The Hague, The Netherlands – The 2011 FINAT Congress proved a major success, with the appointment of a new President, a raft of awards handed out to top-performing label companies, and the hot topics of the label industry debated at a roundtable. The event was staged on June 8-10 in Giardini Naxos, Italy, and attracted around 380 delegates from 150 companies.
Rewarding success in the label industry
Delegates enjoyed the presentations made to the winners of the FINAT Label Awards and the Congress Logo Design Competition.
FINAT General Assembly
Retiring President, Andrea Vimercati, highlighted the organization's main achievements over the past 12 months, such as the new committee structure, the continuous success of FINAT's Young Managers Club (now in its third year); the updated Educational Handbook, to be ready in digital format for Labelexpo in September; the new FINAT Yearbook and, of course, the new 2.0 website and community – plus the upcoming 'online association portal' agreed with the European board of national label associations as well as the nine leading global label associations. He noted FINAT's reinforced engagement in public affairs that had made a significant contribution to lobbying on the classification of release liner in the context of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive. At the same time, FINAT's continuous efforts to stimulate the recycling of release liners, with the recent re-establishment of the Recycling Committee, should not be forgotten.
Welcoming a new FINAT President
Current Vice President Kurt Walker, Tesa Bandfix (CH) was elected President, and Thomas Hagmaier, Hagmaier Etiketten (D) was appointed Vice President.
Hot topics debated at industry roundtable
A number of eminent players in the packaging and label industry participated in a roundtable, where they discussed all the pressing issues facing the sector. The participants were Geoff Martin, CCL Label; Rik Olthof, from Cartils Brand Consultancy; Arno Melchior, from Reckitt Benckiser; and Christian Plenge, from retail group, Metro Systems GmbH.
Geoff Martin explained how the digital revolution and emerging markets have had a positive impact on CCL Label. He agreed with Arno Melchior, who emphasised the fact that 'you need to have local employees when going into business in the new economies – and you must respect local customs.' The key to success, it was argued, is to create a global master design, but adapt it for local needs.
The issue of sustainability in the label and packaging market was also discussed. Rik Olthof commented, 'Good looks come first, but people want to be green', while Arno Melchior said that Reckitt Benckiser is committed to responsible manufacturing but noted, 'People say they buy 'green' products – but do they really?'.
Regarding innovation, Arno Melchior proposed that packaging buyers and their suppliers need to collaborate early in their processes so they can innovate successfully. This approach was supported by Christian Plenge, who said that the Metro Group has innovation partners in its suppliers and the universities. Rik Olthof agreed that "Designers need to keep up with technology, and work together with the supply chain."
Creative thinking delivers business results
Alessandro Garofalo and Leonardo Benuzzi from Idee Associate, ran a workshop entitled to Creative thinking for future business success. The interactive session encouraged participants to release their creative potential and develop new business ideas.
Bottling the secret to success
In a keynote presentation, Marcello Lunelli, Vice President of Ferrari Spumanti, leading producers of quality Italian sparkling wines, explained that the packaging of the bottles is a key factor in the company's success: "The labelled bottle represents a valuable selling tool, and we have always attached huge importance to the way we dress our bottles.
"Self-adhesive labels have become extremely important because they offer many advantages. Today, we use PE facefilms to guarantee a perfect finish for bottles that will inevitably be presented in an ice bucket."
The importance of design thinking
'Innovate through design thinking' was the action proposesd by Jan-Erik Baars, an associate partner in VanBerlo Design & Strategy, owner of design consultancy Design Fokus.
Baars proposed a number of ways to differentiate when it comes to services and design. One option is co-creation, with the user or consumer acting as a 'facilitator' in brand design. A second option is co-development. "By putting humans centre stage in the innovation process, and by having a designful approach to creating meaning for your brand proposals to them, market leadership can be reached and retained."
European labelstock statistics
Total consumption for 2010 had increased over 2009 by 11.4% – growth was seen primarily in roll products. Regionally, there was a general recovery in business levels, with eastern European countries showing 20.6% improvement in 2010 on the previous year.
In the first quarter of 2011, overall demand growth was 3.3%, with eastern Europe (at 5.1% growth) and the UK and Ireland (at 4.2%) leading the field regionally. However, the business confidence index had been tempered compared to Q1 in 2010, among both suppliers and converters. Among the main concerns are the current raw material shortages and the resulting volatile price levels across the supply chain.
A packed agenda for the next 12 months
FINAT Managing Director, Jules Lejeune, highlighted the key milestones of the coming year. As well as the new website – the major initiative – he highlighted the planned Operators' Day at Labelexpo in Brussels, 28 September - 1 October 2011; FINAT's participation in Labelexpo Asia, 29 November-2 December 2011; the bi-annual FINAT Technical Seminar in Barcelona, 8-9 March 2012; the 2012 Congress, planned for Athens, 6-9 June 2012; and the Global Young Managers Club Summit in Berlin, 28 November-1 December 2012.