The big G7 of package converting
Canadian Packaging Editor George Guidoni shares his thoughts on today’s package printing industry narrative
Some time in the next few years, the global packaging industry will grow into a $1-trillion business, according to a recent Smithers Pira report that projects the value of all the packaging produced worldwide to be worth US$980 billion by 2020.
A number may be just a number, some may scoff, but if the global packaging sector was a country, that number would rank is as the world’s 17th largest economy, worth slightly more than half of Canada’s entire GDP (Gross Domestic Product).
At first glance, such staggering numbers would suggest unprecedented good times for the many key sub-sectors comprising the global packaging supply chain and infrastructure—package printers and converters among them. But as anyone in the converting sector will tell you, being a package printer is no license to print money nowadays, and in fact never really was.
As a timely new report from Kodak Prinergy points out, “An influx of technologies, shrinking turnaround times, and the demand for shorter and more customized runs are impacting packaging converters both operationally and financially.
“While the long-term impact these changes will have on the industry isn’t yet known, our latest research has evaluated how printing shops should respond today, what technologies they should adopt, and what challenges they need to successfully navigate to keep pace with the competition.”
According to the study, aptly titled Tomorrow’s Print Shop Today, there are seven major themes dominating today’s package printing industry narrative and, without further ado, here they are:
Sustainability. Biodegradability of a material, biorenewability of inks derived from plants, trees, insects etc., and eco-efficiency of sound sustainable materials management.
Speciality Inks. According to Kodak, “Advances in process color technology will enable converters to reduce their reliance on spot colors [and] pass costsavings on to clients.
Flexo and Digital Presses. The report urges packaging converters to operate a varied mix of flexo and digital platforms in-house to meet the growing array of brand requirements.
Certification Proliferation. Because having the right certification featured on packaging will become increasing vital to brands, “lagging behind in this area may cost converters jobs and clients.” Active and Intelligent Packaging. With consumer digital expectations going through the roof, “Packaging converters that help create superior digital experiences will be rewarded by them,” according to Kodak Prinergy.
Blockchain Reaction. “Blockchain technology will provide brands with the traceability and transparency they need to ensure the authenticity, security and quality of their products,” the report sates. “As this technology advances, brands will require their partner to support it up and down the supply chain.”
Workflow Automation. Nothing really new here aside from what most converters already know, but just to make the point stick: “Workflow automation solutions deliver on the promise of digital by making it faster, easier and more transparent for brands to do business with packaging converters.
“Shops that embrace a best-in-class, breakthrough automation solutions will reap the benefits for years to come.”