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CPA 2013 Annual Meeting helps members Sharpen their business tools

With the theme "Creating a Winning Edge," the Contract Packaging Association structured its annual meeting in Naples, FL, to help its members take charge of growing their business in 2013.

With the theme “Creating a Winning Edge,” the Contract Packaging Association structured its annual meeting in Naples, FL, to help its members take charge of growing their business in 2013.

From the start, the meeting presentations focused on specific, practical advice from industry experts, beginning with the keynote address by Steve Baker, speaking about the origins and fundamentals of open-book management and The Great Game of Business, a unique and well-proven strategy based on a simple, yet powerful belief: “The best, most efficient, most profitable way to operate a business is to educate everyone on the business, give them a voice in saying how the company is run and provide them a stake in the financial outcome, good or bad.”

Tom Hudgin, president of Wilmington Quality Associates, followed Baker and spoke on Strategic Business Planning That Works. His presentation discussed why some companies don’t bother with strategic planning, have common excuses and ultimately lose ground to the competition. His topics included the objectives in strategic planning, the importance of setting realistic goals and doing quarterly reviews to stay on track. He gave attendees a “boiler plate” strategic plan that can be adapted to and be effective for any business operation.

Packaging industry veteran Bob Hogan, director of global business development for Zip-Pak, presented an overview of current trends in the packaging industry, many with direct impact for contract packagers. The trends were summarized from Bob’s nearly one hundred interviews with industry experts, contract packagers, retailers and CPGs and included newly introduced package formats and the latest packaging innovations.

Following an outdoor luncheon, CPA President Chris Nutley spoke about the history of the association in terms of how it has always offered opportunities for member interaction as a way for refining strategies and together creating a winning edge. That was followed by a town hall-style meeting on CPG packaging moderated by CPA Board member and CEO of Nulogy Jason Tham and including panelists Jon Huessner, director of operations business for Con Agra Foods, Karl Kretschmer, former senior supply chain manager for Mars Canada and Mike McGee, senior contract packaging manager for Florida’s Natural Growers. The discussion, including questions from the audience, centered on how CPG companies utilize contract packaging to increase their efficiencies while positively impacting the bottom line.

In a presentation entitled Sustainable High Visibility Carded Packaging Solutions, John Souza, VP of strategic development and Jim Mattiucci, product development manager of CardPak presented the latest trends and options available in retail carded packaging for contract packagers, including sustainable, environmentally friendly concepts that address the concerns of major retailers regarding source and material reductions.

Day two

Day two of the Annual Meeting began with a Contracts Workshop by Temple University Associate Professor of Contract Law Sophie Smyth, joined by CPA General Counsel Eric Greenberg for a lively, practical workshop on best practices and possible pitfalls when dealing with customers and making contracts, offering a unique opportunity to talk through common contract scenarios and make relationships work more smoothly.

Jessica Liu, product manager, emerging products for Nulogy spoke on The Evolution of Our Industry and What The Future Will Bring. Nulogy has been immersed in helping co-packers manage the rapid pace of change in our industry and succeed in this highly-connected and real-time environment. The presentation reflected on the recent changes in the industry, who is leading the way, and what Nulogy is doing to increase its investment in deepening and broadening services for contract packagers.

James Gould, distribution sales manager-USA and Canada and Phil Nichols, global marketing manager for Linx Printing Technologies offered a presentation on Using Research and Innovation to Meet Customer Need. In a tough economic climate, listening to our customers is more important than ever to identify exactly what they need from your products. The presentation detailed how to use that input to drive your product development while incorporating innovative design to ensure that you are providing reliable, robust solutions.

Moderators Scott Thomas, director-North America for Sealed Air Shrink Packaging (Cryovac & Shanklin) and Dan Altman, regional sales manager for Delkor Systems, Inc., together with Vladimir Yankovsky of CPC Group Russia, conducted a panel discussion on Contract Packaging Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow.

Tom Grey, CHCM of Grey & Associates gave a presentation on how to Embrace Safety As a Key Financial Investment. Grey outlined the savings that can result when companies understand how to financially support the cost of safety, leading to the conclusion: “Solutions cost less than Problems.”

The takeaway

Beyond the presentations themselves and the handouts that come with them, the practical value of meetings like this often takes shape in discussions on the golf course or in the bar after dinner, where members chew over what they have heard in terms of their own specific company strategies and options. And this is where the purpose of the association itself goes into action. We gather together with other professionals in our industry to network––to expand our own experience by sharing that of others, and to debate and rehash information until it becomes useful to our situations.

Ideally, those discussions will continue long past the end of the meeting in Naples, and members will keep in touch to share which of the new ideas they have tried and what the results were, until they get together again at the Fall WorkShop or the 2014 Annual Meeting.

Welcome to these new CPA Members

The following new CPA Members and Associate Members have joined us in the past few months:

ASG (AGI – Shorewood Group)
Packaging Advantage
Corporate Packaging, Inc.
Multipack Pty Ltd
Pak-Rite Industries, Inc.
Briess Malt & Ingredients Co.
Dominion Liquid Technologies

Associate MembersLinx Printing Technologies
Masipack / Fabrima

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