Ahead of the Pack –PolischukSeptember 2013 By Tom Polischuk
This issue has a focus on the folding carton market, with an additional article on printing in the corrugated segment. The cover story on Colbert Packaging describes how this progressive printer incorporates both offset and flexo printing to be a full-service supplier in select segments of the folding carton marketplace. Markets in which it has a strong standing include pharmaceuticals and healthcare—markets that require a more rigorous approach in manufacturing.
The State of the Folding Carton Industry report describes an industry segment that has a solid position in growth segments such as food and beverage. Overall, however, the folding carton industry is projected for steady, yet restrained growth according to the Paperboard Packaging Council's (PPC) "Trends: 2012 Industry Outlook and Market Data Report."
The PPC, under the leadership of President Ben Markens, has been very active in recent years in fulfilling its mission to "grow, promote, and protect the paperboard packaging industry while providing its members with resources and tools to compete effectively and successfully in the marketplace." Between its spring and fall meetings, the association provided its members with a wide array of tools to help them compete in the marketplace.
The Spring Meeting included timely information on the latest guidelines in packaging safety compliance; how to hire a superior sales force; what health insurance exchanges mean for employers; best practices in affordable energy procurement; and how to advocate for manufacturing at the legislative level. A highlight of this meeting was the presentation of Safety Boxscore awards, which are based on OSHA-recordable injuries. Twenty-seven companies representing 69 facilities were recognized, with Amcor Tobacco Packaging receiving the Chairman's Safety Award for working 1,134,798 hours up to that time without an injury.
PPC recently compiled wide-ranging data on member operations, establishing a benchmarking report for rigid box manufacturers. The report is designed to help members determine how each company compares to the group in terms of machine hour rates, stock board inventories, waste generation, and makeready times.
Providing educational tools for its members is another important part of PPC's mission. During the course of 2013, the PPC has released a number of webinars that cover best practices, lean efficiencies, design solutions, and sustainable gluing technologies.
There is no doubt that competition is fierce in the folding carton market. As shown above, associations such as the PPC can provide invaluable resources to help companies stay ahead of the pack.
Tom Polischuk, Editor-in-Chief
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