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FLEXO Magazine : February 2013
As one of the world’s largest producers of folding cartons and a global leader in coated, recycled boxboard and spe- cialty bag packaging, Graphic Flexible Packaging is the story of two companies: Riverwood and Graphic Packaging. After merging in 2003, the firm has been innovating ever since. With 44 converting plants and 15,000 employees worldwide, it is a sizable force within the flexible packaging industry. In garner- ing the attention of consumer product companies, the firm has also been recognized by the industry with a number of awards including a Flexographic Technical Association Excel- lence in Flexography Gold Award in 2006. FLEXO: Can you begin by assessing the state-of-the-industry, as it exists today? What are the top priorities and challenges? Is growth, both in volume and dollar sales likely this year and into the future? Why? DAVID MOWBRAY: Currently, our biggest problem is finding qualified, skillful workers. The business is out there. Keeping up with the business is our biggest issue. Finding employees to work, manning crews, training employees when we get them, etc., is a constant and real challenge. Education in me- chanical aptitude does not seem to be much of a focal point. We almost have to have an apprentice program. FLEXO: What technical advancements have simplified the flexographic process in recent years? How have they served to reduce waste, enhance efficiency, improve time to market and alleviate other challenges? MOWBRAY: Again, it’s the knowledge or education that is out there. Being able to write training that is specific to your process. Our biggest advantage, for instance, there are still stack presses out there from the 1970s, and there is plenty of educational and preparation material available. But, again, we just need competent workers. FLEXO: How is your firm embracing the industry ’s push toward standardization? Are you optimizing the production GRAPHIC FLEXIBLE PACKAGING, DEs MOINEs, IA • Creating packaging solutions for more than 85 years • Boasts seven paperboard mills, 44 converting plants, and 15,000 employees worldwide • More than 60 global locations in North and South America, Europe and Asia • Global supplier of beverage packaging and consum- er folding cartons, as well as produce bags, labels, inks, coatings, flexible and specialty packaging 46 FLEXO february 2013 www.flexography.org Photo courtesy of Graphic flexible Packaging Graphic flexible Packaging, Des Moines, Ia FTA MEMBERsHIP PORTRAIT: