Over 300 senior delegates including converters, brand owners and label designers attended the inaugural Label Summit Africa, held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) between 19-20 March. Designed to look at fresh and radical ways of doing business, the Summit’s content led to detailed and well attended panel discussions and the innovative programme proved thought provoking and brought new ideas of how to do business across the wider continent to the forefront.

Organised by the Labelexpo Global Series team, the keynote address was given by Jay Gouliard of Avery Dennison Label and Packaging Materials. Highlighting the importance of innovation, Gouliard looked at the opportunities and benefits offered by eco labels and innovation packaging, whilst outlining that increasing sustainability can maximise profitability. Other presentations included Dr Adrian Steele of Mercian Labels Group who gave a case study on how online marketing transformed a short run label printing business model. Hewlett-Packard Indigo’s Christian Menegon with Grant Watson from Rotolabel outlined the benefits of digital printing and other digital technologies with case studies on Coca Cola, Sprite and Wing Man.

The printer panel discussion addressed the challenges and opportunities facing label converters and examined the requirements of export markets for global competitiveness. The retailer panel discussion, which included panellists from Woolworths, Clicks and Shoprite, tackled private labels versus premium brands and also considered the importance of personalisation with the growing demand for short run promotions. The beverage panel discussion comprised of wine producers including Boland Cellar, Boer & Brit and Haskell Vineyards and label designer Fanakalo, looked at brand enhancement and engaging consumers through product promotion.

Supporting the conference, the Summit also featured a table-top exhibition and impactful and innovative social programme. Delegates and exhibitors’ time was effectively and productively spent with valuable and unique networking opportunities throughout the event.  Over 200 delegates attended a private dinner and beach party at Grand Café & Beach in Granger Bay on the opening evening, while over 150 enjoyed wine tasting and a blending, bottling and labeling session at the stunning Zevenwacht wine estate, part of the Stellenbosch Wine Route.

Roger Pellow, Labelexpo managing director, said, Label Summit Africa 2012 has been an enormous success – far exceeding our original expectations. Delegate and exhibitor feedback has been hugely positive particularly about the Summit’s content and choice of venue. The event brought the whole supply chain and label industry together with around 15% delegates being brand designers or owners like SAB Miller, KWV and Appletiser.

It is very clear that the programme of speakers gave the audience an inspiring and fresh insight into ways of doing business and opening up new opportunities. We’re confident that the mix of technology presentations, discussion panels and customer case studies ensured delegates gained new ideas and techniques on how they can successfully further their business across the African continent. We will be returning in 2014.

Quotes from exhibitors at Label Summit Africa 2012:

AB Graphic International Ltd: Taking part in the table-top exhibition and social events at Label Summit Africa was an excellent opportunity to have quality time with our customers and prospects and to reinforce our commitment to the region. We are delighted to report that we have a confirmed order from Uniprint Labels & Packaging SA for an Omega HSR330 complete with die cutting station.

Flint Group Narrow Web: It was a very well organised conference with a perfect balance of interesting presentations from across the value chain of labelworld. We found the input from end users such as the retailers, winemakers and label designers very encouraging as they expressed a need for innovation and value added approach. These aspects are core to those developing inks that enable the industry to push the boundaries.  We have been active in South Africa since 1999 and we see a positive development for the label industry here. We will be back for sure at the next event.

Gallus: We are positively surprised about the turnout at the Summit, which created a very good networking platform for the industry and gave the regional players the opportunity to exchange and discuss their thoughts about the future developments of the label industry in South Africa.

Omet: The event proved to play a fantastic role as a launching pad for the rest of the African continent, leading the way to all surrounding countries.

Pantec GS Systems: The Summit has shown that the local label printing market is ready for efficient, high quality refining. Peter Frei, CEO of Pantec GS Systems, is extremely satisfied with the response for in-line foiling and foil saving systems. The wine label market here is expected to see an increasing demand for refining, consequently the need for efficient in-line refining with flat bed will grow substantially. For customers from outside the wine areas, reducing the cost on foil is important as well. They see opportunities with rotary foil saving systems movable on the rail to reduce hot foil cost and replace cold foil by hot foil with savers.

Paragon Inks: Label Summit Africa was a great experience and platform for Paragon Inks. Not only reaffirming their commitment to all their existing customers in the African market, but developing new potential customer leads and co supplier relationships too. We look forward to the second Summit in 2014, which we hope will be bigger and better with regards to the attendance of additional African countries, support of more industry suppliers, more technical content and open workshops as well as the unique networking opportunities.

ROTOCONTROL: Label Summit Africa was a success for the ROTOCONTROL stand, where ROTOTEC and Apple Die were also represented. We received three finishing machine purchase orders at the show, had the opportunity to greet numerous existing customers and met many new converters. The show and networking events were well organised and thoroughly enjoyed by all our staff who took part in the Summit. ROTOCONTROL was honored to be a part of the premiere edition of Label Summit Africa, and we look forward to participating in future editions.