- June 22, 2010, Yolanda Simonsis
June 15 was a busy day for those of us in attendance at HP Indigo’s Labels & Packaging VIP Event, held June 14—17 in Tel Aviv, Israel. After a comprehensive presentation by Alon Bar-Shany, VP & GM HP Indigo Div., in which he shared that the company’s newest WS6000 press is now outselling the 4000 series for its attention to higher productivity and quality, Corey Reardon, president and CEO of AWA Alexander Watson Assoc., was next on stage. He shared trends and characteristics of the Label & Product Decoration Market Worldwide.
While label growth worldwide continues to expand, it’s clear that opportunities have slowed down, Reardon intimated. Global growth in 2008 was + 1.5%; just a year later in 2009, growth was only + 0.5%. Among the most significant trends Reardon anticipates are the following:
•Premium products demand improved graphics/presentation
•Growth in primary label applications
•VIP opportunities in developing regions
•Film based labels growing at multiples of paper labels
•Digital printing adoption
•Intelligent & active labels
Most significantly, Reardon observed that retailers now control market dynamics in terms of the following:
•Shorter/more frequent label runs
•Lead time needs
•Product life cycles
A customer panel moderated by manager Christian Menegon, WW Industrial Business Development, allowed the audience to pick the brains of HP press owners who have transitioned to the digital platform. Each confessed experiencing varying levels of stress during a transitional period, but all ultimately were pleased with the technology having received full support from HP to make the process succeed. Panelists included Jay Dollries of Innovative Label Solutions (ILS), Randy Duhaime of Dion Label Printing, Ed Wiegand of Sancoa, and Steve Smith, now with Songbird Ventures but formerly president of Lightening Labels.
All observed there was a trend toward many SKUs, lower order quantities, difficult print execution, and a tendency toward free reign in the in the design process. Steve Smith had the most unusual corporate arrangement—his company was completely oriented toward Web-based ordering.
Observations dealt with the success or transition from using conventional spot colors to using expanded color gamut to match customer-specified colors that are consistent without compromise from run to run and package type to package type. Once the transition is made, however, the rewards are great. Support of HP in this process was critical for each panelist. This process also involved heavy education of their customers that ultimately meant a reduction of in-house inventories. Panelists said this process also involved educating customers on total costs rather than mere price.
Promotion of the digital process to both brand owner customers as well as designers, at open houses also reaped rewards.
Other questions posed by moderator Menegon involved what the panelists changed when they first started using digital; how did they find suitable press operators; was there was a need to reduce or increase staff in prepress; how they select a job to print digitally or conventionally; whether their digital printing is operated as a separate business unit or all together with conventional printing; and what are the advantages of digital versus conventional printing.
And all this was covered in just the morning portion of the day’s meeting! Yes, there’s still more to read about tomorrow!
Left: A view of Tel Aviv, Israel, from Jaffa.
Right: Panelists (from left to right) Jay Dollries, president of ILS; Randy Duhaime, general manager of Dion Label Printing; Ed Wiegand, executive VP of Sancoa Intl.; and Steve Smith, owner of Songbird Ventures, formerly with Lightning Labels, the first all-digital label printer in North America.