Flexo Forum Fervor

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL | The hope of learning new strategies and technology that would sustain business despite a turbulent economy inspired approximately 1,200 fervent attendees to descend upon the Flexographic Technical Foundation’s Flexo Forum 2009 at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, Lake Buena Vista, FL, on May 3–5. Program chair Colleen Larkin Twomey of MacDermid Printing Solutions and co-chair Jean Engelke of Alcan Packaging executed an aggressive agenda that focused on “Navigating the Future of Flexo.” The program unequivocally expressed that the future is now.

While full coverage of the Flexo Forum can be found in PFFC’s upcoming July 2009 issue along with flexo competition highlights, the following represents timely and critical information from keynoter Dr. Jeff Rosensweig of Emory Univ.’s Goizueta Business School. He set the stage for the economic climate the country and converting industry can anticipate for the coming months as attendees warmed up to the idea of meeting challenges head on.

Among his numerous observations, Rosensweig forecasted the following: The US is the biggest economy and is expected to retain first place regardless of economic fluctuations. By 2020, GDP is expected to rise from its present $14 trillion to $20 trillion. Expect the economy to bottom out this year in October/November with a turnaround next year. Don’t expect huge growth—maybe only 1%, but there will be growth nevertheless. Even at a 1% growth level for 2010 GDP, it actually represents 4% or 5% growth from the -4% GDP for the Q1 2009 period. Our biggest materials price hikes are behind us. Emerging markets will become our biggest competitors but will represent opportunities for partnerships as well. Housing historically bounces back (and overcorrects) after a plunge, but continued population growth confirms the need for new homes. As inventories are reduced/exhausted, production will resume. In particular, while India and Latin/South American stand to become powerful economies, the US labor force will continue to grow and position itself as the leading, safe-harbor economy with continued investment here. Rosensweig emphasized: Just try to survive for the next year or two.

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