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16th Annual Vue/Point Conference Focuses On Challenges And Opportunities Of Evolving Print Business

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Press release from the issuing company

A printing industry under unprecedented global pressure, yet still providing exciting opportunities for innovation and growth, was the focus of the 16th annual VUE/POINT Conference at the Hilton in the Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando, FL during mid-April. At the opening general session, Larry Letteney of Blue Ocean Advisory Group outlined “A Vision for Today's Printer” that included more global business opportunities as well as global competition, and important new challenges brought about by “a major change in the distribution of our business over the next five years.” “Anything that can be done anywhere is going to move around the world to the place where it can be done most effectively,” Letteney said. He noted that for every dollar American corporations spend on printing, they spent another six dollars on related functions like fulfillment, warehousing, administrative tasks and creative development. As a result, total print-related spending is under unprecedented scrutiny. Printers have several success strategies from which to choose, Letteney said. They can “climb the chain,” by reaching out to higher management levels in their client organizations and delivering more critical services; “expand the base” by bringing new customers into print markets; or segment vertically by focusing on niches they can serve better than their competitors. Luncheon speaker Professor Emeritus Frank Romano of Rochester Institute of Technology agreed that “geography doesn't matter any more. Now your competition can be in another state or another country.” Romano stressed that “the opportunities today are in augmenting and not replacing print. It is no longer a case of print versus electronic. It's print and electronic, and if we don't get that straight, we're dead.” Romano encouraged attendees to create stronger client relationships by adding such services as fulfillment to their offerings. “If you have both print and fulfillment, you have a customer who isn't going to go away quickly or re-bid the job every year,” he said. Fulfillment and other value-added services were also a major theme of the first-day panel “Walking the Walk: A Look at Those who Have Become More than Just Printers.” “Print and fulfillment go hand in hand,” noted Al Kennickell, president of Kennickell Print and Global Marketing Services in Savannah, GA. “I would not want to be in the print business if I didn't also have the fulfillment.” Panels of printers sharing specific experiences made up the chief content of the VUE/POINT program, which was developed with the support of an industry advisory panel. Panel topics ranged from “Workflow Standardization” and “Digital Asset Management” to “Solution Selling” and “Building a Business from One-to-One Marketing.” Giving prominence to actual technology users as panelists has always been a distinguishing feature of VUE/POINT. Once again in 2006, attendees found great value in the practical advice and interactivity of the panel sessions. “What attracted me at first was the fact that there wasn't an exhibit floor,” said Randy Fox, Market Development Manager, Jet, Downers Grove, IL. “The concept of putting industry professionals on the stage, with no preaching, no PowerPoints, was very attractive. Here, people are giving away ideas that lead to strategic thinking. Speakers have been very open. I'm very happy I attended.” Ian Basset, Operations Director at Creda Communications in Cape Town, traveled to VUE/POINT all the way from South Africa and declared the trip well worth his while. “Being in South Africa, we're quite far away from user groups and the like, and this is a very good opportunity to interact and network with people using the same products,” he said. “The panels are very informative. It's great having users on the panels. There's no vaporware, no promises. The informal networking is also very valuable. This conference is worthwhile without a shadow of a doubt. Over the years, we've always gotten so much out of it.” The practical content of the sessions also got high marks from Michael Stella, President of Corner Lot Marketing, Mansfield, MA. “Here, everyone is very open to speak to,” Stella said. “The real world experience you get here is very valuable, and the topics are current. The variable data printing and lists sessions I found very interesting.” Doug Klemz of Home Mountain Printing, Valparaiso, IN, commented that “Some of the Information Technology sessions have been phenomenal, covering how to streamline operations, continue automation, and use technology as a force multiplier. It's good to listen to the panelists because they have used the products and they are more free to talk about them than the sales person is.”




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