We are pleased to have several different contributors to our year-end 2022 Can Making Trends article.
Jason Toscholog, VP of Product at Flexware Innovation, asks the necessary four questions for efficient growth.
Alex Fordham, Owner at The Metal Packager, talks about supply chain threats and the brain drain.
Steve Klabak, Product Manager at Acumence, discusses the top three cyber security concerns.
Find out what these industry experts have to say about the Can Making Industry in 2022.
1. Efficient Growth in 2022
2021 saw can shortages because the manufacturers were at production capacity. The last year has been focused on squeezing additional production out of existing lines.
The continued demand for aluminum cans in 2022 requires new assets to be deployed. The question that is being asked is ‘how to execute efficient growth in 2022?’.
Producers are adding capacity with new machines, lines, modules, and plants. As the planning for the new assets is underway, we have been helping them with the following questions.
- How do you incorporate best practices into the new assets?
- How do you most efficiently reach full capacity from new assets?
- How do you train new people to operate and maintain the new assets?
- Do you have goals and the information available to assess how you’re doing with existing and new assets across all production assets?
These questions should all be key focus areas in 2022.
2. Supply Chain Threats & ‘Brain Drain’
There’s no doubt the industry is thriving due to the on-going sustainability message of metal packaging resonating with consumers globally. Despite this, during the next 12 months we’ll need to remain agile and wary of challenges that threaten to derail growth.
The on-going challenges of threats to the supply chain, and the potential risk of a can making ‘brain drain’ are significant.
With many can makers nearing retirement age and at the risk of taking a lifetime’s experience with them, many companies need to be adept at integrating the next generation of workers, may that be through apprenticeship schemes, accessing talent through other industries or an attractive recruitment drives in local areas near to can plants. As such a specialist profession, it’s imperative a strategy is in place to ensure the industry has the workers with the relevant skillsets in place for years to come. What is your company doing to plan for the inevitable retirement of key personnel?
The continuing pressure on supply chains will be a key trend in 2022. With a lack of raw materials, not least the example of the recent magnesium shortage due to China’s energy crisis, several industries are at risk of catastrophic supply issues.
A rise in costs are inevitable – indeed we’ve seen this in the inks and coatings sector for example. Covid-19 issues are not going away, and how the metal packaging industry balances raw materials shortage, increasing costs and an increasingly demand for metal packaging with overstretched capacity, will be interesting to note as the world attempts to assert itself and emerge from the pandemic.
3. Cyber Security Concerns Continue To Be A Top Priority
As the business landscape has trended towards employees working remotely, cyber-security threats have remained on the forefront for virtually every industry. While COVID-19 has prompted a shift towards more and more employees working from home, the truth is that the ever-changing technology landscape and cyber threats that come with the change are nothing new. Below are some of the top security topics that we saw in the can manufacturing industry for 2021 that will continue to surface throughout 2022 and into the future.
- Ransomware attacks
Across industries, from the private sector to the government, and ranging from small businesses to high-profile organizations, not one sector was immune to the reach of hackers looking to exploit any security weakness they could find.
Ransomeware attackers look to find known security gaps, hold data or infrastructure hostage, then demand large sums of money or threaten to sell sensitive data if the victim does not pay.
In 2022 and beyond, it is imperative that businesses take cybersecurity very seriously and make it a top priority. This includes investment in security experts and end-user education in recognizing and avoiding phishing attempts.
- Shift toward zero-trust security models
More and more businesses understand that the traditional VPN infrastructure and relying solely on network “edge” protection are insufficient. A zero-trust security model shifts from the concept of only guarding the perimeter and fully trusting those with access, to a concept where no user is trusted by default.
Zero-trust security leverages identity and device authentication throughout your network and relies on segmentation to limit the reach of an attack. Although the digital transformation might seem daunting, it is increasingly important to take the time and resources needed to continually evolve security strategies to limit the risk of an attack and the damage that it may cause.
- Disaster recovery
It is common in the manufacturing industry to have segmented IT at the plant, corporate IT managing infrastructure, and many contractors working throughout the technology stack. As both security threats and natural disasters seem to be trending upward, it is critical that manufacturers have a plan for recovering and rebuilding applications and infrastructure when the inevitable occurs.
Have a plan. It is important to know who owns what from a disaster recovery perspective. If everyone assumes it is someone else’s responsibility, then it’s likely that your recovery plan is lacking or has slipped through the cracks. Documenting both your recovery plan and the “owner” of the implementation are both critical toward ensuring minimal data loss and associated downtime.
At the minimum, frequent offsite or geo-redundant backups ensure that your application data is available even if access to the source system is never regained. All critical systems must have an adequate plan in place, and that plan must be monitored and tested to ensure that it initially functions as intended and continues to do so over time.
Cyber security concerns continue to be a top priority for all industries in 2022 and beyond.