A brief review on the recent FINAT European Label Forum (ELF)
The FINAT European Label Forum (ELF) took place from 16-18 June 2016 in Amsterdam
“Run toward the noise”.
THE NETHERLANDS • The European association for the self-adhesive label industry, adjacent narrow-web product decoration and identification technologies staged its second European Label Forum (ELF) at the Moevenpick Hotel in Amsterdam from 16-18 June. The program was designed to address current and potential challenges and opportunities in the label industry with expert speakers and highly interactive sessions as well as plenty of networking opportunities. As somebody put it during the event, the FINAT wants to make an audible noise for the benefit of the industry.
The FINAT European Label Forum (ELF) took place from 16-18 June 2016 in Amsterdam
FINAT president Thomas Hagmaier during the association’s general assembly
Part of the audience during the general assembly
The supplier table-top exhibition also included G&K TechMedia GmbH. Seen here Stefan Nolte, marketing & sales consultant for NarrowWebTech and Etiketten-Labels
The first highlight of the event: The FINAT awards 2016 celebrations, moderated as usual by Tony White, seen here with former FINAT president Kurt Walker
Objects of desire: The FINAT awards 2016
Handshake with Marietta Ulrich-Horn managing director of Securikett Ulrich & Horn GmbH which is part of the Ulrich group
Rodolfo Hagmaier, member of the management board of Hagmaier Etiketten, accepted the recycling award
Definitely not a Cerberus but the keeper of the treasure
They obviously have fun presenting the awards: Thomas Hagmaier and Tony White
A thoughtful observer
Preparations for an artistic performance
Light like a label
The acrobatics during the awards presentation stunned the audience
Bonding of some sort
Reels all around
A true reel-to-reel application without machines
Swedish futurologist Magnus Lindkvist gave a passionate outlook on disruptive trends for the label industry in the next ten years
No outlook without historic background
“Run toward the noise” – this could be the unofficial motto of ELF 2016
During his session “Trends and developments in the label industry”, FINAT managing director Jules Lejeune provided the usual but indispensable basic figures
No orientation without directing numbers
Rens de Jong, Business News Radio talk show host (left) moderated the buzzmaster debate on business matters
The buzzmaster debate on business matters used interactive Wi-Fi communication to put new life in the old skin of the Q-and-A game
Attendees were invited to send a selfie directly on the screen using the special ELP app
During the business learning session (Track 1) Phil Allen of Customer Value management GmbH addressed the issue of “Create and capture more value from your current business”
One of the quotes worth consideration during the Phil Allen session
Phil Allen (right) talking to a participant of his session
After a day of learning and considerations; the ELF crowd enters the boat for the evening event on the Ocean Diva
Well-deserved relaxation on board
Jennifer Dochstader, TLMI editor and LPC Inc. with Stefan Nolte
Certainly a highlight of the evening: The Blues Brothers cover band!
The “Men in Black” certainly hit the mark among the label crowd
“Born in Chicago” performed at ELF in Amsterdam
The “Label Masters” challenge, moderated by Mike Fairley and Niklas Olsson, Flint Group
Delegates competed with each other over their knowledge about labelling technology
Some categories of the label challenge
The winning team at the challenge faces pleasing things to come
A relaxed yet concentrated Jules Lejeune during the “Label Masters” challenge
Herbert Knott, freelance correspondent for VskE, the German association of label manufacturers during his personal and very appealing review on recent drupa show
The event started with the regular FINAT general assembly 2016. This was followed by the opening of the supplier table-top exhibition, which also included G&K TechMedia, and accompanying welcome cocktails. This exhibition featured throughout the entire programme during the breaks of the conference sessions.
The unchallenged highlight of this day was the FINAT awards 2016 celebrations. Moderated by Tony White and supported by Thomas Hagmaier, the winners of the 36th edition of the association’s annual label competition were presented. It also featured the announcement of the 3rd edition of the FINAT recycling awards and the release of the FINAT yearbook 2016.
The keynote sessions
On the second day FINAT president Thomas Hagmaier welcomed the attendees of the ELF with an opening speech. The keynote sessions kicked off with a presentation by Swedish futurologist Magnus Lindkvist who talked about the disruptive trends that will change the label and package printing market over the next ten years. During the course of his entertaining and inspiring remarks, he encouraged the audience to overcome business and also personal traditions in order to break new grounds how to deal with current and future challenges.
During his usual session “Trends and developments in the label printing industry” FINAT’s managing director Jules Lejeune provided a detailed FINAT RADAR and labelstock market report. Although not the most entertaining part of the event, it is nevertheless inevitable due to its character as a source of relevant and necessary knowledge.
The ELF 2016 buzzmaster debate on business matters was a true highlight, as it made use of interactive Wi-Fi communication technology through a downloaded special ELF app. This allowed attendees to interact with the program in real time using their smartphones. Rens de Jong, Business News Radio talk show host and moderator of the year in The Netherlands, conducted snippets of interviews with the attendees who had the opportunity to immediately react to the questions with their answers being displayed on the big screen. This approach was highly appreciated by the attendees, as it put new life in the old skin of the Q-and-A game.
The learning sessions
The key learning sessions zoomed in on two essential conditions of success for a profitable business: “Value creation and collaborative innovation”. “Both topics are two sides of the same coin,” explained Jules Lejeune. “On the one hand, label printers are servicing mature, competitive markets and are facing the challenge to differentiate their existing product and solutions and avoid commoditization. On the other, the European Label Forum 2015 taught us that end-users are more and more open to work with their strategic labels and packaging suppliers on the joint development of new solutions.”
To accommodate both aspects of healthy business development, the ELF 2016 programme offered interactive parallel workshops on the respective topics, hosted by Phil Allen (CVM€) and Gordon Crichton (Institut MAI), that enabled participants to gain new insights, tools, tips and skills that will help them and their business to enhance profitability.
An evening on the boat
At the evening of the second day, the attendees of FINAT ELF 2016 were invited to spend a pleasant evening on board the event river cruise ship Ocen Diva. With cocktails, dinner and entertainment this was another perfect opportunity for networking and chatting in relaxed ambient conditions. The undoubted highlight of this evening was the performance of a Blue Brothers cover band, whose songs made people dance and enjoy themselves. It was indeed very touching to watch generations shaking their legs to the hot rhythms of the band. More convincing prove – if necessary at all – of the relaxed mood in the label printing industry in general and the FINAT events in particular.
Learning session in the true sense of the word
As a reminder of the importance of knowledge transfer and education of the next generation, attendees were challenged to test their own competence and knowledge in the “Label Masters” challenge, moderated by Mike Fairley and Niklas Olsson, global brand manager Flint Group. This “offspring” of the Label Academy consortium had delegates competing with each other over their knowledge about labelling technology. This item of the ELF 2016 agenda was highly appreciated by the participating delegates due to the learning effect and the entertainment value.
A personal drupa review
Herbert Knott, former employee of German die-cutting tools supplier Electro Optic and now freelance correspondent for VsKE, the German association of label manufacturers, provided a personal and very appealing review on the recent drupa 2016. Being commissioned by FINAT he scanned the latest trends and developments related to the label industry.
A race driver to conclude the event
To conclude this year’s event, former Formula One racing executive Mark Gallagher presented an “outside in” perspective of a winning and innovative future for the label industry. During his active racing time he worked directly with the world’s top drivers and team owners including Senna, Mansell, Schumacher and Coulthard, giving him a privileged understanding of what it takes to be a world-class competitor.
The FINAT ELF 2016 has been attended in total by 182 individuals representing 111 companies. This comprised the following categories:
A true and relaxed platform for progress
The general aim of the ELF events is to offer a key source of relevant knowledge.
for owners, CEOs, sales and marketing managers, future leaders, vendor partners, knowledge providers and media editors to learn about and discuss the business challenges of today and tomorrow, be inspired by success stories, learn from experts in different areas of expertise, share views and opinions, and enter into dialogues that will shape the future, gain experience through exercise and engagement, and network with international colleagues.
The 2016 event proved fully compliant with this self-set standard. This not only relates to the quality of the presentations and learning sessions but also to the organisation of the event and the overall mood, which again tagged the label industry as an informal, open-minded and almost familiar one where everybody enjoys meeting again with each other. Particularly the two new elements of interactive Wi-Fi communication during the buzzmaster sessions and the “Label Masters” challenge met with extremely positive response and should be continued at the next issue of the European Label Forum, which will take place in Berlin 15-17 June 2017.