The self-adhesive label industry is more ‘together’ then ever now that the national label associations, their members and FINAT are working together as a coherent group through the establishment of the empowered and active National Associations Board (NAB).
FINAT’s role as an ‘umbrella organisation’, bringing together Europe’s supply chain participants in the self-adhesive label industry, would hardly be possible without the network of national label associations that represent the industry at a regional and local level: DLA, Denmark; UNFEA, France; VskE, Germany; GIPEA, Italy; ANFEC, Spain; GFF, Sweden; ESD, Turkey; and BPIF Labels and BSRLA, UK. To benefit the continuation and expansion of sound, profitable and authoritative business profiles for their member companies, these nine associations are now working together in a positive spirit of exchange under the auspices of FINAT, in pursuit of enhanced knowledge-sharing at a variety of levels.
A practical pathway
The creation of a National Associations Board, with volunteer representation from all member associations, has proved to be the right enabling device. It's jointly-defined – and ambitious -- agenda, includes topics as wide-ranging as environmental concerns, joint trading standards, education and training, benchmarking, international events planning, and a shared internet portal .
NAB volunteer board members are familiar figures in the industry, like Robert Mägerlein (DE), Chairman of VskE , which represents not only German label industry players, but also many from Switzerland and Austria. Robert believes continuity and stability are the key success factors for a local industry group. ‘All our regional label industry associations have been “growing up” and becoming more professional.’ ‘Today’, he continues, ‘there is a real need to talk to each other across the geographies and across the industry – to discuss issues and opportunities. In this dynamic, increasingly globalised industry which is experiencing fundamental technology change, we nowadays can’t do anything meaningful on our own in terms of coping with future challenges. FINAT has made this pan-European connection not only possible, but a functional reality.’ Francesc Egea (SP) is Chairman of the FINAT Young Managers Club as well as a member of the NAB. He is enthusiastic about the board’s role in facilitating meaningful dialogue between the converters at a local level, the national associations themselves, and FINAT because, he says, ‘this is an excellent way to jump over walls and break down barriers…! It means we can all talk about the many important issues we have in common, and the Board meetings are the link that enables us to do so in a direct and relaxed way, and makes opportunities for lots of debate!’
Global and local
In a world where globalisation is now a fact, the small and medium-sized companies that kick-started this industry are experiencing not only the opportunities of cross-border trading, but also international partnerships, mergers, and acquisitions. They also face challenges that come with entry into the international arena: price pressures from global brand manufacturers and retail groups; an evolving global environmental agenda; and technology change. These are key areas which are likely to challenge a local or regional organisation, but where the NAB and its member associations can now benefit enormously from a shared information and knowledge base, defined and initiated by themselves with the practical, enabling support of FINAT. Comments NAB member Aydin Okay (TU), from ESD: ‘The NAB gives us a chance to use common experiences across Europe to solve our own specific local problems. It’s great to be part of the team that’s steering this initiative.’