Top 4 Takeaways from Pack Expo 2016

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Earlier this month we had the pleasure of attending and exhibiting at Pack Expo 2016 – a biennial tradeshow that many consider to be the world’s leading processing and packaging event. PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, is the owner and producer of the show in addition to Pack Expo Las Vegas – which is held opposite of Pack Expo International every other year. Between these two shows, Inland has been exhibiting and attending Pack Expo events for a full decade.

As a tribute to our 10-year run, we thought we’d take the time to compile our list of the top four takeaways from Pack Expo 2016 and revisit the labeling and packaging topics that seemed to pique the interest of those who stopped by our booth.

  1. The scale of supply chains.

Very few companies can “do it all” when it comes to sourcing and supplying all the components that go into their brands’ packaging and labeling solutions. As a result, they find themselves looking for a supplier who is well connected in terms of scale of solutions. Between inks, coatings, substrates and a variety of other packaging and label enhancements – we don’t blame them. The choices are vast and complex. For brand procurement it’s valuable to have suppliers who have done their part in understanding trends in the market, have established the connections well into the realm of possibilities and have qualified forward-thinking solutions. Having this type of expertise at their fingertips, along with collaboration across the spectrum, ultimately becomes a valuable asset as they continue to expand their product offerings and diversify their brands – a growing trend among many food and beverage companies. Which leads us to our next point…

  1. The asset that is tech services.

While it’s one thing to have a portfolio of labeling and packaging solutions to work with, it’s another to have the technical expertise to ensure the quality and consistency across product lines. Many of the Pack Expo 2016 visitors who stopped by our booth were interested in quality standards and product troubleshooting. One of the biggest assets of interest in this area that was discussed was technical services. Having access to an expert in the field that not only understands labeling and packaging constructions as a whole, but also the equipment and environments they’re running on and in can make all the difference. From a time saving, cost reduction and quality assurance standpoint, it’s considered more than just a value add – particularly for those who’ve had the unfortunate experience of working with low-quality providers.  We would even be willing to say that access to technical product experts is just as important for brand owners who are looking to transition business or introduce new offerings. Having the extra “hands-on-deck” often makes for a smoother, more efficient labeling and packaging solution from the start.

  1. The breadth and depth of innovation.

Innovation means something different to every company and ever person. Some stopped by our booth looking for the most obvious form of innovation – new products – whether it be a label feature that stands out on the shelf or a new twist on a packaging component that elevates them from their competition. Others stopped by our booth looking for service innovation. How do we as suppliers add value to their packaging lines? What in particular makes our service model unique? Another important form of innovation discussed was process innovation. How do we look at our production processes as a way to eliminate costs, control quality or streamline efficiencies? Brand owners are becoming more interested in all of these areas of innovation that converters provide – and rightfully so. While it’s important to have a pulse on the “next big thing,” it’s also equally as important to understand how suppliers add innovative value on the process and service levels as well.

  1. The rise of flexible packaging.

Last, but certainly not least. Everywhere you looked at Pack Expo 2016 it was evident that flexible packaging is one of the fastest growing packaging segments in a variety of markets. Film suppliers were highlighting their tested and true pouch materials, OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) showcased the latest forming, filling and sealing equipment, while other companies displayed their best flexible packaging components – including closures, adhesives, dispensers and fitments. The list goes on and on. As a flexible packaging converter the excitement for this market carried over into our booth, where we had the chance to share Inland’s newly printed single serve pouches and stick packs. Many enjoyed hearing about our expertise thanks to the acquisition of Inland Neenah. Be sure to look for more on this as we head into 2017.

As you can imagine, we’ve seen a lot of change over the last ten years at Pack Expo tradeshows. Yet the thing that continues to remain the same throughout the years are the attendees that come ready to embrace the future of packaging products, solutions and services for their brands. We hope you enjoyed our Top 4 Takeaways of Pack Expo 2016 and see you next year at Pack Expo Las Vegas!

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