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Commentary & Analysis

GASC's Regis Delmontagne: Looking Forward and Looking Back Part 1

Industry icon Regis J.

By Cary Sherburne
Published: August 29, 2005

Industry icon Regis J. Delmontagne, long-time President of Graphic Arts Show Company, America's premier producer of trade shows for the commercial, package printing and converting industry, and NPES, The Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing and Converting Technologies, will be retiring this year. WhatTheyThink interviewed Delmontagne to get his perspective on the past and future of the industry, GASC and the Print/Graph Expo trade shows. Delmontagne has served as the executive of NPES for nearly 30 years, having joined the Association in 1976. He strongly advocated the creation of the Graphic Arts Show Company in 1982 as a joint partnership of NPES, representing suppliers, and the National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL) and Printing Industries of America (PIA/GATF), representing end-users.

Meanwhile, NPES has announced that its new President will be Ralph Nappi, currently president of the American Machine Tool Distributors’ Association (AMTDA). Watch WhatTheyThink.com for an interview with Mr. Nappi after he assumes his new role.

In Part One of this two-part interview, Regis discusses:

  • What’s new and different at PRINT 05 & CONVERTING 05
  • The role and condition of the trade show industry
  • Why people should attend PRINT 05
  • The hottest business areas at PRINT 05
  • Workflow at PRINT 05

In Part Two, look for:

  • What to expect next year at GRAPH EXPO
  • Looking back
  • What’s next for the industry, and for Regis?

WTT: Regis, as we approach PRINT 05, we wanted to get your perspective on what will be new and different this year as compared to Graph Expo last year.

RJD: The two events are very different in nature, in scope and size, and their focus is different. Attendees can look forward to a very large, busy, internationally focused event this year at PRINT 05 & CONVERTING 05. The way the international show schedule is set up, our events follow drupa in Germany by a year. The machinery that was either in prototype form or still in development at drupa will be actual, running production equipment on display at this year’s event. Naturally, the addition of CONVERTING 05 will also be a big change from the prior year’s event.

WTT: How about on the converting side—what can we expect to see there?

RJD: The focus on converting and package printing is a reflection of trends in the industry we spotted a couple of years ago that was formalized and amplified in a recent study published by the Print Industries Market Information and Research Organization (PRIMIR). Commercial printing professionals are seeking ways to diversify their service offerings, and package printers and converters are placing more emphasis on print quality and creativity at the request of their customers, who have to compete “on the shelf” with other similar products. As a reaction to that set of needs, equipment manufacturers began to create equipment that could serve printers for both the more traditional commercial work and also serve their folding carton and packaging printing needs. PRINT 05 & CONVERTING 05 is a reflection of that trend, mixing both commercial and package printing equipment on the same exhibit floor in the South Hall. Attendees can compare them all side by side, and create an individual impression of all that’s available to craft a production line that meets their needs and the needs of their customers. This is the only place in the world this year that printers can do that comparison with actual running equipment right in front of them.

Success is measured by providing a forum where buyers and sellers of industrial printing equipment and supplies can meet and do business means that our events have been successful all along, year in and year out.

WTT: I read recently that trade shows are making a comeback. Do you see that happening for PRINT this year, in terms of attendee registrations (exhibits and conference) as well as exhibitor space?

RJD: I don’t think “coming back” is an accurate way to put it, in light of the fact that our exhibitions have been successful by most measures every year, as they reflect accurately the industry they serve. Success measured by providing a forum where buyers and sellers of industrial printing equipment and supplies can meet and do business means that our events have been successful all along, year in and year out. On a national, cross-industry level, trade shows’ size and popularity as a marketing vehicle swings pendulum-fashion between large, broad-scope shows to smaller boutique and niche-serving shows, but trade shows have never been endangered as viable marketing tools. As long as buyers and sellers of goods and services desire and require human face-to-face interaction, trade shows will never completely vanish.

The upcoming PRINT 05 & CONVERTING 05 will be the largest, most comprehensive display of equipment and supplies for the commercial, package printing and converting industry in the world in 2005. Exhibit space sold will fill to the walls three massive halls in a world-class exhibition hall in Chicago, and we’ll play host to over 70,000 printing industry professionals over the 7 days of the event. This event will be every bit as successful in meeting its goal of bringing buyers and sellers together as any we’ve had.

WTT: Why do you think it is important, both for attendees and exhibitors, to participate in events like PRINT 05 and Graph Expo?

The importance of participating in your industry’s top events can’t be overstated.

RJD: The importance of participating in your industry’s top events can’t be overstated. Events like these are one of the most efficient ways for the exchange of information in the industry to take place. Attendees can learn about new business trends, new management ideas, new approaches to the use of technology to help them do their jobs better, produce higher quality products, and be more successful. Equipment manufacturers and service providers can learn what their customers’ needs are, and find new ways to fulfill those needs with new products, services and approaches to production challenges. Innovations in technology and technique take the spotlight at events like these, and innovation is the engine that drives any industry forward toward higher efficiency, higher profitability and productivity. Attendees can see for themselves how the newest equipment can help them in their search for ever higher efficiency and productivity as the machines produce real jobs right in front of them on the exhibit floor. You can’t get that type of first-hand knowledge and interaction in any other forum.

Ink on paper is not as profitable as it once was, and printing professionals are looking for other ways to add value for their customers.

WTT: Are you seeing interest from new market segments in show participation? If so, what would those be?

RJD: Diversification has been the mantra for the printing and converting industry for the last several years, and that concept is even more important in these times of rapidly rising energy and raw materials costs. Ink on paper is not as profitable as it once was, and printing professionals are looking for other ways to add value for their customers. To respond to that need, we started the Wide Format Pavilion, where printers can learn about and buy the latest equipment for producing wide format graphics, point of purchase materials, display graphics and much more. That area, which is now larger than the last DPI show, offers an educational theater and the Innovation Gallery, where the latest cutting edge applications for wide format technology can be explored. The Mailing & Fulfillment Center, which is larger this year than the entire national mailing show was just last year, offers attendees looking to enter the mailing services industry a broad range of machinery, software and supplies to choose from. It also includes an educational theater, where they can learn about the various mailing regulations and techniques right on the show floor. Other areas where we’ve seen increased activity include post press finishing and bindery, in the form of the Bindery Industries of America Pavilion, and in the area of Radio Frequency Identification tag and label production in the RFID Pavilion. Of course, package printing is the big news for this year’s event, and attendees will have a wealth of displays and seminars to choose from if they would like to enter this lucrative market. In short there are a number of areas where attendees can get some great information on new industry segments and new services to offer their customers.

Package printing is the big news for this year’s event, and attendees will have a wealth of displays and seminars to choose from if they would like to enter this lucrative market.

WTT: If you had to pick one area of the business as the hottest area of the show this year, what would that be and why?

RJD: This year I would have to say that package printing is the most high-profile area, and you’ll see evidence of this all over the show floor. Not only are press manufacturers offering highly developed equipment suitable for both commercial and folding carton work, but most are offering in-line or near-line coating and finishing accessories that are used in package material production. Commercial printers should be able to come away with a pretty complete picture of the equipment, supplies and services they’ll need to enter this market and offer this service to their customers. Additionally, there is a subspecialty of package production that printers should be aware of – Radio Frequency Identification tags or RFID. There is a pavilion dedicated to vendors of supplies and services used in this growing specialty market. These tags are likely to become much more in demand as more applications and uses for the technology are uncovered, and printers and converters can be ahead of the curve if they start now investigating this interesting new product.

RFID tags are likely to become much more in demand as more applications and uses for the technology are uncovered.

WTT: With workflow being a hot topic, I noticed that there was no workflow pavilion. What was the reasoning there?

RJD: Workflow is a hot topic this year, no question about it. There are a large number of pre-press vendors offering workflow-related products, and most if not all of the presses or other equipment offered elsewhere on the exhibit floor are compatible with some form of workflow software – everyone has their own solution to this particular challenge and each set of needs is different. A pavilion housing each type of configuration used to create a workflow would take up most of the display hall. North Hall is where the prepress and software vendors are located, and attendees seeking the kind of knowledge and expertise needed to address workflow issues would be strongly encouraged to spend some time there talking to the various solution providers.

See Part 2

Cary Sherburne is a well-known author, journalist and marketing consultant whose practice is focused on marketing communications strategies for the printing and publishing industries.

Cary Sherburne is available for speaking engagements and consulting projects. To get more information contact us.

Please offer your feedback to Cary. She can be reached at cary@whattheythink.com.

 

 

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