When Muller Martini’s MMA User’s Group formed more than 25 years ago, it consisted of a huge group of newspaper professionals and production facilities that used Muller’s SLS1000 inserting system. As digital information alternatives emerged in the early 2000s, the group’s attendance declined. This year’s conference took place in May and saw nearly a 30 percent increase (representing 28 prominent newspaper entities) over 2015, arguably the result of encouraging revenue opportunities that embrace proven newspaper production know-how.
The theme, “Flexibility Brings New Opportunities,” reflected the continued need to refine job functions and workflow in order to take advantage of new revenue streams available in commercial work. Mike Connors, managing director of The New York Times’ production department, delivered the keynote address in which he discussed the ongoing rebuild and upgrade program for their first-generation SLS2000 inserting line, consisting of eight machines. Attendees also benefitted from a walkthrough of one rebuild being performed in Muller’s Allentown, Pennsylvania, manufacturing facility.
Throughout the years, the focus of the MMA User Group has remained the same: to provide a “user-friendly” environment where every participant can interact and network in order to discuss and troubleshoot production challenges. Cathy Roberts, Muller Martini parts specialist, has been helping to organize the conference for the past 20 years.
“The core of this conference is on customer training, and certainly that’s changed throughout the years in terms of our equipment,” she said. “Early on attendees had a single Muller Martini inserter. Today, Muller engineers multiple inserting brands and models, not to mention ancillary mailroom equipment and software offerings. So the issues—and demands—are somewhat more complex in nature.”
Perhaps that’s why there’s so such synergy among the User’s Group. And why there’s little doubt that it’s the information exchange that keeps attendees returning year after year.
Next year’s MMA User’s Group Conference is scheduled for May 11-13, 2017 in Allentown, Pa. Its theme will be “The Power of Possibilities in Packaging.” For more information, contact Roberts at email@example.com or Dan Cropley at firstname.lastname@example.org.