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Partnering for the good of the industry

The printing, packaging and signage industry comprises three distinct players: suppliers, printers or converters and end-customers. In order for a product to achieve the right effect and result each one of these players must play their part. Suppliers have to provide equipment, consumables and solutions of the highest standard. Printers and converters have to use those items to produce top quality finished products. Customers have to provide artwork created to exacting standards which can be processed easily and which are compatible with the materials used.

The constant aim for all of these players is to ensure that their part in the process is the best it can be, and when they all work towards this goal, quality is assured. Quality is the overriding focus of The GAPP Awards, a competition for the printing, packaging and signage industry which strives to find, reward and promote excellence of the printed image. The GAPP Awards is a bi-annual competition which was first presented in 2016 and which has experienced significant growth and overwhelming acceptance from the greater printing industry.

The competition offers printers and converters the opportunity to pit similar types of work against each other in 60 categories covering all sectors and processes in the printing, packaging and signage industry. For suppliers and manufacturers it offers the ability to participate through the opportunity of sponsorships. Encouraging companies to sponsor an unknown competition is never easy, however, from the very outset Avery Dennison saw the potential and subsequent value of The GAPP Awards and has been the Associate Level Sponsor since the first event. Now, as we approach the third event – The GAPP Awards 2020 – Avery Dennison has once again taken its place as the leading sponsor. We spoke to Lindy van Moerkerken, Business Manager for Graphics & Reflective at Avery Dennison South Africa to find out what it is that keeps the company coming back as the headline sponsor and what The GAPP Awards means and offers to Avery Dennison.

LvM: The important thing for us is that we have been involved since the get-go of The GAPP Awards project and we certainly saw the value then, and we continue to see the value now. It offers us the opportunity to grow our business partners. The engagement with the converters in the market is critical, especially when you consider that we are two tiers removed given that we work with a distributor network. In order for us to stay on top of our game, it is really important that we continue to build the knowledge base and to understand what the drivers for our converters are, what makes their business a success, especially in the light of the dire economic state at present.

We need to know what assists their growth, to build their business and to recognise where people perform well and where they become the custodians of the industry and to understand what is unique, where the niche markets lie and how we can develop with some of the innovation that we have in our stable to ensure that we are still leaders in the industry. Since the formation of The GAPP Awards, there has been the recognition that it is not only the Graphics Division, but that there is the Labels part where we saw a significant amount of work being done at the last awards. Getting that sector more involved so that it can build the recognition with the converters in that market.

The one thing that has stood Avery Dennison in good stead is that we drive customer excellence and The GAPP Awards play such a pivotal role in our engagement with our end users. It gives us the opportunity to engage with those end users in a very direct and positive way. It also clearly demonstrates our interest as a partner for mutually-beneficial relationships with these companies and which will drive their success which is ultimately, our success. The GAPP Awards gives us that platform to build those relationships and recognise where people do go the extra mile and show the innovation.

GAPP: Does the investment into sponsoring The GAPP Awards offer value for money?

LvM: Absolutely. We certainly see in our feedback from our converters that the pride and joy they gain out of The GAPP Awards to showcase what they are able to do with our products is of such importance for us, to continually develop the industry. We develop products with a specific avenue to market in mind and The GAPP Awards drives our converters to look at what they can do differently and for us to learn what can be done with our products. We are not looking at the mundane through The GAPP Awards, we are looking at driving the edge and that is where we find the value. We are looking to the Fourth Industrial Revolution and we are on the cusp of that and that is where The GAPP Awards comes in again. We want to be part of that revolution and to understand where the industry is going. Being an Associate partner in The GAPP Awards assists us in understanding our industry better.

GAPP: Are you satisfied with the growth of the competition over the years?

LvM: I definitely think so in terms of the development of the categories, but also a recognition of how vast the industry truly is. If there is one element that is recognised it is the fact that diversification is the way to go. By increasing the different categories over the years that shows that diversification is the way the world is going. It is a global industry, we have the ability to compete with the best in the world, and The GAPP Awards is recognised as representing outstanding work. It gives converters and end users the drive to deal with companies that are recognised for outstanding work. It also gives them the peace of mind that these converters want to go the extra mile.

GAPP: Did you see an increase in the number of entries using Avery Dennison products at the second GAPP Awards?

LvM: Certainly, we saw a lot more awareness and a lot more excitement in terms of what they could do. The fact that The GAPP Awards runs bi-annually affords the converters the opportunity to focus and work on various projects which they can enter. We have seen more of an engagement with the converter network around what they can do and submit. There is always a lot of excitement when they know that they are nominated for an award. They also display their awards with pride and utilise that for their promotion to end-users.

GAPP: Does winning an award carry weight with end users and customers?

LvM: For certain. It gives the end-user the peace of mind knowing that if the converters they are working with put that much effort into their work that they can win an award for it, it shows they are the leaders in their specific areas of the market. There is also the trust from the end-user knowing that they will get a product that has that uniqueness and quality. The care taken bodes well for the end-user.

GAPP: Is it likely that winning entries could be used as a starting base for future product development?

LvM: Yes, certainly. That is definitely one of the avenues and that is why it is so important for us as Avery Dennison to be involved in this competition, and for us to engage with the end users and converters. The GAPP Awards facilitates that platform for them to talk to us and to see how a product can be developed and presented to the customer base. We could then go back to our technical teams requesting new materials to achieve the end goal.

GAPP: As a top-tier manufacturer, do you encourage your distributors to drive participation in The GAPP Awards?

LvM: Absolutely, and as a result some of them are even sponsors in their own right. We truly believe in The GAPP Awards and we believe that we need to recognise our industry. It is important for people to become part of the growth of this industry and that is what we want to drive and we certainly engage with the distribution network so that they understand what their contribution means and why it is so important for us to recognise the people who put in the extra effort and go the extra mile.

As Avery Dennison, we would like to thank the team at The GAPP Awards for the success of the awards. It is an honour for us to be part of the programme and the ceremony. The professionalism of the event and the way it is managed and marketed ultimately gives the industry a goal to strive towards. We want to be a part of an event that truly recognises what the industry is all about.

GAPP: Through the support of companies like Avery Dennison and the valuable sponsorship they provide for The GAPP Awards, the printing, packaging and signage industry has the opportunity and platform to showcase its capabilities and quality.

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