March 25, 2020
In a time of crisis it is crucial to our society that food and medication remain available in sufficient supply. Packaging manufacturing has therefore been identified by governments as a critical sector to remain fully operational.
The entire world is currently facing an unprecedented challenge. With government regulations and guidance changing on a daily – sometimes hourly – basis, this is a time of crisis the likes of which we have never known and for which no industry was prepared.
Among the stringent measures being introduced to stem the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), governments around the globe have subjected communities, cities and even entire countries to lockdown. Stores have been closed, restaurants and bars have locked their doors, and factories have gone into lower production level modes.
But it is crucial to our society that food and medication remain available in sufficient supply. Fears that food stores and pharmacies might also close down has already led to surges in hoarding behavior by consumers, ‘panic-buying’ essential goods and leaving supermarket store shelves bare.
Packaging provision for supply chains is critical and is rightly considered of strategic importance for public health and safety. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security this week released guidance identifying essential workers by sector, a list that includes all packaging manufacturing businesses. Similarly, the UK Government considers the role of employees in packaging converters to be critical to production and business continuity. Crucially, this has meant that parents with jobs in packaging production – collectively ‘key workers’ – can continue to send their children to school to enable them to continue to carry out their duties.
The European Carton Makers Association (ECMA) has been liaising with the EU to ensure that cartonboard receives priority at border crossings. Being given access to the ‘green channel’ should give quicker clearance and help to ensure regular and uninterrupted movement of raw materials and finished products either within countries or cross-border.
At Esko, we are very proud to be supporting the print and packaging industry. For our brand owner customers, Esko WebCenter is a key instrument in managing go-to-market, an activity for which lots of interaction with multiple remote teams and people is required. For pre-media tradeshops, Esko CDI Crystal flexo platesetters are cranking out more flexo plates than ever in order to keep the presses running. Converters’ prepress departments worldwide are relying on workflow automation servers to produce higher volumes, without the need for additional or unnecessary headcount maximizing safety.
Doing more with less is the value proposition of Esko solutions for packaging prepress. This is more vital than ever right now, with businesses suffering from staff absenteeism due to illness or self-isolation, combined with an unexpected and unprecedented upsurge in demand.
The safety of our community – our customers, partners and employees – is our primary concern. That’s why at Esko, we’ve put various COVID-19 contingency plans in place. It is of vital importance that we do everything in our power to keep our production lines and service departments fully operational to provide continuous service to our global customers, heroes in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus.
At least initially, the new normal is a period of volatility and uncertainty across every industry. Esko solutions are critical for business continuity and the operators of our hardware and users of our software are the heroes behind the scenes of how society will emerge stronger from this time of crisis.