Association News

In Arizona with TLMI

November 13, 2009

Words of wisdom, awards and networking

TLMI members formed a (mock) backup band
for the entertainers at the annual meeting in Arizona
Winning labels, environmental champions, top suppliers all were celebrated at the annual meeting of the Tag & Label Manufacturers Institute, held in late October in Scottsdale, AZ, USA. The event was well attended, and featured several speakers who addressed a variety of business topics.

The 2009 TLMI Label Awards were presented, as they always are, by Steve Lee of RotoMetrics. Best of Show this year went to Logmatix, of Marietta, GA, USA. A full listing of winners and illustrations of various winning labels begins on page 67 of this issue.

3M and Spear Inc. were the winners of this year's TLMI Environmental Awards, which recognize a commitment to progressive environmental practices across a range of areas, including solid waste reduction, recycling, waste or energy recovery, and the implementation of clean technology and/or processes. The award for Technical Innovation was given to 3M, a company with a long history and culture promoting sustainable values, strategies and principles. The award for Best Practices in Environmental Leadership was given to Spear Inc. for reducing its carbon footprint in every aspect of its business. Spear's commitment to change includes the down-gauging of substrates, the establishment of liner recycling programs with its customer base, diverting matrix to waste-to-energy applications, using eco-friendly materials, energy reduction, the use of boxless pallets, and the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 9,250 tons.

From left: Steve Lee of RotoMetrics, Bob Zaccone of GSI Technologies, and Cindy White of Channeled Resources
Gary Smith, vice president of sales for RotoMetrics, was named this year's Supplier of the Year, which recognizes ongoing volunteer service and dedication to TLMI and to the industry. Smith has been serving the narrow web industry for 35 years, starting his career in 1973 as a sales representative for Avery Label Company. In 1979 he was promoted to regional sales manager at Avery and was involved with pioneering the sales of ultra-clear pharmaceutical labels, battery labels, four color process and multilayered promotional labels. In 1990 he joined RotoMetrics as national sales manager and was later promoted to vice president. He recently served a term on TLMI's board of directors and in the past was involved with the association's Membership Committee.

The role of the label converter in a customer's business success was the focus of a presentation by Kevin Lanigan, vice president of sales and marketing for Phototype. Focusing on brand trends today, Lanigan distilled the essence of his talk with this comment: "You can't effectively sell to the customer without a sense of design." Brand owners, he said, are downsizing and focusing now on strategy instead of tactics. "Brand owners need outside firms to configure affordable solutions that work," he said, urging converters to "leverage your business acumen and technical expertise" to meet the customer's need.

From left: Andy Colletta and Jakob Landberg of Nilpeter, Colin Phillips of Herma, and FINAT President Andrea Vimercati of Pilot Italia
Private label store brands are outpacing major branded products today, he added, "and typically private label brands are less organized than top branded products." This means that "private brands are more open to creative solutions that save money and time, and are desperate for innovations to distinguish their products." He encouraged his listeners to embrace and invest in IT knowledge around XML data transfer, and develop and expertise in digital technology, especially where it applies to product design.

Robert Crooker, senior vice president for business development at Heidelberg, presented a detailed overview of the challenges facing the sheetfed offset industry, and underscored the opportunities to which the label industry should pay attention. Commercial print is down or flat in the United States and in other developed countries, he said, but it is on the rise in developing and undeveloped regions of the world. Printers, including those who make labels, are fast learning that they must adapt to a world in which print competes with other media as generational preferences alter the landscape. The keys to success, he noted, include continuous process improvement, the embrace of competitive technologies, and the attraction, development and retention of high performance employees.

Ken and Pam Meinhardt (center) of Tailored Solutions, flanked by Julie (left) and Beverly Chavez of Stixon Labels
Joseph P. Morgan Jr., president and CEO of Standard Register, spoke to the attendees about the current reinvention of the company. Noting that the economic recovery is likely to be prolonged, Morgan cited five points of change that are necessary to recharge Standard Register: organizational transformation, relentless pursuit of cost reduction, intense governance for ROI, measurement of progress and success, and innovation.

Innovation, he said, includes aligning with innovative partners to meet customers' future needs and protect eroding margins, increasing material science and product innovation, as well as process innovation such as Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma.

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