Graph EXPO and Converting expo 2003 -- Value-Added Opportunities
By Caroline Miller
Printers will get the chance to explore in-depth how adding mailing and fulfillment capabilities, as well as wide-format ink-jet imaging, can improve their companies' bottom lines at the upcoming 2003 GRAPH EXPO and CONVERTING EXPO, to be held September 28 to October 1 at McCormick Place South in Chicago.
New to this year's show is a mailing and fulfillment exhibit area. The Graphic Arts Show Co. (GASC), the event's producer, decided to add the new exhibit because of the growing demand by printers' customers for mailing and fulfillment capabilities. A recent study conducted by the National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL) for its "State-of-the-Industry Report" showed that nearly 70 percent of respondents plan to offer fulfillment and/or mailing services in the coming 12 months to 18 months. And, with margins running in the 4 percent to 6 percent range, this service can be much more than a "value-add" for most printers and converters.
"Printers and converters are recognizing that this type of service is of value to clients, and that it enhances their printing revenues, as well. When asked if offering value-added services such as mailing and fulfillment also increased their revenue from traditional sources, respondents answered in the affirmative over 4-1," according to the NAPL study.
Show attendees will also be able to take advantage of a series of seminars on mailing and fulfillment services as part of the show's traditional educational offering.
In addition, GASC will present a series of free seminars situated in a special theater on the show floor. These will feature shorter, more focused sessions on operational issues, postal regulations and other pertinent subjects.
The wide-format ink-jet imaging pavilion has also returned to the 2003 show. Commercial printers have long used wide-format ink-jet imaging technology for proofing, but recent technological improvements means they can use this technology as a way to diversify their offerings and enter the wide-format digital printing business. For the commercial printer, wide-format ink-jet printing offers relatively modest equipment investment, quick setup, a minimal learning curve and large profit margins. Implementation can be quick and easy, particularly for printers already experienced with digital prepress systems.
The pavilion was added to the show for the first time in 2002 in response to attendees' requests for new growth market segments. This year's pavilion will be more than double the size of the 2002 version, and include both rollfed and flatbed printers, laminating and finishing equipment, as well as a host of RIPs, software and ink options for visitors to experience and compare.
GASC has also added seminars to offer attendees the critical information they need to incorporate this versatile and profitable technology into their capability mix. These sessions will afford visitors the opportunity to explore the various business aspects of wide-format ink-jet printing in all its forms, and investigate how the variety of equipment, substrates and application combinations work together to produce a full range of finished products.
Finishing techniques and equipment figure large in the wide-format market, and visitors to the pavilion will see a variety of those, as well. While mailing/fulfillment and wide-format printing will be featured, attendees will also find much to hold their attention amongst the show's nearly 500 exhibitors occupying more than 360,000 square feet of exhibit space—the largest event in the Americas.
Familiar Names Abound
Major players in all segments of the industry are planning significant displays at McCormick Place. The 10 largest exhibitors by square footage are, in order: Heidelberg, Xerox, MAN Roland, HP Indigo, Creo, Komori America, Enovation Graphic Systems (Fuji), Muller Martini, KBA and Kodak Polychrome Graphics.
"Our 10 or 15 largest exhibitors would comprise a very complete exhibition all by themselves, embracing every product type from prepress to pressroom to finishing, offering something for companies of every type and size," reveals Regis Delmontagne, president of GASC. "The power of GRAPH EXPO and CONVERTING EXPO, though, is that these very large displays represent only a fraction of the total show. In addition to the top 15, we anticipate that more than 450 other companies will display their products and services.
"These smaller exhibits often produce some of the most exciting news at GRAPH EXPO and CONVERTING EXPO," remarks Delmontagne. "And, in their sheer number and diversity, they contribute tremendously to the breadth and value of the show."
While most attendees could spend all day on the show floor, GRAPH EXPO's educational seminar series should not be missed. The 65-session educational program will feature three free general sessions, four special brunch presentations, as well as numerous seminars and workshops, on topics including business management, sales and marketing, technology implementation and growth opportunities for today's print-based businesses.
Before the Show
In addition, the 2003 edition of Executive Outlook—a full-day technology and business conference aimed at top management executives—will again be presented at McCormick Place on Saturday, September 27, the day before GRAPH EXPO and CONVERTING EXPO opens. William Lamparter, president of the PrintCom Consulting Group, will chair the all-day conference, now in its eighth year.
The full-day Executive Outlook Conference is structured to provide printers with information that will help them evaluate how new products and technologies can be blended with the old to create opportunities, even when business conditions are difficult.
"Profiting With the Right Technology—Struggling Without It—A Print Manager's Survival Kit" was selected as the theme for the conference to emphasize the fact that profitable survival is highly dependent upon the proper use of the technologies that can effectively produce the products being demanded by quality-conscious, deadline-sensitive print buyers.
"Printers that are falling behind the technology curve are finding it difficult to compete with their counterparts and the burgeoning alternative electronic media," Lamparter states. "Executive Outlook is a technology information smorgasbord that will help printing executives assess the equipment, software and materials that will be exhibited at the show."
Additional details about GRAPH EXPO and CONVERTING EXPO are available at www.graphexpo.com or by calling the Graphic Arts Show Co. at (703) 264-7200.
Attendance Numbers Only Part of Story
Can a trade show maintain and even increase its value as a marketing tool, even in an era of constant change and uncertainty in all industries?
GRAPH EXPO and CONVERTING EXPO seems to be doing just that. Despite a tough economy and broad industry consolidation, America's leading printing, publishing and converting expo has maintained both its exhibitor base and its audience among top industry executives, according to its manager, the Graphic Arts Show Co. (GASC).
The trade show environment, though, has definitely changed. Hank Brandtjen, president of Brandtjen & Kluge, observes, "We no longer go to these shows on hope. We do pre-show mailers and take advantage of the Website offers that GASC makes available. Before the show opens, we now have an idea of who to expect and, in many cases, we have pre-planned demonstrations set up for just before or just after show hours.
"We also do a better job of budgeting and controlling the costs of a show, and of tracking the return," he adds. "We now have the numbers to prove that a well-planned show has a significant return on the investment."
David Reny, vice president and managing director of Standard Finishing Systems, adds, "The key difference is that today we put a lot more effort into getting our customers to come to see us at the exhibition. We do not just expect them to show up like they used to."
In terms of exhibit size, GASC points out that the show has remained pretty constant since 1993. Square footage "spiked" in 1999-2000 with the influx of dotcom companies making their debuts in large exhibit spaces. But many of those companies also disappeared quickly.
The other four shows in the time period (1993, 1995, 1998 and 2002) averaged 365,000 net square feet.
The upcoming 2003 show is projected at 345,000 to 350,000 net square feet—the "normal" size for GRAPH EXPO and CONVERTING EXPO.
Ongoing industry shrinkage has affected attendance. Between 1993 and 2002 the printing industry lost, by one count, some 8,400 firms.
On the other hand, GASC notes, the show's audience among the larger and more successful companies remains strong. Of the 100 largest printing companies in the United States, 76 percent sent representatives to GRAPH EXPO and CONVERTING EXPO 2002, and those companies sent an average of 13 people, according to GASC. Of the 400 largest companies, more than 60 percent were represented at the show, by an average of six people each.
Although companies may be sending fewer people to the show, GASC says they're sending the people exhibitors want to see. In 2002, more than half of all visitors gave their job titles as owner, president, CEO, vice president, department head, manager or supervisor. And more than 76 percent said they were directly involved in company investment decisions.
So, as the old saying goes, it's quality that's important, not necessarily quantity.
2003 Hall of Famers Announced
Industry leaders Wayne Angstrom, Donald Roland, Nicholas Simon and Don Walsworth have been named the 2003 Printing Impressions/RIT Printing Industry Hall of Fame inductees.
The four men will be honored during GRAPH EXPO and CONVERTING EXPO at the Gold Ink Awards and Hall of Fame Gala. The event is scheduled for Monday evening, September 29, at McCormick Place in Chicago. The gala recognizes award-winning printing and outstanding individual achievement.
* Wayne Angstrom is the CEO for St Ives Group, U.S. Division, in Miami. He is responsible for the group's commercial and magazine printing interests in the United States. He was appointed to the parent company main board in 1997. He has been active in industry associations throughout his career. Angstrom currently serves as chairman of the Printing Association of Florida (PAF), chairs the PAF Education Committee and is a member of the Graphics of Americas Show committee. He began his printing career at RR Donnelley in 1962.
* Donald Roland is chairman, president and CEO of Baltimore-based Vertis Inc. Roland joined TC Advertising—before it became Vertis—in 1983 as senior vice president of operations. He moved up through the ranks to become executive vice president in 1993 and president and CEO in 1995. TC Advertising, the LTC Group and Webcraft merged to create Vertis in June of 2000. Roland has been part of the printing industry since childhood, working with his father at newspapers and commercial printing plants in Texas.
* Nicholas Simon is president and CEO of Publishers Printing, Shepherdsville, KY. He serves as a board member for the Printing Industry Association of the South (PIAS) and was named their "Man of the Year" in 2002. Simon is also an active member of his community, serving as a board member for several local businesses and charities.
* Don Walsworth is president and CEO of Walsworth Publishing, Marceline, MO. He is extremely involved with his community, having served as both a member of city council and the city's mayor. He is also chairman of the Missouri State Highway & Transportation Commission and was recently appointed to the University of Missouri Board of Curators. Walsworth began his career with the family business in 1958.
In addition to these industry veterans, four print production executives will be honored at the gala by Printing Impressions' sister publication, PrintMedia.
Advance registration for the gala event is required. For more information on attending, call Mike Cooper at (215) 238-5434.