Afera Annual Conference 2015
Why was it important?
Afera’s Annual Conference welcomed more than a hundred of Europe’s best and brightest in the adhesive tape industry who came together to share, learn and network. Held in Marseille, France, at the Intercontinental Marseille Hotel Dieu, 7-10 October 2015, the event:
- Boasted a 20% higher attendance rate from businesses along the adhesive tape industry value chain and more delegates from tape manufacturers
- Offered the highest quality presentations, moderation and discussions to date, including a bonus, pre-Conference content marketing seminar and two days of lectures grouped around themes of internal and external views on the tape industry
- Saw an equal concentration of discussions on strategising for the future and daily management of business
- Demonstrated with its updated theme, format and choice of future locations, along with its very positive reception, that Afera is meeting the evolving needs of businesses within the European tape industry value chain.
Western Europe as host
Afera’s Annual Conference is held in a different European city every year, chosen by the Steering Committee according to its regional rotation scheme and other important factors such as price and accessibility. This year’s event, organised in France’s second largest city and largest commercial port, Marseille, was hosted by Afera’s “Western Europe” region of membership, represented in the SC by Laurent Derolez (Chargeurs/Novacel S.A.). It was carefully put together by Secretary-General Astrid Lejeune with the help of masters of ceremony Bert van Loon, marketing innovation expert and independent strategist, and Jean-Loop Masson, director of R&D at Novacel, and Afera’s committees.
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 135 delegates and 14 partners from 13 European countries including Turkey, plus the U.S., China and India. 46 delegates came from tape manufacturing companies, making up the highest proportion of the total attendance of the last several years.
What content would be of greatest value to Afera members? Ms. Lejeune spent a great deal of time with the Conference MCs and committees, which are composed of Afera member company delegates, developing a programme focussed on exploring “the next frontier” of the tape industry that included market data and trends, raw materials pricing and supply, and the latest innovations driving the tape business. The result was a set of 11 presentations which either looked in on the adhesive tape industry from an external perspective or looked out on the external business world from the constellations of “planets” of tape-related companies. Lectures were given by real experts and “captains” in their respective fields.
“Recycled, biobased, biodegradable: Modern concepts for sustainable tapes,” delivered by Dr. Tobias Blömker of tesa SE was the highest-rated presentation of the Marseille Conference. This was closely followed by three equally popular lectures: “A blood-resistant surgical glue for minimally invasive repair of vessels and heart defects” by Nora Lang of the Dept. of Paediatric Cardiology and Congenital Heart Disease of the German Heart Centre Munich, “What if we can print 3D buildings?” by Hedwig Heinsman, co-founder and partner of DUS Architects, and “Update on the global adhesives raw materials market” by Lydia Garyfallou of HB Fuller. Afera members can view general event and speaker feedback statistics here, as well as express their views on what they would like to see at next year’s event. Look for detailed coverage of the eleven lectures in the next few issues of Afera News.
Captains of industry debates
This time two captains of industry debates were highlights of the Conference, and this year’s MCs shook things up a little by planning the lively discussions at the end of both days of the working programme. This marked Afera’s fourth COI panel event, at which insiders in today’s European adhesive tape business, as well as external industry experts, talked frankly about their personal and company views on topics like replacing mechanical fastening in industrial design, understanding customer needs, technical features, services, collaborative innovation, speed of innovation, luck, and daily business management.
Especially Mr. Van Loon did a great job of getting the audience to move to different sides of the room according to their reactions to various opinions held within the tape business. Both days’ conversations revealed that many tape-related organisations are heavily focussed on daily, monthly, and perhaps yearly affairs, as opposed to long-term planning. Second, the consensus of the COIs and audience was that luck plays the largest part in innovation. Read more
Combined with the customary Conference programme of two days of lectures and activities were the biyearly meetings of the Technical, Marketing and Steering Committees. Most significantly, Afera member company delegates discussed and decided upon Afera’s social media and content marketing initiative, afera.com content and metrics, member recruitment, advertising and sponsorship, development of the global Loop Tack Test Method, co-operation with FEICA at the company level on monitoring the CoRAP process under REACH, participating in the European BREF revision via ESVOC, representation in ERPC meetings, the successful outcome of the Technical Seminar 2015, the next Global Tape Forum meeting (17-18 May 2016, Beijing, China), increased representation and involvement in regulatory affairs including the creation of a regulatory activities experts group, new focus on industry standards, organisation of the Tape College 2016 (18-20 April, Brussels, Belgium), and the development of Afera’s educational curriculum programme. Read more
The Annual Conference’s social programme provided “adequate time for networking”, which was determined via paper survey to be the most valued aspect of the event along with “hotel facilities and service”. A walking tour of Notre Dame de Garde, drinks at Le Palais Longchamps park, and elegant seaside dining allowed company and industry colleagues to unwind and connect on issues that might not have been broached in the boardroom.
What Members want from Afera
On the participants surveys filled out and handed in at the conclusion of the event, Conference attendees who were also members were asked what they would like to gain from their Association membership over the next few years. Most responses centred around:
- Networking with other tape manufacturers, suppliers, end users, partners, competitors and global counterpart tape associations, and
- Regular information on relevant market trends, issues and predictions.
Afera’s management and committees are taking these results into account in the planning of their activities. Read more
Next year’s event in Hamburg, Germany
Afera’s Marseille 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 Hamburg, Germany. Hosted by Afera’s “Central Europe” region of membership, the event will be held from 5-8 October at the SIDE Hotel Hamburg. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special thanks goes to these Marseille Conference sponsors: