Internship at MPS: Researching the Asian label printing market
This past January, MPS opened a regional office in Malaysia to expand their local presence throughout the Asian market. As an intern at MPS and part of my graduation assignment (thesis) to finish my bachelor’s degree in International Business and Languages, I was assigned to write a positioning plan as to how MPS can best serve the Asian market.
My first impression of MPS? Everyone is extremely helpful, and I felt at home from the very first week! I don’t have a technical background, but that doesn’t matter. I learned a lot from MPS Print Manager Leopold der Nederlanden who provided valuable training sessions such as colour management, different printing techniques, and a focus on flexo technology, and I had the opportunity to attend a live press demonstration with potential customers.
What I also really like about being an intern at MPS is the chance to learn more about Marketing. I’ve had the opportunity to attend many cool Marketing workshops, such as filming with your smartphone, blogging and social media. I really enjoyed the sessions and I learned a lot. MPS clearly invests in their employees and is committed to ongoing education through organized workshops and trainings.
Workshop filming with your smartphone
So, what’s involved in preparing my positioning plan for MPS in Asia? My focus is on MPS’ identity, their target group, competitors and marketing trends.
One of my first tasks was to research the company’s identity: what defines MPS, what does it stand for and what makes MPS unique?
My findings indicate that MPS clearly understands the dynamics of their market and the unique needs of customers within, as evident in their development of high quality, well-specified products. MPS delivers one-on-one solutions and they focus on long-term relationships.
The Malaysian label and packaging market
As an International Business and Languages student, I really enjoy researching the Malaysian market and its cultures. I spoke with Suwannee Tantisrisuk (MPS Area Sales Manager for Thailand and surrounding countries in South-East Asia) and Tim Klappe (Managing Director of MPS Asia Pacific) for their view of the Malaysian market, but I also interviewed other industry professionals and potential customers in Malaysia. They were all very friendly and really helped me gain new insights.
The Malaysian culture really caught my attention, as it’s different from the culture I know here in The Netherlands. Face-to-face meetings are very important for building solid business relations, to establish familiarity and trust. I truly believe the key to success in Asia is reliable service and strong partnerships. This will, of course, be a part of my advice, but I’m glad to see that MPS already has a high priority in offering good service.
And I learned it’s not a good idea to plan meetings on a Friday in Malaysia, as a high percentage of the population practices Islam and attend Friday prayers. I’m so curious to learn more about their culture!
A printing technique that is still popular in Malaysia is letterpress. As part of my research, I recently visited an MPS customer in Germany to see a real letterpress running. Hands-on experiences such as these help significantly in putting together my positioning plan.
Over the next few months I will be very busy with finalizing my thesis, and I hope it will provide a positive contribution to MPS, but most of all to its (potential) customers in Asia. After learning about this fascinating industry, I’m very inspired to help label and packaging printers be successful.
Demy completed a graduation internship at the MPS Marketing department in 2018. She researched the Asian market.