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Editorial on Afera's 2017 Annual Conference in Turin
Afera's recent Turin Conference was very successful in attendance and feedback on the programme content and structure. This was Afera's 60 Annual Conference, and it has become the Associations's signature event as well as the premier meeting place for the adhesive tape industry.
Why was it important?
130 professionals from the adhesive tape industry came together to share, learn and network. Held in Turin, Italy, at Starhotels Majestic on 4-6 October 2017, the event
- boasted an attendance rate of businesses along the adhesive tape industry value chain that exceeded that of last year’s Hamburg Conference
- attendees included adhesive tape manufacturers, raw materials, packaging and machine suppliers, distributors, converters, research institutions, and national and regional tape organisations from Europe, North America and the Middle East
- delivered compelling presentations, moderation and discussions, including 2 days of lectures grouped around themes of “co-creation from a business perspective” and “co-creation from a technology perspective” in relation to suppliers, sales channels, product development, the supply chain and the application process.
Southern Europe as host
Afera’s Annual Conference is held in a different European city every year, chosen by the Steering Committee (SC) according to a regional rotation schedule and factors such as price and accessibility. Furthermore, a 2016 member survey indicated that members prefer Afera’s conference to be held in Italy in autumn. So this year’s host city, Turin, known as a major European crossroad for industry, commerce and trade, served as the perfect venue.
Event programming was carried out by Secretary-General Astrid Lejeune with the help of Jacques Geijsen, incoming Afera Marketing Committee Chairman and managing director EMEA of American Biltrite, Inc., Evert Smit, Afera Technical Committee Chairman and head of R&D at Lohmann GmbH & Co KG, Bert van Loon, marketing innovation expert & independent strategist, and Afera Marketing Committee (MKC) members.
A great cross-section of upper-level management of the most important players in the tape industry, the 4-day event’s attendance consisted of 130 delegates and 10 partners from 14 European countries including Turkey, plus the U.S. and Israel. 40 delegates came from tape manufacturing companies.
A working programme bringing value to businesses
Ms. Lejeune spent a great deal of time with the Conference MCs and MKC, which are composed of Afera member company delegates, developing a base programme focussed on tomorrow’s tape makers and users that included market data and trends and the latest innovations driving the tape business. The result was a set of 9 valuable presentations given by experts in their respective fields.
The 2 highest rated presentations of the Turin Conference: “Digital Marketing Strategies in 2017” delivered by Finnish social media expert Lasse Rouhiainen and “From confusion to fusion: forget about Generation X,Y and Z... get ready for managing A.I. robots and virtual co-workers,” by Eric Pass, entrepreneurial executive at Eisha bvba (B).
These were closely followed by “Afera Technical Committee Update and Plans for 2018”, delivered by Evert Smit (D), and “Efficient adhesion increase of plastics with aerosol functionalisation” by Markus Kalwar, CEO of kalwar CIV INNOSERV GmbH & Co. KG (D).
Afera members can view general event and speaker feedback material and statistics here, as well as express their views on what they would like to see at next year’s event in Athens. Look for coverage of the 9 lectures in the 2018 issues of Afera News.
The MCs and experts debates
Afera’s 2 energetic moderators, Mr. Geijsen and Mr. Smit, hosted the Turin event. The MCs held experts discussions at the end of the first day of the Conference and in between a few of the presentations on the second day.
Key takeaways from the 7 presentations that were echoed in the panel debate:
- Opening up the door to co-operate and share in co-creation, including moving quickly and through artificial barriers, such as company policy, will set your business on course
- Understanding that the more you share, the closer the customer will come to you
- Integrating vertically in the adhesive tape market, from manufacturer to user, will only succeed in the future with co-creation if you want to gain and maintain a competitive edge
- Leveraging the platform that you find for your business is key, as the future world will be governed by platforms and how quickly you can adapt and differentiate yourself among your competitors will determine your success
- Noticing not only what your competition is doing but what the rest of the supply chain is up to is key (i.e. if they are all online, you had better be there too!)
- Positioning your product/content on YouTube and other social media channels could boost your profile tremendously
- Noticing what purchasing decisions (i.e. using tape over other solutions) can be tracked through big data and analysing data already available to you through Google and Google Trends could help your market focus
- Learning how big companies can misuse data in the selling process is educational
- Learning the best available technology for efficient increase of plastics with aerosol functionalisation and that it will push fluoride out of the market is just one of the new technologies marking the significant transformation we will see in tape chemistry from suppliers
- Supporting customers in the future through artificial intelligence/robot technology is something every business will have to start thinking about
- Evaluating the networking, presenting and content values of the Annual Conference will help us serve our membership better.
This marked Afera’s 6th set of panel events, which centred on dealing with today’s complexity through the tape industry value chain in the 2 areas of core business and technology.
Combined with the customary Conference programme of 2 days of lectures and activities were the biyearly meetings of the Steering, Technical and Marketing Committees, which took place on 3 and 4 October.
Members of all 3 committees are working on Afera’s education curriculum and recruitment pilot initiatives. While the MKC is developing its content marketing initiative (website, social media, mailings and publications) and the programme details of Afera’s next Conference on 3-5 October 2018 at the Divani Apollon Palace & Thalasso, Vouliagmeni (Athens), Greece, the TC is planning its strengthened regulatory affairs agenda and the 1st Afera Global Adhesive Tape Summit 2018 on 11-15 June 2018 at the Sheraton Munich Arabellapark Hotel in Munich, Germany.
Read about the activities of the committees in the General Assembly Minutes of 2017.
Networking most important
The Annual Conference’s working and social programmes both provided more than “adequate time for networking”, which was determined via paper survey at the conclusion of the event to be most valued at the get-together along with the excursions.
A guided tour of the Museo dell’Automobile di Torino followed by elegant dining and live entertainment at the Museo del Risorgimento gave company and industry colleagues the chance to change pace and interact informally in uniquely stimulating atmospheres.
What tape companies say
The Afera Conference provided for an interesting and positive experience. The opportunity to discuss market trends and to increase our tape world network makes it an important event for our market segment. Presentations from different players allow us to see our industry and market needs from different perspectives.
Country Manager Nitto Italy, Regional Sales Manager South Europe
Nitto Italia s.r.l./ Nitto Europe N.V.
As always, the Afera gathering offers the perfect time to spend a couple of days with suppliers of raw materials, producers of machinery, customers and competitors. I get information and different viewpoints on the market situation and other issues, I close deals for the last quarter of the year with suppliers, and I hold meetings about technical quality issues and new developments with suppliers and customers. Most importantly, I get to be with colleagues, friends and competitors in one setting, creating a positive industry feeling.
Ricardo Fuentes Fernández
Cintas Adhesivas Ubis S.A.
It was a great Conference with a positive mood and atmosphere in a wonderful, historical city. The working programme struck a good balance between internal tape industry and external business world content.
Sales & Marketing Manager IATD
The Conference in Turin provided yet another great opportunity to meet with all players in our industry, exploring the common challenges we all face, renewing old friendships and creating new ones. The atmosphere was positive and dynamic, supported by some great conference topics, both industry-specific and more general to business. A thoroughly worthwhile few days topped off by incredible Italian opera singers. Very memorable!
Advance Tape International Ltd.
I found the event to be very interesting. I enjoyed learning about the organisation, and I found it very refreshing how everyone was very friendly and willing to network with one another. I could tell that many of the attendees have built long-standing relationships.
West Europe Business Development Manager, 3M Industrial Adhesives and Tapes Division
Next year’s Conference in Athens, Greece
Afera’s Turin Conference demonstrated how the European adhesive tape industry can come together so successfully to discuss challenging issues, meet partners and do business.
Don’t miss next year’s Annual Conference in Athens, Greece, held on 3-5 October 2018 at the Divani Apollon Palace & Thalasso in Vouliagmeni. If you would like to make a suggestion about next year’s event, please contact Afera’s Secretariat on +31 (0)70 312 39 16 or via email.
Special thanks to those who supported the Turin Conference:
Afera’s most recent Annual Conferences
2016 – Hamburg, Germany – "Managing at the speed of change"
2015 – Marseille, France – “What is our next frontier?”
2014 – Dubrovnik, Croatia – “The future of the European adhesive tape industry: Technology, trends, and markets”
2013 – Taormina, Sicily, Italy – “Moving from survival to growth in the post-crisis tape market”
2012 – Madrid, Spain – “Sustainability: Hype or your chance now?”
2011 – Berlin, Germany
2010 – Stockholm, Sweden
2009 – Cracow, Poland
2008 – Florence, Italy – Afera’s 50th anniversary celebratory conference press release
2007 – Barcelona, Spain
2006 – Nice, France