It’s All About Support
An abundance of trade associations seek to attract label and packaging printers and converters, but these organizations are not all created equal and some don’t necessarily deliver tangible value for their members. Sure, they have annual meetings in upscale locations but too often these can be thinly disguised boondoggles that let members do some casual networking while writing off plane fares, hotels, drinks and greens fees.
Other organizations work diligently on members’ behalf and are successful, thriving organizations. For example, TLMI, the Tag and Label Manufacturers Institute, works year-round to provide the support and business savvy its members need to succeed, and partners with the majority of the equipment, software and consumables suppliers to broaden the level of support the organization provides its members. And, because nothing beats face-to-face interpersonal relationships, TLMI hosts a couple of annual events (yes, they are in some nice places) that are further augmented by technical forums throughout the year, open to all members. In addition, eight special interest groups or committees invite member involvement in environmental concerns, marketing, technology, education, regulatory issues, and more. In addition, leading industry research firms work with the association and its members to provide a broad range of market insights that can aid members in tactical and strategic planning.
One of the things that makes TLMI effective is its accessibility. Despite its size — several hundred members — TLMI understands that tag and label businesses often start off very small. In fact, some of its largest members began with just two or three people, often in a garage, and have grown to employ dozens of people, occupy substantial facilities and have significant investments in equipment and technology. No matter their size, new members are always welcomed and often find their experiences are not unlike those of members who started the same way, spent a decade or more making their business successful—and who give some of the credit for that success for the support of TLMI.
The other leading association is FTA, the Flexographic Technical Association. If TLMI covers the overarching issues and the many details of tags and labels, FTA is the place for anyone who wants to be certain that he/she can master every nuance of flexographic printing and produce the best possible quality labels and flexible packaging. Flexography has evolved in many significant ways over that past decade and keeping up with the technologies involved demands support from outside the walls of any converter’s shop. That’s where FTA comes in. From its conferences to the annual INFO*FLEX trade show, and the not-to-be-missed annual Forum, the amount of knowledge presented provides insights that can change the way a business runs. It is probably impossible for converters, managers and press operators not to learn something useful at FTA events, and find new ways to raise the bar on just about everything they do.
Then comes the annual Excellence in Flexography awards. This is where the best of the best are judged and the winners showcased. Whether a member wins or just admires the top entries, the awards showcase just how far flexible packaging has come—and can go—and provides inspiration to FTA members to keep striving to do just a little bit better on every job.
Ongoing support and passion for converters isn’t limited to associations like TLMI and FTA. The technical and sales teams at Anderson & Vreeland constantly advise and help printers and converters as they select and use equipment, software and consumables for every type of labels and packaging. A&V’s Vision 2020 strategy is focused on the customer and supported by three principles: products, people and processes. “We’re working to remain focused on our customers and their needs so we can be relevant, customer-centric, engaged and always bringing forth solutions that help our customers be successful,” notes A&V Executive Vice President Darin Lyon.
Knowing how to use the equipment and software you have is vital. Converters and printers who depend on conventional and digital technologies need a full range of support and in this increasingly competitive age and TLMI, FTA and Anderson & Vreeland stand out as go-to resources for best practices and continued success.
Anderson & Vreeland will be at TLMI’s annual meeting taking place October 16th to 19th in Palm Beach, FL; as well as FTA’s Fall Conference, taking place in Louisville, KY October 10 to 12.