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In our latest Meet the Expert piece we sit down with Avery Dennison Key Account Manager, Mike Rees to get his thoughts on the sign and graphics industry.
How many years have you worked within the sign and graphics industry?
I've worked in the tapes and adhesives industry for over 20 years, when I joined Avery Dennison 2 ½ years ago I expanded my knowledge and repertoire into the graphics industry.
How did you enter the industry?
I joined the UK Graphics team just over two years ago, my experience in my previous employment in the adhesive industry and my key account management role enabled me to be ideal for this position.
What’s involved in your day-to-day role?
My role first involved looking after several distributors in the UK & Ireland region. Due to my previous experience, I then took on more involvement and responsibility in the Automotive , Marine and Rail Industry . I now have UK & IRE responsibility for our key distribution network and also some of our convertor partners. The last year I've been home based and more reactive but looking forward to travelling soon and meeting our customers . I am also enjoying working in the automotive and marine markets again.
Have you had to adjust to new ways of working due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
Yes. Avery Dennison as a whole has adapted well around the COVID pandemic, we've had the full support of the company to work in a safe environment while serving our customers’ needs. I now have a home office. Our customer service team has also adapted with limited disturbance, supporting our customers. Obviously as someone who has spent most of my career face to face with customers, I'm looking forward to returning to the new “normality”.
How many divisions are within Avery Dennison, and how many countries does the business operate in?
Avery Dennison has several key divisions: Label and Graphic Materials (LGM) Retail Branding and Information Solutions (RBIS) and Industrial and Healthcare Materials (IHM) operating in over 50 countries.
The Graphics Solution Business is part of Label and Graphic Materials.
How has Avery Dennison managed to achieve such powerful brand recognition?
Ray Stanton (“Stan”) Avery invented the world’s first self-adhesive label as a way to merchandise objects. In 1935, he founded Avery Adhesives in downtown Los Angeles and, in 1990, the company merged with Dennison Manufacturing to form Avery Dennison.
Over the past 80+ years, we have grown from one bright idea into a global Fortune 500® corporation that continues to advance quality and innovation in materials science. This is what makes our brand powerful and standing behind our values and repeating these in our communications and leading the market in multiple segments and industries.
How does Avery Dennison ensure it is at the forefront of innovation?
Innovation is at the core of everything we do, with the expectation that every employee has a contribution to bring. We try to harness the creativity within our teams, we look for inspiration from within our markets - understanding customer needs and future trends - as well as looking across other industries.
Being first with new ideas means making products that are more durable, easier to work with and more beautiful. That includes making our products more sustainable and keeping up with developments in our market.
What is Avery Dennison’s most technically advanced vinyl to date?
I think our Supreme Wrapping Film range. The construction is designed to have excellent conformability, durability, colour portfolio (even with special effects). And for the installer, it is easy to apply - with the air egress feature and repositionability. And it can be easily removed at the end of life. That's a lot of technical requirements that need to be built into one product.
How did Avery Dennison identify a need for colour change vehicle wrapping products?
Sign cut graphics have been used for vehicle branding for many years, and over time we recognised that logos were getting larger and areas of partial wrap were growing. We combined this with insights from the automotive industry and saw the opportunity to create full colour change options for private and commercial vehicle owners through the development of our Supreme Wrapping Film range.
What are the benefits to using an Avery Dennison product over another brand?
We thrive to listen to the customer needs and develop products that solve problems and have clear advantages vs other products. The other factor is the quality consistency, so we have reliable products that deliver.
Do you envisage a PVC-free future?
the coming years we expect to see increasing pressure on the use of PVC within our markets, so we can expect to see new materials coming into play for certain applications. It is difficult to predict a complete PVC free future, but as an industry, we need to establish better solutions to handle waste, regardless of the materials used.
Are there any initiatives by Avery Dennison to tackle their carbon footprint?
have a variety of initiatives within our operations, supply chain and product development that are reducing the carbon footprint of how we manufacture our products as well as reducing the footprint for our customers during the use phase of the product. A good example of the latter is our solar window film range - helping building owners reduce their energy consumption.
Are there any plans for new and exciting products this year?
Yes, innovation is a key value for our company, and we are constantly bringing new innovations to the market in both the Architectural and Automotive spaces. This could be new colours, new textures, new solutions and of course our core of improved adhesive constructions.
Which particular areas of the industry do you foresee growth and potential?
We see a high demand and growth in the area of Automotive (for example car wrapping) and in the area of Architectural (for example interior design but also exterior)
What interests / hobbies do you have outside of the workplace?
I have my UEFA B badges and used to manage both mens and ladies football teams, the last two years have been busy so not as active, although prior to COVID, I still used to play football on a weekly basis, I'm also a bit of a foodie, enjoy walks and fitness. I enjoy travel and have been fortunate to travel extensively. I also actively support a Romanian charity for homeless and abused victims.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
There are changes every day in our industry, I look forward to moving forward with Avery Dennison in a sales capacity role. Ten years is a long way off - I certainly don't see myself retiring with my feet up! I`m enjoying my current role and look forward to increasing my knowledge in the industry and support the business .
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