The theme was “Sail Beyond All Limits” and the banner on the podium read “Preparing for the Future.”
The Contract Packaging Association 2012 Annual Meeting, February 23 to 26, addressed current and pending issues within the association as well as in the contract packaging industry. It also addressed the many technological innovations rushing towards us as the future rapidly becomes the present, all within the context of inspiring an attitude of facing the future confidently.
The driving purpose of the meeting at the Gran Melia Hotel & Resort in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico was to help attendees envision how they can reinvent and reposition their companies and their people to better serve their customers and compete with other co-packers at a higher level.
The recent years of recession, characterized in the industry by numerous company failures and acquisitions, has taken its toll on the spirits of managers and workers alike. This is a time when the value of associating with others facing similar challenges offers a venue in which to share experience. Meeting others in the industry brings reassurance that no one is facing the downturn alone. Gaining new knowledge and hearing new approaches recharges attendees’ batteries for the year ahead.
The three-pronged meeting included:
— Networking events where attendees could share experiences,
— Educational sessions introducing proven processes to affect the bottom line that companies can adopt for their operations, and
— Experts inspiring audiences with lessons in developing success patterns, instilling winning personal attitudes and ways to actually put those principles into action.
The keynote speaker of the meeting was Mike Mullane, former NASA Space Shuttle commander, driving home the theme of Sailing Beyond Limits by speaking on building real teamwork into working teams, whether in space or on the factory floor. Other key speakers included well-known changeover wizard John Henry, Vel Pillay from Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance, Dr. Bryce Rutter of Metaphase Design Group, Alan Weinman of Frito-Lay and Brian Stepowany of Bumble Bee Foods.
CPA Gold Sponsorship Presentations were delivered by Vicki Larson of Bemis Clysar, Dan Altman of Delkor Systems and Jason Tham of Nulogy, focusing on achieving industry leadership and succeeding by catching the wave of trends in the industry.
The value of networking
Who can say where the true value lies in an event like this CPA Annual Meeting? For most, the take-away is a mixture of new knowledge, ideas and contacts that will take weeks or months to sort themselves out. In that sense, the value is the same as membership in the Association itself: the connection with individuals alike in that they are in the same business, but different in their experience, because of the diverse nature of contract packaging.
The benefit of that connection takes a while to sink in, too. The similarity between members means that they speak the same business language, but the differences are even more valuable because they mean that the total knowledge in the group is greater than that of any one member. The co-packer who concentrates on food packaging can learn from the colleague who packages chemicals, and vice versa. The one that works with large corporations can learn from the one that works with niche companies.
A changed perception of one’s place in the industry, which was the focus of a number of the presentations and breakout meetings at the Annual Meeting, is also a product of rubbing elbows and playing golf with colleagues. This result of networking may not even be perceptible to the individual until the staff back at home notice it and point it out.
Such a new attitude has no value until we actually put it to work. But when we do, real change can result.
A new link in the CPA chain
The Contract Packaging Association now has its own group on LinkedIn, the popular social media site for business people. The group already has 715 members and is growing rapidly. If you are already a LinkedIn member, you can find it using the search box at the upper right of the homepage; just select “Groups” from the pull-down menu and type “Contract Packaging Association.”
If you are not yet a LinkedIn member, now would be a good time to join. It’s free at the basic level, and an easy way to stay connected to colleagues and customers and to meet new packaging professionals. Go to www.linkedin.com to join.
Say hello to . . .
The following new members and associate members have joined the CPA since the publication of the last edition of Contract Packaging magazine:
CupPac Packaging, Inc.
Integrated Re-Pack & Logistics
Quality Packaging, Inc.
Unisource Worldwide, Inc.