April 6, 2004 -- KBA North America’s 74 Karat users have a customer user group, which met in Tampa, Fla. on Feb. 20-21. Twenty-six people, representing 11 firms, from all over the country attended the meeting from as far away as Salt Lake City, Utah. Blackhawk Corporation, a commercial printing and full-service digital production firm based in Clearwater, Florida hosted the meeting. Representatives from KBA in Germany also attended. This was the third meeting held in total with three planned per year. The second meeting in 2004 will be held in June with a date and site to be determined and a third meeting is planned for later this fall.
The 74 Karat user group meeting began with presentations from paper manufacturers, ink vendors, and KBA officials on the latest developments for the press. A presentation by HumanEyes Technologies, an Israeli software maker, provided the Karat users with a description of the firm’s ability to offer 3-D photographic printing on plastic and foil using oxidative inks (non UV!) on the Karat.
The Karat users were then split into two tracks: sales or production. The sales track focused on how to sell digital printing and was led by Bill Farquharson, president, of Print Tec Network. Farquharson provided tips and insight into how to market the 74 Karat, how to open new markets, how to find new niche markets and how to manage a sales force. “His discussion on sales was excellent,” says Sean Haley, vice president of CSI, Falls Church, Va., and a member of the Karat Users Group. “He provided new tips on how to generate sales and focused on existing information to help us. His seminar was very well-received.”
The production track was led by Karl Keller, an application engineer from KBA Germany, who provided tips on Karat press operation. Using questions and challenges directly from the Karat User Group web site, Keller used a hands-on method to answer specific questions and show the group certain methods to work through specific opportunities on the Karat. The Karat users also provided their own tips and suggestions to help the others.
The Karat user group also held a lively round-table discussion among its members on where they’ve been most successful and how to overcome certain obstacles, “Our members like to talk about what works for them,” says Haley. “The round-table is an open exchange of ideas and we challenge each other on our findings. It’s an excellent forum to discuss our work and our press.”
During off-hours, the group participated in a golf outing and met with each other one-on-one to discuss their various firms.
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