The results of the mapping project are of inestimable value to the packaging industry, particularly in its bid to strengthen the training infrastructure, but I must say that it is regrettable that machinery has not been included from the start.

It has concentrated on just four sectors – converters, merchant stockists, packer fillers and contract packers. To be fair the report does advocate a future programme for future manufacturers, consultants and packaging designers.

I do hope that this will materialise soon. Both consultants and designers have much to contribute where fresh innovation is concerned, a point that Andrew Streeter was anxious to make at the launch.

More important though is machinery and the industry’s representative, Andrew Manly, was in evidence at the launch. Very much aware of the absence of machinery from the outset, the big man would probably have endeavoured to keep his thoughts on the matter much to himself in the interests of good relations had it not been for a somewhat dispirited civil servant who obviously viewed any further effort in this quarter with extreme trepidation.

Understandably, Andrew felt a sudden need to express an opinion. He probably felt like wrenching the man’s head from his shoulders. Personally, I wouldn’t have blamed him if he had done.

Instead he dismissed the individual’s obvious inexperience with the words: “I can not disagree with the last speaker more strongly.” What aplomb!

John Bence provided some diplomatic support but the true white knight was to be found in the audience.

Packform’s sales & marketing director Keith Barnes and an IoP trustee to boot came riding in on a white charger demanding satisfaction for the machinery maestros. Well done Keith. What a man!