SPA 97th Conference - Review

13th November 2018

Chairman’s Welcome - Tim Gray, SPA Chairman

Tim welcomed 96 delegates and drew attention to the fact certain key presentations would be  videoed for reference and for those unable to attend.  These are shared on the UK Sheet Plant Association SPA News YouTube channel.  If you haven’t already done so, please subscribe to the SPA YouTube channel here. You will then be able to view and share videos with members (and non-members) who are unable to attend conference.

Brexit Update - Andrew Large, Director General of Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI)

Andrew believes that the likelihood of a “No Deal” by 29th March 2019 is growing and that the corrugated paper packaging industry needs to be prepared for that and make contingency plans now.  Andrew delivered a customised Brexit Update for the sheet plant industry covering Logistics, Customs, Regulatory Stability, Legal & Contract Certainty and Communications.  The videoed presentation is available to view on the “UK Sheet Plant Association News” YouTube channel here.

Upside & Downside for the Corrugated Industry – Neil Osment, MD of NOA

Neil presented a NOA PRISM research and statistic update covering:

·         Corrugated & Paper Market Trends in Europe:  Paper supply is keeping up with demand, more recycled capacity is coming, paper stocks are up, we hear mutterings regarding allocation for the UK, lots of projects ongoing and upcoming to convert plastic packaging into paper packaging

·         Brexit reflections on corrugated and carton production: UK’s position and representation in the industry across Europe – overall conclusion is that we should be confident in our capabilities.  Downside – Allocation of paper, Price rises, Reduction in speed to market. Upside – point of no return coming fast, tax incentives, access to larger labour pool, buoyant markets and economies for exports.

·         Prospects for next 6 months (pre April 2019)

The full presentation is available here here.

Employment Law Update - Luke Menzies, CEO of Menzies Law

·         Luke asked all members to call the Hotline regularly – 0117 325 0526 - a 15 minute call is free of charge for SPA members.

·         The SPA Employment Law templates are regularly reviewed and updated for the benefit of members – employment contracts, staff policies and procedures.

·         Luke also provided specific updates on:

·         Parental Bereavement Leave

·         Job References

·         Health & Well-Being

·         Unfair Dismissal Case

·         Brexit Latest

The full presentation is available here.

R&D Tax Credits Update - Adam Kene, Managing Director of Kene Partners

Adam wants to ensure that all members are familiar with the following potential opportunities for their business:

·         R&D Tax Incentives

·         Patent Box

·         Research and Development Allowances

·         Grant Funding

If not, please contact Adam directly via the SPA Member Messaging service.  The Kene Partners website details the process that members would follow to make a tax credits claim (  Adam and his team have now worked with over 60% of SPA members, with an average member claim of almost £70K

Health & Safety Update - Andy Ely, Health & Safety Manager at TUV

Andy Ely’s Health & Safety Update focussed on:

·         Machine Safety

·         COSHH

·         Fire Risk Assessment

The full presentation is available here.

Paper Market Update - Poul-Erik Nielsen, Director at Paper Trading UK Ltd

Poul covered what is new in paper sales since January 2018, including Saica and Smurfit Kappa acquisitions, paper price increases and reductions, supply & demand, BREXIT, paper availability in 2019, waste paper, war on plastic and ecommerce.  For further detail, Paul can be contacted directly via the SPA Member Messaging service.

East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, Miranda Barker – Chief Executive

Tim Gray interviewed Miranda with questions gathered from SPA members and the Committee.   The videoed presentation is available to view on the “UK Sheet Plant Association News” YouTube channel here.

PRNs (Packaging Recovery Notes) - Simon Weston, Raw Materials Director at CPI

Simon was asked to present to Conference on the topic of PRNs which are of interest to a number of SPA members.  The presentation covered:

·         Why do we have PRNs and who is affected ?

·         How does the system work ?

·         Why has price risen recently ?

·         What about the future ?

The full presentation is available here.

The videoed presentation is available to view on the “UK Sheet Plant Association News” YouTube channel here.

Paper V Plastic Update - Neil Osment representing the CPI Promotional Committee

Neil started his update with a video featuring Max Murdo, then a little about the effect of Blue Planet II and the recent television programme aired by BBC entitled “Drowning in Plastic”.  The CPI, in a very balanced way, is trying to ensure it is doing its bit to promote the benefits of paper packaging, recycling and the virtues of paper vs plastic.  The CPI believes that consumers should be their focus, not businesses, as consumer power is much greater.  For more information, please visit for more information about the CPI campaign – Beyond The Box.

Lean Manufacturing Update -  Alan Millar of Acumen Consulting

Alan leads the SPA Lean Manufacturing Programme, one of 12 SPA member best practice initiatives (  The Programme provides a low cost, simple and quick to install Lean Manufacturing framework. For anyone interested in learning more about the potential benefits for their business, Alan would be happy to demonstrate the potential cost savings / additional sales for a plant doing Lean.  Alan can be contacted directly via the SPA Member Messaging service at

Supplier Spotlight – Mike Irving and Enrico Galloni of M&K Trading

Mike and Enrico presented the HGL924 casemaker in their supplier spotlight. The HGL924 is a bottom print casemaker with a no crush feeder. Contact for details

Other information of note:

A number of certificate presentations were made to new members:

·         Craft Pak

·         MacFarlane Packaging

·         Jarshire

Dates for your diary:

·         98th Conference – 28th January 2019 – Forest of Arden

·         2019 Trade Show - 10-12 June 2019 – ACC, Liverpool