SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - At the Paperboard Packaging Council’s (PPC) recent Fall Meeting and Leadership Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, leaders in the paperboard packaging industry convened to discuss some of today’s most pressing issues. Among other topics, the attendees learned about organizational culture, cybersecurity and adapting to change.
Lead Through Culture
According to meeting’s first speaker, Linda Massman, president and CEO of Clearwater Paper, packaging companies succeed when they unite their employees through culture and core values. Massman shared her organization’s values, which include Character (treating others with respect and maintaining high levels of integrity), Collaboration (strengthening others by sharing knowledge and insights), Commitment (making and meeting commitments) and Communication (listening, seeking to understand and being responsive). Those cultural values guide how the company makes decisions, who they hire and how they interact with stakeholders both internally and externally.
Later on, consultant Mike Scott told attendees that the most effective kind of organizational culture is an accountable one. In such a culture, all employees do what they say they will do, as they say they will do it, when they say they will do it—period. Scott shared several steps in creating a culture of total accountability, including paraphrasing or repeating all verbal requests as well as agreeing upon completion dates and times for all assigned work. Scott also noted that leaders should model accountability in all areas of life.
From ransomware to phishing scams and identity theft, today’s cyber threats are increasing both in number and sophistication. In fact, Ryan MacFarlane from the FBI told industry leaders that it’s not a matter of if their companies will become the victim of a cyber attack, but when. Many businesses have fallen for the “supplier swindle” tactic where a cyber criminal masquerades as a trusted supplier and requests payment to a “new” bank account. Another common threat is ransomware, software that blocks access to key data until the victim pays a ransom.
Fortunately, MacFarlane noted that a cyber attack doesn’t necessary equal disaster—but mishandling that attack certainly can. To mitigate the effects, packaging manufacturers should design specific processes, controls and relationships into their business operations. And, most importantly, they should carry out drills and practice their response.
Adapt to Change
The spaces in which paperboard packaging manufacturers operate are changing dramatically. During the meeting, Jeff Rosensweig, economist and professor at Emory University, characterized the global market as a stormy sea of economic and geopolitical uncertainty. Tom Oris, director of procurement at Wyandot Snacks, looked specifically at the consumer market. He stated that, under tremendous pressure from many sides, brand owners are now looking to their packaging suppliers for cost concessions and new ways to distinguish their products at retail.
Adapting to such change is crucial. To meet brand owners’ new and expanding needs, folding carton converters should review and optimize their manufacturing processes. They should review and optimize their capacity for small run sizes and digital printing, extended color gamut options, speed of changeovers and general flexibility. If converters believe new equipment can help in this optimization, Rosensweig provided good news: despite global uncertainties, worldwide economic growth rates are rising in some key economies, and interest rates should remain low. Therefore, paperboard packaging manufacturers may want to consider increased capital expenditures.
The American Forest and Paper Association (AF&PA) is also helping to manage change through public policy. President Donna Harman updated attendees on AF&PA’s latest legislative and regulatory efforts, encouraging attendees to get involved. According to Harman, when government leaders hear the same message from business leaders as well as industry organizations like AF&PA and PPC, they are much more likely to act in ways that support the industry.
PPC’s next meeting will take place on April 11-13
in Baltimore, Maryland. To learn more, visit paperbox.org/spring