NAPIM Convention Discusses Innovating to Meet the Needs of Customers

By David Savastano , Editor | 05.01.13

Offers insight into the world of publication and packaging

For ink manufacturers, being able to understand the needs of printers and brand owners is essential. As printing markets grow and contract, ink executives have to be aware of the changing landscape.


To provide insight into the world of publication and packaging, the National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers’ (NAPIM) 2013 Annual Convention focused on “Innovating to Meet the Needs of Today’s Customers.” The convention, which was held April 6-9, 2013 at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa in Bonita Springs, FL, brought in speakers from the publication and packaging business.

“The intent was to talk about what’s going on in the markets,” said Brad Bergey, NAPIM’s executive director.

Discussing Customers

The April 8 morning session began with Dr. Joe Webb, director of WhatTheyThink’s Economics and Research Center. Dr. Webb noted that technology has changed during the past 15 years, which has impacted the printing industry.

“In 1997, there was no iPhones, tablet PCs had failed, there was no Twitter and Facebook was an obscure site,” Dr. Webb said. Today, there are 27,127 printing companies, with sales of $80.6 billion; he estimates there will be fewer than 20,000 companies by 2020, with sales estimates declining as well. Still, there are opportunities.

“The print industry is evolving into many different specialties, and packaging is going to be around a long time,” Dr. Webb concluded.

Terry Campion, executive director of research and insights, Conde Nast, presented a look at some of the ways that print can differentiate itself from the web. “Technology is not our enemy,” Ms. Campion concluded. “It can make print so much more.”

Tucker McNeil, director of corporate communications for MeadWestvaco, spoke about packaging, adding that shopping in a store is a far different experience than online. Mr. McNeil also noted that innovative packaging, such as the Orville Reddenbacher pop-up popcorn bowl, draws interest from customers.

“I’m here to tell you that packaging matters to us, to you and to brand owners and consumers,” Mr. McNeil said. “We are doing really well at the shelf level, but not as tiny jpegs. There are opportunities for brands to win at the retail level by promising delight and win at home by delivering delight.”

The April 9 morning session featured a series of talks focused on industry trends.In particular, Jan Paul van der Velde, senior vice president procurement for Flint Group, gave his the annual update and forecast on key industry raw materials.

“Raw materials have stabilized at a high level,” Mr. van der Velde said. “The biggest worry is the price of styrene, benzene, toluene and xylene. Crude oil pricing remains bearish, but currency fluctuations make it very hard to buy from the right source.”

State of the Industry Report

One of the important highlights during the annual convention is the State of the Industry Report, compiled from results NAPIM gets anonymously from its members. Jim Leitch, CEO of Braden Sutphin Ink, presented the report. He reported that U.S. ink sales by value rose 0.9% in 2012, although volume declined 3.5%. In particular, offset inks declined 6.9% by volume. Meanwhile, water-based flexo inks enjoyed the most growth, with sales increasing 3.9%. The ink industry’s profitability, or EBIT, was 1.2% as opposed to last year’s adjusted figure of 0.4%, while return on net assets, or RONA, was 2.8%, compared to 0.9% last year.

“Ten percent would be a normal return,” Mr. Leitch said.

Ault Award

One of the highlights at any NAPIM Convention is the Ault Award Dinner, in which NAPIM presents an Ault Award, its most prestigious honor, to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the ink industry. NAPIM also presents the Printing Ink Pioneer Awards to people who have faithfully served the industry and their companies for many years.

This year’s Ault Award recipient is William (Bill) Miller, president, Print Media America/Print Media Europe for Flint Group.

“This is quite a surprise, as I was not expecting this at all,” Mr. Miller said. “This is really special for me.”

In addition, NAPIM honored the following 13 industry leaders with its prestigious Printing Ink Pioneer Award:

• Doug Anderson, vice president of product development, Central Ink.

• Holly Anderson, technical manager, graphic arts, Hydrite Chemical.

• Pat Carlisle, president, Joules Angstrom U.V. Printing Inks.

• Pam Carney, business director, publication inks at MeadWestvaco.

• Marc Castillo, technical manager, Braden Sutphin Ink.

• Janet Ciravolo, NAPIM (retired).

• Tom DeBartolo, technical director, Sun Chemical.

• Dan DeLegge, vice president of R&D, Inksolutions.

• Ron Gallas, director of global sales, Flint Group Pigments.

• Lee Godina, president, Resinall.

• John Hrdlick, senior vice president and COO, INX International Ink.

• Michael Podd, business leader, heatset and gravure, Flint Group.

• Dale Pritchett, publisher, Ink World magazine.

All in all, NAPIM officials said the convention went well.

“It’s been outstanding,” said Mr. Bergey. “We have had good attendance and good feedback.

For more photos, please click the Flickr file here.