96th Conference Report

28th June 2018

96th SPA Conference Review – 4th June 2018

Crowne Plaza, Stratford upon Avon

All presentations from the 96th conference are available for members to view online here:  https://www.sheetplantassociation.com/latest-presentation

Welcome and AGM Financial Report, Tim Gray - SPA Chairman

Tim opened the meeting with a familiar and highly relevant quotation:

“When someone shares something of value with you, and you benefit from it, you have a moral obligation to share it with others”, Confucius.  

Many member share this ethos in the UK Sheet Plant Association.  Today we have almost 100 attendees at conference and The Association is still perceived as a very valuable resource by its members.

During his AGM Financial Report, Tim gave a comprehensive update on all events and SPA initiatives over the last 12 months, together with a summary of the Association’s finances.  The SPA is a flourishing Trade Association that intends to continue doing more of the same activity for the next 12 months and as always is open to suggestions for new initiatives.  Tim announced that the 5th SPA Trade Show will be held in 2019, dates and details to follow.

Health & Safety Update, Andy Ely – TUV UK Ltd

A number of UK Sheet Plants have recently had on the spot visits from the HSE looking to inspect & investigate their site, without notice.  Andy covered details of the HSE Enforcement Management Module (EMM) in his presentation.

Andy extended an invitation to all SPA members to join TÜV UK Limited on a webinar focusing on the benefits of ISO 45001 including the certification migration process at 10:00am on 20th June. There will be some helpful hints and tips, a look at the most important changes and the opportunity to ask plenty of questions. Please use the link below to register for the event;


Paper vs Plastic, Andy Barnetson - CPI

In Autumn 2017, Andy presented at conference re: the promotion of paper based packaging and the strategy of the CPI not to campaign against plastic.  Then David Attenborough’s program was aired late in 2017 and some incredibly passionate statements from retailers and governments have ensued:  Ban on plastic straws, Iceland plan to move away from plastics packaging within 5 years, Tesco plans to ban worst plastics by 2019 (polystyrene and pvc), Sainsburys to reduce and optimise their own-brand packaging, Asda’s pledge to use less and recycle more plastics, Marks & Spencer slashes plastic use in food packaging, the UK Plastics Pact – eliminate problematic plastics. 

What are corrugators/cardboard companies going to do about this ?  This Wednesday 6th June (D-Day), CPI launches “Beyond the Box” Consumer campaign – with a parliamentary event – please click the link here https://cardboard.org.uk/  to go to the CPI website for further details about how you can get involved.

Bobst Plant Visit Report, Ken Shackleton & Chris Bywater

In April 2018, Bobst welcomed almost 20 Sheet Plant Association members to an exclusive preview of the future Competence Center at Bobst in Lyon, France.  Packaging converters from UK and Ireland sheet plants travelled to Lyon to discover the benefits of BOBST’s FFG 8.20.  Ken and Chris presented a summary of the trip and some of the features and benefits they discovered regarding the Bobst equipment.

Paper Market Update, Poul Erik Nielsen – Paper Trading

Industry announcements: 

  • Saica is now in control of Emin leydier (France)
  • Smurfit Kappa have made an offer for Parenco. 

Paper availability:

  • 3 paper price increases in 2017 and another in Q1 of 2018
  • Situation seems “less tight” now in Q2
  • Leipa in Germany, Progest in Italy and IP in Spain are the next paper mills to start up – will have a small knock-on effect for the UK.

Poul then gave an update on Waste paper and paper prices in Europe.  Influencers in the near future:  1. War on plastic (there is not enough paper available to completely replace plastic), 2. E-Commerce, 3. US led trade war

Paper Market Update, Stephen Elson, BillerudKorsnas

Stephen was a newcomer to conference.  He gave delegates a comprehensive overview of BillerudKorsnas, and his specific area of interest being the corrugated industry for supply to food & beverage and industrial industries.  Stephen commented that the entire industry has been asking for more paper and that the only way to provide this historically has been through the price increases that we have seen.  KL7 which is coming in 2019 will create an additional 550 000 t/a paper coming on line.

Corrugated Industry Update, Neil Osment - NOA

NOA has been busy in Q2 2018 presenting worldwide - FEFCO in Europe last week, AICC in USA a few weeks ago – which has given Neil many opportunities to speak with people globally about the corrugated market.  Neil’s presentation covered the availability of OCC, paper supply and demand, price increases and new capacity opening up for the UK.

Supplier Spotlight - Earth Inks

New member of the SPA, Earth Inks, was founded in 2004.  The Earth Inks Group develop and manufacture natural based, renewable and sustainable Flexographic and Silk Screen Inks, protective barrier and PE replacement coatings, adhesives and ancillary products.

Supplier Spotlight, Graham Lambert – Pamarco Global

Members will be familiar with Pamarco - privately owned, US based, 70 years experience in manufacturing industry, T/O in excess of $50M, 13 locations, 270 employees.  Pamarco has offices in the UK and is a sister group to Absolute Engineering.

Employment Law Update, Luke Menzies – Menzies law

Luke focussed on:

  • Social Media (and devices) policy. 
  • GDPR – ICO still to update Employment Practices Code (2011) – covers all HR aspects of DP.  Consent to DP should now disappear from employment contracts (starting with new ones). 
  • Employment Tribunals (ET) – 147% rise in claims since July 2017 – abolition of ET fees.  233% rise in Equal Pay claims fuelled by Gender Pay Gap (GPG). 
  • Apprenticeship Levy – applies to all employers with a pay bill of over £3M – levy fund which can be accessed to pay for apprenticeship training. 
  • Overtime and Holiday Pay

R&D Tax Credit Update, Adam Kene – Kene Partners

Conference is familiar with Adam who claims a 100% success record not only with his SPA clients but across his entire client portfolio.  If you already claim R&D tax relief but believe your claim could be increased - or you want to find out how you can claim your first R&D tax relief, Kene Partners has a proposition for you.  Adam presented 3 case studies involving SPA members who either increased the R&D tax relief they were receiving through another agency or who successfully claimed their first R&D tax relief.

Analogue V Digital, Les Pickering & Nick Kirby

The great debate !  How do you decide the best print technology for the job ?  Should it be Analogue or Digital ?  Les Pickering (for Analogue) and Nick Kirby (for Digital) presented the case for each of these technologies.

AICC Spring Conference Update, Neil Osment, NOA

Neil represented the SPA during his attendance at the AICC Regional meeting in the States in May.  There were over 400 delegates and 600 attendees made up of private companies, independents, guest speakers and young leaders.

GDPR, Richard Coope – i-comply-GDPR

Ricard summarised the steps that we should all have undertaken by now to ensure our compliance with GDPR:

  • Key people awareness (in your organisation)
  • Data Protection Officer appointed
  • Updated Privacy notice
  • Review your data
  • Know what to do in case of a Subject Access Request.

The SPA GDPR initiative was launched earlier in 2018.  Members should contact Richard directly to take advantage of the initiative

Supplier of the Year Award

The award this year, based on votes counted in from the SPA Converter members, was awarded to Hi-Tech Products Ltd.  Congratulations !



Conference was rounded off with an evening of 'alfresco' Drinks, BBQ and networking on the banks of the River Avon, sponsored by Kene Partners, accompanied by music and song from the talented Jessica Rhodes.