P&G Keynote at FFTA’s 2009 Fall Conference
RONKONKOMA, N.Y.—“Get it right the first time.” “Do it over and over the exact same way.” “Keep it simple.” “Don’t let anything get lost in translation.” Four major points dominated the discussion in the opening 30 minutes of Foundation of Flexographic Technical Association’s (FFTA) 2009 Fall Conference.
Sounded by Paul France, principal engineer, technology entrepreneur, printing and substrates, packaging development for The Procter & Gamble Co., and directed to approximately 170 flexographers/FTA members in attendance, the instructions were a component of the kick-off address, “Color Through the Eyes of a Consumer Products Company [CPC].”
France put a question to those present, namely, “What can we do together?” He stressed that CPCs, in general, were looking to partner with innovators in assessing what’s needed, then implementing what’s possible. Their overriding concerns relevant to packaging: shelf-stopping power, holding power, and buying power.
France identified a CPC’s major needs as scale and speed, global distribution, and material and technology range; noting that P&G owns/manufactures 23 billion-dollar brands that come in anything from pouches, bottles, cartons, and blister packs to aerosol cans. The packaging it uses today contains more and more photos than ever before, relies heavily on increased use of halftones and vignettes, and may even be printed on holographic foil or other decorative and challenging materials.
Multi-faceted challenges are commonly put to printer partners of CPCs similar to P&G, according to France. He listed five that matter most.
• Getting it right the first time. “Printing materials must match the target artwork and align on both color and content, which can be the hardest part of the job,” France said.
• Repeatability—print run to print run.
• Color simplification—one course to follow, development of a color library. “P&G’s hope is to move from 2,000 colors to 400 or 500.”
• Common FMOT (first moment of truth) language parameters. France noted, “Consumers don’t speak L*a*b* or Delta E. They say ‘warm and fuzzy.’ Designers, color separators, and printers have to understand those words and easily translate them back to technical terms.”
• Consumer relevant and noticeable FMOTs. “Has anyone heard of sustainability and e-commerce?” France asked.