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Even in a tough economy, CPA can help you capture opportunities

The CPA is a powerful tool that enables education, peer-to-peer sharing of thoughts, and new ideas.
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What an industry we have chosen! The world’s largest brands being sold, acquisitions ripping through our customer base, consolidation within our vendor base, mergers and acquisitions within our competitors, reverse bid auctions, retailers pushing manufacturers into the passenger seat, banks not loaning, oil prices through the roof, and of course . . . the economy. Clearly not an industry for the thin-skinned or ill-prepared.

These days, you will probably not hear too many executives driving a “business as usual” plan forward. However, you will find fierce brain trusts sitting in most every conference room in the country trying to figure out how to grow stronger, cut costs, drive efficiencies, gain more knowledge and perhaps buy or be sold.

One of my customers had a great idea. As he put it, “they have decided to cancel the recession due to lack of interest.” Although stated in jest, I think that type of business demeanor is exactly what the doctor has ordered. All businesses must feel empowered to win, and failure is not an option. Hurdle obstacles and find achievement. Welcome to the 2011/12 contract packaging industry!

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There are many ways to strengthen your company. Some are obvious: your customers instruct you as to what you need to do and, if you act prudently and proceed as directed, you win. Well, you will win until the next vendor is told what to do by the same customer. Others are not so obvious, like the strength that comes from understanding the industry like few do. Listen to customers from all industries, equipment manufacturers, retailers, government agencies, and other industry peers, then determine a unique path that will connect them all and lead you to a plateau reserved only for the best in class.

As I enter my term as president of the Contract Packaging Association, I have never seen a better time for members to benefit from belonging to an association that offers such great value. The CPA is a powerful tool that enables education, peer-to-peer sharing of thoughts, and new ideas. The association allows us all to “walk the street,” see and be seen and ultimately understand more.

I have been a member of the CPA for more than 10 years, a member of the board of directors for four years and chairperson for the Meeting Committee for two years. Last year I held the position of treasurer. I have seen first-hand how the CPA’s growth and development comes from the ideas and initiatives and involvement that comes from its members. The board and committees that have been formed have their origins in ideas born from members in order to help make our members become “best in class.” We want and need your continued support and communication. Visit the web site frequently, speak with your fellow associate members, call the association and speak to the Board. Let us to know what is on your mind and most of all, be involved. Good things will come.

This year we are adding a two-day fall workshop to help managers and operations folks get up to speed on hot industry topics. We will continue our quarterly webinars that help member companies train employees. And our Annual Meeting continues to help members network with colleagues and learn from industry experts. There are also frequent opportunities to respond to Requests for Quote and bids that are channeled through the association from potential customers looking for packaging services.

So, as you march steadily ahead through your business day, take advantage of the many ways the CPA can help you succeed, and together we can “cancel the recession due to lack of interest” and lead the industry forward as true partners with our ever-important customer base.

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