Company officials met recently in Cesky Krumlov, a picturesque 13th Century village in the southern Czech Republic, to discuss Avery Dennison’s growth in the region and beyond. Okke Koo, vice president and general manager of the European division, said he was pleased to report that 75 percent of former Jackstädt customers are satisfied with Avery’s service. “We have the largest group of technical support people,” he said, “regardless of where the customer is in Europe.”
Consumption in Central and Eastern Europe is on the rise, due in part to increased investment by Western European countries. Along with that growth comes “an elevation of quality expectations,” said Koo. “End users want smaller production runs, more variable information, different languages. Packaging becomes more of a marketing tool. Store shelves have become more exciting, and that goes for label material as well.”
Marketing Director Palle Jespersen revealed that market growth for pressure sensitive substrates in Eastern European countries stood at 20 percent in 2002, outpacing Asia-Pacific (16 percent) and Latin America (15 percent). “In the beginning it was all paper, but now films are really taking off,” he said.
Angelo Depietri is the general manager for Eastern Europe and International South, which includes the Middle East, several Asian countries and a few African nations. Depietri said it is not easy to be a label converter in Eastern Europe. “To be an entrepreneur in this region is more difficult. The bank system is weaker, politics is unstable. They expect us to be very competitive in price but meet the same standard of quality as in the West, and to be just as effective in our distribution. We are dealing with countries that are so different in terms of their needs.”
Still, he added, they are smart business people who have high standards and good equipment, and expect to be able to supply their customers with the best materials.
Sjaak Elmendorp, VP of production technology and innovation, said the Eastern European converters are eager to embrace new ideas in security products and in graphics that differentiate a consumer item. His team of innovators is at work on creating labels that can, for instance, change color in the presence of certain odors, or contain hidden fluorescent compounds that can be detected through a package via infrared light for security purposes.
Avery Dennison has specialty product teams in three European locations to service customers, as well as field-based custom product engineers.
The Rapid-Roll program that Avery Dennison acquired with the purchase of Dunsirn Industries in the United States has been exported to Europe with success. Based in Luxemburg, the operation has distribution outlets in Barcelona, Copenhagen and Dublin, and plans to add plants in Warsaw, Prague and Istanbul. Rapid-Roll supplies non-pressure sensitive substrates in specific widths.
“Right now we have 488 customers,” said Marcus Scheiber, business director for Rapid-Roll. “Most converters were ordering directly from mills, which came with an amazing amount of pain. We took the pain away.” The typical Rapid-Roll customer is converting garment tags today, but other uses are growing. “We started with 25 products, and now we have more than 180,” Scheiber said.
E-business is important to Avery Dennison. Elizabeth Park, the director of business development for new market and service initiatives, is working to grow the on-line business in emerging markets of Europe.