I’m Richard, the new Marketing Manager at Law Print. I have plenty of experience in marketing, PR and communications but I am a complete newbie when it comes to the packaging industry. People tell me I’m a quick learner and I have certainly had to scale steep learning curves before, so I’m relishing the challenge ahead. I thought it would be a good idea to start this packaging blog to share the experiences of my first few months learning about a new industry and offer a fresh perspective of Law Print.
We’ll start with a little bit about me for context. I started my career as a journalist, cutting my teeth as a match reporter for the Football League Paper before settling into a local news role at the Luton News, where I thrived on a challenging news patch covering everything from knife crime to zoo animals. As is tradition for many journalists these days, I made the switch to the other side of the notepad in 2013. Since then I’ve worked in communications roles for the online retail, market research, chemical manufacturing and legal industries.
Having worked in the chemicals industry, I did have some prior knowledge of food grade supply chains and the requirements of professional standards bodies like BRC. However, this knowledge didn’t extend beyond salt and sodium bicarbonate for B2B customers.
And during my time working in market research, I was responsible for the PR and communications of data from the packaging industry but didn’t cover flexible packaging and certainly didn’t cover the technical side of things. I could tell you what a PET bottle was and how many were sold to Guatemalan millennials in 2014, but when it comes to the complexities of a laminated polypropylene bag with heat seal technology, I’m very much learning from scratch.
One of the first things that became clear to me at Law Print was that the company prides itself on the customer service it is able to provide through its stellar team of experts.
Listening to my new colleagues on the phone, it’s evident they care about what they do and they know what they’re talking about. They are able to advise our customers on the perfect packaging solution for their products. Many of the professional individuals on the other end of those phonecalls are likely packaging novices like myself, who may not know their polypropylene from their polyethylene, so the advice they are receiving is invaluable to themselves and their businesses.
The amount of knowledge in this business is typified by Managing Director and company namesake Tim Law. I recently sat down to talk with Tim about the issues we currently face in our industry, including the widespread public demonisation of plastic as a packaging material, and he spoke passionately and fluently for an hour on a number of different issues that I otherwise wouldn’t have even considered. For example, plastic packaging actually does have its place in a circular economy and, when utilised properly, flexible plastic can actually be the most sustainable packaging material available and have the smallest carbon footprint.
Tim knows his history of packaging materials, as well as the latest and up-and-coming trends and innovations – he hasn’t even told me to say that.
I have also picked the brains of our Sales Manager Luke Cummins, who was kind enough to talk me through some of our clients and the various solutions we provide for them. Somewhere between laminated PP and quad seal technology, I had to grab my pen and notepad: there is a lot to learn.
I was particularly interested in the evolution of the bags that Law Print supply. Luke demonstrated innovations in packaging technology that we have been able to provide in order to address the issues our customers have had to face over the years. These include printable gussets, quad seal technology, laminated layers to aid the printing process, resealable zippers and heat seal technology. They were all introduced to make business more efficient for our customers and their consumers.
Learning about the complexities involved in flexible packaging technology, the science behind material choices and the research involved has given me an appreciation for an industry of which I had been a passive and ignorant consumer for 32 years.
So far, I’ve got to grips with the different packaging solutions that Law Print is able to offer, including the recyclable range of flexible bags. I’m garnering an understanding of the technology that goes into packaging design and why certain materials are used for certain applications.
I’m interested to learn more about this and many other aspects of flexible packaging, including printing, filling processes and the wider supply chain journey that our bags go on between production and the consumer-facing shelves of shops and supermarkets. I’ll also be exploring in more detail the quality assurance side of things, and all the checks that go into ensuring Law Print continues to provide the best packaging solutions possible.
When it comes to learning about the importance of packaging for any company, I think Law Print’s slogan says it best: “Good packaging protects your product, great packaging protects your brand”. It’s one of those lines that annoys marketers like myself because we didn’t come up with it first, but it tells the whole story in the fewest amount of words. I think my first lesson in this role has been simple: packaging matters.