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FLEXO Magazine : January 2009
INDUSTRY INDICATORS competitive. There was talk of always looking at better ways of doing things in order to stay ahead of the game. In some cases, members were just happy to be able to keep up with both cus- tomer and government demands. Naturally, the CLC was looking with interest at efficiency and continuous improvement concepts. Members wanted to not only stay ahead of what is being thrown at them, but also keep costs down. Process and quality control also came up as a key priority for the Council. Most participants claimed to be working with sup- pliers and vendors to keep up with changes in technology. Some were succeeding more than others, but all were confident that improvement has, and will, occur. Many new technologies were keyed in as being of interest to the Council. Higher press speeds in newer equipment were the most frequently mentioned. Many insisted they were interested, but cited cost as a major hurdle. bad debt by setting credit limits and negotiating with vendors on price. Those members vowed to stay flexible, and improve cus- tomer service. The Council noted its interest in sustainability, but some ex- pressed concerns over the costs associated with going green. One member stated it was working to align its systems to meet customer expectations. Progress was being made, but it comes at a significant cost. Emerging technologies of interest to ELC in- cluded automation, nano radio, probalistic chips, wireless power, and offline web applications. NARROW WEB During 2008, members of the Narrow Web Leadership Council (NWLC) estimated that business at least remained flat and level, although several insisted that business grew by as much as 15 to 30 percent. Most of these gains were in health and beauty aids, as well as food and beverage markets. Others reported sharp rises in four-color process work, demand for shrink sleeves and pres- Strategic goals for the year included increasing profitability, implementing Lean principles, process improvement, cost controls and staff training. FFTA Annual Forum and FIRST Regional Workshops were identified as tools used to accomplish those goals. —NarrowWeb Leadership Council ENVELOPE For members of the Envelope Leadership Council (ELC), 2008 saw some decreases in business, but with signs of re- bound. For the most part, some said, business has remained level. Opportunities exist in distributorship, according to one member. As of late last year, it was too early to predict whether this venture will have a strong positive affect on business. Absorbing the rise in FTA’s NarrowWeb Leadership Council claimed that shrink sleeve orders grew throughout 2008. energy costs was a ma- jor concern for Council members. Most noted that passing costs on to customers was not an option. Mention of the economy brought con- cern for additional raw material increases, tight credit, bad debit from customers. In the lat- ter case, some envelope manufactures stated they were working to minimize exposure to sure sensitive materials. Meanwhile, the Council saw decreases in computer labels and pharmaceuticals. Interestingly enough,some NWLC members insisted that medi- cation, along with food, would remain constant in 2009. There were also projections that value brand products, such as generics, store brands and dollar-store items, would increase. In general, it was agreed that, with the current economy, anything could happen. The Council nearly unanimously agreed that 2008 was a bad year for entering new markets, and members proclaimed that it was more important to support existing markets. Still, for 2009, some outlined plans to purchase and install new presses and other capital equipment. Most, however, had no such plans as the result of spending cutbacks. Strategic goals for the year included increasing profitability, implementing Lean principles, process improvement, cost con- trols and staff training. FFTA Annual Forum and FIRST Regional Workshops were identified as tools used to accomplish those goals. The coming year would see a continuation of those same goals, for the most part. The Council expressed interest in TEST (Technical Education Services Team) programs for help in achiev- ing them. In general, narrow-web leaders requested more Forum sessions, workshops, Webinars, etc. from FTA, specifically naming topics such as color management, problem solving, and Lean. When it came to price increases,NWLC members reported absorbing 50 percent, while passing along the remaining 50 per- www. f le xography. org JANUARY 2009 FLEXO 17
End of Year 2008