Founded seven years ago in a bid to relocate printing processes geared to the French luxury industry back to its home turf, Imprim’Luxe is rolling out a program to promote printing ‘Made in France’. The health crisis is making this strategy all the more urgent, explains Pierre Ballet, president of the French association.
“At a time when transport costs are increasing, digitalization and robotics are bringing down labor costs and when demand is moving towards personalization and a hybrid mix of products and services, bringing the industry back to France is both possible and desired,” explained the 50-member association in a statement. For Imprim’Luxe President Pierre Ballet, there was already a certain momentum for relocating manufacturing back to France before the health crisis; he is now hoping that the crisis will accelerate this relocation. “Let’s not forget that purchasing Made in France equates to helping (re)build the local economy,” he remarks.
While France’s printing sector has suffered significantly in recent years due to outsourcing to more competitive markets, the packaging sector has seen some growth. Yet as it stands today production capacity is only between 30 and 60%, with none of the association’s members operating at full capacity, according to Ballet. Those without sufficient backing or support may simply not survive the crisis, he warns.
The current situation is behind Imprim’Luxe’s four-pronged strategy, which will include the following measures:
· Create a Comité de Sages (committee of experts), whose role is to identify potential relocation schemes, inform the representative public bodies and define a lobbying strategy
· Launch a series of seminars geared to brand owners and public institutions on the key issues surrounding the relocation of production as well as raising awareness when it comes to innovation and traceability for end-products
· Hold a roundtable session in partnership with the S.E.I.N.* that will gather together luxury brands, investors, public institutions and manufacturers to drive the potential of French production and innovation in the printing sector
· Launch an institutional communication strategy targeting both the profession and end-consumers to highlight the value of France’s graphics industry.
Made in France: beyond a label
Alongside this, Imprim’Luxe has another project, in partnership with association member Digital Packaging, to provide brands with a traceability solution for products printed in France. Using visual recognition technology, this solution goes well beyond a printed label, which is easily counterfeited, explains Ballet. The technology will allow access to detailed information regarding the printing process—the printer’s name, the date of printing, the type of ink and paper used, for example. “The challenge we are facing here is that while luxury brands are generally on-board, it’s a B2B solution geared to the end-consumer, so that development will involve not just the brand’s purchasing departments, but also their marketing teams. This means gathering everyone around the table—not always an easy task,” Ballet explains. The project is currently in development.
*Société d’Encouragement pour l’Industrie Nationale