Canadian Packaging

In praise of the feelgood factor

George Guidoni   

General McKinsey & Company PACKEX Toronto

Canadian Packaging editor George Guidoni talks about turning challenges into opportunities.

Expecting the worst to lessen the impact of eventual disappointment is a curious, often silly, but a very stubborn human trait that is largely a futile mental self-defense mechanism. In fact, fearing the future is s sure way to rob oneself of true enjoyment of the present moment in the good times, and a quick route to despair under more challenging circumstances.

And at this moment in time, at least, no one will begrudge companies in the global packaging business the luxury of basking in the glow of strong economic fundamentals and generally favorable consumer and technology trends that could see packaging machinery, materials and services providers continue to thrive in the current climate of growing market demand and technological savvy.

Most attendees of the last PACKEX Toronto packaging trade show in early June will agree that this year’s national packaging showcase had plenty of feelgood factor permeated through the Toronto Congress Centre’s lively exhibits.

Lest we get accused of overoptimistic cheerleading, let’s acknowledge that no global industry of note is truly recession-proof, and packaging is no exception.

And there is no sugarcoating the magnitude, enormity and complexity of truly disruptive trends and challenges either coming our way or already here.

According the a major new study from global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, these trends include: growth of e-commerce; a shift to sustainable materials; changing consumer preferences; disruptive technologies; and greater margin pressure.

“These trends will create new opportunities for companies to improve their performance against all dimensions of ‘Quality of Revenue’ and drive the next wave of operational efficiency,” says Nick Santhanam, McKinsey senior partner and leader of the Industrials Practice in North America.

While there is no guarantee that these trends will benefit each and every packaging company, the report does make a strong case for the priceless value of continued innovation as a general blueprint for future growth.

As president and chief executive officer of Sealed Air Corp. Ted Doheny is quoted in the report, “We need to focus on innovation [and] if we’re not moving fast enough, that’s when we should think about M&A to fill the gap and drive more growth.”

Turning challenges into an opportunity is hardly ever easy or painless, but using the power of positive thinking to guide one’s business strategy and outlook will at least make the task more enjoyable and worthwhile.

And who would be unhappy about that?


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