img_0257.JPGLast week I was able to attend one of five NPES regional events in Dayton, Ohio. Dayton was the second stop on the tour that included Teaneck (NJ), Irvine (CA), Chicago (IL), and Boston (MA). The event is designed primarily to be a networking opportunity, but also includes a vibrant customer panel and presentations on key industry market data. The event took place on the top floor of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Dayton and was well attended by many in the surrounding area. I saw EFI, Kodak, Day Intl, Heidelberg, Baumfolder, and xpedx all well represented. The morning began with a 90 minute workshop presented by Robert Nadeau of Industrial Performance Group on "Being Different in the Eyes of Your Customers". Robert is a veteran supply chain specialist. His presentation focused on the key to customer loyalty: Delivering the right mix of value to your customers.

I sat down with Robert shortly after his presentation to get the Cliff Notes version for the Print CEO Blog readers:

The highlight for me was the "Regional Printing Leadership Panel". This hour and a half session was filled with some great interactive discussions between the printing company leaders and the attendees. Included in the discussion were Albert Abolafia of Hooven-Dayton, Jim Cunningham of PIANKO, and Ken Kabel of Oak Hills Carton. The discussions revolved around the challenges printers face in buying equipment, maintaining and supporting equipment, and locating and training good employees.

The best line of the day came from Kabel, who after feeling like his answer strayed a bit from the other two panelists quipped: "I feel like Dennis Kucinich at an NRA convention".

Kip Smythe, VP of NPES, presented a great segment on market data and key trends. NPES and PRIMIR invest heavily into key industry trend research and metrics and this was evident in Kip's presentation. He also talked about tools that are made available to printers to help them analyze their markets - and even customize the data themselves.

Ralph Nappi, President of NPES, talked late in the day about "globalization" and whether or not it was a threat or opportunity. A focus of this talk was recent PRIMIR studies and his trips to both China and India. There were some really good insights into these growth markets, which present a great deal of opportunity and challenges.

I also got a chance to catch up with Ralph and get his thoughts on this meeting series:

One of the attendees was Ulrik Nygaard, President and CEO of Baumfolder (a Heidelberg Company). Ulrik was kind enough to also sit down with me and give me his impressions of his day in Dayton:

The thing that struck me most about this event was that it was big enough to have a broad array of people with varying degrees of experience and expertise, while being small enough to engage most everybody during the day. I applaud Ralph Nappi and his team for doing a great job with these events.

Nappi gets the Printing Leadership Panel started: