101st SPA Conference Review

10th February 2020

SPA 101st Conference - Welcoming Business Leaders of the Future!

The UK SPA 101st Conference held at The Belfry on Monday 27th January 2020 was opened by Tim Gray, Chairman… He addressed the 109 delegates and welcomed individually the 20 first-time attendees, encouraged to attend as the business leaders of the future.

Health & Safety Forum

Immediately preceding Conference was a half day Health & Safety Forum which was extremely well attended by professional Plant Managers, Health & Safety Managers and Compliance Managers responsible for Health & Safety.  The forum will be a regular feature and will be held 3 times annually on the morning of future Conferences.


Keynote Speaker

Georgina Lawton, a freelance journalist and former Editor of the lifestyle and careers portal for young people “GoThinkBig” gave an insightful overview of the ways that Millennials and GenZs search and gain employment through social media.   Georgina’s presentation received a top score by attendees who agreed that even if you don’t get involved with social media yourself, your organisation must be aware of how social networking is impacting staff recruitment in 2020.

SPA Best Practice Initiatives

A valuable and exclusive member benefit of the SPA is access to the Best Practice initiatives run by The Association.  The SPA buys in services once as a Trade Association and then distributes the services to members for free – or for a very small fee.  Details of all initiatives can be found here.  There were updates at Conference from 3 of the SPA retained specialists:


Update from CPI on Corrugated Cardboard Promotional Work

The Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) represents the supply chain for paper, comprising paper and board manufacturers and converters, corrugated packaging producers, makers of soft tissue papers and collectors of paper for recycling.  The CPI works hard to get coverage in the press and on social media for corrugated packaging with a number of focussed and targeted campaigns.  Neil Osment, SPA Committee Member, is the CPI representative for the SPA so please contact him directly with your suggestions, questions and ideas to help the CPI ensure that corrugated cardboard remains in the forefront of consumers’ minds.

Supplier Spotlights – FujiFilm and Avanti Conveyors"FujiFilm Supplier Spotlight"

Supplier Spotlight is a 10 minute slot offered to suppliers to the SPA who have something new and relevant to impart to members.  FujiFilm UK gave a lighthearted presentation about Digital Print now that this technology “is here”!  The 2nd spotlight of the day came from Avanti Conveyors with their fascinating presentation “The Robots are coming”.


Growing Your Business by Acquisition and Selling your Business- Panel:

SPA Members questions were posed to a panel comprising of Richard Jarratt - SH Fiske, Nick Mockett - Moorgate Capital, Jason Milkins – Roxburgh Milkins and Tim Landy - River Evolution.


"TICCIT Programme"TICCIT – Trees Into Cartons, Cartons Into Trees

Pro Carton gave a reminder of the key elements of the TICCIT Programme and Steve Gabell of RH FibreBoard recounted his experiences as a TICCIT Ambassador for the programme - he has now run the project 4 times in local schools.


UK Corrugated Industry Update

A regular at Conference, NOA PRISM is a market research and statistics organisation that focuses on research into the fibre-based packaging industry.  The UK Corrugated Industry Update included the most recent UK production statistics and potential Market Prospects for corrugated.

All presentations are available for SPA Members to access here

The day’s events were rounded off with a number of networking opportunities: a Cocktail Making Masterclass, an informal buffet dinner with chocolate fountain and a relaxed drink at the Brabazon bar.  The SPA Golf Tournament for 2019 took place the following morning on the Derby Course and was won by Neil Harris from SH Fiske, with Daniel Graham of West Coast Corrugated coming second. Martin Latham won nearest the pin & longest drive.


102nd Conference – Monday 8th June – Tewkesbury

The SPA Committee encourages members to bring along newcomer colleagues to Conference, especially the “Business leaders of the Future” within their organisation.  As an incentive for doing so, there will be a discount for newcomers booked on as Full Delegates to the 102nd Conference in Tewkesbury on Monday 8th June.

SuperCorrExpo – Invitation to SPA Members

SuperCorrExpo, hosted by TAPPI and AICC, will open its doors September 13-17 in Orlando, Florida … Mike D’Angelo, President of the AICC, extended a personal Invitation to SPA Members (via video) to attend as AICC guests. The SPA hosted a delegation of AICC members at the UK Corrugated & Print Show 2019 in Liverpool; So to reciprocate -the SPA would like to send a group of delegates to the Expo and will be looking into group deals for interested parties.  If you would like to attend, please contact a member of the SPA Committee before the end of February.