The new grouping was created at a meeting held at Labelexpo Asia in Shanghai, and will hold its first full meeting in Barcelona on March 13 to coincide with the FINAT technical seminar. The second meeting will be held in Chicago at Labelexpo Americas in September.
FINAT, the self-adhesive trade association based in Europe, with TLMI, its North American counterpart, took the initiative in calling the summit because, says FINAT president Andrea Vimercati, “The need to create a network of relations to share knowledge, experiences and information has become a factor of strategic importance to label companies.”
In addition to FINAT and TLMI, the five other members of the L8 will be PEIAC (the Chinese association), LMAI (India), JFLP (Japan), LATMA (Australia), and SALMA (New Zealand). The eighth organization could possibly be a Latin American group, according to Jules Lejeune, FINAT’s managing director.
Frank Gerace, TLMI chairman, comments, “TLMI is honored to be a founding member of the newly formed L8 Group. The formation of this collective marks a momentous time in the global narrow web industry as globalization standards continue to increase and our world grows ever smaller. Issues like raw material prices, sustainability, and profit erosion impact narrow web printers in every global region, and the L8 group offers an information and resource-sharing platform that will provide ongoing value to all of our associations.”
“The elimination of global boundaries and the emergence of a new generation provides an incentive to change our inward-looking habits and explore the possibility of global collaboration, exchange best practices and/or the exchange of regional solutions on a global scale – for instance in the case of sustainability,” notes Vimercati.
Four areas of interest were identified for collaboration on global requirements of customers, suppliers, markets, authorities and other stakeholders:
• Networking, both face-to-face and online via congresses, workshops, webinars and a young managers' network;
• Knowledge sharing in areas like technical education, standardization, legislation, management education and lean production;
• Joint promotion of the common development and visibility of the sector via lobbying, common problem solving, the creation of new standards, the establishment of joint committees and the mutual reinforcement of label competitions as a shop window for the label industry;
• Collaboration on sustainability and environmental issues – such as the creation of environmental standards and awards.
The first step to be taken by the L8 members will be an exchange of market and association data. FINAT will establish an internet platform where the member associations can review and consult each other’s programs and activities.
One of the first items to be dealt with at the March Barcelona meeting will be the harmonization of label competition formats.