FINAT has released the programme for the 3rd edition of its European Label Forum, the annual summit for business owners and other decision makers, thought leaders, trade media and other label community members to discuss issues relevant to the future of European label businesses. The programme for this year’s edition, described by some as ‘The Davos of the Label Industry’, will address 5 key questions that should be on every label industry leader’s mind when planning for the next decade.

Which are the 5 takeaways that you can expect when signing up for the event?

1. “Europe”. Which Europe are we talking about? Which directions can the European ‘project’ take and what could be the consequences for my business in the European common market?

Joschka Fischer served as Germany’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Vice Chancellor of Germany from 1998-2005. As arguably one of the most influential leaders in late 20th century German politics, Mr. Fischer will present an ‘insider view’ of the fragile European landscape against the context of increasing political uncertainty, connecting history, present and future.

2. Industry 4.0. What is it? What does it mean for our industry and how can I prepare my company for the 4th Industrial Revolution?

Nowadays it is difficult to catch up with the pace of technological change. Rapid developments in workflow automation, robotics, data exchange, the internet of things, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, nanomaterials science, etc. will drastically change the way live, work, produce and consume.

What will all this mean for:

  • Manufacturing, processing and ordering in our industry?
  • The enhanced roll of the label as ‘interface’ between the brand and the consumer?
  • The branding of our industry itself as future employer to the incoming, ‘digital generation’?
3. Market reports. What are the latest trends in markets and technology relevant to my business?

As the principle source of first-hand data on the evolution of the European label and narrow web industry, FINAT has commissioned 3 renowned market research agencies to prepare market reports about:

  • Direct digital print: threat or opportunity for the label industry?
  • Digital label printing: what are the current state and prospects for the European label industry?
  • Labelstock demand: will the buoyant years of recovery witnesses over the past 3 years continue?
4. Scenarios for the European label industry. Which mega drivers will determine the playground for the label industry in the coming years? How will they impact me as business owner or manager of an ‘independent’ label company?

FINAT has commissioned scenario planning expert Paul de Ruijter and his team to conduct a project to assess and develop 4 basic scenarios to be used by companies in the label sector in their strategic planning for the coming years:

  1. Fragmentation: bilateral relationships are a key factor of success in protectionist Europe.
  2. Consolidation: label companies have become a ‘return on investment’ of their own.
  3. Technical disruption: an ‘Uber-like’ business model is entering the label scene.
  4. Labour shortage: young talent is scarce and employee relations become ‘transactional’.
What is unique about these scenarios is that the starting point of these scenarios will be the imaginary case of label company FinatCo and the choices that its second-generation owner Enrico will have to make to secure his company’s and his own personal future.

5. Industry structure. What will the label industry look like in 5-10 years’ time?

The scenarios in Takeaway 4 will be developed via expert interviews with stakeholders to be conducted over the coming months and will be presented and discussed with the ELF 2017 audience during two interactive parallel workshops, each covering 2 of the 4 scenarios. The outcome of these discussions will be validated during an interactive plenary ‘3 tenors’ panel discussion featuring top industry executives from 3 of the major label companies worldwide: Geoff Martin of CCL Label, Adrian Tippenhauer of All4Labels and Dan Muenzer of Constantia Flexibles Labels Division.

Big factors are at stake for the packaging and labelling industry. And big factors cannot be solved alone, they require the wisdom of crowds, the combined thinking power of the industry’s ‘crème de la crème’.

Even if the above 5 takeaways do not seem of immediate interest to you, the mere fact that your international industry peers are there to network should be worth the trip to Berlin.

See you there in June!!

Jules Lejeune Managing Director