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Experts Forecast Printing Industry Future

Press release from the issuing company

See smaller, more technology-driven industry focused on providing communications solutions including, but not limited to, ink-on-paper. CHICAGO, June 20, 2002 – As we move deeper into the 21st Century, printers will continue to add value to ink-on-paper and expand beyond it to fill more and more of their customers’ needs.  The print production process will be more streamlined, more efficient and more reliant on technology.  To secure an expanded role in the communications process, printers must make a commitment to educating customers on their capabilities and train their workforce in the new skills sets required.  This was the pervading view of a panel of printers, manufacturers and other industry experts convened during the keynote session of the 10th Annual GATF/NAPL Sheetfed Pressroom Conference in Chicago earlier this month.  Panel members shared their visions of how the printing industry can increase its relevance in a rapidly changing communications environment. Among their insights:  * “People are changing how they want to communicate.  Printers have to find ways to add value for their customers.  The print industry of the future will be smaller but more relevant.” — John Hamm, president of Marketing, Xerox Graphic Arts Business, Xerox Corporation, Bethesda, Md * “Printers need to be less concerned about production issues—we can have manufacturers offer solutions in those areas.  We have to concentrate on what customers want and we can provide that.  We have to differentiate ourselves not on the piece of paper, but on what that piece of paper will do for our customers.” — Jim Kosowski, vice president, Rapid Impressions, Broadview, Ill. * “No medium really goes away—print won’t either.  It will complement other technologies.  In the next three years, we’ll have more information than we’ve had in the last 40,000 years.  Offset ink-on-paper will be a big part of disseminating that information.” — Yves Rogivue, chief executive officer, MAN Roland Inc., Westmont, Ill. * “As printers, we need to continue to expand our capabilities to give our customers choices and to become better and faster at what we do.” — Thomas Mercier, president and chief executive officer, Bloomington Offset Press, Inc., Bloomington, Ill. * “As the industry moves forward, printers will need fewer people involved in operations, and those people will need new, technologically based skill sets.  Print manufacturing is going in the direction of self-controlling, intelligence-based systems.  We’ll see less of the wrench and more of the mouse.” — John Dowey, vice president of Product Management, Heidelberg USA, Kennesaw, Ga. * “Offering such services as variable printing gives printers the opportunity to help their customers data-mine.  Getting involved in that will enable us to help our customers reach their customers with relevant information.” — James Giencke, president and chief executive officer, Arandell Corporation, Menomonee Falls, Wis. * Let’s look at the forces changing the industry.  In the future, the Internet will be everywhere and quite easy to use.  There will be less printing and fewer printing companies.  Those that survive will have to be stronger, more effective, probably larger, and offer computer services to convert print into more forms.” — Frank Romano, chairman, School of Printing Management and Sciences, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, N.Y. Sponsored jointly by the Graphic Arts Technical Foundation (GATF) and the National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL), the GATF/NAPL Sheetfed Pressroom Conference is known for providing in-depth information on the fundamentals of running a sheetfed pressroom and for putting those basics in a strategic context to help printers grow their businesses.  Next year’s Conference is scheduled for June 1-3, 2003, at the Marriott O’Hare, Chicago.

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