Monday’s session began with TLMI Chairman Dave McDowell welcoming the 90 converters to the meeting and introducing Meeting Chair Matt Williamson, president of Brady Corporation. “Every one of us knows how important it is that we have skilled and motivated employees,” Williamson said. “The more motivated the personnel we have inside the walls of our company, the more creative and innovative solutions we will have for our customers.”
TLMI favorite Alan Beaulieu, senior analyst, economist and principal with the Institute for Trend Research, started things off on Monday. Now a regular, the 2013 meeting marks the third time (a TLMI record) Beaulieu has been invited to the event to offer his economic insights and projections relevant to label businesses and the greater industry.
“If you had a good 2012, you can look forward to a good 2013,” Beaulieu said. However, he warned against the potential poaching of your best people, and cautioned of a mini downturn coming in 2014, “though it will not be as bad as 2009,” he said. Though, according to Beaulieu, a significant downturn is coming in 2019. He said, “If you want to sell your business, do it in 2017. Borrow while you can now at record low rates – as much as you can – and keep 2019 in mind.”
Following Beaulieu was Mike Abrashoff, founder of GLS Worldwide, a consulting firm that specializes in corporate leadership support. A former US Navy captain, he told his story about how he took over as commander of the USS Benfold, and transformed the ship and crew into a model of naval efficiency.
Abrashoff, through his story, provided TLMI members with useful leadership advice, much of which focused on having your people’s best interests in mind, which is when “people will become more loyal and committed to you,” he said. Abrashoff also stressed positive reinforcement, and encouraged leaders to challenge the saying “that’s the way we’ve always done it.”
“It takes leadership to do that,” he said, emphasizing that those in charge must take the leap from being a manager to being a leader.
Tuesday began with a presentation from Mike Lane, CEO of Lofton Labels, who discussed TLMI’s new strategic brand platform. He discussed the associations people have with some of the world’s leading brands. As examples, Target is synonymous with “trend,” Walmart with “economy,” and Fedex with “speed.”
“A brand’s essence is the one point of potential strategic differentiation rooted in the organization’s DNA,” Lane said, emphasizing TLMI’s brand essence – insight. “The TLMI strategic brand platform is to deliver industry insight that drives business success,” Lane added.
Following Lane was a trio of speakers from The Generations Group, a firm that specializes in helping businesses successfully bridge the generation gap at work. The speakers described characteristics of four groups of people and how they conduct themselves at work – Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X'ers and Millennials.
Traditionalists were described as those who make sacrifices for the greater good, and are characterized as being hardworking and patriotic. “These people won two World Wars and beat the Great Depression,” said the Generation Group’s Lynne Lancaster. For Baby Boomers, she said, “the number one reason for staying in a job is to make an impact.”
Seth Mattison, a Gen X'er himself, said his group is the most independent and entrepreneurial generation, and “the best change agents a company can have.” And Millennials, those born after 1982, are all about speed, social networking and collaboration.
Next up was a sustainability session that featured a panel discussion on “Sustainable Materials Management,” led by Darrell Hughes, VP and general manager of Fasson Roll North America for Avery Dennison.
Panelist Ed Socci of Pepsi discussed some of the problems shrink sleeve labels present to the recycling stream, while also detailing the recycling success of the Naked Juice product line.
Nestle Waters’ Jim Raguckas talked about how the company rewards its vendors and suppliers – those that offer sustainable packaging products – with contracts and contract extensions.
NAPCOR’s Risa Dimini discussed the waste stream supply chain. “A major issue for recycling PET thermoforms are the inks, labels and adhesives,” she said, adding that she is excited to work with TLMI and the label industry to develop more sustainable products.
Finally, Jerry Powell, publisher of Resource Recycling, summed up what he sees as a major recycling roadblock. He said, “A barrier in the recyclability debate is the loneliness of the reclamation industry.”
Tuesday’s session concluded with the Ratio Study Presentation from Shawn Six of Industry Insights, with information given exclusively to converter members.