Mainstreaming IML requires supply chain collaboration

10/26/2012

At the recent IMLCON produced by AWA Alexander Watson Associates, I gave a keynote address that looked at what it will take to mainstream in-mold labeling into packaging applications. In addition to some of the often mentioned obstacles to this technology in North America such as lack of IML label suppliers and the large number of SKUs that brand owners carry, the long and complex supply chain seems to be a big hurdle for adoption of IML.

In my keynote, I offered some tips on how IML can achieve better adoption rates among packaging suppliers: Education, Innovation and Collaboration. That last one - collaboration - can be a stumbling block for many companies because the standard model in the moldmaking and molding industry when working with OEMs is one of 'silos' and walls. One example of how a collaborative effort can successfully implement IML came from Spartech Packaging Technologies (Pack Expo; booth #N-5111), which had its newest packaging on display at IMLCON.

According to Jeffrey Best, director of marketing for Spartech Packaging, the project required the company to consider various options, including direct printing, shrink sleeves, and pressure sensitive labeling, and then implement a label decorating strategy to complement their existing capabilities.

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