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Labelexpo premiers Virtual Label Summit

The global converter panel, moderated by TLMI president Linnea Keen, featured Charlie MacLean, ASL Print FX (Canada); Mark Glendenning, Inland Packaging (USA); Isidore Leiser, Stratus Packaging (France); Sachen Gudka, Skanem Interlabels (Africa); an

Adapting to the drastic changes of recent months, and determined to keep the label industry connected in the face of the global pandemic, Labelexpo Global Series recently organized its first Virtual Label Summit, in association with Labels & Labeling magazine. The week-long conference featured a different theme each day and attracted 333 delegates to the live event from North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia. Registration is still possible, and presentations and additional learning materials can be accessed for three months following the event.

The conferences kicked off with day one focusing on an international view of the label industry amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The first session, ‘A look inside the post-Covid pressroom’, featured virtual factory tours of Indian converter Kumar Labels – with company founder Anuj Bhargava accompanied by L&L India and Southeast Asia editor Aakriti Agarwal – and US converter MacArthur Corporation – with Christie Wong Barrett and Thomas Barrett joined by L&L North America editor Chelsea MacDougall – to see how they have adapted their businesses during the pandemic. In the following session, the Labels & Labeling’s global editorial team shared their expertise on industry trends from around the world. 

Day two, themed around converters’ thoughts on business and market opportunities, opened with Chris Ellison, managing director of UK converter OPM (Labels & Packaging), discussing his company’s move into flexible packaging production. ‘The global flexible packaging market continues to evolve as shifts in consumer preference lean more towards convenience in single serve or grab-and-go options, extended shelf life, and sustainability,’ said Ellison. 

The second session, a global converter panel discussion moderated by TLMI president Linnea Keen, featured Charlie MacLean, CEO, ASL Print FX (Canada); Mark Glendenning, CEO, Inland Packaging (USA); Isidore Leiser, CEO, Stratus Packaging (France); Sachen Gudka, CEO, Skanem Interlabels (Africa); and David Richards, managing director, Amberley Labels (UK). The group discussed the range of reactions to the pandemic and how they have kept their businesses up and running. While Kenya was able to keep workplaces open with nearly all employees, Amberley Labels in the UK ‘went from 60 people to 16 overnight’ in terms of on-site staff, according to Richards. 

To kick off day three, which focused on future-proofing your business, Andy Thomas-Emans, strategic director for Tarsus Labels Group, gave a technology update. The session offered valuable insights into technology trends and sectors of opportunity. This was followed by Claudia St John, president of Affinity HR, on leading a team through a season of crisis. TLMI’s vice president of sustainability, Rosalyn Bandy, moderated the day’s final session: ‘A converter’s journey to zero landfill’. It featured John Crosby, vice president of operations at Grand Rapids Label; Brian Hurst, vice president of operations at Yerecic Label; Jesse Hood, director of quality and continuous improvement at Hub Labels; Mark Howard, vice president, graphic services, at Syracuse Label & Surround Printing; and John Dultz, process improvement manager at CCL. 

Vicki Strull, L&L columnist and principle at Vicki Strull Design, began day four with a presentation focused on sales and marketing: ‘You have eight seconds, do your labels make an impact?’ With economic uncertainty due to the pandemic and consumers limiting their purchases, impactful packaging is crucial, she emphasized. 

For the final session of the day, Ken Theriot, executive director of TheRiot Agency, sat down with Jesse Freitas of StickerGiant and Adam Peek of Fortis Solutions Group to discuss developing a winning sales and marketing strategy for today’s new buying environment.

The final day began with ‘Breakthrough innovation in packaging: from design to print’, featuring moderator David Lukshus, president of Cog LLC, and panelists Ken McGuire, research fellow at Procter & Gamble; Cedric D’Souza chief technology officer at Aeroflexx; and Ben Greengrass, creative director at ThoughtMatter. The group discussed how a global CPG company took an innovative new package design from R&D to product launch.

The final session of the week featured Hernán Braberman, partner and executive director at design agency Tridimage – a favorite speaker at the Label Summit Latin America conferences – who used music to illustrate what each generation is looking for in packaging design in his presentation ‘Design playlist for Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z’. 

The Virtual Label Summit also featured networking breaks where delegates could speak to supplier sponsors and learn about their technology offering. These included Avery Dennison, Baldwin Vision Systems/AMS Spectral UV, Bobst, Brotech Digital Graphics, Domino, Flint Group, GEW, HP Indigo, Hybrid Software, Label Academy, MacTac, MPS, Pantec Print Decoration, Omet, UPM Raflatac, and Xeikon. 

Jordan Hart - online editor


Jordan joins the editorial team with international journalism experience and a degree in communication.

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