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FLEXO Magazine : November 2008
INDUSTRY INDICATORS Spencer, the largest user of RFID will use 140 million tags next year. “It’s finally reaching the levels we had hoped to see several years ago,” Scarborough said. Food and beverage “The world is looking to the U.S. to bring us out of a global recession.” —Mike Fairley, director of strategic development for Tarsus Labels Group, speaking at Labelexpo Americas 2008. represents the biggest op- portunity for printers of pressure sensitive labels, he said. Brand own- ers use shelf appeal to battle private label goods, Scarborough proclaimed, adding that one-third of all supermarket stock is private label. He advised attendees to take action and offer solutions before you are asked to. “When your customer is struggling, that’s the time to go in and be proactive.” Today’s added emphasis on ecological and sustainable prod- ucts presents its own share of opportunities as well. Eco-friendly products are good for business, Scarborough declared, noting that consumers consider this when buying. He added, “We define waste as anything the customer is not paying for.” GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE Mike Fairley, director of strategic development, Tarsus Labels Group, told attendees, “Inflation is emerging as a major threat to the world economy.” Fueling the concern—soaring oil, energy and food prices; plus, fragile financial markets which are feed- ing declines in consumer confidence. Key barriers to growth include: downward pressure on prices, lower cost competition and recruitment of production personnel. Even China, an area of both opportunity and competition, is facing severe wage inflation, according to Fairley. He stated that, “The world is looking to the U.S. to bring us out of a global recession.” Globally, the label industry is forecast to grow 5 percent to 5.5 percent in 2009, according to Fairley. But, in North America, Europe and Japan, growth will range between 2 percent and 4 per- cent. Specific projections for North America hint at likely growth of 2.5 percent to 3 percent, as compared to 1.3 percent for the GDP. Production volume of printed label stock will approximate 43 billion square meters worldwide and will rise to 50 billion square meters by the end of 2012, Fairley reported. Annual growth rates range from 2 billion to 2.5 billion square meters per year. “Flexo and UV flexo is still the most important label process globally, but digital printing is growing rapidly,” the industry analyst observed. Results of a recent Tarsus survey indicated that 45 percent of label converters in North America utilize computer-to-plate tech- nology (CTP), as compared to 34 percent in Europe and 19 per- cent in Latin America. Just over 1,000 digital label presses are now installed in the roll label industry. Fifty-eight percent of North American label printers who participated in the poll, listed RFID/ smart labels as a definite growth opportunity. Second choice, at 55 percent, was digital printing. Third, at 43 percent, was brand protection/tamper evidence anti-counterfeiting. (For more details and statistics from Fairley on the North American and global la- bel industry, see FLEXO’s August issue.) PRINTERS & PRIORITIES ? Capital improvements were named as a top priority by a ma- ? jority of printers polled, according to Tarsus. ? Fifty-two percent of North American label converters plan to ? invest in capital equipment in the next 12 months. ? Seventy-five percent plan such investments within the next ? 24 months. ?Of those planning upgrades, nearly 60 percent have their ? eyes on new presses. ?More than one third—approximately 37 percent are consid- ? ering investments beyond the press. ? Strategic planning did not escape the notice of survey par- ? ticipants. Topping their wish list were: Managing to ensure profitability. Waste recycling and energy efficiency. Education and training. Global standards, test procedures and performance criteria. GREENER IS BETTER “There has been a huge growth in the number of FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certifications,” said Phil Guillery of the Tropical Trust. He was one of several speakers to address issues of sustainability during the conference series at Labelexpo. He noted that 721 certifications were given out in 2007, versus 1,426 in 2008. “Wal-mart gives preference to FSC products,” he noted. Guillery also claimed many companies, from a hiring standpoint, are finding that young people are drawn to firms with strong en- vironmental policies. Daniel Brown of Boise Label Release and Specialty Papers cau- tioned that certification is not always the greenest route. He urged attendees to look at the big picture, and consider that only 10 percent of forests are managed and certified, which means buying from them could require transportation across the country. On the flip side, he cited a study whereby brand owners stated that the FSC and similar logos represented added value. That same study found that brand owners like label material with 30 percent PCC (post-consumer content) versus 10 percent unbleached liner. Acting as the voice of the customer, Patrick Moschitta of Victoria Secret informed the audience that there is “no silver bullet” for sustainability. He spoke at length, citing examples, of how printers must work with customers to find the right solution that will maintain brand integrity and also serve the planet. “We need to minimize packaging details,” Moschitta said, and added, “We need to cre- ate awareness that the package can be recycled.” He suggested reducing label sizes, using stock that is compat- ible with the container, and considering spe- cific gravity. www. f l e x o g r a p h y. o r g NOVEMB E R 20 0 8 F LEXO “When your customer is struggling, that’s the time to go in and be proactive.” —Dean Scarborough, Avery Dennison president and CEO, in the keynote address at Labelexpo Americas 2008. 1 7