Drupa 08, From Ink Jet to Green
3. Corporate Darwinism: The Merger and Consolidation Train Rolls On. Despite thoughts to the contrary, our industry continues to evolve through mergers and acquisitions. While a somewhat unsettling sign of a mature industry, as stated earlier, this activity is a necessary step for adaptation. Call it “Corporate Darwinism”—a survival of the fittest taking place. It’s not right or wrong, but a natural evolution of our business.
4. Productivity Takes a High Priority. Our industry, compared to other manufacturing industries, has much to learn about maximizing productivity. While we are not laggards, there is much that can be done to automate the press and post-press areas of our business. The message is starting to be heard and executed by forward thinking companies as lean manufacturing techniques are more widely adopted and promoted. For U.S. companies this is an urgent transition based on our labor costs and the scarcity of qualified workers.
5. Sustainability: Possibly the Lead-in to drupa 2012. If 2004 was the drupa that inspired companies to act on ink jet then the 2008 drupa will motivate companies to actively develop green and sustainable products and services. For two years the “talk” has been about sustainability; this year there have been substantial advances in the programs and utilization of practices that foster a commitment to our environment. Talking to AirMotion Systems President Stephen Metcalf during drupa, I learned that his company is acting on sustainability as they build their new plant in Wisconsin. Despite the increased costs to build in some of these requirements they were committed to doing this for themselves and their customer base.
Each person attending drupa develops unique observations, which I would be most interested to hear to help me guide NPES in the direction of most value to members like you. Meanwhile, after the first week of drupa, I left encouraged by one overriding theme. . .despite a flagging economy. . .the psyche and commitment to investing in equipment is apparent worldwide. That commitment may be stronger in some areas than others (both geographic and product), but the sheer size and involvement of this drupa indicates that it is real and growing!