Nearly 400 converters, suppliers, spouses and guests met in October in Scottsdale, AZ, USA, for the 2011 Annual Meeting of the Tag & Label Manufacturers Association (TLMI), an event well known in the industry for its networking and education. Board Chairman Art Yerecic announced that for the first time in a decade, membership in the organization has exceeded 300 companies.
A highlight of the first full day was a presentation by Todd Buchholz, a witty economist with a background that has ranged from White House policy maker to hedge fund director. An optimist, Buchholz challenged some popular beliefs in the business world, such as negativity about the US Federal Reserve Bank, oil prices, and the strength of overseas competitors.
Buchholz said that the Fed was right to drive down interest rates “because our gross national product is positive,” and he said that he does not see a threat from inflation. China may be strong now, he added, but that will slow as the Asian giant faces population and aging challenges.
Among several points he raised: “Stalling growth in Europe keeps prices down,” “Don’t assume that we will have runaway energy prices,” and “Look out for the ‘Obama Rally’,” meaning that business and industry could have a resurgence if Americans become more confident that the current US administration will not win a second term in office.
Tuesday’s session brought Mark Thompson to the stage. A successful business executive and investor, he was Charles Schwab’s chief customer experience officer, chief communications officer and chief of staff. Thompson told TLMI members that the best business people possess these four traits: the willingness to listen, with patience; the ability to ask for advice; the willingness to give advice, and the ability to thank without judging.
He encouraged attendees to “deepen their niche expertise” by finding and hiring people who are gifted in specific areas, and he emphasized the need to “get the right metrics.” The annual TLMI ratio study, he pointed out, is a great example of right metrics, and is the envy of many throughout the printing industry. He quoted TLMI Chairman Art Yerecic on that subject: “Knowing where you should be, compared with the rest of the industry, is a good thing.”
A panel of three label and packaging design experts shared their opinions with the members: Geralyn Curtis of Chesapeake Group, Kenneth Hirst of Hirst Pacific, and Greg Sandusky of Bacardi.
Curtis presented statistics about the current young generation of consumers – the Millenials – and noted that “they place much more significance on design than any other generation before them,” and that they “seek relevance in information, entertainment and fun.” Reaching this group’s members means offering them “customization and choices” such as QR codes and “augmented reality.”
Speaking on innovation in packaging, Hirst said that “true innovation is a totally new idea, never thought of before, which has a useful purpose, adds new value, and renews and improves.” The label, he said, “is the primary differentiator.”
Sandusky, Bacardi’s senior graphic and packaging developer, said that the current trend in spirits packaging is collaboration with consumers on customization. New package ideas are also critical, he added, such as unusual containers and innovations in closures. Sustainability is also a discussion topic, such as the use of plant PET in containers.
2011 Label Awards
For the second consecutive year, ASL Print FX won Best of Show in TLMI’s annual awards competition. The Canadian converter’s winning entry this year was for Red Tile Chardonnay, which also won first place among North American entries in the Wine & Spirits, Flexography/Letterpress, Color Process, Prime category.
Details and examples of many first place labels start on page 97.
Supplier of the Year
The 2011 Supplier of the Year Award went to ink industry executive Pat Hague. He began his career with Wikoff Color Corporation and later joined Water Ink Technologies in 1985. In 2009, along with his brother, he sold Water Ink to Altana, which changed the company name to Actega WIT. Prior to his recent retirement, he was vice president of sales.
Hague has been a longstanding member of TLMI and has served on the association’s Board of Directors. Prior to receiving the Supplier of the Year award, Hague was awarded honoree member status, one of the association’s highest honors.
Presented on an annual basis, the award recognizes an individual for ongoing volunteer service and dedication to TLMI and to the greater industry. Criteria for winning the award includes service to TLMI on the association’s board and committees, in addition to continuous commitment to the industry as a whole by helping to promote and foster its growth.
“Pat Hague has been one of TLMI’s most dedicated and influential supplier members,” said TLMI President Frank Sablone. “Over the decades, he brought his vast industry experience and professional network to his work with TLMI, and he was a dedicated Board Member. I speak for myself and all TLMI members in congratulating Pat for achieving this honor, and in thanking him for his years of dedication to our association.”
The 9th annual TLMI Environmental Leadership Awards were presented to Avery Dennison and to Label World, a converter in Rochester, NY, USA. “Without a doubt, this activity supports the TLMI position on sustainability. We have begun and will continue to change the culture of our industry,” said Calvin Frost, chairman of the institute’s Environmental Committee.
The judges, he said, consider the following when evaluating award candidates: waste reduction, recycling projects, energy recovery, clean technology, participation in the LIFE certification program, and the education of associates, vendors and customers on sustainable procedures.
The Environmental Leadership Award for Innovative Technologies was presented to Avery Dennison for its work on a wide range of programs. The company created an internal environmental process – Enterprise Lean Sigma – to reduce waste, energy, material, and time usage which increased productivity, quality, and profit. It developed energy kaizens, reduced fuel consumption, and substantially reduced greenhouse gas emissions. It focused on using lighter and thinner materials and designed a variety of products that helped reduce waste and enable recycling. Avery Dennison, said Frost, “not only has embraced the LIFE certification standard internally, they have also promoted the benefits of the standard to other non-TLMI organizations.”
The second award, for process improvement in environmental leadership, was presented to Label World, “a company that has made sustainability a core element of its business strategy,” Frost said. “It has used this strategy to maintain and grow its customer base. It has used this same strategy to build cross-functional teams internally that meet regularly to identify opportunities, trade metrics, and develop actions. Label World’s new initiatives include the promotion and use of unbleached kraft liners to promote ease of recyclability, improved office area lighting, development of a plate recycling scheme, the use of green cleaning supplies, and support of using recycle compatible adhesives. This company continues to lead in every aspect of sustainability.”
John McDermott, president of Label World, is the architect of the LIFE (Label Initiative for the Environment) certification standard.
TLMI welcomed several new members to the association. New converters are Tapp Technologies, Langley, BC, Canada; Harbro Packaging, South Elgin, IL, USA; and LabelPrint America, Newburyport, MA, USA. Supplier members are Maxcess, Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Cerm, Oostkamp, Belgium; and Mondi Akrosil, Menasha, WI, USA.