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Who is Robert McEwan
Who is Robert McEwan?



Lucia France (Interviewer): Hello, I’m Lucia France and I’m here with Robert McEwan, Managing Director of Jemac Packaging.  So Robert can you tell us a little bit about your journey with Jemac so far and what you really wanted to get out of the conversation here today?

Robert McEwan: Okay, so I’ve been with Jemac ever since I left school, lived my life in packaging for as long as I can remember.  My father had a business selling contract packing services, so customers sent products to us, we packed them and distributed them for them. 

At a careers fair at school I said that I wanted to be a salesperson and everybody laughing in the class because everybody else wanted to be policeman or everything else.
And then I left school, went straight into work and I’ve worked for Jemac ever since.

Lucia France: So it’s definitely in the family, in the blood?

Robert McEwan: In the family and in the blood, very much so.

Lucia France: What do you want to do in Jemac moving forwards?

Robert McEwan: At the beginning of this year my brother Craig and I purchased the business off my father.  I have some very specific beliefs in relation to packaging and what customers should use it for and how it should be operating for customers.  And so it’s changing the way the business has operated from a general material supplier to having a very focused approach to how packaging can enhance everybody’s product and everybody’s lives.

Lucia France: Can you tell us a little bit about those beliefs that you mentioned about packaging and your kind of standards within the industry and maybe any of your pet hates that you might have as well?

Robert McEwan: It may be a little bit controversial this.

Lucia France: Okay.

Robert McEwan: I’m not totally against plastic.  I’m totally against plastic being used irresponsibly.  There’s a big push at the moment for a circular economy in relation to packaging and that’s making sure that the majority of the packaging or if all the packaging can go back and be reused and that’s just not happening in plastics.  It does have 100% recyclable characteristics if it’s used correctly.

Lucia France: And going back to what we were saying about what your standards are for the business and any pet hates you might have?

Robert McEwan: We have a little slogan that says ‘Packaging Intelligently Applied’ and that’s something that was developed as we were working through things, that it’s not just about…a piece of tape can seal a box, but the right piece of tape can seal a box better than the wrong piece of tape.  And you might need five pieces of tape, bad tape to seal a box, where one piece of good tape which is a much better use environmentally of plastics and packaging.  And it’s being able to pick those things up and have the knowledge of not just the products but the application of those products that makes a difference to our customer, because they can then make the savings and the environmental advantages that a lot of brands have to make.

Lucia France: Yeah, absolutely.  It sounds like quite a big question next but can you explain what is your why in terms of the business and going forwards?

Robert McEwan: Every day I see examples of packaging that is not done right.  The balance that is needed between packaging from an environmental aspect and the packaging from the job that packaging is meant to do is often missed. 

That’s my passion, is packaging has a function, whether it’s marketing, whether it’s safety, security, whether it’s just to protect the products from getting wet.  Packaging has many functions that it’s meant to achieve and understanding that and how the materials and the packaging products work with it to achieve what needs to be achieved, that’s what gets me excited every day.  Sorry.

Lucia France: Don’t be sorry, that’s great.  There’s so many fantastic insights there and a lot of information to take in, so thank you Robert.

Robert McEwan: Thank you.

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