The time is right to back packagers

I\'m writing this column on a return flight from the Packager Summit in Monte Carlo, hosted by Mortgage Strategy\'s sister brand, Mortgagedistributor.co.uk. It was well worth attending.

When you set off to these sorts of event, there’s always a nagging feeling in the back of your mind that although you will enjoy yourself – who wouldn’t on the Mediterranean coast? – they might not be worthwhile from a business perspective. But I have no such reservations about the Packager Summit.

And it wasn’t just the location and the excellent seminar sessions that inspired my admiration. Sure, they are important factors but for me, the key benefit was being able to talk to professionals about the issues of the day and hear opinions from the horse’s mouth.

Unfortunately, we work in an industry in which rumours spread like wildfire so it quickly becomes impossible to separate fact from fiction. This is particularly true of the packaging community, where bad news for one or two firms is immediately interpreted as trouble for the whole sector.

Clearly, packagers have some important issues to address but they’re well aware of that and are more than capable of rising to the challenge.

The liquidity crisis has been a serious setback but packagers built their reputations – not to mention their businesses – on being able to see and exploit market opportunities. They did this in the uncertain period after Mortgage Day and I’ve no doubt they’ll do it again.

One of packagers’ strengths is their willingness to enter into dialogue with business partners to address the issues of the day.

This trait was evident in Monte Carlo. Anything is possible when everyone around the table is willing to talk and work together to find a way to get things done.

This may sound obvious but all too frequent-ly it’s not the case. I’ve been in situations where individuals are not even willing to communicate effectively in the same organisation, let alone between organisations.

If communication is one of the keys to success, I feel confident about the future of the packaging sector.

We get a lot of our business from packagers and it has been suggested that given the prevailing market conditions we should consider reducing our dependence on them. Nothing could be further from our thoughts.

This is no time to abandon this important market sector. On the contrary, we should show our support and confirm our commitment to packagers. I have no doubt that plenty of other organisations that attended the Packager Summit will feel the same way.