Taking the Industry's Pulse on Merits of Annual Printing Trade Show
As a result, industry suppliers have been forced to take drastic measures due to declining sales volumes and stock prices, including staff layoffs, salary cuts, furloughs, and employee healthcare and 401(k) reductions. To them, it’s all about survival—waiting for the economy and, hopefully, the industry to rebound. In these harsh times, their backs are truly up against the wall. If they aren't confident that they will attain a suitable ROI from exhibiting at Graph Expo or PRINT, they are going to be forced to either cut way back on their presence or not exhibit at all.
Likewise, if Ralph Nappi puts on his GASC hat, he must also factor in the viability and survival of the Printing Industries of America and the National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL), in addition to NPES. Printing Industries of America and NAPL rely heavily on the GASC income from the show (which is split evenly by the three organizations) to provide the numerous industry programs and services that he outlined in his response.
This ties back into the recent consolidation discussions between Printing Industries of America and NAPL, which have stalled thus far. Could GASC pass along an even larger stimulus package to exhibitors if the profits from Graph Expo and PRINT were only split two ways, rather than three? There’s no doubt in my mind that both Printing Industries of America and NAPL offer many valuable programs and services to their respective memberships (which combined, however, only adds up to about one-third of the total commercial printing establishments in the United States). With the current economic climate, and forecasts for a very slow recovery, though, is that enough to warrant their share of the show's profits?
An agreement by Printing Industries of America, NAPL and NPES to consolidate what had been three major conferences into one starting in 2011 is a great start, but, hopefully, it’s not too little too late.