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FLEXO Magazine : February 2011
FTA TODAY Dynamic New Forces in FTA Regional Networking Groups Hit Their Stride By David Lanska area. To date, the Great Lakes Group has met six times at various locations between Chicago, IL; and Green Bay, WI. Topics have included sustainability, G7, troubleshooting, motivating employees, training, Flexographic Image Repro- duction Specifications and Tolerances (FIRST) implementa- tion, high definition flexo, white inkjet proofing, Lean leadership, sleeve technology, press optimization, color theo- ry, automatic preprogrammed print control, advancements in plate technologies, and social media (LinkedIn, Twitter for business). Each meeting also includes a brief presentation about one of the FTA’s many activities, programs, promotions and technical/training resources. Thereisnocosttobea part of the group and only a nominal cost for attending the meetings. FTA mem- bers typically pay $10, while non-members pay $20 per meeting. Faculty and students with a school ID from local trade schools can attend at no cost. Proceeds from the meetings go to the FFTA Scholarship fund, which has already received more than $2,000 from the groups. Meetings are held in the afternoon/evening and last just a few hours. Mary Mekelburg, principal, Mekelburg Consulting LLC, offered a personal perspective. “As a participant in all except one of the Great Lakes’ meetings to date, I’ve watched friends and colleagues who are happy for the opportunity to connect and re-connect in a local context. Student participation con- sisted of a design contest, and provided our future print profes- sionals an opportunity to rub shoulders with ‘print vets’. Plant tours have showcased the vibrant, industry leading operations of printers (Lauterbach Group), suppliers (QuadTech), OEM’s (PCMC) and schools (Fox Valley Technical College, Harper Col- lege and Waukesha County Technical College). “Subject matter experts from within the FTA community presented key learnings and outcomes...Lauterbach Group was proud to share the design/build journey of the new LEED certified facility; PCMC documented how its Lean Jour- ney has resulted in a renewed and re-invigorated operation and shop floor. “From Kimberly-Clark, included in a January 2011 list of Top 10 Most Profitable Consumer Goods Companies, we received a clear call to ‘print by the numbers on all presses in every pressroom’. Sustainability did not go untouched. Channeled Resources delivered an insightful presentation on its innovative solution for the collection and very practical reuse of roll matrix. “FTA Great Lakes has delivered a Forum/Expo quality plat- form. Participants are high quality, qualified managers and representatives, capable and eager to work with printers to take their printing and pressrooms to the next level!” Similarly, Dolores Corcoran, productivity system manager, The Lauterbach Group, indicated that, “FTA Great Lakes net- working meetings are an awesome traveling meeting, where seasonal charm is embraced and the ease of participating is definitely a plus. I love the simplistic meeting afterhours ap- proach, industrial networking opportunities, and presentation experts; they share their knowledge and provide up-to-date trends and sustainable efforts at a minimal cost. “T his makes attending the meetings fulfilling, rewarding, time and cash smart. The hosting facilities deliver welcoming meeting areas, while sponsors provide simple yet pleasing snacks. FTA Great Lakes meetings are valuable, rewarding, and beneficial all around! SOUTHEAST Based on the success of the GLG, a second regional net- working group was started late last year. The Southeast Net- working Group (SNG) held its kick-off meeting in November, with some attendees drawn from as far as 250 miles away. According to Carol Harrison of CTS Industries, who chairs the SNG, “Attendees said that they are looking for hard facts to save money.” T hat is precisely what these groups aim to provide. Fashioned after the GLG, the Southeast group pro- vides similar technical content and a similar program format. As a result, its first meeting was a great success with about 40 attendees. TCFA A third regional networking group, The Twin Cities Flexo Association (TCFA) has been serving the Minneapolis/St. Paul region since March, 2003. Although the TCFA is a non-profit organization in its own right, it shares the same core prin- ciples as FTA’s regional networking groups. TCFA is an orga- nization, composed of professionals within the flexographic printing industry, devoted to raising the level of technical knowledge, professional ability, and personal enjoyment of industry colleagues. With a technical focus encompassing the entire gamut of processes and materials used within the greater flexo industry, the meetings center around: 1. Technical education of members, with regular meetings containing learning sessions devoted to spreading cur- rent information on printing, converting, and decora- tive processes. This information will be provided by a number of means, including presentations by suppliers, educators, and members. 2. Providing a neutral, open forum for airing issues and solutions within our mutual production environments. This will function to promote continuous improvement of our overall industry. 3. Networking with industry peers in an environment that fosters personal and professional relationships. Through various regular meetings and special events, these groups provide outstanding opportunities for meeting and conversing with other printers, converters, and suppliers. Gary Hilliard, graphics and technical manager for Hood Packaging Corp., summed up his experience with the group this way: “As a local area printer member, TCFA’s meetings and presentations help me to keep up to date on important industry developments, trends, and technologies. It is not al- ways possible to attend seminars and meetings in other cities, so having local presentations and networking opportunities in the Twin Cities area is very beneficial. It allows members to reduce the time we spend away from the office; and allows other employees to attend, that might not get the chance otherwise. The social networking is great as well, as we get to meet local industry colleagues, and friends to discuss our businesses, and other areas of interest.” Regional networking group meetings provide a phenom- enal opportunity for those involved in flexography to inexpen- sively avail themselves of the outstanding technical content provided by the industry professionals who volunteer to speak at these events. Print-shop managers located near the region- al groups will not find a better value for getting their people up-to-speed on procedures, processes and best practices to help increase their productivity, quality, and profitability, while driving down makeready times, raw material consumption and associated waste. Information about upcoming meetings is posted on the FTA’s web site www.flexography.org, as well as on the FTA LinkedIn Group. Meetings for all three groups are open to participation from any printer, supplier or consumer prod- uct company who wishes to attend. Representatives from individual firms can sponsor food or door prizes, present a speech, or host a meeting. For anyone wishing to participate in a regional group meeting, please contact the respective group chair. We look forward to seeing you there. Great Lakes Group – David Lanska at firstname.lastname@example.org. Southeast Networking Group – Carol Harrison at Carolh@ctsindustries.com. Twin Cities Flexo Association - Ed Dedman at email@example.com. About the Author: David Lanska is president of D.J. Lanska & Associates LLC, author of Common Sense Flexography and Chairman of the FTA Great Lakes Group. A near 30-year veteran of the flexo industry, he is an active member of FTA’s Supplier Leadership Council, as well as Membership and Sustainability Committees. David is currently seeking a new position within the flexo community that will benefit from his sales, marketing and technical background He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. “Good first meeting. Very informative. Thank you.” John Bearden – MicroDynamics www.flexography.org FeBRuARY 2011 FLEXO 53 FLX_Feb11_mech.indd 53 2/16/11 8:51 AM
Sustainable Winter 2011