While the global recession has clearly had a major impact on the printing ink industry, the packaging ink segment has remained fairly steady. Print buyers and converters alike continue to look for an edge that will differentiate their products in the eyes of consumers.
In order to provide insight into the needs of print buyers and converters, the National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers (NAPIM) assembled a virtual Who’s Who of industry leaders to discuss their requirements at its Annual Convention, titled “The Power of Packaging – Path to Prosperity.”
The convention, which was held April 18-21 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix, AZ, was primarily set up in a panel format, with executives from major print buyers and packaging converters offering their views and advice.
For example, the Print Buyer Panel, led by Mike Impastato of Flint Group, featured Nilton Mattos of Coca-Cola Co., Allen Marquardt of Kimberly-Clark and Harry Epstein of Perseco.
“Our packaging creates meaning for our brands and is intrinsically tied to the value of our system,” Mr. Mattos observed.
The Printer/Converter Panel, led by Alan Kalmikoff of Keim-Additec Surface USA, included Terry Harper of Printpack, a flexible packaging specialist; Tyler Howland of Sound Packaging, a corrugated converter; Frank Johnston of Graphic Packaging, a folding carton printer; Art Yerecic of Yerecic Label, a label specialist; and Dick Storat of the Paper Shipping Sack Manufacturers’ Association (PSSMA), which focuses on multi-wall packaging.
The importance of packaging was a key point of the panelists.
“Packaging has long been cited as the single biggest variable to differentiating a product and driving sales,” Johnston said. “It is becoming a critical component in the supply chain and eco-system.”
A third panel, moderated by Ken Kisner of INX Digital, examined the impact of digital printing on packaging. His panel included Rick Baker of Integrity Integration, Per Frost of Durst Image, Guy Newcombe of Tonejet and Alrick Warren of Procter & Gamble.
Jim Coleman, executive director of NAPIM, said the panels offered excellent insight into the needs of print buyers and converters. In addition, Mr. Coleman said the lengthy question and answer sessions with each panel proved to be a highlight.
“It was an excellent convention,” Mr. Coleman said. “The feedback we received said it was one of the best programs we have ever held. Getting the insights of print buyers and printers benefits our ink manufacturers, and our focus on packaging was very timely. The question and answer sessions were great.”
NAPIM’s State of The Industry Report
There can be little doubt that the recession has had a huge effect on the ink industry. During the convention, Mr. Kalmikoff and William Miller of Flint Group presented NAPIM’s 2010 State of the Industry Report, which surveys leading North American ink manufacturers on their results throughout the year.
For the most part, the numbers were downbeat, and reflected in particular the downturn on the publication and commercial side of the ink business.
According to NAPIM’s report, U.S. printing ink sales declined 12.3 percent in 2009. The ink industry’s average earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) was 3.2 percent, up slightly from 2.9 percent in 2008 was still a very small margin. On a positive note, return on net assets (RONA) rose to 12.7 percent from 7.7 percent in 2008, and ink manufacturers said they are more optimistic about improving profitability in 2010.
Honoring Industry Leaders
One of the highlights of every NAPIM Convention is the presentation of the Ault and Printing Ink Pioneer awards to industry leaders in recognition of their achievements and their service to the printing ink industry.
Michael Gettis, right, general manager, Colorcon, No-Tox Products, and his wife Kathy, along with their sons, Chris, left, and Chuck, celebrate Mr. Gettis’ selection as NAPIM’s 2010 Ault Award honoree.
“It was a nice honor for a man who has committed so much of his time and effort to the industry,” Mr. Coleman said.
Mr. Gettis joined the ink industry in 1966, when he was hired by F.G. Okie, Inc. as a chemical operator. He rose through the ranks at Okie, and when the company was acquired by Berwind and combined into Colorcon in 1979, Mr. Gettis was named marketing manager for the No-Tox market. He was named director, marketing and sales for the No-Tox Products Division in 1990, and eventually was named general manager of the No-Tox Products Division in 2003.
Mr. Gettis is an active member of NAPIM, serving as the association’s president from 2007-09. He is a member of NAPIM’s executive board.
After Mr. Gettis and his wife Kathy were called to the stage by NAPIM president Rick Clendenning, the president and CEO of INX International Ink Co., to receive the Ault Award, he was equally shocked when two of their sons, Chris and Chuck, came out to congratulate them.
“I’m still having difficulty understanding how I was selected,” Mr. Gettis said. “When I walked to the stage with Kathy and saw two of our sons there, it was very emotional for me. I feel so humbled when I think of the people who went before me, and how much they contributed to the industry. This is such a great honor.”
For 2010, NAPIM selected four printing ink industry leaders to receive NAPIM’s prestigious Printing Ink Pioneer Award. The industry honored, from left, Peter Ford, technical director, US Ink; Lisa Fine, technical director, Joules Angstrom;Dan Lombardo, vice president operations metal decorating/UV-EB divisions and senior technical director, INX International; and Bob Lorenz, vice president of business development, Sun Chemical.
As for next year’s convention, NAPIM announced that the 2011 Annual Convention will be held at the Doral Resort & Spa in Miami, FL. For more information, contact NAPIM at (732) 855-1525, or via the web at www.napim.org.