By Steve Katz | January 18, 2012

As the cliché goes, “change is inevitable.” But it’s also true, and it’s everywhere. Take a look at our industry. In the grand scheme of things, a decade is not a very long period of time, but in the labeling industry it’s enough to see and experience sweeping changes. Perhaps once considered a novelty and a niche, the booths of digital press makers in Brussels overflowed with visitors at the most recent Labelexpo. More and more brand owners – your customers – want shorter runs featuring multiple SKUs, and quicker turnaround on all of their orders. And they want it cheap.

In this issue’s diecutting feature, the experts talk about the industry’s move away from solid tools and the embracing of flexible dies. It’s a significant change – driven by cost and turnaround time.

Adapting and embracing changes is something that makes our industry special. Converters and suppliers both do it well. What’s the alternative? The great American statesman Benjamin Franklin said, “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” It’s no wonder it’s his mug that’s on the one hundred dollar bill.

On the business end of the spectrum it seems that every week there are multiple partnerships formed within the industry, as well as at least a few mergers and acquisitions. This is happening on the supplier and converter side alike. Then there are the people – new CEOs, VPs of sales, owners of companies. Change is everywhere.

For Label and Narrow Web, as well as for myself, change is here and now. For the past 16 years, the editor’s seat has been occupied by Jack Kenny. Jack often challenged you to think about how you’re doing business, and asked you if there’s change that you can benefit from, whether it be adopting a Lean Manufacturing program, greening your workplace, or attending a conference or event.

Jack taught me everything I know about the label industry. He is a great teacher, and a true journalist. I couldn’t have had a better mentor to prepare me for my new role as editor. We will continue the magazine’s values and goals that Jack imparted to me:  “To educate, inform, and when possible, entertain.”

While Jack is no longer in the editor’s chair, he’ll still be a part of Label and Narrow Web as a contributing editor, and we’re grateful to have him. As for me, I look forward to re-introducing myself, as well as meeting many of you for the first time. The label industry is a dynamic one, and with so many changes, there’s always something new to learn.

Steve Katz, Editor
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