Home' FLEXO Magazine : February 2017 Contents FEBRUARY 2017 | FLEXO 71
ambitions, priorities and thresholds; what is perceived as a good com-
promise to one, may feel untenable or even unacceptable to another.
Having said that, we all know if we keep doing the same things, we
generally get the same results. Similarly, if we keep doing the same
thing when there are speed imperatives, we will most likely suffer
even worse results.
So, the time has come when flexographers need to do something
different and new to move business forward. Leaving the status quo
is not easy, as it means action, effort and carries risk. If that implies
a large investment in new technology, the stakes are even higher
because the playing field is now moving so quickly.
Prioritizing investment in new technologies requires a solid under-
standing of the state of the technology, the features and capabilities of
the innovation available, and the real impact of such technology on
the company and its performances.
ADOPTING AT THE RIGHT TIME
The idea of adopting new technology is to improve performance
and fuel growth, not to chase the hype or follow a trend for the sake
of doing it. The timing of adoption is important and it could bring
unexpected opportunities, but early adoption could have no benefit
or even be counterproductive if a company is unable to optimize the
value from it. Flexographers need to have the right adoption strategy
at the precise time that gives them the longest lifetime value at an
acceptable level of risk.
One factor to keep in mind is that as technology spreads, the economy
of scale expands, but its value will start to shrink. Flexographers
need to remember this is what impacts the sustainability of any new
Some processing equipment manufacturers understood flexographers’
dilemma and started developing families of units that can be com-
bined, either right away or over time, to build a complete and fully
automated unit. This design approach is made of single units that can
be independently purchased and then joined together. It is character-
ized by “standard” functional equipment prepared with interfaces that
can be united to build different automated systems.
Besides reduction in cost and flexibility in design, modularity offers
other benefits such as augmentation and exclusion. Adding new
solutions by merely plugging in a new module helps overcome fast
increasing customer demands and makes the manufacturing process
more adaptive to change. Automation is, instead, the answer to speed
and standardization. And modular design typically requires shorter
learning time. Automation dramatically reduces the risk for human
slipups while improving overall safety.
TAKING THE LEAP OF FAITH
The pace of change in business is accelerating, and rapid ideation and
innovation are required for success in the next phase of this industrial
revolution. To stay ahead of the curve and turn opportunities into real
business, flexographers must invest in the right infrastructure and
commit to reshaping their company’s organization.
Speed to value and quality have become strategic imperatives, and
most of the successful companies will be those which move fastest.
Successful flexographers who have paved the way may be willing to
share their experience to help others (potentially their competitors)
avoid some of the pitfalls. Or perhaps not.
Embracing modularity and automation is an alternative way to quick-
ly take your business forward and limit risk. Flexographers that want
to survive will need to keep up with change and they can do it step by
If, on the other hand, they want to thrive, they will probably have to
be amongst those that lead the change. n
About the Author: Pier Luigi Sassanelli (Sass) is an experienced mar-
keter with wide international experience in consolidated and emerging
economies. Talented to identify business opportunities and translate
them into profitable growth, he
is currently a strategy advisor for
several global and regional compa-
nies operating in food and packaging
printing. Before that, Sass was with
DuPont for 30 years. Recently, he
worked for DuPont Nutrition &
Health as strategic marketing and
innovation process leader and for the
DuPont Corp., where he co designed
the renowned DuPont Marketing Ex-
cellence program and co founded the
global DuPont Marketing Academy.
Prior to that, he was marketing manager, global marketing communica-
tions manager and global equipment business manager for Cyrel. Find
him on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/sassanelli.
Rogers’ bell curve illustrates the technology adoption lifecycle sociological
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