How has the YMC evolved since its initiation in 2009?
YMC was founded in 2009 with the election and appointment of the YMC board during the annual FINAT congress in Antalya, Turkey. The board exists of young professionals from Belgium, India, Italy, Slovakia and Spain representing small and large companies that are active in the global labeling value chain. Initially, we held a few small conferences to get a feel of what we wanted to become and achieve. As we saw more and more members join from India we staged a larger event at Labelexpo India in close collaboration with Tarsus.
In order to comprehend what is going on in our industry globally, and align our business to the changing requirements, young managers (those under 40) are very keen to connect with peers in the labeling industry from around the world. From that the idea to organize a global congress originated and we are looking forward to an exciting programme at Westin Hotel, Berlin, Germany, on 28-30 November 2012. This is being run in close collaboration with TLMI (US), LMAI (India) and hosting association VskE (Germany).
What holds your future strategy?
In just three years we have grown into a truly global organization and have attracted over 60 members. Currently we have a vast majority - 70% - from Europe, 20% from Asia, particularly from India and the remainder from US and Latin-America. Our aim is to expand that number, in geographies, cultures, company type, and gender. Therefore we plan to organize more networking and learning events that cater for the needs of these young professionals who are likely to look for information, solutions and answers that differ from those more experienced managers have. That is why we envision a more hands-on approach. Through workshops and presentations we want to provide practical information that helps develop both personal and managerial skills. Inspires and supports them in their strategic and operational activities. We are very grateful for the 'heritage' received from our predecessors, but believe we can help fix some of the 'blind spots' for the younger generation.
Why is expanding membership important?
Recruiting members is an ongoing process and the board's priority. We deploy our network and make use of social media. But the best way to attract new members is still by sharing our passion and informing them of the benefits of becoming a member through personal conversations. Apart from attracting new members we also aim to making existing ones more active. With the support of the FINAT board and members, we believe YMC can become a leading association for young managers. Provide guidance, and develop a social and global framework. The goal is also to further connect with other associations and make the global congress a recurring event.
Why become a YMC member?
Because we believe it is the best networking platform for young managers. There are so many interesting young global citizens and professionals out there. We are highly educated, ambitious and excited about the future. Being a member and becoming part of this community is fun, interesting and rewarding. It makes you grow, in all respects. In order to understand the world, you have to be part of it. So far, we have only received very positive feedback.
What do you see as your generation's opportunities and challenges?
To connect and operate in a global organization and world, we benefit from the availability of much faster communication, smarter devices, and people who are multilingual with greater intercultural experience and empathy. The downside is the 'speed' at which we live and work. We need to be cautious about not wanting to chase short term profit, making the wrong decisions through lack of time or long-term vision. There is also the price pressure from both supplier and customer. And the need for a flexible business model that can bring more added value to customers.
A challenge, particularly for second and third generation successors of family run business, is to consolidate their business. It is often said that the first generation brings the foundation, the second builds the actual house, but the third one needs to keep it future proof. Yet, last but not least, there remains the big question on how to embrace the whole environmental/sustainability issue. This can make or break our industry.
FINAT, founded in Paris in 1958, with headquarters in The Hague (The Netherlands), is the world-wide association for manufacturers of self-adhesive labels and related products and services. With 600 members in over 50 countries around the world, FINAT has much to offer to label converters and all suppliers to the labeling industry in terms of information exchange and the opportunity to network internationally. www.finat.com
This is a contribution from Chairman Francesc Egea, IPE-Innovaciones (Spain) and Treasurer Dana Kilarska, Purgina (Slovakia)