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Special Report: Offset and Beyond -- Adding Value for Customers

April 2009 By Erik Cagle
Senior Editor
BIG PICTURE perspective is the ultimate goal of the Web Offset Association’s (WOA) Offset and Beyond Printer-to-Printer Business & Technology Conference. After all, attendees of the printer-driven conference, which takes place May 4-6, 2009, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, don’t benefit just from talking about web offset, sheetfed offset or even digital printing. 

Perhaps the true beauty of the conference is the insight that businesses gain to increase their own value to customers. That’s a creed that holds water, regardless of the chic technology of the day.

There is a method to the madness, notes Mary Garnett, executive vice president of the Printing Industries of America and the WOA. The conference uses a three-tier approach to delivering the latest in business and technology information for printers, with programs aimed at leadership, operations and production.

“While printers can look all over the place for different conferences to fit their needs, we believe this is one place they can send their folks to fit all of their needs in production, operation and leadership,” Garnett says. “We combined the issues so that all the processes will gain from any of the programs. All of our speakers will amplify the message of what printers need.”

Offset and Beyond continues to diversify its program portfolio—reflecting industry trends toward more print platform balance and expanded ancillary offerings. Topics will delve into relevant areas, including pro-mail initiatives, hiring and keeping talented employees, sustainability, G7 and other printing standards, mergers and acquisitions, lean manufacturing and UV printing. The solutions-based topics will focus on peer-to-peer questions and answers, and production efficiencies, as well as the deployment of various technologies and procedures.

For the first time, digital printing is reaping its own track at Offset and Beyond. Tuesday, May 5, is the unofficial “digital day” with a lineup of programs aimed at transitioning into and fully leveraging the digital printing realm.

Once again, the Offset and Beyond Conference will boast a credible panel of guest speakers whose stories rank high on both a business and interest level. While some are not specific to printing, their core messages will reflect on conducting business in a challenging business and economic environment. 

Keynoter Howard Putnam, the former CEO of Southwest Airlines and Braniff Airlines, will kick off the conference. Putnam is the author of “The Winds of -Turbulence,” which deals with leadership and ethics, and he will speak to the challenges of today’s turbulent landscape. It was Putnam who led the turnaround at Southwest that made the airline one of the most successful in its industry.

Tony Hsieh, CEO of online footwear giant Zappos, will discuss the role that quality customer service has played in catapulting his company from a $1.6 million concern in 2000 to an $840 million a year powerhouse. He will examine explosive growth for a firm that maintained its culture and small-company feel.

• On the industry supplier end, Gerd Finkbeiner, executive board chairman of manroland, will deliver an entertaining and interesting message that conference attendees will enjoy, according to Garnett.

In his role, Finkbeiner is responsible for directing all aspects of the company’s global operations. He’s also board chairman for the press manufacturer’s North American business unit.

• The printing keynote on tap is Susan Kelly, president and CEO of K/P Corp. in San Ramon, CA. Ever since taking the executive reins at K/P, Kelly has augmented the printer’s customer focus by developing integrated marketing solutions.

“K/P is a wonderful example of a traditional printer that has widened its horizons,” Garnett notes. 

• Providing fodder for the brand manager roundup general session are a pair of managers from Heinz North America, Jonathan Bailey and Daniel Sanchez. The duo will conduct a point-counterpoint talk focused on printers working with print buyers and marketing communicators. They will discuss the pros and cons of going beyond the buyer.

Bruce Biegel, senior managing director for the Winterberry Group, will proctor a panel of two companies (to be named), which have transitioned their businesses beyond traditional printing services.

During the conference, two prestigious industry honors will also be handed down: the winners of the Harry V. Quadracci VISION Award and the Howard Flint Pressroom Manager of the Year. The 2009 recipient names were not available as of press time. 

For more information on the conference, contact Laurie Reynolds at (412) 259-1802 or e-mail PI


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