As Printing Industry Bounces Back, Ninth Annual Inkjet Summit Kicks Off Today in Austin, Texas
After taking a one-year hiatus as a virtual edition in 2020 due to the pandemic, the ninth annual Inkjet Summit starts today and returns to its traditional, "live" face-to-face format, featuring a full slate of educational programming, boardroom-style case study presentations; 1:1 attendee/sponsor meetings, and boundless opportunities for peer-to-peer printer networking. The only change from past years is that the 2021 edition is being held for the first time at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa located outside Austin, Texas, rather than the event's former home in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Following an optional round of golf this morning, today's program kicks off at 4 p.m. with a state-of-the-inkjet-market keynote address by conference chair and noted industry analyst Marco Boer. It will be followed by a Keynote panel discussion, led by fellow analyst Barb Pellow, featuring customers from the four Keynote-level sponsors on the stage (and pre-recorded videos from the sponsors) to discuss post-pandemic business strategies. They are scheduled to include Ed Jansen of Canon Solutions America with Casey Hendrick, of United Mail; HP's Vahaaj Khan with Cheryl Kahanec, of Quantum Group; Ricoh's Phil Self with Michelle Steinberg, of Sepire; and SCREEN's Mark Schlimme with Geoffrey Eisenberg, of Tidewater Direct.
That will be followed by a closing panel discussion featuring industry experts and then an opening networking reception/dinner held outdoors on the lavish grounds of the Hyatt Lost Pines resort. All local, state, and federal COVID-related protocols are being followed by the organizers to ensure the safety of all attendees.
Inkjet Summit Is Only Printing Industry Event of Its Kind
As the industry’s only true peer-to-peer production inkjet printing forum, the Inkjet Summit lets attendees hear exclusively from other printers, printers’ customers, and leading subject-matter experts in the general sessions. In separate breakouts and 1:1 meetings, sponsoring vendors provide detailed information about their inkjet solutions in focused presentations and individual discussions that can literally save participants months of individual research.
And the timing for this interaction between potential buyers and sellers couldn't come at a better time, with the majority of U.S. printers reporting sales increases during the second quarter of 2021 and equipment vendors, in turn, scrambling to respond to meet the pent-up demand of printers seeking to make digital printing and related capital equipment expenditures that had been put on hold due to COVID.
In fact, according to the second quarter "2021 Print Business Indicators Survey," which is part of the State of the Industry Research Program conducted by PRINTING United Alliance and NAPCO Research, more than 78% of companies surveyed reported that their sales increased last quarter. On average, sales were up 10.1%.
Equally encouraging, 64.8% of the research survey group reported work-on-hand is rising, up from 36.7% three months ago. Likewise, 60.8% indicated they expect to make a capital investment during the next 12 months, up from 39.1% at the close of 2020; and 73.2% expect their full-year 2021 sales to exceed the previous year.
This strong industry rebound environment provides the perfect backdrop for the 120 printing executives attending the 2021 Inkjet Summit in-person and the 20 printers doing so "virtually," coupled with another dozen current inkjet press users brought to the event by the 44 Inkjet Summit sponsors to speak as part of their case study presentations.
The two and a half-day educational program features keynotes by Marco Boer (I.T. Strategies), Pat McGrew (McGrew Group), Barbara Pellow (Pellow and Partners), and David Zwang (Zwang & Co.) on top trends for inkjet adoption and use, as well as a user panel of current inkjet printing adopters sharing their real-life experiences. Attendees proceed from the general sessions to case-study and market-specific expert presentations across five tracks: in-plant, publishing (books, catalogs, and magazines), direct mail/marketing, transaction, and commercial printing.
One-on-one appointments between attendees and sponsors, as well as networking throughout the event, help to turn the nonstop flow of information into specific business opportunities — the overarching objective of the conference.
The unique Inkjet Summit format comes at a perfect time of pent-up demand where printers and industry suppliers alike are yearning to return to a sense of "normalcy," which centers around face-to-face networking, 1:1 meetings, and a "live" event that enable those human interactions.