Ace that interview and get the job

You are impeccably dressed, well researched and rehearsed, on time and waiting in reception before you are called in to interview. You know what to do. This isn’t your first time. But still, you’re nervous. You want to make a great first impression. And, right there, your nerves have caught you in their butterfly spin. We’ve got some insider tips showing exactly what goes into making a great first impression to focus your thoughts the next time you are waiting in reception.

The power of a first impression

It’s a scientific fact that human beings make decisions about strangers in the blink of an eye. Literally. We spend the next three seconds completing our opinion, around our perception of personality and competence. Once that decision has been made it is nigh on impossible to change it. The psychological advantage of making a strong first impression is significant; if you later make a mistake, you are most likely given the benefit of the doubt. There’s not a lot we can do to change these facts. We are funny creatures.

What influences first impressions?

This is where you can make a difference. Consider that the bulk of our communication is non-verbal. While it’s important to prepare what we would like to say, our body language is far more influential than the words we choose.

Make sure your gestures and body movements are congruent with what you are saying. For example: don’t describe a challenging situation where you had to fire an employee while smiling. While you might smile out of nerves or a desire to please your interviewer, the strong message you send is confused. Likewise the classic example of avoiding eye contact. It’s considered a negative gesture. You might feel intimidated, which is reasonable at a job interview, however what you are communicating is weakness.

Keep your body language open and relaxed. Communicate that you’re prepared and ready for the interview: you want to engage. Your tone of voice is another powerful influence. One way to settle your tone is to take a few deep breaths, making sure you breathe right into your stomach. A classic mistake is keeping the breath in the chest area which means your shoulders are hunched up and your breath trapped. Breathe deeply and your register will drop from its nervous higher pitch, down to its natural tone. Your tone of voice delivers your message – make sure it’s in your voice. Remember there are two factors at play here: the words you use and the way in which your message is received. Focus on your delivery.

Make a connection

Be kind and courteous to everyone. Think about how difficult it is to interpret someone’s behaviour and message when they are distracted. Any good interviewer will ask the receptionist, security guard and anyone you may meet on the way to interview what their first impression of you was. Make a conscious decision to switch on the moment you leave home.

Give your nervous energy something to do. Enthusiasm generates confidence. Allow yourself to be enthusiastic, confident and happy. Allow? Yes. Nerves have a sneaky way of imprisoning us in slightly robotic behaviour. Be authentic, enthusiastic, humble and kind. Allow yourself to shine.

Athena Executive Search specialise in recruiting in the Print and Packaging sectors across Europe. For more advice on interview technique please get in touch. For access to more articles on industry topics, recruitment and retention strategies, and our upcoming webinar series with industry thought leaders please subscribe here: https://athena50147.activehosted.com/f/1

How to use social media to find a new role

When used correctly, social media is a powerful tool to help you identify that perfect role. An active and engaging social media presence is crucial for a variety of reasons. Your activity across social media platforms says so much about who you are and helps you to present yourself in this increasingly competitive market as the ideal, talented addition to an employer.

An engaging social media feed across a variety of platforms also highlights your ability to build professional contacts as well as showcase your skills. Recruiters respond favourably to active social media feeds; they gather information based upon the quality, frequency and professional relevance of your posts. Developing your social media skills is therefore vital and we have some strategic tips to help you maximise your opportunities.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn really is the go-to networking site for recruiters. But merely creating a LinkedIn profile isn’t enough to convince hiring managers to take a closer look at you. Recruiters seek superior content, such as testimonials and recommendations from your colleagues and clients. Rather than simply listing your experience and qualifications, take the time to include background information to provide context. The more time you spend curating engaging content, the better your chances of attracting the job opportunities you want.

Recruiters seek talented individuals to network with and to interview. Highlight your skills and experience, stand out from the crowd and use LinkedIn to build an impressive database of industry contacts. The more active you are on LinkedIn, the better it will reflect on you and your suitability for a particular role.

Twitter

Twitter is by far the chattiest of all social media platforms – but don’t let that fool you. It’s a powerful tool for attracting a new job. Twitter is also a helpful resource to discover what people are saying about the company you want to work for. When you are looking for a new job, focus your tweets and retweets on industry-relevant subjects. Use keywords and hashtags to group your content with industry-specific content. Engage with respected industry leaders through following and responding to their tweets. Use your experience to offer helpful advice to other Twitter users in your industry. Recruiters will take note of what you say and who you interact with; make the most of the opportunity and highlight your skills and industry knowledge.

Facebook

Facebook’s reputation as an informal social media platform has caught out many a hopeful candidate. Don’t let this be you. Nowadays Facebook is also teeming with many helpful industry-specific groups and content. In addition to interacting with industry peers, be prepared for recruiters to peruse your profile to see how you engage with the world beyond your work environment. Who you are is your personal brand. If you prefer, create a separate profile to use as your professional Facebook page. It is, however, good practice to keep your content clean.

Social media is an effective channel through which to highlight your skills, experience and personality to potential employers, and confirm your suitability for a role. The opportunities available on social media to further your career are endless. Happy posting!

Athena Executive Search specialise in recruiting in the Print and Packaging sectors across Europe. Please connect with us on social media to keep up to date on industry topics, recruitment and retention strategies, and our upcoming webinar series with industry thought leaders. You can also subscribe here: https://athena50147.activehosted.com/f/1

 

Why digital print is a game changer in packaging

 

The digital opportunity in the packaging sector of the printed graphics market is valued at over $10 billion, and with projected growth rates of 14% to 2020, this sector is booming. To keep up, equipment, software, and ink manufacturers are creating innovative tools, unique packaging specific solutions, and chemistry to enable future growth in digital packaging.

Innovation and potential

Digital print’s potential is enormous and already proven to be disruptive in other print segments. Industry leaders are supporting this trend and are pushing their return on investment ever upwards. The beauty of digital is its innovation and power is not exclusive to technology. Digital focuses on harnessing technological prowess with any organisation able to embrace evolution and development as part of its operations.  While digital is already widely accepted in the tag and label sector and the short run pharmaceutical folding carton sectors, of the packaging segment, other segments are ripe for significantly digital adoption in the next three to five years.  Particularly, the packaging sectors of corrugated, narrow web flexible film, and direct to shape (metal and plastic containers) offers the next likely high growth areas for digital.

Consumer experience is everything

The digital evolution continues to offer improved usability. As a result, the importance of a consumer’s experience continues to increase. As consumers’ confidence in digital transformation has grown, they have aligned themselves with brands and products that cater to their ever-evolving needs.  While the initial driver for digital was to enable personalisation, on the fly customisation, short run profitability, and the enabling of quicker and easier design to print campaigns are driving the next growth spurt.  Consumer’s expectations for packaging in the digital bombardment age, is also changing, just as the way millennials see and respond to advertising is changing.

Why is digital print continuing to grow?

In addition to the reasons outlined above, the growth of digital print enables print providers to exponentially improve and increase the services they offer to their customers. In addition, digital empowers innovation and encourages an increase in revenue streams not easily achieved in traditional print methods. It’s expected that digital print will make the most of the high value short runs and provide quicker turnaround times for packaging sectors.

Interesting times ahead for digital technology advancements

Today, there are both electrophotographic (dry and liquid toner) technologies and inkjet ink types of digital.  Toner based systems, such as Indigo, Xerox I-Gen, and Xeikon, have gained an early foothold on the short run tag and label, as well as some folding carton sectors.  More recently, inkjet solutions are being adopted as they can often do more than electrophotographic systems at a lower cost of ownership.  The technology advancements in the inkjet print head, electronics, and ink chemistry has now reached a point of practicality, likely eclipsing electrophotography as early as 2019.  Beyond toner and inkjet are a number of what have to still be referenced as “yet-to-be-proven” digital technologies that, if they really work, will also be very disruptive in the packaging sectors, especially those food related packaging sectors.

Excitingly, the greatest changes expected over the next decade will be in packaging. Sectors that are most likely to employ digital production processes include corrugated (direct to board and pre-print liner), metal decoration (2-Piece, and flat sheet 3-Piece), flexible (films, bags, pouches, etc.), and rigid (direct to container) applications. The folding carton sector also has the potential to grow as digital technologies develop further.

Beyond graphics and packaging

Digital continues to break new ground in all kinds of industrial applications, forging applications including flat and round glass, textiles, ceramics,  tiles, wood, plastic composites, electronics, and 3D. The term “Industrial Digital Printing’ has come to represent a kind of catch-all descriptions for every type of decoration that does not already fit into a known segment or sector.

Better Together

Organisations which recognize the phenomenal growth and potential of digital packaging are often engaging strategic alliances or in joint ventures, sometimes for technology, sometimes for route to market. This approach enables companies to capitalise on a booming market with less risk and faster time to market. These types of partnerships often bring together technology components and brands, as well as system manufacturing and customer facing solutions to help drive the industry faster into the digital age.  Some examples include  companies such as: Xerox with Impika, Fujifilm working with Heidelberg, and Xerox( Primefire 106), KBA with their own subsidiary Kamman (Direct To Shape) and new projects with Landa (S10 automation) and Xerox, Komori and Landa (Impremia NS40). Flint Group have acquired the Xeikon business in a key strategic move.

On-demand printing

On-demand printing reduces waste and also means the latest design, product information or alterations to components do not create unnecessary clutter such as superfluous records. Electrophotography and inkjet’s continual evolution and development mean that on-demand printing is possible for the packaging industry. Specialised detail such as packaging specific to a particular region, demographic or specific interest is now a practical reality for the packaging sector. Exactly where in the supply chain that the printing is happening is also changing with Digital evolution.  Digital printing near or actually in-line with the packaging converting process is also a trend, further shortening the turn-around time for a package to market while offering the flexibility only digital can offer.

There’s no doubt about it. The inclusive effects of digital development, particularly on the consumer, has changed the way in which the market interacts with packaging. Everyone wants to jump aboard this rapidly expanding sector, flourishing beneath digital technology’s ingenious gaze.

Athena Executive Search specialise in recruiting in the Print and Packaging sectors across Europe. We are excited about Digital Print and recruit for companies at the cutting edge of this sector. For access to more articles on industry topics, recruitment and retention strategies, and our upcoming webinar series with industry thought leaders please subscribe here: https://athena50147.activehosted.com/f/1

 

How to succeed at your print and packaging interview

Interviewing for a job you really want can be stressful. In fact, the more senior your position, the more adept you are expected to be at juggling the various facets of human behaviour and professional experience. We’ve put together a selection of suggestions to help you nail your next interview.

Preparation

Beyond the essential choices such as being suitably presented and arriving at the interview at least fifteen minutes early, you will need to know everything there is to know about the company, the recruiter interviewing you – and your own CV.

Why would you need to know anything about the recruiter? A good recruiter will evaluate how well you build rapport during the first few minutes of the interview. Nothing quells nerves like preparation: arm yourself with an understanding of the hiring company, so you can lead the conversation if required.

It’s easy to forget to re-read your own CV. It’s natural to think you know it. Never underestimate the power of nerves, especially if you particularly want the job. Mapping your strengths to your employment history showcases your ability to maintain clarity under pressure. At this stage of your career, this is exactly what you need to demonstrate.

A great attitude engages and elevates your answers

An expert recruiter assesses a candidate in the context of a variety of verbal and non-verbal communication skills simultaneously. They are looking to see whether you are capable of handling the role and how well you will fit in to the company management team.

How you present your character and disposition is crucial, because in leadership roles these qualities affect how well you fit in to company culture. Authenticity, humility and confidence in yourself are key. A great one liner pep talk to give yourself is: “I am the solution for this company”. It’s a positive and empowered statement that eradicates any unnecessary anxiety about other candidates and focuses your attention.

Tell us a story…

Anyone can list leadership qualities and management strengths. Offer concrete examples of how you embodied those qualities and strengths in previous roles.

Stories enable you to navigate tricky questions such as the classic, “What’s your greatest weakness?” or being asked to describe an experience where you clashed with a superior. A saccharine answer will not satisfy. Interviewers are looking for an experienced leader with development potential, someone who is able to cope with the inevitable challenges of working life, how you deal with confrontation, whether you can admit accountability and how effectively you process and apply feedback.

You may also be asked to discuss a project that failed. In addition to the above, you’re being evaluated for the degree of responsibility you held, how you made decisions, how you rallied after a mistake was made, what you learned and what you considered your role in the failed project to be.

End on an uplifting note, confirming that you applied the lessons learned as you moved forward and how the company benefitted. Highlight how your strengths complement any challenges facing the company.

And lastly give an example of what interests you about your specialist area within the print and packaging industry. Thread your natural enthusiasm for your work throughout your interview.

Good luck!

Athena Executive Search specialise in recruiting senior leadership positions in the Print and Packaging sectors across Europe. We promise to make our interview with you as enjoyable as possible! For access to more articles on industry topics, recruitment and retention strategies, and our upcoming webinar series with industry thought leaders please subscribe here: https://athena50147.activehosted.com/f/1

Restrictive Covenants – what do they really mean?

The sense of achievement you experience when you secure your new job is immense. And rightly so. You look forward to a positive and productive future with your new employer. This is quite possibly the least opportune time to think ahead to what may happen when you leave. However, protecting yourself for that eventuality is good practice and, some employment advisers would say, essential.

What are restrictive covenants?

Restrictive covenants are clauses in your employment contract restricting your activities post-employment for a specified period, in order to protect your employer’s business interests. While your employer’s desire to protect themselves is understandable, you are entitled to do the same.

Think ahead

It is vital that you understand the range and claim restrictive covenants have over your ability to function professionally post-employment. While this may not feel like the best time to question your employer, this is probably the last opportunity you’ll have to negotiate your rights.

Make sure you understand exactly what is being said in your contract regarding your rights post-termination. For example, how long are you precluded from working for competitors? Do restrictive covenants extend to your social media accounts and connections? You are the best judge as to how you operate professionally. Think about the contacts you brought with you to this role. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you are prevented from working in your chosen industry.

What are the main areas covered by restrictive covenants?

Your employer will be keen to protect themselves across three key areas: competitors, clients and employees. You can be prohibited from competing with or working for a known competitor within a fixed radius of your employer’s location or across certain territories, for a fixed period of time. You can also be prohibited from luring employees away from your employer and working for existing clients for a fixed period.

Often restrictive covenants are not upheld because they are too vague, too lengthy and the employee in question is not senior enough to pose a credible threat to the business. The key to restrictive covenants being upheld is that they are specific and realistic. The courts will uphold what they believe as reasonable. It’s important that you understand how much leeway your employer has in restricting you.

Loyalty Obligations

Check your contract for the wording regarding the calculation of your bonus figure. In some cases, a percentage of your bonus rewards your performance but the majority is to reward your loyalty. There may also be terms advising that payment of your bonus is discretionary and potentially deferred to encourage you not to leave. Payments may also extend to commission, shares and any agreed long-term incentives. Pay particular attention to how these restrictive covenants affect your loyalty obligations and the timing of your departure.

Climbing the corporate ladder

Sometimes as part of your progression and promotion, you will be asked to agree to additional restrictive covenants commensurate with your increased seniority. It’s vital that you employ the same forward thinking with any such amendments.

We strongly advise you to seek independent legal advice prior to entering into any legal agreement.

Athena Executive Search specialise in recruiting senior leadership positions in the Print and Packaging sectors across Europe. For access to more articles on industry topics, recruitment and retention strategies, and our upcoming webinar series with industry thought leaders please subscribe here: https://athena50147.activehosted.com/f/1

The importance of career strategy

A career left solely to chance is an unwise gamble. Without the implementation of a clear and workable career strategy, there is a real risk of missing any opportunities that come your way, or even stagnating at a particular point you were hoping to move on from more quickly.

Work hard

During the early years of a career, you quickly climb the ranks by being the sharpest, brightest and most capable team player. You make sure you are the one who answers emails the quickest, the one who always volunteers for overtime and regularly comes up with ideas which far outshine those of your peers. But as your career progresses and the top of your game is in reach, the importance of a defined career strategy remains. Undertaking large projects which deliver time or cost savings – or other financial gain – carry more weight at senior manager or director level.

Plan

With plans come goals, with goals come motivation – and with motivation comes results.

Your career strategy will change and evolve over time, and will need constant review and consideration. In a world where there aren’t enough hours in a day and work is constantly piling up, months roll by unnoticed. But force yourself to regularly set time aside to assess where you are and where you’re going.

Be Specific

Work out specifically what you want to achieve in your career and by what date. Also consider whether there are gaps in your knowledge, in any technical practices or legal requirements for instance. Even as a senior manager or director, some new business concepts or procedures can require the acquisition of new skills and understanding. If so, consider what degrees or accreditations you may need to pursue, and what path you’ll need to take in order to get there. Study can require a large investment of your time and if a Masters or PHD is required for a position you want in three years’ time, you would really need to start applying now.

Get noticed

A recent study has shown that hiring an external candidate into a company means they’re paid 18-20% more than internal workers who are promoted upwards. Although unfair, it does point to the idea that professionals are often taken for granted inside their own companies. Whilst that doesn’t mean you constantly need to move around between organisations, if you do stay at the same company, it’s important to cultivate a strong external reputation. Get networking and get yourself noticed. Not only will you potentially open doors for yourself further down the line, you’ll also reduce the risk of blending into the background. You’ll remind your boss and colleagues that your abilities are appreciated – and sought after.

Athena Executive Search specialise in recruiting senior leadership positions in the Print and Packaging sectors across Europe. Please get in touch if you are contemplating a career move or looking to recruit. For access to more articles on industry topics, recruitment and retention strategies, and our upcoming webinar series with industry thought leaders please subscribe here: https://athena50147.activehosted.com/f/1

 

 

Waitrose ditches plastic trays and replaces them with eco-packaging

Tomato vine leaves are being mixed with recycled cardboard to replace plastic food packaging at Waitrose.

The eco-trays will be used instead of black plastic, which is almost impossible to collect and recycle.

The move follows a successful trial at the supermarket using the waste tomato vine leaves last year. Waitrose Duchy cherry tomatoes will be sold in the special tray from mid-June.

Waitrose’s other Duchy tomato lines will be in the new brown packaging from the end of July. Black plastic trays – used for everything from fresh produce to meat and fish – generate millions of tonnes of plastic waste a year.

The organic packaging made from tomato vines will be sold from June onwards in Waitrose stores

 

Such packaging cannot be identified by the lasers used to sift through rubbish on collection centre conveyor belts.

As a result such items end up being diverted to landfill or burned for energy, rather than being recycled. In a similar innovation, pulses are being used in the packaging for Waitrose Red Lentil Pasta and Green Pea Pasta. This reduces the use of virgin tree pulp by 15 per cent and lowers greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent.

Nicola Waller, head of fresh produce at Waitrose, said: ‘We’re serious about looking for alternative packaging materials. This uses materials which would otherwise be wasted, which can only be a good thing. We will ensure all our own-label packaging is widely recyclable, reusable or home compostable by 2025.’

In a separate major development, the food service giant Brakes, which sends out tens of millions of meals and other products to hospitals, schools, care homes, cafes and other food businesses is to stop using black plastic trays as part of a wider effort to tackle waste and pollution.

The company said the decision was inspired by the Daily Mail’s ‘Turn the Tide on Plastic’ campaign and the recent national clean-up effort made by thousands of volunteers under the banner of the ‘Great Plastic Pickup’.

Brakes will be looking into alternative materials for black plastic ready-meal trays and other packaging. It is also considering alternatives to plastic straws and cutlery. 

Environmental campaigners are encouraging people to give up plastic for a day as a protest over unrecyclable rubbish. The group, A Plastic Planet, is calling on families to avoid using items that contain plastic packaging today to coincide with it being World Environment Day.

Waitrose said the decision had been inspired by the Daily Mail’s Turn the Tide on Plastic Campaign

Source

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5805815/Waitrose-ditches-plastic-trays-replaces-eco-packaging-TOMATO-plants.html

The secrets of successful salary negotiation

Salary is an important consideration on both sides of the employer/employee divide. Employers need to ensure they recruit – and, most importantly, retain – the best people for the roles they require, which means offering the right salaries; while employees have to make sure they are being paid the correct amount for their skills and experience.

But just how do you ensure the salary is right at all times? Here are just a few tips to follow:

Employees

One of the first things you need to do when looking for a new job is to establish what salary range you should be getting for the positions you’re looking for.

Of course, salaries differ widely across the country. What is on offer in Paris or London will usually be considerably higher than that offered regionally, and you need to be aware of this before you start.

Whatever the role you are looking for – whether it’s a technical role, operational management or one of the many other roles in the Print and Packaging industries – you should be able to find up-to-date, country-wide salary ranges with the most cursory of internet searches. Some of the job search websites will have the information you are looking for. Alternatively, try industry or trade sites.

Once you have an idea as to the general range on offer for your chosen role, you will be in a much better place to negotiate when and if you are offered a job. But any negotiations need to be handled carefully as you don’t want to stop a job offer in its tracks.

There are no hard and fast rules, but the advice is pretty straightforward and well worth following:

Don’t ask about salary at interview stage – wait until you are offered the position. When mentioning your salary requirements to a potential employer it is useful to quantify your value relative to your achievements. It could be how much profit you have generated or how much money you saved your company. If what you are offered is too low, say so (politely) – it helps here if you can state what the usual salary for the job/your level of experience is.

Ask about additional perks, such as a company car, and also about your expected level of responsibility, so you get the whole picture. It is worth considering things like additional training and education and whether you could be funded for further study. Unless the offer is exactly what you want, don’t accept it straight away. You need to make sure you are 100% happy with the complete package.  If all else fails, and you really don’t want to take the job at that salary, say so. If you are introduced to the hiring company by a reputable recruitment company they will handle salary negotiations on your behalf to ensure that both parties are happy with the deal that has been struck.

Employers

Employers should really be offering the best candidates appropriate salaries at different stages in their careers. You wouldn’t expect someone to take a pay cut in order to undertake more responsibility.

However, of course, there should always be room for negotiation. Again, there are some top tips you should be following:

Don’t ask the candidate what they are currently earning – you should have an idea from their CV, but probing into what they earn is intrusive and unreliable, anyway (who’s to say they will tell you the truth?). Make sure you are offering a competitive salary, which is attractive enough in the sector to secure the right candidates, without causing internal issues within your company. The salary you offer should be based upon the value you perceive the employee will add to your business and not based on what they are currently earning.

Also make sure you give prospective employees the whole picture before talking salary  including prospects, the challenge of the role, and other benefits. Prepare to be at least a little flexible. This has got to work for both parties. You need to factor in the likely hood that the candidate will get counter-offered by their present employer. Make sure that the role and salary package are sufficiently enticing to ensure that they don’t decide to stay where they are. There is nothing more frustrating than an offer being rejected at this late stage.

Athena Executive Search can take the stress out of salary negotiation for both candidates and clients. We specialise in recruiting senior leadership positions in the Print and Packaging sectors across Europe. For access to more articles on industry topics, recruitment and retention strategies, and our upcoming webinar series with industry thought leaders please subscribe here: https://athena50147.activehosted.com/f/1 

The Internet of Things and Smart food packaging

The friendship between the Internet of Things and smart packaging continues to blossom. As technology continues to evolve and automated solutions become ever more ingenious, the Internet of Things is transforming the packaging industry. So much so, the smart packaging sector is expected to be worth £40bn by 2025.

What is the Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things or IoT refers to everyday objects being connected to and sharing data with the internet through a computerised implant.

What is smart packaging?

Smart packaging is packaging that is augmented through improved functionality and being able to communicate information and content status. The process is a blend of science, technology and specific materials.

Isn’t this type of packaging too expensive?

It used to be. Nowadays it’s believed smart packaging is within reach of most budgets across the packaging industry, no matter how meagre they may be. The IoT aims to slash expense at every stage of the supply chain, as well as offering critical gains for logistical and record management. Experts believe its reducing cost has transitioned it from the preserve of from high-value merchandise to mainstream packaging.

How is it recycled?

The immediate challenge is establishing how to recycle packaging that originates from multiple sources. Experts warn it’s critical that the packaging industry works closely with recycling specialists to ensure products meet recycling standards. Some companies such as Thinfilm have already replaced silicone with an innovative printing process: printing onto strips of recyclable steel the width of a human hair. It is hoped that further technological advancement will result in smart packaging that is able to communicate what materials were used and how the product needs to be recycled.

In addition to impressive innovation, there are also lifesaving and practical potential benefits such as for the pharmaceutical packaging sector. Benefits include packaging offering protection against forgery, temperature tracking as well as general monitoring that includes raising an invoice and triggering replacement supply when the packaging is opened.

The opportunity for the packaging industry to enhance its products, processes and gather invaluable insights into ever-evolving consumer needs is being enthusiastically explored across all sectors.

Speaking of the consumer…

It remains to be seen whether consumers have a genuine desire for this level of technology infiltrating their everyday lives. Experts have discovered there is a disconnection between initial curiosity and actual consideration when the product is introduced.

Near Field Communication (NFC) tags are also expensive. However, this unit price is expected to drop when new production processes are rolled out. There are a few preliminary hurdles to iron out before smart packaging such as NFC is available and affordable across the print industry.

Imagine a bottle of whisky that can tell you if it’s been tampered with or opened. Diageo already has. It has created packaging technology using very thin electronic sensors.

A hotly anticipated development – presently being researched – is spray-on electronics removing the need for chips. And Bluetooth tags that have the capacity to expedite data to compatible smart phones.

The collaboration between the Internet of Things and smart packaging is creating some magnificent packaging solutions. The potential of smart packaging is remarkable.

Athena Executive Search specialise in recruiting senior leadership positions in the Print and Packaging sectors across Europe. For access to more articles on industry topics, recruitment and retention strategies, and our upcoming webinar series with industry thought leaders please subscribe here: https://athena50147.activehosted.com/f/1

GDPR – What Is It And How Will It Affect Your Business?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an EU regulation that comes into force in May 2018. It’s designed to give EU citizens greater control over how their data is used and foster increased trust in the digital economy.

You might think that since the UK is in the process of leaving the EU this is something you don’t need to worry about. However, GDPR is designed to protect data relating to EU citizens wherever it’s stored and processed, so even businesses outside the EU are going to have to comply with its rules.

GDPR will affect any business, including those in the print and packaging industries that hold personal data relating to individuals. It applies to data controllers (those who decide how and why the data is used) and to data processors (those actually handling the data). A controller, therefore, could be anyone from Facebook to government bodies and charities through to smaller companies. A processor could be an IT services company, or a print supplier using data to create personalised documents or mailing labels.

What will it mean?

Once GDPR is in force, controllers will need to ensure that data processing is transparent, lawful and used for a specific purpose. If, after that purpose is complete, the data is no longer required it must be deleted. Information used to print one-off mailings, for example, will need to be discarded after it’s been used.

The ‘lawful’ aspect of this is important. Processing can be lawful if consent has been given by the subject to their data being used. It can also be useful if it’s to comply with some form of legal obligation or contract, or to protect the subject’s interests. Processing can also be lawful if it’s in the public interest, or in the interest of the controller in the case of an issue such as fraud prevention.

Active consent

Key for businesses is that data controllers must obtain active consent from the subject. Current systems that assume consent but allow for a tick-box opt-out will no longer be acceptable. The data controller needs to keep a record of when and how consent was granted. Subjects must also be able to withdraw their consent whenever they wish, they also have a ‘right to be forgotten’ which means they can demand that their data is deleted if they’ve chosen to withdraw their consent.

The definition of personal data is similar to that under the current UK Data Protection Act, however, under GDPR it’s extended to include other items including online identifiers like IP addresses. It’s possible that anonymised data may be covered too, depending on how easy it is to trace back to the individual. Data must be stored in commonly used formats so that it can be transferred to another organisation if requested.

If you suffer a data breach that risks people’s personal data, under GDPR you must inform your data protection authority (the ICO in the UK) within 72 hours. Companies that are in breach of GDPR regulations can be hit with a fine of €20 million or four percent of their worldwide annual revenue, whichever is greater.

We strongly advise you to seek independent legal advice relating to GDPR.

Athena Executive Search specialise in recruiting senior leadership positions in the Print and Packaging sectors across Europe. We have set up a working group and are  currently  ensuring that we are fully GDPR compliant by 25th May 2018. This involves a full review of our business and how we collect data and how it is managed. We will update our clients and candidates as we move closer to GDPR being implemented.