From the Editor: Doing Double Duty
After a relatively calm start to the year, April took off with a bang when two of the busiest events — the Inkjet Summit and the Association of College and University Printers conference — took place in the same week, forcing me to race from one to the other. I gave presentations at each, networked with in-plant managers, attended sessions, took notes and wrote articles — all within the span of a few days. It’s not the first time that’s happened, but it’s never easy doing double duty.
First I drove up to New Haven, Conn., for the 54th annual ACUP+ conference (my 24th) and spent two days reconnecting with old friends (like Doug Fenske of Minnesota State University, Mankato, who retired last month after 29 years) and making some new acquaintances (like Lorna Mckanna-Maulkin from the University of Brighton in the U.K.).
I learned about a slew of new technology installations: new wide-format latex printers at both Amherst College and Arizona State University (its second), as well as a new HP Indigo at ASU; a new digital envelope printer at Elon University; and a major equipment influx at California State University, Sacramento, to include a Konica Minolta AccurioPress C6100 (which was on display in the ACUP+ vendor area), a Duplo DC-646 slitter/cutter/creaser, a Direct Color Systems 1800z UV LED printer and Print Shop Pro management software from edu Business Solutions.
And that was just what I heard about on the first day.
ACUP+ had a special emphasis on wide-format this year, as detailed in my conference report in the May issue of IPI. There were sessions from the entry-level perspective, panels offering useful tips, discussions about flatbed printers — all led by managers sharing their own wide-format experiences.
I made my own contribution by giving a presentation about emerging opportunities for in-plants. Citing data collected for four different In-plant Impressions research reports, I detailed new services in-plants are adding to increase their value — from flatbed inkjet printing and contour cutting to promotional product sales and engraving — and gave examples of in-plants successfully doing these things. I also covered recent equipment installations at in-plants and the trends fueling them.
And because we were in New Haven, I couldn’t resist telling a personal anecdote about an adventure I had on my first visit to the city many years ago, but you’ll have to find someone who went to ACUP+ if you want to hear that story.
South to Inkjet Land
All too soon I had to leave the conference and drive north to Hartford for a flight to Jacksonville, Fla. Suddenly I was seaside, with palm trees all around, joining the in-progress Inkjet Summit, where nearly two dozen in-plant managers (and 100 other print providers) were getting an intensive dose of inkjet education. This was my sixth summit (of seven) and the interest level was just as high as ever.
There were several returning in-plant managers in attendance (from Omaha Public Schools, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Houston Independent School District and Wolters Kluwer), there to spread the word about their inkjet success. A few other returnees (Mayo Clinic, University of Michigan, Washington State University) dropped hints about how close they are to taking the inkjet plunge. And I learned through conversations about a couple of in-plants in the Salt Lake City area that have quietly finalized deals for inkjet presses, which you can bet I will be following up on.
I moderated a panel discussion between in-plant inkjet users during which they shared lessons they learned and offered advice for those investigating inkjet. As detailed in my article about this session, we covered issues like service calls (rare), marketing (don’t forget to sell it to your operators), color printing (nearly as cheap as monochrome) and more.
As you might imagine, I was pretty beat after two back-to-back conferences. Though I brought home a wealth of worthwhile information, I was more than happy to enjoy a travel-free May, knowing that the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association conference is right around the corner in June.
Related story: Production Inkjet: ‘It’s Not That Big a Risk’
Bob has served as editor of In-plant Impressions since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited more than 170 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, co-sponsored by IPMA and In-plant Impressions.