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Welcome change.

"Either you innovate, or you are in commodity hell," said Oren Harari in an address in October to the members of the Tag & Label Manufacturers Institute. "You must define and lead the agendas for your industry."

Harari, currently a professor at the Graduate School of Business at the University of San Francisco and the author of seven books, delivered a penetrating talk to the members of TLMI. This was not another pep talk. Harari is aware of manufacturing and of the packaging business, its recent ups and downs, its focus on eliminating waste and defects, its need to move beyond the ho-hum (the dreaded commodity status) and imitation into the realm of inspired creativity, into new markets, to go to customers with new ideas that will work, rather than wait for clients to demand change.

His presence and his words at the TLMI Annual Meeting in Palm Springs--at which suppliers mingle with converters for four days of networking, education and recreation--reflected something new in the composition of that august association. Improvement in the economic climate helps, most certainly, but there were other signs that this industry has turned a corner.

Lots of new members were in the audience, as well as prospective members. Lots of younger faces in the crowd, many of them the daughters and sons of industry pioneers. A good deal of interest in Lean Manufacturing principles. And energy: The air crackled with change.

There were 73 label converters at that meeting, a minuscule number considering the thousands out there. But it is this group that makes the changes happen because they print the lion's share of big name labels and they have a hunger to learn more of what it takes to be different, be better.

TLMI has taken visible steps recently to rachet up the quality of its meetings by providing serious education in the form of speakers like Harari, interactive work sessions, and practical contributions by the members. It's safe to say that this positive trend will continue, because--as Suzanne Zaccone of Graphic Solutions once observed--this ain't your father's label company any more.

Jack Kenny

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Title Annotation:EDITORIAL
Author:Kenny, Jack
Publication:Label & Narrow Web
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Nov 1, 2004
Previous Article:2004-2005 industry events.
Next Article:PCMC launches technical center.

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