'Business as Usual Isn't an Option' for 900 Flexographers at FFTA

RONKONKOMA, NY, USA—"No blame, no excuses," was some of the advice imparted by the Foundation of the Flexographic Technical Association's keynote speaker at FFTA's annual forum held earlier this month in Salt Lake City, UT. Barry Wishner, "a noted consultant," delivered the keynote speech, "Savvy Leadership... No Limits, No Boundaries," to the event's approximately 900 flexo attendees, in which he maintained, "Business as usual is not an option," reports FFTA's wrap-up press release.

According to FFTA, the May 4-7, 2003, forum—themed "Reaching New Heights"—was chaired by Green Bay Engraving's Paul Lancell and opened with a consumer-product company summit that addressed the present-day demands of package buyers and the most practical approaches that printers and converters can utilize in meeting them. Orchestrated by Ken Lowden of DuPont Imaging Technologies, FFTA's Forum 2004 chairperson, the summit included the results of Lowden's "Wisdom Team" focus group sessions. "In the weeks leading up to the forum," says FFTA, "he conducted a series of [such] sessions to gather input and response of printers/converters, prepress providers, and suppliers to the call-to-action issued by package buyers at the FFTA's 2002 forum. Topping the buyers' wish list was 'predictable results.'"

FFTA says in reponse to the call-to-action, flexographers embraced the continued roll-out of tools like FTA's flexographic image reproduction specifications and tolerances (FIRST) guidelines, which "promote measurement and benchmarking."

For the package buyers' part, FFTA attendees suggested the development of a "Designer's Guide for Flexo," and, adds FFTA, "Wisdom Team members urged package buyers to 'optimize the production process by including the printers and prepress technicians in design, planning, and review meetings.' That, they said, would assist consumer-product companies in attaining another major goal cited in 2002—'getting it right the first time.'"

In addition to the educational dialogue sessions and the FFTA Excellence in Flexography Awards ceremony, the four-day event featured the 198-booth Info*Flex expo, which included "the latest in productivity-enhancing equipment offerings of 155 printing/converting supplier partners."

Says attendee Peter Murphy, plant manager, Smurfit-Stone Display Group/Castle Rock, "Benefits of the FFTA Forum to the flexographic community are innumerable. [It] has the latest technical information, training, networking with the best in the industry, machinery, advancements in technology, and the latest tools available, vendors, etc.—all of this and much more at the fingertips of anyone who wants to attend."

FFTA's 2004 Forum is slated for April 25-28 at the Wyndham Anatole, Dallas, TX. Info*Flex 2004 will be housed at Anatole's Trinity Hall, and exhibit dates are April 25 and 26. In addition, FFTA says its Forum committee has issued a call for papers and is accepting abstracts from potential speakers through July 24, 2003. Visit FFTA at flexography.org.



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