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FINAT Young Managers Club fosters sharpened business skills

FINAT’s Young Managers Club (YMC), a lively part of the European self-adhesive labelling association, reports on its successful second YMC Global Congress that was held last month in Slovakia. The Congress lived up to its ‘Climb to the Top’ theme by bringing together label industry participants in the ‘under forties’ category to help them sharpen their business skills to meet the challenges of a changing world. The 2015 YMC Global Congress once again took a very hands-on approach, combining a company site visit, workshops and panel discussion sessions.

“This year’s edition of the YMC Global Congress was yet again a great learning opportunity. Even for those beyond the age of 40, it is never too late to change habits in order to become even more effective. The interactive, educational format of the YMC meetings, including the previous event in Poland, has set new standards and was one of the sources of inspiration behind the makeover of our primary event, which has now been redefined as the European Label Forum[1],” comments Jules Lejeune, FINAT’s Managing Director.


“It is always a pleasure to speak with people who are experiencing the same challenges as I, and to meet new young managers in our industry,” adds YMC President and congress chairman Dana Kilarska. “It is great to see people coming back to this event but, most importantly, it is great to see new young managers at these events, because this means that YMC is a strong platform for young managers in the labelling industry. We climb to the TOP!”

An exciting and educational Congress programme

A high point of the conference was the facility visit to the internationally-recognised Bratislava-based self-adhesive label converter Purgina, home Dana Kilarska. She and her brother, Radovan, are the second generation of young managers of a business founded by their parents in 1991. The company’s 80 employees offer a full-service design-to-print label capability to its customers, with a focus on labels for high-end wines and beers and spirits.

The formal Congress agenda opened with a highly-effective workshop on core management principles: ‘Seven habits of highly-effective people’, given by Zoltan Demjan of leading global consultancy Franklin Covey. Mr. Demjan emphasized the fact that ‘we decide on our actions’, and showed how he had taken this concept to heart as a mountaineer, with major climbs and presidency of the Czechoslovak Mountaineering Association behind him. The Congress also featured an innovation workshop conducted by Dr. Jozef Kristak, Deputy Director of management consultancy IPA Slovakia. He defined a ‘thin’ company and the challenges achieving leanness involves – like experiencing the changes in customer requirements; attacks on costs, variability in order volumes and delivery times, etc., which complicate forecasting of customer needs and wants and require supplier flexibility.

Highly valued by the participants

The informal, yet highly educational approach of the YMC Congress is very much appreciated by the participants, as evidenced by comments from Rodolfo Hagmaier of Hagmaier Etiketten & Druck, who states: “As always, the YMC congress was a big success. I was able to take away many new ideas and impressions for our company. The conversations with YMC colleagues are very helpful for building up an overview of the market. It was great to go out with this wonderful group of young managers. And perhaps one of the most important things is that we all had a lot of fun!”

Hank Guijtens of SPGPrints fully agrees, saying: “It was a great event to meet colleagues from the label business and get trained at the same time. The experience and the different perspectives of the people created a professional atmosphere and inspired new energy and ideas. I will definitely participate in this congress the next time.”

“I was overwhelmed by the quality of the speaker list and of each individual presentation,” comments Leo Becker of Avery Dennison. “This was the highest concentration I’ve experienced of knowledge and expertise on a range of leading-edge topics by people who really know their subjects. Most highly recommended!”

“The FINAT YMC brings together a group of young managers with high prospects. This edition in the beautiful Slovakian capital Bratislava was an excellent choice of venue in which to experience the potential of new possibilities on our business markets. I will be able to apply what we have seen and learned from these workshops in my day-to-day business. We should organise this event more than once a year!” adds Steven Minjauw of CERM Belgium.

Filip Weymans of Xeikon, says: “This YMC was truly a great edition. The programme was the right balance between work and pleasure, allowing participants to get to know each other. The different workshops were focused upon personal development, perspectives of market development, and a hands-on exercise of practical day-to-day challenges in the production environment. As such, the event covered a broad spectrum, and that is exactly what a YMC Congress should do: expose people to the broad spectrum of business!”

FINAT Young Managers Club: dedicated to the next generation label industry leaders

FINAT was founded in the late 1950s, signalling the emergence of a new niche in the printing industry, which took off in the 1970s and resulted in the creation of many small label converting companies serving local markets. Today, those pioneers in self-adhesive label conversion are experiencing change in every aspect of their businesses, including generational change in management structure. FINAT’s Young Managers Club, founded in 2009, was conceived to address the challenges that go beyond technology change and enhancement: geographical market expansion and globalisation; brand owners’ needs and wants; environmental concerns; and governmental and legislative requirements.

Event sponsors of the YMC Global Congress 2015 included gold sponsors Avery Dennison, Tarsus Exhibitions & Publishing, Gallus Ferd. RĂ¼esch, and silver sponsor Delfortgroup.

[1]The European Label Forum is held in Amsterdam, June 11 to 13. All details, thought leadership speakers, full programme, registration and practical details are available on