This Article was published in Packaging South Asia in June 2009
In a rare display of unity, label printers from all over India came together in Orchid Hotel, Mumbai on the 6th of June 2009. The occasion was the annual general meeting (AGM) of LMAI, the association “Label Manufacturers of India.”  Even though they fiercely compete with each other and would not be the ones wanting the other to be better off then themselves, yet a strange atmosphere of friendship and fellowship was evident in the gathering. All decisions at the AGM were unanimous!Hearing this anyone may come to the conclusion that there may have been a handful of attendees and those deliberations may have been maneuvered. Contrary to this, Label manufacturers and suppliers from across the country were present. There were members from New Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Aurangabad, Bangalore, Sivakasi, Hyderabad, etc.  It was a full house! The new president Vivek Kapoor of creative Labels Mumbai took over from the outgoing President Manish Desai of Mudrika Labels. Vivek Kapoor announced his new team consisting of three associate members and rest all label printers. The election of the new Vice President, who would take over as president two years later, was conducted and unanimously. Ajay Agarwal of Syndicate labels, New Delhi was elected as the vice president. The printers had expressed their resolve to give LMAI a truly national character by electing a person from North India to take over reigns two years hence. Industry suppliers extended their support substantially. Most of the important Labelstock manufacturers including the two multinationals, Printing equipment suppliers, Consumable suppliers, etc. were present to rub shoulders with their important label printer customers. Fellowship and networking in the label industry acquired a new meaning. It is time we create more platforms and systems whereby the constituents of this industry have more opportunities to meet, share knowledge and make new and fruitful associations. This will also provide them the possibility to debate on tricky issues and problems facing them and also evolve ways to address these issues. One needs to draw example from the FINAT Congress. While I write this email the FINAT Congress 2009 is taking place in Antalya Turkey. Last year the Paris Congress was attended by almost 550 delegates. The sense of satisfaction of having spent quality time in learning, networking and entertaining was evident amongst all those who attended representing the Global Label community. At the LMAI AGM in Mumbai, as a member of the FINAT committees I had the pleasure of carrying a felicitation and thank you letter from the outgoing FINAT president Jan Fredrick Vink to the outgoing LMAI president Manish Desai. The letter also announced the formation of the FINAT Board of the young managers club and that Pawandeep Sahni of Weldon Celloplast Limited, has been inducted as a member of the board from India. It is time we also look at the possibility of creating a forum for our next generation on lines of FINAT Young Managers Club. At the last label show these youngsters looked bright and inspiring, walking tall along with their parents/mentors. They have been trained hands on and are intellectually equipped to take the challenges facing us today. Another unique aspect of the meet at Mumbai was the informal meeting of the members after the AGM had ended. An extremely healthy and positive brainstorming was carried out. Issues and problems facing the industry in these trying times were put forward and debated upon. Almost all present participated by giving their inputs paving way for making representations to authorities or persons where ever required. The dynamic general secretary Mr. Deshpande provided much needed information on government grants, incentives and subsidies available to the printing industry at large. At this point of time the printers also have started to plan a conference some time in November 2009 at Goa. This will provide the much needed platform for the label printers and suppliers in the industry. This will provide the much needed unified industry platform and networking opportunities. We need to congratulate LMAI for this effort to bring the industry together. United we stand!
Written by Harveer Sahni, Managing Director, Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi-110008