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WFX: Wide-Format Exchange Sparks Discussion, Education

(June/July 2018) posted on Tue Jun 19, 2018

Industry leaders gathered to share ideas on all aspects of the wide-format digital print business.

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By Anya Rao

“The Future is Now: The Two Key Places to Automate Your Production” offered attendees insight into automation from workflow to customer communication to the shop floor. Richard Labiuk, president of Holland & Crosby, and Brian Hite, president of Image Options, discussed the ways automation can save time in the long run, despite some effort in the short term. “Automation is really just saving time, money, and effort. Five minutes may not seem like big savings, but all that time adds up,” Labiuk said. 

New Perspectives

What can you do to better serve major clients and prospects? The decision makers responsible for the signage and graphics programs of three top corporate brands – REI, SuperValu, and Wells Fargo – provided insight into how their needs are changing and what they want from PSPs in a panel discussion led by ST Media Group’s Senior VP of Content, Steve Duccilli.

Kevin Manion, Wells Fargo VP branded environments leader, said with the size of their locations shrinking, the company is exploring “how do we create a customer experience in a scaled-down environment?” This often means the use of longer-term, changeable displays. Although REI has a strong online presence, the physical stores for the outdoor outfitter are a vital part of eliciting customer inspiration, said Suzanna Eversole, REI’s print production manager. “I’m looking for a printer that cares as much about my signage as I do,” Eversole said. The buyers also mentioned they are seeking longevity and a strong relationship with vendors, efficiency, and problem-solving skills. 

In “Keeping Print Relevant for the Next Generation,” Robin Donovan, editor-in-chief of Signs of the Times, moderated a discussion about business culture and attracting and retaining millennial workers to the print shop. The conversation featured panelists Brian Adam, president of Olympus Group; Ben King, president of King Signs and Graphics; and Dalton Scott, president of the Young Professionals of Minneapolis. The panel offered tips, which included providing young employees training and continuing education; communicating regularly one-on-one; and letting employees know how their day-to-day efforts are making an impact.

Big Picture’s Editor-in-Chief Adrienne Palmer led a panel discussion with three of the magazine’s Women in Print Award winners about their origins and roles in the changing digital print industry. Panelists included 2016 Women in Print Award winners Diana Herrera, owner/president of AP Imaging, and Elaine Scrima, VP of operations at GSP, and 2017 Women in Print Award winner Michelle Gobert, president and owner of Image 360 Central New Orleans. “In this industry, there’s no limit to your creativity or what you can go out and market,” Scrima said.

Closing keynote speaker, Anthony Tjan, founder and CEO of the Cueball Group, venture capitalist, and entrepreneur, ended the event with the encouragement for PSPs to power forward and increase their position in the industry: “You’re not in the business of digital printing – you’re in the business of amplifying a brand or a business.”

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