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USA, USB and other trends

Trade shows are a great place to see emerging trends. At the EastPack show in NYC June 7-9, I saw a couple noteworthy things along the lines of being close and connected.

“Local” supply is taking a more nationalistic approach. Several exhibitors–packaging machinery makers as well as materials suppliers–promoted their products as “Made in the USA.” Some did this subtly with a simple posted sign; others were more blatant about where their products are born.

This movement has gotten the big mo recently, with articles from CNN, The New York Times, USA Today, Independent Retailer and BrandChannel. On June 8, 2011, the Smithsonian Museum of American History in D.C. opened a gift shop called the Price of Freedom Store that sells only American-made products. And a recent survey by Perception Research Services Intl. shows that most shoppers (80 percent) have seen a “Made in the USA” claim when shopping and many (60 percent) say the claim influences their purchase decisions.

Oddly enough, a “Made in the USA” label is also helping with export sales because foreign currencies can get more for their money here. Plus, American products are often perceived overseas as being good quality and are still popular with Western-wannabees.

Making things in America usually means packaging them here, too. Yea! More for me to write about.

The second trend I saw at EastPack was a newer man/machine interface, that is, more USB ports on packaging equipment (just as I was getting comfortable with Ethernet!).

This makes so much sense as IT continues to improve packaging operations, partly due to computer technologies that seem to advance with the frequency and relentlessness we’ve come to expect from telemarketers. I recently bought a USB drive that holds 8 gigabytes and that wasn’t even the top-of-the-line model. Some sticks boast a whopping 32 GB capacity. Yowzers. That’s a lot of data.

And that’s the whole point…imagine that much power (information = empowerment) in your pocket that goes wherever in the plant you go. Reminds me of He-Man from the 1980s cartoon raising his sword and declaring “I have the power!” (This reminds me…Did you know? You can access great packaging content when you’re out and about with our PD Mobile site, optimized for mobile platforms like smart phones.)

What benefits of USB do you see for your packaging operations? How will this help in areas that have needed it?

Hey, speaking of trendsetters…at EastPack, Kate @QuickLabel and I decided to start a #pkg hashtag on Twitter because #packaging is 2 long sometimes. R U in 2?

Follow me on Twitter @lisajmpierce

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