Commentary & Analysis
See the Industry Under One Roof
As it brings the printing industry together, PRINTING United will reveal adjacent opportunities.
By WhatTheyThink Guest Contributor
Published: June 7, 2019
By Kate Achelpohl, Director of Publications & Public Relations, SGIA
Time and technology are transforming the printing industry. Printers who once identified with a single segment are now differentiating themselves by adopting technologies and product lines that pull them into adjacent markets. Those changes—summed up in the word “convergence”—are at the heart of PRINTING United, the latest iteration of the SGIA Expo, produced by the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA) and NAPCO Media, and coming to the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas October 23 - 25.
“There’s a transformation taking place in the printing industry, a blurring of segment boundaries as print service providers (PSPs) seek out new products and technologies to better serve their customers,” says Mark Subers, President/CRO, Printing and Packaging, NAPCO Media.
And brands and marketers needs are clearly evolving. “Our customers’ needs continue to change and we need to change with them,” says a PSP interviewed for SGIA’s “Critical Trends Report: Commercial Printing Winter 2019.” “It is not just about how well we can print, but how well we can help them communicate their message — in a variety of ways.”
PRINTING United will bring the universe of printing under one roof, serving markets including commercial printing, apparel decorating, graphics production, functional printing, packaging printing and in-plant.
“PRINTING United represents a sea change in event strategies for addressing the industry environment. Rather than focusing on a single industry segment, it’s welcoming in the entire community,” says Subers. “PRINTING United will reveal opportunities by facilitating connections.”
Attendees can begin by connecting with the more than 600 exhibitors, including Ricoh, Heidelberg, RMGT — Graphic Systems (Ryobi), Muller Martini, and Kirk-Rudy.
The show floor is also home to The Experience Zone, a 4,000-square-foot exhibit with over 100 printed applications that demonstrate how printing shapes consumers’ lives.
“Our industry touches everything around us,” Subers says. “The Experience Zone will put a face on it, with displays from in-home, out-of-home and retail environments. We want PSPs visiting The Experience Zone to leave inspired to try new product lines and markets.”
Education Empowers PSPs
What printers learn at PRINTING United will change the way they see their business.
The greatest levels of product-line expansion for commercial printers, according to SGIA’s Commercial Printing Scorecard (based on 2019 (Q1) SGIA Survey — Markets & Products), are graphic and sign (65.4%), functional printing (21%), package printing/converting (19.8%) and apparel decoration (14.8%). PRINTING United provides the knowledge attendees need to explore these and other segments.
“The education at PRINTING United is designed to give attendees the resources to explore new markets and opportunities — whether inside or outside their traditional segment,” says Dan Marx, Director of Content Development, SGIA. “We’ve structured the programming so there will be something relevant to anyone in attendance at any given time.”
In addition to a robust conference program with more than 90 sessions, there are half-day intensive workshops on Tuesday, October 22, and three amphitheaters for free education on the show floor.
Like the trade show, the PRINTING United conference is built on the foundation of its predecessor, the SGIA Expo, but, says Marx, “We’ve ramped up the relevant, innovative education past attendees know to expect and extended that to the commercial, package and in-plant printing communities as well.”
On the show floor, PRINTING United’s three amphitheaters will feature research and exhibitor-led presentations addressing the apparel, industrial, graphics, commercial and packaging printing communities in prominent locations on the show floor.
PRINTING United Connects the Community
“PSPs who want to improve their businesses and better serve their customers need access to suppliers, manufacturers and education. PRINTING United provides those connections across market segments,” says Ford Bowers, President and CEO, SGIA.
In addition to the expansive show floor and educational options, PRINTING United will bring the community together to create and strengthen connections with peers and industry leaders. Networking events during the show feature informative and inspiring speakers for the apparel, functional and industrial printing, sustainability and Women in Print Alliance communities.
And in the evening, the Opening Night Party on October 23 at the iconic Gilley’s Dallas will channel the energy and excitement of the printing industry.
“The launch of PRINTING United is something to celebrate,” Bowers says. “It encompasses and serves today’s printing industry better than any event in the printing and packaging space has before. If you’re part of the industry, you need to be there from the start.”
Registration for PRINTING United will be free through September 10, but some events have additional fees. Learn more and register today at PRINTINGUnited.com/register.