The Paperboard Packaging Council’s (PPC) hosted its annual Spring Outlook & Strategies Conference as a live event in Denver from March 9 – 11, and the folding carton and rigid box industry was happy to shake off the social isolation to meet in person for this three-day conference. The event was future focused, and made clear that the paperboard packaging industry is reevaluating itself in the post-pandemic world.

Sustainability Is Back in Focus

COVID put the topic of sustainability on the backburner as safety, hygiene, e-commerce, delivery, and supply chain challenges understandably grabbed our collective focus. But the PPC Spring Meeting brought sustainability back, shining the light on legislation being considered in several states that would enact policies that extend producer responsibility. These changes could have significant consequences for paper and wood products industries.

We heard from leaders of the American Forest and Paper Association (AF&PA) whose mission is to advocate for a strong and sustainable U.S. paper and wood products industry. Leaders from the organization spoke of the intense demand for corrugate, cardboard, and paper, and how that demand is creating supply chain challenges that impact sustainability. They also presented on the AF&PA’s major sustainability initiative to protect the future of the industry, which you can read about here: Better Practices, Better Planet 2030: Sustainable Products for a Sustainable Future. 

New Challenges Ahead in 2022

We heard even more about supply and demand issues at the conference, and the potential price increases as a result of raw pulp prices and transportation costs. 

Labor shortages were another prominent topic, and there were helpful presentations on strategies and tactics for dealing with that. 

With all these issues looming on the horizon, IMPACT contributed to the practical voices offering expertise and advice on how to navigate and weather these storms, and the opportunities they can present for savvy packaging organizations.

Partners in Planning and Strategy

There were three critical pieces of advice that we offered at the conference—and whether you attended or not, they are valuable takeaways that you can use to create a strategic plan for your company to find savings and increase profitability through some of the uncertainties that 2022 will bring.

1. Use The Labor You Do Have For High Value Work

If you have people—or are needing people—to accomplish waste or slug removal, we have a solution for that. There are several modifications that can be made to your press that can eliminate the need for people in this role. Not only can these custom modules improve efficiencies, they can also reduce your die cost per part over time, saving you money. This is just one example of how we can help you navigate some aspects of the labor shortage. Ask us about others.

2. Examine Your Cost of Die Per Part

You may imagine that saving money by purchasing less expensive dies up front is financially prudent, but empirical analyses of your dies, tools, and systems typically proves that investing in custom equipment of high quality is actually much cheaper over time. We conduct cost benefit analyses at no cost to you to show you how much you can actually save—if you are open to the idea of rethinking how you convert products in order to win on pricing.

3. Seek Expertise

2022 is going to be competitive, and you need to find every advantage you can get. Working with engineering experts who can help you reduce waste, handle it more efficiently, meet regulatory requirements, extend die life, and recommend alternatives to your existing set up can mean the difference between getting by and thriving. 

IMPACT has a dedicated tech team that can help you do just that. Set up a time to talk with one of experts now, and let us become your strategic partner to navigate around the challenges everyone in paperboard packaging is facing.