The Importance of Networking in the Packaging Industry

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of networking is: the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.

At Douglas Machine, we’re strong advocates of networking across every field of business. Professional networking provides a way to make valuable connections with other people in any industry or profession. It’s a tool for building relationships relevant to our career and, in the process, expanding our knowledge and discovering new opportunities.

But not all networking is created equal. Sites like LinkedIn, online forums and email groups, Facebook and other social media channels may well have us reclining in our office chairs, tapping away on our keyboards or swiping through screens on our mobile devices and feeling quite satisfied with our networking prowess.

When you communicate electronically through voice or text, you’re only conveying and receiving a fraction of the story. When you speak with someone face to face, your words are colored (and sometimes overruled) by your tone, body language, pacing, facial expressions and general demeanor. It’s the difference between flipping through the CliffsNotes and actually reading the novel.

Consider the following exchange:

Phil: “How was your day?”

Edna: “Great.”

Pretty cut and dried, right? Phil inquires about Edna’s day, and it appears it was great. But maybe Edna’s verbal response was accompanied by a defeated shrug of the shoulders and a sad, wry half-smile. That would imply that Edna’s day was, in fact, not great, but she’s resigned to that fact and coping just fine, thank you. When you look at the full picture, that one-word response conveys a lot of information—providing important details you could never glean from simply skimming text on a screen. Insights like these are why face-to-face and word-of-mouth marketing are some of the most effective ways to spread the word about your brand and find new business opportunities.

Networking Events for Packaging Professionals

Packaging-specific networking events host thousands of professionals across the packaging industry. Coming up October 14-17 in Chicago is Pack Expo 2018. This event is a perfect opportunity to network face to face with others from across the packaging industry. Pack Expo International 2018 is  the biggest meet and greet in the world for our industry. Between co-located Pack Expo International and the Healthcare Packaging Expo, 50,000 attendees will have the chance to get together in over 1.2 million square feet of exhibit space to explore innovations and opportunities with 2,500 exhibitors.

The website for Pack Expo International 2018 answers the question of, “Why attend?” with four key points, all of which relate directly back to the advantages of face-to-face, physically present communication:

  1. Vision: Observe equipment in action and in person. You may arrive at the show with abstract goals in mind, but you’ll leave with a clear vision of what can be done to make those goals a reality.
  2. Trend Awareness: Simply walking the show floor gives you broader perspective on all current and emerging technologies, on what your competitors are doing and where trends are headed.
  3. Inspiration: Past attendees describe how unexpected encounters with technology at Pack Expo have led to their biggest “Aha!” moments. You never know what you’ll discover.
  4. Connections: Nothing beats a face-to-face connection. Touch base with vendors, meet potential new suppliers and have conversations with potential customers. These connections are key to your success.

If you’re worried about getting lost in the crowd, Pack Expo’s got you covered. Besides providing searchable floor plans that detail where each vendor is located, you can plan your treks through the exhibit halls using the free My Show Planner tool on the show’s website. Be sure to add Douglas, Booth S-2820, to your planner!

Lounges and meeting areas specific to different facets of the industry are scattered throughout Pack Expo’s expanse as well, providing a manageable space to relax and meet others.

  • The Candy Bar Lounge (S-2583) is a networking destination for confectionery industry experts and their customers. The lounge is hosted by The National Confectioners Association (NCA) and sponsored by Robert Bosch Confectionery
  • The Beverage Cooler Lounge (N-4575) is set aside as a networking space for beverage industry professionals and International Society of Beverage Technologists (ISBT) subject matter experts. The ISBT is hosting this lounge, sponsored by Bevcorp.
  • The Snack Break Lounge (N-4565), hosted by Snacking, Nutrition and Convenience (SNAC) International and co-sponsored by Dorner Manufacturing Corporation, JLS Automation and Soft Robotics, Inc. is a gathering place for snack industry professionals.

Expand Your Packaging Network With Douglas Machine

We’d love to meet you face to face! Stop by our booth (S-2820) in the South Building for more information on our innovative secondary packaging solutions and see what’s new with Douglas!

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