Catching up with raw material supplier H.B. Fuller: Melanie Ott on looking at the adhesive tape value chain in its truest form
You may recognise Melanie Ott as the clever master of ceremonies along with strategist Bert van Loon at Afera’s most recent Conferences in Athens and Lisbon. What you may not know is that Ms. Ott has been a Member of Afera’s Steering Committee (SC) since 2017, focusing much of her energy on developing the Association’s new strategy.
Recently Afera Secretary General Astrid Lejeune sat down with Ms. Ott, who is the global business manager of tapes and labels at H.B. Fuller, to discuss her company’s Afera Membership and her perspective from the board.
How long have you been connected to the tape business?
I can’t believe it, but it’s already been 20 years! I’ve worked pretty much the whole time with pressure sensitive adhesives in different functions, from technical to commercial.
What is H.B. Fuller’s particular focus on the tape market?
My company mainly supplies solvent-based acrylics, solvent-based rubbers and hot melts to the adhesive tape industry. With these products, we cover a wide range of applications, from automotive, building construction and special masking tapes to protective films.
How active is your company in Afera?
We’ve been a Member since July 2014. H.B. Fuller employees are active in both Afera’s Technical and Steering Committees, participating in Committee Meetings regularly. Because of the relevant content and people we tend to see, we always try to bring a few more colleagues with us to the Annual Conference, Technical Seminar and Tape College, and we plan to keep doing so in the future.
How did you get to know the Association, and what is your greatest takeaway?
Back in 2009, I changed positions within my previous employer from R&D to business, so I took over my predecessor’s spot on Afera’s Technical Committee. The networking aspect really stands out for me. I’ve made a lot of good contacts throughout the Industry, from customers to partners and suppliers. This helps on a professional level, because I always know who to call if a question or issue comes up. On a personal level too, I’ve met some great people.
How has Afera touched your business and industry?
In addition to providing an excellent networking platform, the Association offers forums like conferences and the digital newsletter so that we can both learn from the Industry and raise awareness for our company and its capabilities. The work that Afera has done in harmonising test methods at European and global levels also helps us carry out our business, as it does all Members.
How is it being part of Afera’s decision-making leadership? What do you bring to the SC table?
Obviously I was honoured when asked to join the SC, as I wasn’t expecting it at that time in my professional life. So it’s interesting to see how I’ve developed since first coming into contact with Afera. It’s important that I offer the supplier perspective within the tape industry, meaning that I see many tape manufacturers and represent the needs and concerns of all the companies in Afera’s supplier Member class, not just H.B. Fuller’s. I think bringing suppliers into the SC fold was a good move, because we can contribute to looking at the adhesive tape value chain in its truest form.
Are there any particular highlights during your years of work with Afera?
Yes, my favourite project that I have taken on has been overhauling the Association’s goals and strategy starting in 2018. We underwent a generation change in the SC, and it was time to visit what we were doing well and what we wanted to do differently. I liked the process you took us through, along with Bert, and most importantly, I like the outcome and where we’re headed now. It’s great to see our objectives start to come to life.
So where do you see Afera in 5 years from now?
Our new vision: Afera is widely known and valued as the go-to community of the European tape industry for both Industry and non-Industry stakeholders. Stakeholders connect within the Afera community to address current and future key topics, which individual stakeholders cannot or prefer not to tackle themselves. In 5 years, despite our current situation, I hope we’ll see many of our objectives fully formed, such as our Future Workforce and Sustainability projects, just to mention 2. I look forward to making this happen from my position on the SC.
Current SC composition
|Tape Manufacturer||Lohmann||Evert Smit||9/2021|
|Tape Manufacturer||Nitto||Dirk Pittoors||9/2023|
|Tape Manufacturer||tesa||Reinhard Storbeck||9/2021|
|Tape Manufacturer||ABI||Jacques Geijsen||9/2020|
|Supplier||H.B. Fuller||Melanie Ott||9/2020|
If you are or know of an Active Member who is interested in joining Afera’s SC, please contact Afera Secretary-General Astrid Lejeune on +31 70 312 39 16 or send an e-mail here for more details about applying or nominating a candidate. Read Afera’s Statutes here.