities.
“I’ve been heavily involved in the development of the valve project,” explained Holt. “I got into the weeds, understanding the product, and determining a product line that we can call our own.”
Holt traveled to Interpump Group’s headquarters in Italy during May of 2013 and met with key people to learn how the operations worked, and how the products were manufactured.
“It’s a process,” said Holt. “My trip was really about understanding our capabilities, seeing the facilities, holding technical meetings and working with engineers. Face-to-face discussions at the factory level were invaluable. It was very helpful to me because I’m a hands-on kind of guy. I like to see things first-hand so I can better understand how things work and visualize them better when explaining to other personnel, whether internal or customers.
The acquisition means Muncie now has a level of variability that it did not have before. “It opens up new business and new market opportunities for us,” Holt explained. “We’ll go toe-to-toe with the competition.”
“A huge part of the success of any business relationship is the relationship with people,” Holt said. “Meeting people that I’d be working with over the phone and by email was essential. It enabled me to build needed trust and it lets them know I’m passionate about the products.”
From those ongoing discussions, Muncie began to formulate its next major product line. A team was put together that included Muncie experts in product, operations, logistics, marketing, purchasing and sales. “Putting a team together early was a big step. The team poses questions that trigger other questions. It’s the best way to work. Communication is the best tool we have, and forming a team is a great way to communicate what’s going on during the early phases of a project.”
Next came the long and sometimes tedious – but critical – process of internal documentation. “We established product nomenclatures, developed an all-new model number system, determined how orders would be created and evaluated market competitiveness, all while trying to make everything as user-friendly as possible, but also allow for all the variability the product line can offer,” Holt explained.
Key to launching new products is developing a seamless transition for customers, Holt said. “We analyze how the market will receive the new product lines, and we do our best to anticipate possible issues and resolve them before they happen. We know we can’t accommodate for everything, but we educate ourselves as best as we can so we’re ready to respond to any unforeseen issues when they do arise.”
“We want to build the product credibility even before the products are available,” he said.
For now, Muncie will have five new valve lines that are either currently available or in the developmental stages. Muncie is embracing its global appeal of these high-performance valves while catering to its North American customers. For example, the valve lines are named using metric measurements, but standard units will still be the norm in sales literature and other cataloging.
“Now that we have valve design capabilities at our disposal, Muncie has a huge amount of product options and variability. This is a good looking valve, too,” Holt said. “The new valve product is constructed from cast parts, but the parts are machined which give a high-shine finish. It looks really sharp and we think that’s important. It goes hand-in-hand with our branding efforts, and the sharp appearance is just the icing on the cake. You can expect high performance on the inside to back up the cosmetics.”
Filed Under: TECHNOLOGIES + PRODUCTS, Valves