Brian D’Amico, president of MIRTEC, shares an SMTAI 2020 update with Nolan Johnson. They discuss what visitors can expect to find at MIRTEC’s virtual booth, the current business environment for test and inspection equipment, and how the company has adapted their demonstration and evaluation processes to fit in inside current COVID-19 business protocols.
View more videos and show-related content at Real Time with… SMTAI 2020 virtual.
Prefer to read the transcript of this interview? Read on...
Nolan Johnson: Standing with me in his virtual booth this morning is Brian D'Amico, the president at MIRTEC. Welcome, Brian, you're looking dapper.
Brian D'Amico: Thanks, Nolan. I appreciate it.
Johnson: Things are a lot different this year, obviously. That's something that everybody's talking about. SMTAI is virtual, and you're presenting there. You always have great equipment and great demonstrations happening on your show floor, and even move some equipment and make some sales during the shows themselves. How is this year going to be different?
D'Amico: The thing that's very different about all these virtual meetings because of the pandemic is you don't really get that real interaction of shaking hands and talking to a customer. It's a little bit different when it's in person, quite frankly. Of course, one of the things that's a little bit more difficult as well as people are spending a lot of money on these machines. You're spending anywhere from $150,000–250,000 for an inspection system, so you really don't get to kick the tires. You don't get to really see the machine, touch the keyboard, stick your head in and look at the hardware, and that's one of the things that we really do sell on here at MIRTEC is our technology. We really do have the most technologically advanced systems on the market. It's our job now to really go through and show those customers, as best as possible virtually, what they're looking to buy from us. It is difficult and a little bit different, but it is what it is, so we have to do the best we can with the tools we can to satisfy our customers’ requirements for purchasing equipment.
Johnson: In this virtual environment, as customers come to your booth to interact with you, what are they going to find, and what sorts of resources are you making available for them?
D'Amico: Within MIRTEC's virtual booth, we have these banners that are set up at the show, and a banner just basically has some information on it. We'll have a couple of pictures, and then we have some of our references on there, and we have video links to each of the banners, so what customers can do is they can click on these links and see videos. They can see testimonial videos from our customers. They can see a video that has the smart factory solutions that we offer at MIRTEC. It's an overview-type video. We have a presentation video that we put together that will show people an in-depth presentation of our AOI equipment, and we have one as well for our SPI equipment.
They can basically just come to the booth, click on some little links, familiarize themselves with MIRTEC, and what our latest and greatest inspection solutions, and what we have to offer. From there, there’s a chat room that you can enter. And within chat, if a customer would like, they can send us a quick chat. We would then send them an email and schedule a detailed custom demonstration for them on one of our products. That's pretty much the way it's going to work out.
Johnson: It's my understanding if a customer gets to the point where they really want to put their hands on the equipment before purchase, that is still possible, isn't it?
D'Amico: Absolutely. We've had customers that have come to our facility in Connecticut. There are less than, of course, before. There are so many COVID-29 restrictions out there. They're starting to ease up, and in Connecticut, where we're at, they've eased up tremendously. We've, of course, done very well with the pandemic here, as of late, but customers invited to come here. There are things that you have to do. You have to wear a mask, practice social distancing, etc. We do that as best as possible, but there are customers who have visited us. And I will tell you, that's probably down quite a bit though because most customers, once again, aren’t leaving their facility and they'd much rather just try to do this virtually as much as possible. From there, like I was saying before, we pretty much use all the tools in our arsenal to try to give them a good comfort level of the equipment.
We have quite a few customers that are actually buying equipment at this time. We're doing quite well, which the reason why we're doing quite well is because you have at least four of our customers that are building ventilators. That's the right time. They've done very well, and these customers are working like three shifts. We also have customers that are doing first responder hardware, like vehicle hardware. And of course, we know what's happened there with some of the vehicles, not really quite making it through some of the issues that we've had throughout the different states. And that's something I really wanted to bring up is I truly do think that the manufacturers out there are the unsung heroes. These companies are working their butts off to try to make it through this pandemic and try to help everyone.
Quite frankly, the hardware that they manufacture is really lifesaving. The first responders are doing lifesaving stuff, and I really do think that they should be looked at as being some of the unsung heroes out there throughout this crisis that we're in. I just wanted to mention that and say thank you very much to our first responders and all of our medical people for doing such a good job and taking care of us. I couldn't do that stuff for a living, and I'm really proud of them for doing that. I'm really proud of MIRTEC for at least being a small part of that and helping them do what they need to get through this and get us through this together.
Johnson: That is one of the things for this industry. It is part of our obligation. It's part of our social responsibility to make sure that those first responders have everything they need to do their job. That is our responsibility through all of this time as well. Thanks for having that in the front of your mind, Brian, and we look forward to seeing you in your virtual booth here next week as the show wraps up for real. It was nice to talk to you again.
D'Amico: Thanks, Nolan. It was a pleasure, as always.