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New Product; New Challenges

By Rick Huskey

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October 17, 2014

Companies must defend themselves against competitors everyday.  A good defense begins with good quality, timely service, and the right product at the right time.   Occasionally, the right product doesn’t exist, or it isn’t available. You need a new product. Nova Films & Foils, Inc. encountered an urgent need for a new product development. It represented a significant challenge.  A major customer was experiencing difficulties with an existing Nova Films & Foils, Inc. product.  And, the customer had already started working with a competitive product. The customer asked Nova Films & Foils, Inc. if we could develop a similar product because they felt the competitive product processed better and looked more professional. Nova Films & Foils, Inc. replied, “we could try”. Then, we asked ourselves “How are we going to do that?” How are we going to run a modern film on old equipment?  The hurdles were many.  The new product needed:

  • optical clarity
  • defect free coating
  • thin film, low tension web handling
  • uniform drying

The difficulties were significant and possibly insurmountable but we didn’t back down from the challenge.  Nova Films & Foils’ team said “We can do it.”  After identifying all new raw materials, the Coating group went to work. Since the competitor was already qualifying a better product, a quick turnaround time for Nova’s new product was critical.  The first trial wasn’t perfect but the results were encouraging.  We manufactured a small sample trial for the customer. The customer’s feedback was quick and positive. The customer was motivated. They wanted more material for a larger trial run.   Again, we managed to meet their timeline.  The trial still wasn’t perfect, but the customer was happy with the quality and we continued to meet their needs. With each trial our confidence grew and our product was better.  The new adhesives provided the clarity needed.  The operators babied the product through the process.  And, Engineering made a few modifications to help the process.  Things just came together. The customer started ordering production quantities within four weeks after the initial request.

Several things about this project amaze me.  First and foremost was our customer’s commitment to Nova Films & Foils, Inc. They had a competitive product that worked much better than ours but they still came back to Nova and gave us an opportunity to develop a new competitive offering.  Second, Nova’s employees made it happen. Third, they made it happen quickly. And, finally our coating team is successfully manufacturing a product with the visual clarity no one thought we could do. It is a testament to our employee’s skills that Nova Films & Foils, Inc. met the challenge. What will our customers come up with next? Nova Films & Foils will listen to our customers wants and needs, we will work together to develop a product that fits those needs and we will continue to grow together.  

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