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FLEXO Magazine : August 2008
FTA TODAY Q: What personally excites you about the theme and format? How do you believe this year’s event will stand out from its predecessors? LANIGAN: The exciting thing for me is that the topics for the conference are perti- nent for all segments of the business. The days of operating in independent silos of responsibility are gone. It is/will be impera- tive to understand the upstream and down- stream dynamics to be successful. FFTA’s 2008 Fall Conference agenda includes pan- els and presentations that will allow an at- tendee to collect a range of information in just days, as compared to the months that would be necessary for him/her to gather the same material independently. All previous FFTA events have been out- standing! We aim to continue that trend! POULSON: Our industry is changing constantly. FFTA’s 2008 Fall Conference will focus in on how we can best adjust to the changes. The theme drives the point home and incorporates the production side of the business with the prepress side. Such inte- gration and understanding of each other’s roles is instrumental to continued success. Q: Who do you believe will benefi t from attendance and what, in broad terms, can he/she expect to learn, or take home, from the experience? LANIGAN: Packaging premedia com- panies, consumer product company (CPC) managers involved in the packaging process, converters of packaging graph- ics, academics that are involved with packaging graphics, equipment provid- ers…members of all of these groups can benefi t from attendance. So can premedia companies that aspire to be involved with packaging and packaging design groups that are involved with packaging graphics. The take-away will be different for each. For example: At a top level, you will get a clear idea of what the C-Level players think about the future of the industry and what to expect. On the technical front, the latest information about press- room advances, controls, quality and measurement will be presented. It’s one area that requires constant updating to stay current. 1 6 F LEXO LANIGAN: We have a dynamic plan- ning grid that is constantly updated—both with presentation titles, time slot and speaker commitments. (See www.flexogra- phy.org for the current agenda.) POULSON: Approximately 15-18 pre- sentations are planned. Some have been combined to simplify the topics. Consumer product companies will have a place and there will also be room for the trade shops. On the supply side, major manufacturers, the likes of Fischer & Krecke, Windmoeller & Hoelscher Corp., Water Ink Technologies, Environmental Inks and Coatings, and Harper Corporation of America, will be rep- resented. That list of prominent fi rms that are participating in the event, continues to grow as we speak. The tabletop exhibit is expected to be a sell-out. AUGUS T 20 0 8 www. f l e x o g r a p h y. o r g Q: What have you pinpointed as the recurring issues and sound solu- tions to be highlighted? LANIGAN: The recurring issue is change. Take an issue, like the use of PDF format in packaging, it is a steadily evolving process that has been diligently moved ahead by a small group of “evan- gelists” interested in the opportunities in achieving a common fi le format. This singular issue requires a need to keep checking in, just to see how far the bar has moved. Ink system standards, digital proofi ng’s evolution to low-cost inkjet, web-based workflow tools and press optimization are just some recurring challenges that Offshoring of premedia is starting to be a big factor, and this trend will clearly show up in the converting arena very soon. Many new tools and processes are coming onboard to promote working in a collabora- tive fashion online. The Fall Conference will address how they are being used and what benefi ts they can bring to the business. Digital package printing is starting to creep close to the tipping point, and repre- sents another area that requires constant focus. Flexographic Image Reproduction Specifi cations and Tolerances (FIRST), G7 color, ink standardization, press fi nger - printing, in-the-round flexo, rules-based packaging…There is so much going on, and everything is changing rapidly. Given this trend, any organization that intends on being a “player,” needs to gather as much “actionable” information in the most effi cient manner possible. This con - ference meets that need. POULSON: I can’t think of anyone who won’t benefi t from attendance—from CPCs to prepress trade shops, to press- room/plant managers and press operators themselves. We’ll be touching on, and retouching on, the issues that challenge them on a daily basis. Q: When it comes to the overall agen- da, how many presentations are we looking at? How many speakers? How many panel discussions? Q: What topics, in your opinion, fall under the umbrella term “shifting sands?” How exactly are the sands shifting? LANIGAN: Everyone in the packag- ing process is involved in analyzing cost structure, supply chain, human resources, manufacturing processes, etc. As part of this process, many companies are looking at the threat of global competitors, the opportunities that might exist in becom- ing a global competitor, and how best to improve global competitiveness at home. There are no simple answers, but it is a given that we are facing “shifting sands” in our businesses. Each company has to make decisions based on the best avail- able information and market conditions at the time. The growing energy crisis, the slowdown in the U.S. economy, ris- ing healthcare costs, low-cost foreign competition—all are factors. Solutions are far different for a company that is produc- ing hard goods and having to ship them to clients, versus a company that is involved with producing data andmoving it around on high speed internet bandwidth. Certain realities always emerge that be- come “insidious trends” that generally af- fect many of us and can’t be ignored. The goal is to identify those insidious trends early, and be able to plan to embrace their impact on our businesses. Rules-based packaging and digital packaging qualify as fi tting that bill. Offshoring will impact cer tain areas, but not others; still, it deserves some study. -
Flexo Sustainable Fall 2008