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CPA member cast their nets to catch new ideas at annual meeting

There’s an ocean of opportunity in the contract packaging industry.

How to seize those opportunities was the theme of the Contract Packaging Association’s recent annual meeting in Miami, FL.

One of the consistent positive comments about the meeting was that members could discuss problems and solutions facing all contract packagers. The meeting opened with a cocktail-and-dinner cruise aboard the Venetian Lady, drawing raves from attendees. The relaxed setting gave participants the chance to meet everyone, and it set the stage for exchanging ideas throughout the meeting.

James Marstiller, senior vice president of The Solution Partnership, set the tone for the meeting by discussing innovation and how to exploit it for the benefit of the customer, and thereby the contract packager.

Judi Lazaro, director of customer relations at the American Institute of Baking (AIB), educated and entertained the audience. As the industry matures and customers become more involved in packaging standards, a common platform is necessary. The chosen platform to date has been the standards for cleanliness set by the AIB.

Jason Tham, vice president of corporate development, Nulogy Corp., discussed innovative infrastructure software to help contract packagers increase operational efficiencies and improve decision-making.

Hot topics

Change, flexibility, innovation!  Jeff Hayzlett, chief marketing officer for Kodak and a former CPA director, mesmerized the audience when he started with facts about Kodak.  Among them was that Kodak’s sales of film five years ago were $15 billion and last year were $500 million.  Obviously, change was needed, and innovation was the driver.

Two “hot” topics—sustainability and e-commerce—were covered by Dennis Salazar, president of Salazar Packaging, and David Bird, director of sales at Quatro Systems. Nearly every company now has a Web site, something that couldn’t be said just five years ago.  But are we maximizing its marketing and sales abilities? David’s ideas can help significantly.

At some point, a contract packager may need additional capital to grow. Philip R. Yates, senior adviser of the private-equity arm of Bear Stearns Merchant Banking, taught attendees how that market works and how to tap into it.

Joe Angel, vice president/publisher of Summit Publishing Co., publisher of Contract Packaging magazine, discussed the value of targeted communication. You need to shoot with a rifle rather than a shotgun.

CP 08 will take place Sept. 16-17 in Chicago, IL.  It is a highly focused conference for users and providers of contract-packaging services. Last year’s inaugural event was a sellout, so register early at

Phase two of industry study

The closing session of the annual meeting addressed CPA business. Highlights included preliminary results of “The State of the Contract Packaging Industry Report,” the development of the Marketing Committee, and the announcement of the decision to add an Education Committee.

Commissioned by the CPA, “The State of the Contract Packaging Industry Report” expands on the initial study completed last year. Kevin Armour, vice president at Strategic Analysis Inc., discussed the results. Armour and John Riley, the Study Committee’s chairperson, talked about the goals and objectives of the study, and how it will be of continuing value to companies providing or using contract-packaging services. 

If participant evaluation is an indicator of success, this meeting surpassed attendees’ expectations. Joe Jaruszewski and his team are to be congratulated for the agenda and caliber of speakers procured.

Save the dates of March 20-23, 2009, at Chateau Élan in Braselton, GA, for next year’s CPA annual meeting!

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