It happens around the same time every year. In mid-December, boxes begin to arrive at AICC’s office in Alexandria, Va. They’re addressed to AICC in general, to staff, or to individuals here in the office. They contain all kinds of goodies, from popcorn to cookies to exotic chocolates. We truly appreciate them and look forward to them. Thank you for thinking of us during a season of sharing.
Long after we have eaten our fill of the treats, we marvel at the packaging in which our treats have arrived. Understanding that these care packages we receive have also been sent by our members to their customers as a thank-you for the business done in the past year, they obviously serve as great sales tools. The creativity, the special effects, the augmented reality, and the use of colors in the packaging are indicators of the leadership that the independent printer/converter provides the paper-based packaging industry.
We keep a number of boxes on display in AICC’s conference room. We add several new ones to the collection during the holidays. I’ve been involved with the packaging markets for more than 30 years. Like you, I am a drag on the time it takes to get through a supermarket or a club store because I spend an inordinate amount of time looking closely at boxes, bags, pouches, and displays. It’s an occupational fault, according to my wife. Most of your AICC staff are professional association people. Your creativity and your passion, expressed through the packaging that you share with us, have turned them into box geeks as well. We all serve the membership better as a result of this.
There is an optimism that comes with each beautifully created box we receive. It’s an optimism that we have seen repeatedly at AICC meetings and in conversations with our members. It’s an optimism backed by the most recent check-in survey of AICC boxmaking members conducted at the end of last year. Two-thirds of the respondents see 2020 as being as good as or better than 2019 in terms of results. Two-thirds plan to acquire equipment, procure software, provide enhancements, or expand their facilities in 2020.
It’s an optimism that exists in the face of trade policy headwinds, seemingly calming as these words are written in mid-January. It’s an optimism that exists in the uncertainty that always accompanies an upcoming election. It’s an optimism that exists despite the fierce competition for labor in the manufacturing economy. It’s an optimism that is backed by the gumption of all our member companies.
We see it in our daily lives as consumers, and we see it every day on full display in the AICC conference room.