31 August 2021

In conversation with our opening conference speakers

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TLMI president Linnea Keen and AWA president and CEO Corey Reardon explain why they are presenting at the upcoming Label Congress 2021. They also share their thoughts on the label and package printing industry in the region, and beyond.

Can you tell us why you decided to present at this year’s Label Congress 2021 in Chicago?
Linnea Keen (LK): With this being the first event for the industry, I am so appreciative of the opportunity to present at Label Congress this year and support Tarsus. It will be nice to engage and network with converters and suppliers in an intimate setting. I look forward to co-presenting with Corey Reardon and sharing the latest market trends both globally and in North America.
Corey Reardon (CR): In addition to sharing the stage with Linnea, and our long time relationship with Tarsus, Labels & Labeling and Labelexpo Global Series, the decision to present at this year’s label congress 2021 in Chicago, was an easy one. This Label Congress 2021 is one of the first in-person events for the label industry since the start of the pandemic and subsequent lock downs in early 2020. The need for networking, sharing of information and having in-person dialog is more important than ever, and this year’s Label Congress 2021 is providing that.
Can you give us a sneak preview of what you will be speaking about in your joint session?
LK: Additionally, we will provide correlation between the trends in specific market segments.
CR: Together with Linnea, we will enlighten the audience with real time data and information on the overall label market worldwide, by region and label format, providing insights on key trends and growth characteristics, with a deep dive on US market trends and challenges facing converters and suppliers alike.
Can you share your thoughts on some of the label and package printing trends you are seeing in the region and more globally currently? 
LK: I completely agree with Corey on all the points he mentioned. In addition, label converters are being pushed to limits on capacity, backlogs, and material supplies that they are getting creative to manage all of those in order to meet the demands of their customers.
CR: The label and package printing trends are regionally and globally clear: the impact of Covid-19, supply chain disruptions, strong demand, sustainability, digitization, and tight labor markets, to name a few, are impacting the label industry in unprecedented ways, putting significant stress on all aspects of doing business.
What are the biggest challenges facing the label and package printing industry in North America and globally over the next five years?
LK: I would echo what Corey has highlighted and really emphasize the biggest challenges will be related to consolidation and human capital with an emphasis on the latter. Many experts in the human resources field anticipate employees will continue to place a high value on flexibility, company culture and the company’s vision and strategy specifically related to sustainability. Over the past year we have accelerated 5+ years in so many areas of business that it will be fascinating to watch which trends stay and which ones continue to accelerate. The past 18 months have shown how resilient the label and packaging industry is and the future is certainly bright.
CR: Related to the trends identified, the challenges facing the label and packaging printing industry over the next five years, is to adapt to the new normal in a post Covid-19 environment, reach an optimized supply/demand balance, create an expedited level of circularity and sustainability across the value chain, invest and share knowledge around digitization, and find creative ways to collectively hire, retain, train, and share human resources. 
Hear from Linnea Keen and Corey Reardon at the opening conference session ‘Introduction: global market overview’, which takes place from 9:15am to 10am on Wednesday, September 29.

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