Invest to save

18 May 2009

It is obvious that certain sectors are coping with the current financial crisis better than others. The labels and packaging market in the Benelux region, for example, seems to be holding up quite well.

There is no denying, though, that the business in these countries is down and suppliers are finding it extremely hard to close deals. But both the converters and the suppliers seem to be well prepared for growth when the economy recovers.

One reason for this could be the strategic geographical location of the Benelux countries, which enables them to reach out to most other countries in mainland Europe, the UK, and North America.

But a crucial factor is the innovations coming out of the region. This is, in fact, true for manufacturers from across the globe.

While the packaging industry, including the brand owners, are focusing on cost reductions and are holding back and capital investments, it is heartening to see that suppliers are continuing to invest in R&D. Much of their research now focuses on improving their current offerings or launching new systems that will help converters reduce costs.

Converters are looking for greater integration of processes, increased use of automation, and further reductions in downtime. The ever decreasing run lengths is putting additional pressure on them. Given that, digital printing is certainly the technology to watch in the future. However, the demand for more traditional printing methods will also continue to exist.

Needless to say, offset printing – a major sector for package converting – is also feeling the pinch of the current economic climate, and press manufacturers point out that the sales may be scaled back until 2011. Yet they too are continuing to innovate. In this issue we look at what some of the offset press manufacturers are doing to meet the demands of the converters.

But it is imperative that the converters also continue to invest and innovate. From past recessions, we’ve seen examples of how certain companies that focussed on long-term gains continued to grow and eventually emerged stronger. The bottom line is if it’s wise to invest today, do so. This could be your way to survive the crisis!

Sonali Advani

Group Editor

Sonali Advani

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