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WEB OFFSET REPORT -- Looking to Offset Losses

May 2003
By Mark Smith


With the exception of New Year's Day, an annual conference may be the most natural time for reflection. Industry movers and shakers come together to recognize past accomplishments and take stock of the opportunities and challenges that lay ahead. Printing Impressions set out to do a little of each, as well, in this section produced especially for the Web Offset Association's 51st Annual Management and Technical Conference.

On the eve of his retiring as WOA executive director, we take a look back with Tom Basore. Jerry Williamson, chairman of Williamson Printing, also shares his reflections upon being selected the 2003 recipient of the Harry V. Quadracci VISION award. In addition, this supplement provides some predictions about the future of web offset printing technology.

It opens with this outlook for the market and industry. The idea was to tap the expertise of some heads of industry-leading companies, who also have been helping to direct the efforts of WOA as members of its 2002 board of directors. Several association officers kindly agreed to participate in a short Q&A, including:


Thomas A. Quadracci


Edward Majerczak


Michael Keene
Thomas A. Quadracci, president and CEO of Quad/Graphics in Pewaukee, WI, and WOA president.

Michael Keene, president and CEO of The John Roberts Co. in Minneapolis, and WOA vice president.

Edward Majerczak, president of Berlin Industries in Carol Stream, IL, and WOA secretary/treasurer.

PI: In WOA's 2003 Web Offset Report, "competition" and "industry capacity" were cited by a vast majority of respondents as the top business concerns. How can web printers respond?

Quadracci: Within our industry, competition and capacity are perennial concerns. That's a reflection of the free-enterprise system: May the best company win. If there is too much competition or too much capacity, the market will decide.

Of greater concern is competition from other forms of media in light of escalating print-production costs and postage costs. So, the question becomes, how do we keep print competitive? We need to be proactive in finding ways to reduce the overall time and cost involved in putting ink on paper and distributing it. We need to be innovative in helping our clients speak to their audiences.

Majerczak: The only way to fight competition and industry capacity is to create niche markets that allow you to move away from strong competitive environments and capacity issues. To do this, web offset printers must continue to pursue strategic initiatives such as digital printing, distribution, mailing, personalization and new product developments that steer us away from commodity-type products.
 

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