GRAPH EXPO 2014: The Allure That Is Chicago
There is a simplistic effectiveness associated with GRAPH EXPO that John Sommers Jr. finds appealing. The president and CEO of Allied Printing Services in Manchester, CT, loves walking the floor at McCormick Place South in Chicago, knowing he can get a heck of a lot more accomplished than he could while sitting in front of his laptop.
Convenience is what attracts many printers to the great Midwest every Fall in search of, say, a certain piece of equipment, that software package that will make their workflow highly efficient, or research for future investments. Sommers had all of his bases covered, having spent two days with his pressroom manager and two days with his bindery manager.
"We're getting close to making a big decision with a press manufacturer," Sommers allowed, not wanting to tip his hand too much. "We're also adding folding, stitching and strapping in the bindery…and off-line UV coating for digital.
"When you come to GRAPH EXPO and have specific vendors to visit, you can get a week's worth of research done in a couple of days, which is very beneficial."
Sommers also allowed himself some time to do general browsing, and came upon a paper banding solution that can be a friendlier alternative to a process that he says has become time- and labor-intensive. While paper banding pales in scope when compared to, for example, an inkjet press acquisition, it can certainly make a meaningful difference in the bottom line.
"Smaller investments add a lot of value and are compelling in terms of differentiation," he notes.
Walking the floor, Sommers definitely sensed an optimism that had been lacking at the show the last time he attended (2011). He spent time chatting with a number of colleagues in his peer group and came away with the distinct impression that they, too, were not in Chicago just to eat at the Kinzie Chophouse.