As we close up another exciting year for the converting industry I find myself both looking back to see what could have been done better, but also looking forward with interest at what to expect in 2015.
Next year is certainly going to be a big year for trade shows with ICE and Label Expo Europe and Converflex all to look forward to amongst many others and I am certainly looking forward to attending them and hopefully seeing you all at some or all of these events.
Recently, I have had the privilege of attending a number of executive dinner meetings to discuss such topics as digital printing,
renewable resources and food safety. The discussions were fascinating as I, like many of the delegates had a number of
preconceptions that were quickly set straight. For example in digital print, I had been under the impression that everyone would be
leaping on the technology as it was quicker, cheaper and better for engaging consumers.
However what became clear during the discussions was that digital does not speed up the supply chain. In fact, as Coca Cola pointed out, it added time to the supply chain as they had to varnish, slit and varnish the labels again. Having to change your supply chain to adapt the technology was a key point of discussion, as was finding the right partners and providing the right people in companies with the correct information to help them make informed decisions.
Finding the right partners was reflected in the discussions on renewable resources and packaging as well as food safe packaging. In the latter an Inks manufacture made the valid point that they need to speak with the primary users, even though their customers are the printers and converters, in order to better understand the end consumers' needs.
So as we draw a line under 2014 and look forward to 2015, I for one am very interested to see what happens with this focus on partnerships. Of course I shall also be keeping a weather eye out for environmental updates and legislation, the uptake of FiR regulations and migration amongst the host of anticipated regulatory developments. I will also be interested in seeing where this focus on short high quality runs and cost reduction leads us as there will come a point where no more costs can be taken out of the process and we shall have to return to adding value to protect margins.
None of these have a simple solution which is why it will be so interesting to see how they develop.
I hope you enjoy this final edition of 2014, and I wish you all a very Happy New Year