PRINTING United Expo 2022: Unite Together to Discover What’s Next
Since 2019, the world has changed. The COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc across businesses worldwide. During 2020 as the virus spread, we saw markets disappear nearly overnight as in-person trade shows, conferences, and events were canceled. Some companies were forced to close their doors entirely or severely restrict their operations.
The economic damage is something businesses are still getting a handle on. On the surface, the numbers for 2022 are encouraging. According to the State of the Industry (SOI) Update, First Quarter 2022 (produced by PRINTING United Alliance and NAPCO Research), 64.3% of SOI participants expect their sales to grow during the first half of 2022, three times the 19.6% who expect sales to remain at year-earlier levels or to decline. Nearly half are projecting growth of at least 10%, and more than one-quarter are projecting growth of at least 15%.
However, if you dig deeper a different picture emerges.
Cost inflation is rampant. More than 88% of the survey panel expects their operating costs to increase during the first half of 2022 because of inflation. Particularly concerning, 47.6% expect operating cost inflation to rise faster than sales.
Margins are under pressure. While nearly two-thirds expect to increase sales through midyear, just 37.5% expect to increase pre-tax profitability, as cost inflation and greater resistance to price increases make it difficult to get growth to the bottom line.
No relief is expected. Material shortages, cited by 92.3%, and rising substrate costs, cited by 85.8%, are expected to be major problems throughout 2022. So are rising costs of labor (71.4%), transportation (70.3%), ink/toner (59.9%), and energy (50.2%). Nearly 69% expect labor shortages to continue. Nearly 55% are very concerned about maintaining profitability, and almost as many are very concerned about increasing sales.
How can we combat this “new normal?” Business owners need to be vigilant and aggressive. Additionally, they need to plan now for how they can make improvements in their business. But what kind of improvements?
- Increase productivity. Look at capital investments in new equipment/software and upgrades. Automation — and better use of MIS — can help streamline workflow and increase efficiency.
- Increase labor productivity. Beyond automation, build workforce skills and flexibility by training, cross-training, and employee development.
- Stay ahead of supply chain disruptions. Strengthen inventory management, and purchasing.
- Diversify the revenue base. Add products and services, and seek to enter new markets.
Business owners need to arm themselves with the most up-to-date and relevant market information, and position it alongside the hardware and technology required to bring those plans to fruition. The best place to accomplish all those goals will be at the 2022 PRINTING United Expo.
The Expo will welcome exhibitors and attendees from around the world to experience the latest technology and solutions to be found across two halls at the Las Vegas Convention Center — North and Central — where the industry will once again reunite under one roof for the first time since we were last in Dallas for PRINTING United 2019.
“The biggest names in the industry have waited to launch technology for those attending from around the world and are anticipating a blockbuster show,” says Mark J. Subers, president, PRINTING United Expo. “There are solutions from all aspects of printing being represented, and this will be the first chance for those in North America in years to gather all under one roof to see and experience everything together. From entry level operators, to president and CEOs — we are getting registrations for them all.”
An Event Experience for All
More than 700 exhibitors occupying one million square feet (bring your walking shoes!) have signed up for the three-day event. Leaders in apparel decoration, commercial, graphics/wide-format, industrial and printed electronics, mailing, shipping, and fulfillment, packaging and labels, textiles and décor, and promotional products will run live demonstrations of their solutions — many award-winning — throughout the live event.
PRINTING United Expo will be the world’s most diversified event, offering a breadth and depth of application solutions that cannot be found anywhere else. Attendees will have the opportunity to see product launches of the latest industry technology, experience new solutions, explore potential new areas for business growth, and so much more.
“The PRINTING United Expo will be the single most important industry event to attend in 2022,” Subers says. “The Expo’s convergent market approach will equip attendees with the necessary information and insight from experts on how to successfully adopt a diverse strategy — and they will be able to see these end-to-end solutions and services all under one roof.”
Happenings at the Show
While the real draw of the Expo is the volume of exhibitors and the new technology debuts, there’s more in store for attendees to experience this year.
Keynote Speaker Theater
Located in N110, PRINTING United Expo will feature a Keynote Education Program Series that will inform and inspire attendees at the Expo. The first keynote to be announced is “6 Steps to Building a Loyal Customer Base (that Will Continually Buy from You),” presented by renowned marketing industry superstar Joe Pulizzi.
“Speakers being selected for our Keynote Speaker Program Series are highly sought-after minds offering keen level of detail and insight into important subject matter areas to help attendees walk away with usable and inspiring ideas,” Subers says. “We enthusiastically welcome Joe Pulizzi as a mastermind in marketing as our first speaker in the series to be announced.”
Pulizzi’s keynote will be on October 20.
Stay tuned for more information as we release the speakers for this special theater in the weeks leading up to the Expo.
Apparel decoration methods will unite in this immersive show floor experience showcasing the various application methods, technologies, and equipment, from short-run to commercial solutions. The latest techniques in screen printing, DTG, dye-sublimation, embroidery, heat applied graphics, DTF, and other printing technologies will be at your fingertips to explore. Attendees can visit the Café and Beer Garden throughout the day to network and partake in coffee/beer service, take in a live podcast from renowned industry experts, and get hands on with the latest equipment.
Of special note, this year the PRINTING United Alliance will be partnering with U.S. Vets. Founded by veterans to serve veterans, U.S. Vets is the leading nonprofit fighting on the frontlines to help veterans and their families transition from homelessness by offering tailored support to gain independence. Any monies raised in this zone will be donated to U.S. Vets at the end of the event. Additionally, since decorated apparel is a primary revenue generator for the nonprofit, overrun samples produced over the course of the three-day event will be donated to U.S. Vets for sale or use in support of their cause.
“I’m thrilled at the opportunity to help further this vital and foundational printing industry segment,” says Joshua Carruth, managing director, Decorated Apparel, PRINTING United Alliance. “In the ever diversifying and converging world of print, apparel decoration has never been more popular or accessible as product solution for the end customers. We firmly believe there is massive potential for increased share of market to be had by all — for both the traditional decorators and PSPs looking to add apparel to their product range. The Apparel Zone will provide a 360° view of what’s available in the space today, and serve as an interactive educational experience for all.”
Mailing & Fulfillment Pavilion
Leaders in mailing, fulfillment, and shipping operations are calling PRINTING United Expo home in 2022. These businesses join exhibitors and like-minded associations across market segments looking to diversify and expand services. Led by Gold Sponsor Pitney Bowes, the event will feature an ecosystem of solutions that includes envelope inserters, postage meters, parcel lockers, package production presses, mail piece finishing systems, shipping logistics, addressing data, enterprise content management, and marketing campaign automation software.
The dedicated Mailing and Fulfillment Pavilion is where attendees can speak with representatives from leading media and associations like Mailing Systems Technology magazine, the National Postal Forum, and the National Association for Presort Mailers. The In-Plant Printing and Mailing Association will also be on the show floor.
Leaders in packaging and labels will also be calling PRINTING United Expo home in 2022. The dedicated Packaging Pavilion on the show floor is where attendees can speak with representatives from leading associations like FPA, TLMI, PPC, and FSEA, along with the leading NAPCO Media publication serving the market, Packaging Impressions magazine. Award-winning works by members at these organizations will be on display for attendees to view.
For graphic installers, the PDAA Zone at PRINTING United Expo (Booth C7536) will be their home-away-from-home during this year’s Expo. The Zone will feature a special window station, highlighting window films and graphics; a hands-on wrapping station where attendees can practice wrapping a van door, a rough surface, and a melamine wall to show off films; and a mini competition.
“The PDAA zone is a great place to try your hand with different films with experts there to guide you along,” says Ray Weiss, VP, eLearning and Certifications, PRINTING United Alliance. “No sales pressure, just tips and tricks to help make you a better installer. Connect with other installers, learn something new, and enjoy the camaraderie in the PDAA zone.”
No special registration is required to visit the PDAA Zone. Simply show up and try your luck putting vinyl on a Mustang hood for a prize. Fellers is providing a glove, a knife, and a squeegee for that station, and Orafol is providing the film. Additionally, attendees can practice and learn tips and tricks at the Orafol booth just around the corner from the PDAA Zone.
Museum of Printing
The Museum of Printing will bring historical artifacts for attendees to see and experience. The display will be located in between show halls by the registration desk. Autographed books by Frank Romano will be on hand, along with information about the Museum of Printing, which is located in Boston, Massachusetts. Keep an eye out for more to come about this historical addition to the show.
PRINTING United Alliance joined forces with the U.N.I.T.E. Together movement to support Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) initiatives. U.N.I.T.E. Together empowers and reinforces a collective commitment to embrace and celebrate all that makes us unique, and demonstrates that all are welcome, valued, and heard. The organization will have a booth on the show floor, with events planned with contributing partners of the group.
For more information about PRINTING United Expo, to stay abreast of all the latest news, and to register to attend, please visit printingunited.com.
Denise Gustavson is the Editorial Director and Special Projects Editor for the Printing & Packaging Group, which includes Printing Impressions, packagePRINTING, In-plant Graphics and Wide-Format Impressions magazines, among other brands. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of Wide-Format Impressions.