The cost of making a poor hiring decision

Poor hiring decisions are a real threat to companies operating in today’s competitive market. Recently one of the UK’s leading job sites publishing its findings following a survey of 200 recruiters. The study focused on how poor hiring decisions affect companies. The fact is, bad hires are costing your business money with each poor decision estimated to cost £15,000 and much more for senior hires. The bad news is the crippling long-term effects of poor hires, but the good news is that everything can be fixed if you know what to look for and how to lead your recruitment process towards better days. Here we share some insights into how you can avoid making bad hiring decisions for your organisation.

Strategy is everything

The advantages and necessity of a crystal clear recruitment strategy are well documented. We’ll say it again anyway: you must develop a clear recruitment strategy to avoid making poor recruitment decisions. Research confirms that if you don’t have a solid recruitment strategy you risk 44.4% higher staff turnover, 22.2% financial losses, 16% decline in productivity, 8.3% lowered staff confidence and 6.9% negative branding for the business. Note that in addition to threats to the business success, there is also the pernicious issue of low staff morale to navigate.

Significant sums of money are invested in securing talent for your company, and a lot of that money is lost. In fact, 66.1% of recruiters say they’ve lost a large sum of money on poor hires; 19.5% confess they’ve lost between £15,000 – £30,000 and 14.4% confirm they’ve lost over £30,000. With competition for recruiting the best talent set to intensify, your company cannot afford to make bad hiring decisions.

Screen with purpose

Careful and focused screening of candidates needs to be introduced at the interview stage. The harsh reality is that people are being hired for roles they cannot do, or in some cases they may be taking advantage of the opportunities available and defrauding the company. Not only are these costly errors internally but they can also cost your company dearly in negative press.

Screen your candidates thoroughly, making absolutely sure there are no lurking convictions or exaggerated CVs and skills rendering them incompetent for the role. While the pressure to hire the best talent is real, make sure you’re not rushing candidates through the hiring process.

Welcome with support

After attentive screening and interviews, the recruitment process is far from finished. As we have previously emphasised, your recruitment process must culminate in carefully designed onboarding. Make sure that you continue to observe and engage new hires during your onboarding process to ascertain their personality and suitability for your company culture. Some candidates are economical with the truth because they want a job; it’s your job to make sure an informed decision is made prior to offering a candidate a role.

Think about it

It’s important to appreciate the damage poor hiring decisions inflict upon an organisation. For example, the last thing you need is a poor hire taking to social media to complain. You may find desirable candidates decline to be interviewed as a result of the negative press on social media channels.

Recruiters cannot afford to be complacent or careless. Given current pressures and circumstances, that’s exactly the impression that poor hiring decisions can create.

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

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 attract passive candidates

One of the main pressures bearing down on Print and Packaging organisations around the world is satisfying the constant demand for talented staff. It’s unrealistic to expect the most talented candidates to be looking for a new role at the same time you are hiring. Often the most talented candidates are happily engaged in employment elsewhere.

We call these candidates “passive candidates”. A passive candidate is someone who is employed and not looking to change their job, but who may be open to being approached. Approximately 45 percent of the current workforce are considered passive candidates who are happy to have discussions – with the right people. Let’s examine the most effective methods of attracting passive candidates.

…it’s who you know

Using an in-house employee referral programme is one of the most effective methods of recruiting passive candidates. An employee referral programme also increases in-house talent retention, because existing staff are actively promoting the company to friends, family and networking contacts. Passive candidates respond well to referral programmes, in no small part due to the credibility of their in-house contact. Also find a good specialist recruiter who knows your sector and has a good network. They will be an invaluable source of passive candidates if they have authority in their marketplace and will give you access to the very best passive candidates.

Strong branding

One of the first things approached passive candidates will do is Google your organisation and look you up on social media. Make sure your recruitment page is up to date, easy to navigate and shares the strength of your branding and company culture. Your recruitment page also needs a clear call to action, and your current career opportunities must be easily visible. Remember, talented candidates are looking for more than an attractive remuneration package. They’re looking for a company they connect with. Updating your social media feeds with information about company culture and branding creates a dynamic landing platform for the passive candidate when they look you up.

Trust is everything

Professional discretion and rock solid reliability will ensure a passive candidate discusses their possibilities with you in greater depth and detail. It can be stressful discussing a possible – and unexpected – new career opportunity. Make it clear to your candidate up front that you’ll never ring or email using their current work contact details, and you are of course happy to meet and interview outside normal working hours.

Network, network, network

A clever on-going, strategy is to ensure that you attend networking events and build up a steady stream of passive candidate contacts, to be used at a later date. It’s good policy to network whether you are recruiting for a particular role or not. If you use networking as a long range plan of action you build contacts slowly and establish trust with each of your candidates. Professional networking sites such as LinkedIn are a great way to stay in touch.

Know your candidates

When you find an ideal passive candidate, make sure you do your homework. Taking the time to research a candidate properly is worth its weight in gold. It’s extremely flattering for a passive candidate to be approached, particularly with some visible progress already made into understanding their current circumstances.

First impressions are powerful. If you want to win the war for talent in the Print and Packaging sectors, carefully thought out strategies such as these make all the difference.

Athena Executive Search. If you are serious about attracting and retaining the best talent in the Print and Packaging sectors Athena can help. Our 7 Step Recruiting System is designed to ensure that you can recruit and retain the top 15% of candidates in the Print and Packaging market, candidates who are motivated by much more than money. We work in partnership with our clients to fully understand their requirements and ensure that newly recruited staff are joining for the right reasons and looking to develop a long-term career.

Book in for a Client Discovery Call today by clicking on this link https://athena-executive.acuityscheduling.com/

Why Your Print and Packaging Job Advertising Isn’t Working

If you are struggling to fill your Print and Packaging roles, you need to take a good hard look at the possible reasons why.

There could be several factors which are holding the right candidates back from applying for your positions, or it could be a simple case of you not advertising with the right methods or in the right place.

Maybe you shouldn’t be advertising in the first place!

According to a recent survey by LinkedIn only 12% of candidates are actively looking for a new role with a further 13% casually looking. This leaves 75% of candidates not actively seeking a new role who would be unlikely to respond to a job advert. No wonder your advertising isn’t working! Consider asking around your network for recommendations and using a specialist Print and Packaging recruiter. Advertising may well be the wrong way to attract candidates and certainly the top 15% who will be very happy in their present roles.

Are You Advertising in the Right Way?

If you are going to advertise a role the most important part of finding the right candidates for your vacancies is formulating and placing the most appropriate adverts.

First, you should ensure that the advert you are circulating is perfect in every way. You’re not going to get the best people applying if your advert is full of spelling mistakes and doesn’t contain the correct information.

Your advert must have the correct job title, an accurate location, details on salary and any other benefits, a brief but informative job description, requirements (such as qualifications or experience needed for the post) and full details of where and how to apply (for instance, if you want a cover letter, ask for one).

Have You Placed It Appropriately?

Once you have the perfect advert, you need to position it in front of the perfect candidates – and that means making sure it is placed on the right job boards, websites and social media channels.

When advertising Print and Packaging jobs, for instance, you should make sure the details are circulated in specialist Print and Packaging publications / websites. Using the most popular general all-purpose ones is also a must.

Make sure to promote it via your own website and social media channels, too, and remember to include keywords to enhance your chances of reaching more people.

Is Your Application Process Too Complicated?

If you are asking every candidate to fill in a five-page competence-based application form and produce a thousand-word essay on their skills and experience, you may well be putting people off applying in the first place.

Keep your application process simple and relevant. And make sure you respond to everyone who meets your criteria promptly and appropriately – leaving candidates waiting around for weeks could mean you lose the chance to even interview them.

Are You Expecting Too Much?

Hanging around waiting for the perfect candidate who meets all your criteria to apply may just end in disappointment. You will probably have to compromise: the right person for the job may not have as much experience as you would like or possess all of the qualifications you are demanding.

And don’t expect hundreds of people to apply for every job – some more specialised roles will only see a handful of applications.

Is Your Brand Strong Enough?

One more rather harsh reason your job advertising isn’t doing as well as you’d hoped could be that your company’s reputation isn’t as good as you thought it was.

It’s a fact that people are reluctant to apply for a position with a firm they have heard bad things about.

Unfortunately, the only way you can change this is to become a better employer. Start by looking up employee reviews of your firm online, and then ask your current workers how you can improve. If you have a high turnover of Print and Packaging staff, this will be well worth the effort.

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 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.

 

How to improve your work productivity

Productivity is the place where smart planning meets concentrated effort. To some, this place is nirvana: a productivity paradise they have long heard of but do not expect to visit anytime soon. There’s too much to do. To others, productivity is a practical process available to all, provided that you’re prepared to chip in a bit of discipline and effort. We believe in the latter ethos. Productivity is a simple and straightforward process. We just need some coaxing to change our thinking as to how to eke out the best from ourselves at work.

Move!

You almost certainly know that sitting for most of the day damages your health. Research has proved that sitting for 8-10 hours every day without moving around in between causes heart attacks. What does this have to do with productivity we hear you ask? Your energy levels are reduced because you’re not moving around. If your energy levels dip, your concentration levels take a hit. If your concentration is impaired, your decision making isn’t what it could be. Productivity isn’t about how many hours you sit at your desk. Productivity is what you achieve without ruining your health.

Disconnect

In America alone 12.2 billion hours are collectively spent scrolling social media sites. The approximate cost of these diversions in productivity terms is approximately $650 billion per year (that’s about $4,452 per person).

Constantly switching between the task at hand to quickly check your social media feeds impairs your focus levels. While this may not affect you initially, you’ll discover its crippling effects when circumstances demand you focus for an extended period. Monitor your scrolling time. You’ll be happier, have more energy and will notice the world around you again. TV watching is another culprit. As they say, no empire was ever built watching TV. Discipline yourself to one show per evening, and notice how your concentration levels improve.

Think about what you want to achieve and look at how you are realistically going to achieve it. The temptation to escape by watching TV is real, we know, but the advantages and rewards when you resist the urge and get on with going for that swim, walk or catching up with some reading are remarkable.

Plan

Before you leave the office for the day, plan your tasks for tomorrow. Writing a to do list of what you want to get done focuses your mind. When you leave the office you are confident of what needs to be done when you return. Overnight your mind has some time to itself (because you’re not slumped in front of the TV) and, after a while, you’ll start having good ideas. You might find yourself doing some background reading or brainstorming on your commute to work.

You were right all along

Forget multi-tasking. Research has confirmed what our frayed nerves have been trying to tell us: we cannot complete multiple tasks simultaneously. The old rule of “one thing at a time” is back and we’re all more productive because of it.

The key to productivity is working smarter, not harder. You know what you need to do. Far from being a grind, being productive increases positivity, wellbeing and guarantees success. Go for it!

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 latest HR technology trends

HR is an industry which hasn’t exactly kept up with technology trends and this is probably down to the fact that is an industry based on communication and personal relationships. However, we are seeing a lot of interesting new developments in HR and these can be hugely beneficial for businesses for both recruitment and retention. These are some of the top HR tech trends to look out for this year.

Enhanced recruitment process

At the moment, most HR recruitment systems exist for the purpose of tracking candidate applications – however, this is set to change throughout this year. Recruitment systems are set to become a lot slicker, incorporating marketing and brand building, as well as the standard tracking – and this will help improve the overall recruitment and selection process.

Performance management tools 

An effective performance management process is essential for helping to grow talent and improve retention. Up until now, performance management tools have been fairly limited, however, this is starting to change. We will see an influx of cloud based performance management systems, which can help support the process and make performance management a lot more useful.

Digital learning 

In the print and packaging sectors, it is essential for employees to continuously learn and update their skills and with enhancements in digital learning, this is set to become a whole lot easier. Employees will be able to undertake lessons and gain certifications, all through their computers or phones. The on boarding process will even benefit from digital enhancements, and this will improve the entire journey for employees, as well as making manager’s lives a lot easier.

People analytics 

The Print and Packaging sectors are challenging and it can be difficult to retain talented staff, due to the options available for candidates. If you want to know more about what your employees want, people analytics is the way to achieve it. It can all start with simply online surveys, where you can find out more about what your employees want and this can help improve retention levels.

Most businesses could benefit from investing in some of the new HR tech trends, particularly large organisations who want to improve employee relations and retention levels. If your HR systems are stuck in the dark ages, it may be worth looking at alternative options.

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

 

The key challenges in the print sector

In addressing the challenges and concerns of the UK’s print industry, it’s important to remember over 8,600 companies employ over 122,000 individuals and enjoy a gross annual turnover of £13.5 billion. The UK market is the fifth largest producer of printed materials in the world. It’s a powerful player and it will survive the significant challenges facing the industry at present.

New media

There has been a critical decline in the publishing print division (magazines, books, reference books, catalogues and newspapers) due to the “new media” explosion (social media, eBooks). Road maps have been replaced by sat navs and smartphone apps. Search engines have superseded reference materials and books, marketing budgets are focused on and committed to email advertising and websites.

These digital commodities have replaced printed materials and the publication print sector is set to decline an average of 3.7% over the next five years.

UK economy

In comparison to other developed European countries, the UK economy has been rather stable. So far, an immediate post-Brexit financial fallout has not occurred. It’s expected that any downturn will concentrate on already stressed sectors such as graphics and publication products.

Print media marketing

By 2019 it’s expected that just 5% of marketing budgets will be dedicated to physically printed material, due of course to more profitable marketing opportunities emerging from social media and mobile devices.

Employment downturn

While sector turnover has been comparatively stable, the print industry has shown a downturn in the number of employees and companies. There are two elements driving this decline, one a past influence and one a contemporary factor. The fallout from the 2008 recession such as decreased profit margins meant that not all print industry companies survived. By 2012 this situation had stabilised and print industry incomes began to climb. Secondly, advances in automation and production processes have caused a reduction in the overall numbers of employees.

Fixed capital investment

The development of improved production processes mentioned earlier comprises fixed capital investment. Demand has changed direction, from sheet-fed litho to digital, and this is expected to carry on. As a result, companies are choosing the growing digital print market over high volume long run requisitions. Interestingly, cut sheet continues to dominate twice the current market share of digital print.

The challenge of raw materials

It’s expected that crude oil prices will continue to climb, which means the already higher cost of raw materials such as carbon black (10% increase in 2016), hydrocarbon resins (5%) and mineral oils (20%). Drastic shortages of sulphate-based TiO2 due to the Finland Huntsman fire and China’s new production restrictions will receive full analysis and projections in the coming months. Hanjin Shipping’s bankruptcy has further compounded the pressure, as has the increase in transfer times from China and India, as well as cancellation and reduction of routes. Print industry companies need to consider their supply chain and manage the challenges accordingly.

We’re developing, not dying

The majority of the challenges facing the print industry emanate from the consequences of industry development and evolution. Overall, print companies across the industry are doing the right thing: adapting and developing their products in line with new markets and consumer demand. The future is bright.

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 Key Trends in Brand Protection and Security in the Packaging Market

In the face of increasing losses due to more sophisticated counterfeiting and the theft of goods in transit, the packaging market is seeking to develop higher levels of brand protection and security.

Well-recognised threats to brands and goods, combined with revised regulations regarding the shipment of perishable items such as food and drink, are leading to the emergence of new and exciting packaging innovations designed to protect products from both counterfeiting and theft.

And this is good news for the industry as a whole. A recent report about the market predicts that it will grow at an impressive compound annual growth rate of 5.3% over the next five years, reaching $3.6 billion by the end of the forecast period.

What Is Driving This Growth?

There are several factors driving this predicted growth. New laws to help prevent tampering with goods in transit through compulsory labelling and the use of ever more sophisticated tamper-proof measures are currently being introduced in both the EU and America. These will be applicable for ‘life-critical products’, which include food, drinks, industrial components and pharmaceuticals.

In addition, a number of countries – including India, Brazil, Turkey, China and South Korea – have already introduced measures aimed at increasing security within the transportation of goods used in the pharmaceutical industry.

Track and Trace

And the World Health Organization and Framework Convention on Tobacco Control are leading the way by mandating the use of so-called track and trace technologies. These innovative new developments aim to ensure all manner of goods can be accurately tracked throughout their journey from the producer to the client, ensuring that nothing happens to them along the way.

Track and trace technology, in fact, is expected to see the largest growth in coming years – already it makes up 37% of the market. The technology is so advanced that much of it can even be accessed via smartphones.

Another critical factor driving the growth is the extension of certain trade zones across the globe, which have made it easier for counterfeit products to cross borders.

Where Is the Growth Expected?

Experts say the majority of the growth in the area is likely to occur in management systems, software and equipment, with a small decline predicted in actual physical components.

A greater emphasis is being placed on easy measures such as printable codes, which can be used across the board in a wide range of applications to improve brand protection.

The main users of the technology will be the food and drinks sector, with a market share of 38.8%, followed by the industrial sector and pharmaceuticals industry.

So it seems that brand protection and security will be set to play an ever-increasing part in a range of industries in the coming years.

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