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FLEXO Magazine : November 2013
miles Apart, Working Together U.S. & Australian/New Zealand FTAs Talk Shop The Australia & New Zealand Flexographic Technical Association (ANZFTA) is the U.S . FTA’s sister from down under. But what does it have in common with the FTA and what does it do differently? Do its anilox rolls, like water flushing down its toilets, spin in the opposite direction? Are consistency and repeatability on jobs as problematic as the poisonous snakes and spiders allegedly roaming the countryside? To get a better understanding of ANZFTA, its operations, membership, annual Forum and more, FLEXO spoke with Pepper Stokes, chair of the U.S . FTA’s 2014 Forum in Balti- more, MD and a speaker at ANZFTA’s recent 2013 Forum from Sept. 5-6; and Tony Dalleore, ANZFTA secretariat. FLEXO: What were some highlights of this year’s ANZFTA Forum? STOKES: The ANZFTA Forum had a panel discussion at the end of day one that involved a diverse group of people. It was very lively and interesting. The panel included: • A politician who is the deputy chairman of the Coalition’s Deregulation Taskforce • A managing director/owner of a flexo ink supplier • Someone from the Department of Business and Innova- tion • A newspaper editor • A senior economist for the National Australian Bank They didn’t hold back their honest comments about the chal- lenges that Australia’s manufacturing segment has. The cost of producing in Australia versus the cost of producing in China and India was a lively topic. Additionally, the lending prac- tices—I suppose I should say “lack of lending practices” —of banks in Australia was strongly criticized during the dialogue. FLEXO: How did ANZFTA’s Forum compare to FTA’s Forum in the U.S.? STOKES: The size of ANZFTA is quite different. ANZFTA attracts about 150 attendees to the Forum and about 225 at the awards dinner. The smaller size made it quite cozy and resulted in more audience dialogue during some of the presentations; especially in the previously-mentioned panel discussion. FLEXO: Were there any noticeable similarities or appreciable differences between the flexo industries in the Australia/New Zealand region and in the U.S .? STOKES: I had the opportunity to visit several mid-sized flexo printers and converters and frankly, it was exactly like walking into mid-sized flexo printers and converters in the U.S. The main difference I noticed was the cost of labor in Australia. Labor costs tended to be 33 percent to 50 percent higher than the labor costs in the U.S. SIzING UP FTAS U.S . Australia/ New zealand 1,600-1,700 # of Forum Attendees 110 800 # of Attendees at Awards Dinner 225 4 Length of Forum 2013 (in Days) 2 Monthly Frequency of FLEXO Publication Quarterly Vacation policies were also different than most manufacturers I am familiar with in the U.S. For example, an em- ployee receives four weeks of vacation starting in his or her first year and 13 weeks in the 15th year. FLEXO: From your perspective, what do ANZFTA and U.S. FTA share in common? Is there anything the two do differently? STOKES: In general, the purpose of both FTAs is the same: to further the flexographic printing industry. The at- tendees at Forum were open to learning and brainstorming about how to do that. ANZFTA has no full-time staff mem- bers, as I understand it. Everything is handled by industry volunteers. By comparison, U.S. FTA has a full-time staff that handles a greater number of activities and learning initiatives than what I am aware of by the ANZFTA. U.S. FTA is just a much bigger organization. FLEXO: By attending the ANZFTA Forum and visiting some of its member sites, did you gain insights and ideas that you will use in assembling any portions of the 2014 FTA Forum program? STOKES: Listening to feedback from our attendees last year, we will be providing some market concurrent ses- sions in 2014. The size of those sessions, while still larger than ANZFTA, will have a cozy feel to them, much like those I experienced at the ANZFTA Forum. FLEXO: How has FIRST implementation been received in the region? STOKES: FIRST takes on a signifi- cantly higher profile in the U.S. than what I witnessed in Australia. I hope its acceptance and utilization grows as worldwide standardizations are devel- oped and adopted. FLEXO: Is there anything different in the FIRST curriculum or is there an overwhelmingly favored path in the certifications that flexographers choose? STOKES: There is a formal apprentice program. Apprentice participants are in the program for several years. It includes working at flexo plants and classroom education. There is a formal testing process at the completion of the apprenticeship. This all culminates at the Forum with the selection of the Apprentice Award winner. The winner receives an all-expense-paid trip to the U.S. FTA Forum. FLEXO: Why is it important for FTA to have a global presence? 2013 Apprentice Award winner Pepper Stokes, speaking on behalf of the U.S. FTA Hall of Fame electee brian Hunt of Detmold Flexibles www.flexography.org NOVEMbEr 2013 FLeXO 33 32 FLeXO NOVEMbEr 2013 www.flexography.org Change your thinking. Better your business. Control your destiny with the P3. For an investment comparable to most pre-owned presses in its class, the P3 opens up a world of options to expand your capabilities — and your business. It’s low risk and all reward. Award Winning Design for Technical Innovation. Go to markandy.com/efficient www.markandy.com YOUR FUTURE DEPENDS ON THE PATH YOU CHOOSE. FTa TODAY