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Converters need to “re-engineer approach” to add value

We go into 2003 with the western world¹s converting industry ­like many others ­ still trying to figure out where it is going in the economic cycle. It’s the classic example of a manufacturing industry that is also a service industry. There’s no question that reels and sheets of printed material come off the ends of many sophisticated lines all over the world, but most of those materials are used by other manufacturers to take their goods to market, protect and help sell them.

Carlo Ranucci, ExxonMobil Films president in Europe believes that the industry is in a pretty terrible state, to quote: “Today packaging is a troubled industry. More value is being destroyed than being created and industry participants are unable to earn more than marginal returns on their investments.”

But it is not all doom and gloom. He also believes that: “What the industry needs is to create new value in packaging.” And this is where that service industry mentality has to click in. As he explains: “The key to creating new value is to make packaging a just in time ingredient and unlock its full potential to promote the product”. He added: “What is required goes beyond a supply chain initiative, it requires a re-engineered approach to an entire industry.”

The project in which his company is taking the lead, but also already involves a partnership of Saueressig and SIT, Time to Market, takes such areas as ‘colour management’ right through the production chain. And there are some exciting software proposals and technology that really offer true service to the customer. The group welcomes enquiries from others wishing to join the project. Worth investigating.

Best wishes to all our readers in 2003.