Small is the new big

16 October 2008

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) does not mince words. In its latest report released this month, it has pointed out that the US is at the centre of the intensifying global financial storm and the world’s biggest economy is expected to be under pressure through most of 2009.

Not surprisingly, the packaging industry suppliers, converters, and trade show organisers have all resorted to a cautious ‘wait-and-watch’ approach. It has become a norm to have falling visitor numbers at trade shows, and cut exhibitions back to fewer days as seen at Labelexpo Americas.

The EU has not fared any better. While some economists had predicted that the EU zone would start making a recovery in the second half of 2008, it now seems increasingly unlikely that this will happen. The European Central Bank has pointed out that the huge price increases in raw materials and energy prices during the past year will have severe repercussions in the future. It’s not a surprise then that the Finnish-headquartered UPM-Kymmene, one of the world’s leading paper and timber products manufacturers, has recently announced the closure of the paper mill in Kajaani and pulp mill at Tervasaari.

Are we heading towards a similar situation to the Great Depression of the 1930s? In the book, The Great Depression: Delayed Recovery and Economic Change in America, 1929-1939, Michael A. Bernstein points out: “In the buyer’s market of the Great Depression, special quality and delivery demands were made that stimulated process and product innovation, product line innovation and grade shifting.”

Now, nearly eight decades later, manufacturers will once again have to rely on innovation to help converters increase productivity and reduce costs as every little product improvement can result in a big impact.

Speaking of innovation, Converting Today has just adopted a fresh design, developed in response to reader feedback. Not only does this involve the transformation to the industry standard A4 format, but I believe the new style also makes for an easier read.

This is just a small step, and there’s more to come. We would like to hear your opinions on the website, digital magazine, e-newletter, and of course the printed magazine, helping us to further improve.

Sonali Advani

Editorial Manager

Sonali Advani

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