The Contract Packaging Association describes its annual Fall WorkShop as a place to “Reload your Toolbox.” In business, as in any craft, “reloading” sometimes means taking a closer look at what you’re doing, and sometimes stepping back and taking a longer view. This year’s WorkShop in September included both approaches, but the longer view was more in evidence.
Experts addressed varied topics, including changing food safety regulations, opportunities for co-packers in the continuing growth of flexible packaging, how to use cloud computing to become more competitive and designing sustainability into your package beginning with the concept stage.
Dennis Calamusa, president of ALLIEDFLEX Technologies, began his presentation with six of the traditional rigid packaging types, then proceeded to show how each is increasingly being replaced by flexible packaging. Flexible is growing because it offers benefits that include not only lower production cost, but also lower transportation cost to and from the packager, larger billboarding on the shelf and popularity with consumers for its convenience of use and recycling.
And, he pointed out, that as the major players in packaging recognize these benefits and explore taking advantage of them, they begin by turning to contract packagers for their initial entry into this new packaging, which has opened new opportunities for co-packers to grow business and to become involved in this growing category of flexible packaging.
Cathy Crawford, vice president of HACCP Consulting Group, addressed the timely topic of food safety in two presentations, one introducing attendees to the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and the second focusing on how to implement the GFSI requirements and document a food safety system for your operation, including the supply chain associated with it.
These were very valuable presentations for those contract packers involved in food packaging, who know that food safety is a growing consumer concern and regulatory target, and the recent Food Safety Modernization Act will eventually affect the operations, supply chain performance and control and recordkeeping of all food packagers.
Jason Tham, president of Nulogy, spoke on “Using the Cloud to be more Competitive and Cost-Effective in Co-Packing.” Tham presented Cloud computing as a cutting-edge solution that lowers the cost of computer power for functions from accounting to marketing to design while increasing access to enormous capability.
His presentation focused on the multiple benefits that can result when a company eliminates investment in its own computer hardware to use Cloud-based SaaS (Software as a Service) functions, changing its focus from computer ownership to computer power access. That shift will bring even a smaller local contract packager access to the same level of computing power as that available to giant corporations like GE.
Chief Creative Officer Craig Sawicki of TricorBraun presented on “Sustainability in Package Design,” emphasizing that the sustainability of a package begins with the first steps in its design, not later in the process. Total design unites an attractive shape with a functional design and an engineering process that designs the package to meet both the marketing and the practical needs of the packager, the retailer, the consumer, and the community.
These were just some of the many examples of presentations that address critical issues, and solutions, to improve packaging operations, strategy and partnerships.
Reloading the Toolbox
Everyone’s toolbox should include the sharpest tools for their job. Additional 2012 WorkShop presentations provided a wide variety of additional tools for contact packagers, from practical production advice (“How to Get the Most out of your Stretch Wrapper”) to regulatory angst (“OSHA’s in the Lobby: Now What?”), and from the supply chain (“How to Leverage Packaging for Improved Supply Chain Performance”) to the retail shelf (Retail-Ready Packaging”).
We all use tools in our business activities that we have found to work. Some of those tools become outdated as the world we work in evolves, but we keep using them because they are familiar and comfortable. Hopefully, the tools and perspectives presented at this year’s CPA WorkShop will encourage our members take another look at their current business and see ways to improve or expand it, and also to see opportunities they might not have realized were there.
The 2013 CPA Annual Meeting
The Contract Packaging Association 2013 Annual Meeting will take place February 21-24, 2013 at the Waldorf Astoria Naples in Naples, Florida. This year’s theme will be “Creating a Winning Edge.”
Room rates and a link to the hotel for reservations can be accessed currently on the CPA web site (www.contractpackaging.org). Speakers and the detailed agenda for the meeting will also be displayed as they are finalized.
SAY HELLO TO OUR NEW CPA MEMBERS
The following members and associate members have joined the CPA since the last issue of Contract Packaging:
Associated Production Services
Austin Packaging Company
National Packaging Company, Inc.
Sweet Specialty Solutions
CPA Associate members:ADCO Manufacturing, Inc.
Unstoppable Software, Inc.