“Evolution, not revolution!” – Interview with the new FINAT president Chris Ellison – Part 1
No matter what Brexit will have impact on the European label industry, FINAT chose a British company owner as new president of its association. NarrowWebTech editor Rosina Obermayer talked to Chris Ellison about his opinion to the FINAT, his plan for the upcoming two years and his highlight of the FINAT European Label Forum 2017.
You are the new president of FINAT. How do you feel about this new position?
Chris Ellison: I am very excited about this new opportunity. I’ve been involved with FINAT for several years now with the first presentation back in 2005. So I am aware of the FINAT format. I’ve been associated with the board since 2013 – just as a board member. There, I was responsible for new technologies and educational series, also for the BPIF, the British Printing Industry Federation in the UK. Moreover, I have been Thomas’ vice president for two years and thus, have a good understanding of the the new strategy of FINAT. Obviously, they are reformatting and rebranding of the association (new website etc.). For me, this is evolution, not revolution.
Evolution, not revolution? What do you mean exactly?
Chris Ellison: We are enhancing. This is the third European Label Forum (ELF), the new business concentrated format. After twice in Amsterdam it is now taking part in Berlin, Germany. I think it is a very good format. The content issue is very relevant to what is occurring the market. For example obviously Industry 4.0 concerns – and this will have an very positive impact to our industry.
How do you understand “Industry 4.0”?
Chris Ellison: For example, if we understand the concept of Industry 4.0 we are looking at a smart factory with connected devices, giving us the opportunity to automate functions. As an industry we are operating in an environment where we produce a singular product, in most cases a unique product. So, the standardisation process which we can implement through Industry 4.0 gives us much better quality focus through the whole production chain. We are not repeating the process with human intervention. Thus, I think these are great benefits to us.
So you see Industry 4.0 as a concept? A concept not only for the industry?
Chris Ellison: For sure, Industry 4.0 is a concept. A concept of different applications. In a printing environment, for example, we want to load the information only once. The more often we load the information, the more opportunities for human errors we have. So by sharing information in different assets in the factor we standardising the process, we decrease the opportunities of human errors, thus, speed up the whole process and we increase the efficiency. In total, I think the printing industry is a great industry to adopt this concept.
Does that mean, that we are sharing this information with the machinery, but also with the consumers?
Chris Ellison: Either with the consumers or to the supplier, but for sure, we are sharing this information with our own workplace. Ink department is talking to the proofing department, the proofing department is talking to the customer service– so everybody is fully visually aware where the job is. We only input that information at a time.