Updating Critical Trends

This month, PFFC brings you the results of its annual Critical Trends survey that we published for the first time in April 2006. As with most “trends,” they tend to change with time, so it was no surprise to have detected a new direction with this year's trends after the numbers were compiled…for the better, I'm glad to announce.

First, some background: With plenty of careful consideration last year, the PFFC staff determined something was missing in our industry: an objective story on key trends that shape it. The individual associations or market consultants tend to survey a limited number of either their respective members or a targeted industry group. What was needed was comparative data that would assess the health and concerns of the multifaceted converting industry, directing the same questions at the same time chronologically to each converting segment and plotting the resulting data side by side.

This year's survey (distributed in January 2007) involved a greater number of participants than last year's spread out among the following key converting segments: flexible packaging; tapes, labels, and tags; unprinted rolls and sheets; and paperboard packaging. The results we've published in this issue, starting on p33, are the cumulative answers from all of the above segments.

If you are a subscriber to E-Clips, PFFC's biweekly electronic newsletter, over the course of the next year you will receive the answers to each of the questions posed in the survey broken out by industry segment. With this information, subscribers can compare their individual performances against those in allied converting fields. If you'd like to become a subscriber, simply go to http://subscribe.pffc-online.com/subscribe.cfm?tc=NNWEB to sign up.

Now for some of that good news:

  • Volume of orders, inquiry activity, and order size increased for most respondents when we asked them to compare business activities of 2006 to 2005.
  • Participants also expect volume of orders and inquiry activity to increase in 2007.
  • Best news of all, revenue increased from 2005 to 2006 for most respondents.

And here's a bit of data not published in the article:

  • A majority of respondents have a designated marketing budget that commonly represents 3% of sales. Are you promoting your products?
  • Executives most often spent about 26% of their time with current or potential clients. However, 18% of respondents spent a full 50% of their time with clients. Are you spending enough time with those customers who value your products and services?

When next year's survey is distributed, please be sure to respond. And if you feel there are some new questions we should include, contact me directly by e-mail with your suggestions at yolanda.simonsis@penton.com.

Lastly, in keeping up with trends in the publishing industry for distributing information via the Internet, PFFC has embraced new technology with the implementation of video streaming capabilities from its website. To start, you will find informational videos on equipment capabilities, followed by educational videos that eventually will be integrated with our articles and Buyers Guide.

Load up on some popcorn and candy!

For more information on the converting industry beyond this issue's contents, visit www.pffc-online.com. We offer content there you cannot find here, and it is updated weekly. Be sure to e-mail your feedback to me at yolanda.simonsis@penton.com.


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