BEFORE THEY WERE CRG AUTOMATION, THEY WERE INSTINCTIVE PROBLEM-SOLVERS
Prior to developing, re-engineering, and rebuilding entire systems, over two decades ago, CRG Automation first made their mark as a budding support company over two decades ago. Initially, CRG was created to help update or refurbish customers’ aging equipment for the food and beverage engineering process arena. These services became so beneficial that CRG was able to confidently step into a new role, serving as a powerful custom solution and packaging player in the industry.
CRG’s innovative momentum didn’t go unnoticed. After current owner, president, and CEO, James DeSmet, started in July 2019, he kicked off CRG Automation's rebrand and reinvestment efforts, culminating in a rollout for the company's 20th anniversary. DeSmet commends CRG’s ability to think outside the box in solving the “toughest automation challenges with custom solutions, not out-of-the-box bandages.”
As Jeff Gilkey, CRG’s Director of Sales & Marketing, indicates, the “opportunity for manufacturing and solving problems” was tremendous. After all, Gilkey notes, “We had a skilled group here. We had the roots to grow and expand. That was what James saw — that he knew he could take our manufacturing and custom solutions bones and turn them into a thriving business; and that’s the direction we’re headed.”
Gilkey highlights, “90 percent of what we do is custom jobs… There are solutions for people who say, ‘This is what needs to happen, and I can’t call anybody and buy it off a shelf.’” That’s where CRG comes in. “We design and engineer it, we fabricate it, we assemble it, and we test and commission it. I think the biggest turning point in becoming CRG Automation from CRG Technologies is the fact that we’re now going out and focusing on” finding solutions to those very difficult problems.
Three missions guide CRG Automation: “Contemplate. Fabricate. Automate.” CRG’s capable team can handle anything, including providing companies with robotics integration to ramp up packaging. From designing to building, CRG also delivers fully automated, continuous, and intermittent motion cartoners and case packers — each tailor-made to fit a customer’s singular packaging needs. Benefiting from an in-house engineering department, CRG values the voice of their customer and has the resources to tackle unique challenges, collaborating with a mission-focused team to craft valuable solutions.
Striding forth into a new direction with fresh focus, Gilkey explains the company needed a website that could echo, “We are not CRG Technologies anymore.” CRG Automation wanted to transform their digital presence, ready to showcase bold capabilities, skill sets, and experience in a revitalized light.
TELLING A STORY OF BOOMING INNOVATION
Hatfield Media Senior Account Representative, Christina Pfeifer, believes, “A need for a website that tells the story of their growth and innovation allowed our design team and website development team to provide modern solutions.” Set to transcend the past into an unlimited future, CRG called on Hatfield Media to drive their rebranding story forward. Hatfield’s team got to work on a sleek, user-friendly site; something with the power to boost CRG Automation’s brand awareness while cultivating strong client relationships.
Our team took care to elevate CRG’s website to an entire “new level of design and application,” affirms Pfeifer; a responsibility “we thoroughly enjoyed bringing” to fruition. Keep in mind, “CRG Automation has an amazing and efficient process to their builds,” adds Pfeifer, asserting, “we wanted the website to reflect that custom experience.”
When CRG Automation sought out a forward-thinking direction for their website, Hatfield Front-End Developer, Matt Swanberg, recognized that “a big part of this was the desire to reach new customers.” Swanberg could see just how crucial it would be “for customers to find information about their products easily.” That’s why he helped build a website to “highlight product specifications” where, along with copy, assorted images and videos would take their own digital real estate.
Swanberg dedicated time to crafting an “interesting design language,” streamlining it in “unified” fashion, adding that keeping this “consistent throughout the site was key.” Moreover, Hatfield’s team upleveled this fresh site with animations, features that Swanberg ensured would translate “across various screen sizes and devices.” A creative and collective effort, for Swanberg, “As a developer, it was essential for me to bring design’s vision to life.”
GETTING CRG AUTOMATION RIGHT WHERE THEY WANTED TO BE
Though CRG celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2020, Gilkey sees CRG Automation as an experienced company with the energy of an up-and-coming startup, just two years old. Merging these two worlds between decades of laser-sharp skill and new beginnings, Hatfield Graphic Designer, Kaen Blevins, rose to the occasion.
“Working with CRG to redesign their website was an amazing experience. The client had valuable insights to offer about what they wanted to see in their new vision, and were eager to witness it come together, piece by piece,” spotlights Blevins. “We’d meet every week, collaborating and discussing each idea for how to best reintroduce CRG to the world. Our consistent and clear communication helped make a total, complex refresh feel like a walk in the park, which is just what we’d hope for a user journey.”
Blevins continues, “Including the client throughout each step of this rebranding felt rewarding, as CRG was always thrilled to see the fresh twists we had in store. The client loved our more modern approach. We chose to keep the elements simple in order to let the overall story of CRG Automation shine. Next, we introduced easy-to-understand iconography, large images for visuals, and an additional color into their branding portfolio — all to further captivate their users. This is how we were able to achieve a unique look that shares, ‘Just look at all CRG Automation can do.’ Now, customers can browse an inviting, new website that speaks to CRG’s dynamic potential.”
Open dialogues helped Hatfield Media propel CRG to land exactly where they hoped. Gilkey says that ultimately, “what we were looking for was creating the image of who we are.” CRG Automation is not a “small company.” They wanted a website that could show them as “the professionals that we are,” asserts Gilkey. Our team listened to CRG’s needs, so that we could exceed their expectations.
Gilkey notes it was important that through this redesign, CRG could convey their story “visually, so that when you go to the site, you see CRG and say, ‘wow, these guys are the real deal. They can get stuff done.’” For Gilkey, “the biggest accomplishment was branding: showing people who come to my site who we are, so that they leave with that understanding.”
Following an exciting, complete refurbishment of CRG’s manufacturing facility, one thing was for sure — “we wanted the visuals.” CRG takes great pride in their new shop, as Gilkey adds, “People that come in here will walk through the door and go wild. This place is amazing. That’s what we wanted to show. We wanted ease of use, so that once I got your attention, if you wanted to learn more, we had the case studies and we had videos.” Gilkey is upbeat that the new site exhibits several videos, encouraging users to come explore CRG Automation’s projects. “I wanted you to be able to come to the site and learn what you wanted to learn.”
NOW THIS THRIVING BUSINESS HAS YOUR ATTENTION
Along with an office expansion, a cutting-edge name, and website to match, CRG Automation is continuing to break new ground. When asked what’s next on the horizon for CRG, Gilkey says there is no slowing down, between flourishing “growth,” “expanding into new markets,” as well as bringing forth “dedicated product lines.” Throughout the upcoming years ahead, CRG is eager to mint an “established reputation in the market;” one “that says, ‘CRG is your custom automation solution company.’”
“This was a big deal for us,” Gilkey expresses, commending Drake, Christina, and everyone at Hatfield Media for being patient throughout a “very big,... intimidating project.” CRG needed a creative team that could take a marketing vision and run with it, guiding them conscientiously along the way. Gilkey says, “When I think back on working with you, that probably in my mind is one of the biggest attributes that you brought; just that understanding that ‘... we’re going to walk you through these steps, and we’re going to get you where you want to be.’”
“You guys managed it well and got us through that,” Gilkey believes, happy that CRG Automation can leap ahead as problem solvers, providing necessary solutions. “I can tell you that every job that I have going on right now, barring one or two of them, is not a simple job. It’s going to require engineering. It’s going to require design. It’s going to require custom fabrication; and that’s what we bring to the market.” With a visually enticing rebrand, CRG Automation is ready to make this next decade count.
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