FINAT European Label Forum 2017: Five takeaways and more responses from Jules Lejeune
FINAT has released the programme for the third edition of its European Label Forum, the annual summit for business owners and other decision makers, thought leaders, trade media and other label community members to discuss issues relevant to the future of European label businesses. The programme for this year’s edition will address five key questions that should be on every label industry leader’s mind when planning for the next decade. FINAT managing director Jules Lejeune provides some more detailed information about these takeaways that participants can expect when signing up for the event and some more relevant questions.
“Europe” – Which Europe are we talking about? Which directions can the European project take and what could be the consequences for my business in the European common market?
Jules Lejeune: Joschka Fischer served as Germany’s minister of foreign affairs and vice chancellor from 1998-2005. As arguably one of the most influential leaders in late 20th and early 21st century German politics, he will present an “insider view” of the fragile European landscape against the context of increasing political uncertainty, connecting history, present and future.
“Industry 4.0” – What is it? What does it mean for our industry and how can I prepare my company for the Fourth Industrial Revolution?
Jules Lejeune: Nowadays it is difficult to keep up with the pace of technological change. Rapid developments in workflow automation, robotics, data exchange, the internet of things, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, nanomaterials science, etc. will drastically change the way live, work, produce and consume. What will all this mean for:
- Manufacturing, processing and ordering in our industry?
- The enhanced role of “the label” as an interface between the brand and the consumer?
- The branding of our industry as a future employer to the incoming, ‘digital generation’?
“Market reports” – What are the latest trends in markets and technology relevant to my business?
Jules Lejeune: As the principle source of first-hand data on the evolution of the European label and narrow web industry, FINAT has commissioned three renowned market research agencies to prepare market reports relating to:
- Direct digital print: A threat or opportunity for the label industry?
- Digital label printing: What is the current state and what are the prospects for the industry in Europe?
- Labelstock demand: Will the buoyant recovery of the past three years continue?
“Scenarios for the European label industry” – Which mega drivers will determine the playground for the label industry in the coming years? How will they impact me as a business owner or manager of an “independent” label company?
Jules Lejeune: FINAT has commissioned scenario planning expert Paul de Ruijter and his team to conduct a project to assess and develop four basic scenarios to be used by companies in the label sector in their strategic planning for the coming years:
- Fragmentation: Bilateral relationships are a key factor of success in protectionist Europe
- Consolidation: Label companies have become a ‘return on investment’ of their own
- Technical disruption: An “Uber-like” business model is entering the label scene
Labour shortage: Young talent is scarce and employee relations have become “transactional”
What is unique about these scenarios is that the starting point will be the imaginary case of label company FinatCo and the choices that its second-generation owner Enrico will have to make to secure his company’s and his own personal future.
“Industry structure” – What will the label industry look like in 5-10 years’ time?
Jules Lejeune: The scenarios in the last named Takeaway will be developed via expert interviews with stakeholders to be conducted over the coming months. They will be presented and discussed with the ELF 2017 audience during two interactive parallel workshops, each covering two of the four scenarios. The outcome of these discussions will be validated during an interactive plenary “Three tenors” panel discussion featuring top industry executives from three of the major label companies worldwide: Geoff Martin of CCL Label, Adrian Tippenhauer of All4Labels and Dan Muenzer of Constantia Flexibles Labels Division.
Big factors are at stake for the packaging and labelling industry which cannot be solved on their own, they require the wisdom of crowds, the combined thinking power of the industry’s “crème de la crème”. Even in the unlikely event that the above mentioned five takeaways do not seem of immediate interest to potential participants, the mere fact that international industry peers will be there to network should be make the trip to Berlin worthwhile.
What can visitors expect from the FINAT ELF in June 2017?
Jules Lejeune: As usual the ELF is the platform where representatives from label printers and supplier companies come together to address business challenges, learn from experts, exchange views, network with peers and above all to forge new business relationships and be inspired by success stories.
Unfortunately, there is a steady decline of printers attending industry events like the ELF. What measures are being taken to bring the printers back to such events?
Jules Lejeune: As can be seen from the previous question, the European Label Forum addresses business challenges that are uppermost in the minds of most label company owners and managers in Europe. As such it is a must for every label printer with an interest in the European label industry. The goal of the ELF is to offer European label converters a direct return on investment for their business, in the form of invaluable market information, concrete business scenarios for strategic planning, dialogue and networking with the industry’s top business leaders and inspiration from excellent speakers.
Although it is hard to express this value in monetary terms, we believe that this investment is worth the (discounted) fee of € 500 for first and € 250 for second converter company representatives, plus travel, accommodation and two or three memorable business days in Berlin.
Visitors to last year’s event in Amsterdam reacted very positively to new elements such as including a mobile app into the presentations for the Q&A section. Will FINAT continue to use such new communication elements?
Jules Lejeune: Yes, just as the label industry is doing, FINAT is also aiming at innovation and keeping up with the latest technology. More and more people are using smart phones for a variety of tasks. This year the audience will be asked to interact in a different manner, but including interactive technology will remain one of the features of future FINAT events.
Find this year’s programme and more detailed information such as articles, videos or background online on the ELF website: www.europeanlabelforum.com.