FBA Blog

Structural Integrity, It Matters.

Chairman’s Letter- FBA Membership Report 2022-2023
Jun 13, 2023

When I use the term structural integrity, box makers know exactly what I mean.  Should a box lose its structural integrity, its contents are at risk.  Risk of damage, loss or being destroyed.  To say structural integrity matters is an understatement.  In this context, we all know what it means.  Structural integrity also matters in institutions, industries and greater society as well.  We have all seen it and what happens when it breaks down.

In the past 5 years since I was last chairman, we have had an election or two, a global pandemic, economic shocks and the highest inflation in 40 years.  These events will test the integrity of any industry or institution.  Some of our public institutions have not fared well during this time and cracks have appeared in their foundations.  It will be up to others to repair them.  I am happy to report that the foundations of the FBA and the corrugated industry are solid and firm. 

During the pandemic we were deemed an essential industry.  Part of the engine that kept the economy moving.  Post pandemic, we learned of supply chain weaknesses and what that can do to the structural integrity of industries and economies.  We saw pent up demand drive corrugated shipments to heights not seen in two decades only to retreat to pre-pandemic levels in a short span of 24 months.  The economic whiplash of such events would stress any foundation and yet our industry and institutions remain resilient and stable.

During the technology revolution of the past few decades, many tech start-ups followed the mantra of “move fast and break things.”  Good for destruction, but not so good for foundations or structural integrity.  The FBA is in its 9th decade, a testament to our industry and its durability.  Perhaps and hopefully, we as a society, have moved into the era of move deliberately and build things. Time will tell.

Again, it has been my honor to have worked on my second tour as Chairman, with Dennis Colley and the staff of the Fibre Box Association, successfully transitioning our Association’s leadership to Bob McIlvaine, our incoming President/CEO.   The FBA continues to grow, protect and enhance the well-being of the corrugated industry as its most trusted source of information.   It is in good hands and our Structural Integrity remains intact.