Printing Industries Alliance Post Drupa Event Exceeds Expectations

Printing Industries Alliance (PIA) says that its Post Drupa Report on August 18 was a resounding success. The event, held at the Club 101 in Manhattan, had an audience of more than 100 end users including printers, mailers, and other graphic arts service providers.

The drupa exhibitors represented in the panel presentations included Canon, GMG, HP, Highcon, Konica Minolta, Landa Digital Printing, Muller Martini, Scodix, Xeikon, and Xerox.

Marty Maloney, PIA’s executive vice president, commented, “Our Post Drupa Event had the same leading companies that hosted PIA’s VIP drupa tour in Düsseldorf. All of them were major attractions at drupa, and they represent the best of the best from the more than 1,800 drupa exhibitors”.

The Post Drupa Event featured five panels on the following topics:

• Who’s On First? Offset vs. Digital vs. Inkjet vs. Nanography

• The Rapid Rise and Importance of Labels and Packaging and Importance of Color Management

• Postpress Takes the Lead

• Wide Format Breaks Into the Big Time

• Observations First Hand from Drupa Attendees

The 25 panelists included vendors and printers as well as end users. The expert moderators were Denise Gustavson, Southcomm; Patrick Henry, WhatTheyThink; Steve Katz, Rodman Media; and Richard Romano, WhatTheyThink. (Romano’s subsequent article about the wide format panel, which he moderated, can be read here.)

Lunch continued the drupa theme with servings of bratwurst and Pilsner. During the break, Maloney set the record straight with a presentation titled “Print is the Largest Media of All, By Far.” The presentation offered data bearing out the claim that print dwarfs all other media including broadcast and the Internet and is larger than all other media combined. (PIA makes Maloney and his presentation available for company and association meetings.)

The all-day program interspersed presentations and panel discussions and concluded  with a networking session.

PIA president Tim Freeman commented, “The Printing Industries Alliance wants to make sure that everyone in our industry has access to all the information they need to do business in the most efficient way. Events like this Post Drupa Report accomplish this and more by providing a meaningful dialog between all parties and a great opportunity to learn from one another.”

Commentary

It isn’t easy to attract an audience of 100 people to an event of any kind during business hours, but such was the drawing power of PIA’s Post Drupa Event on August 18. Hats off to the association not only for pulling in a crowd of that size, but also for enlisting the support of the impressive lineup of vendors who helped to make the day possible.

Relatively few metro area printers ever have the means or the opportunity to attend drupa, so the deep interest in the program’s subject matter was no surprise. But, as this writer was reminded in moderating the panel on first-hand observations by drupa attendees, there is always something new to think about in the aftermath of the world’s biggest printing trade show.

My astute and insightful panelists—Tim Freeman (PIA), Cheryl Kahanec (EarthColor), Tom Mackessy (LSC Communications), Michael Pallone (PubWorkX), and Simon Schaffer (Case Paper)—covered a lot of ground in their accounts of what they saw and learned at the show. Toward the end, one of them made a remark that struck a common chord with everyone.

It was their shared observation that the mood and the morale of the industry seemed to be so much more upbeat at the international event than they are here at home. The panelists agreed that they’d felt a spirit of optimism about printing that doesn’t prevail—or at least isn’t easy to detect—among printers and other members of the industry in the U.S.

It’s a little hard to understand why. Although the industry struggled and contracted during the years of the Great Recession, it emerged from the downturn stronger in some ways than it had been when it entered. U.S. print service providers are still among the most technologically progressive printing businesses in the world. And, as Maloney’s presentation (summarized here) made plain, America’s graphic communications firms continue to create tremendous value for the national economy through print media—a fact that rarely gets the attention it deserves.

PIA’s Post Drupa Event helped to dial up the pride while giving its attendees a show overview that literally was the next best thing to being there.

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