In-plants Gather in New Zealand
About 55 attendees travelled to Auckland for the recent New Zealand Print Managers conference and exhibition.
By Jean-Luc Devis and Martin Booth
Sitting on the rim of an extinct, 12,000-year-old volcano overlooking a natural saltwater lagoon, the Waipuna Hotel & Conference Center was the dramatic setting for the recent New Zealand Print Managers conference and exhibition.
About 55 attendees travelled to Auckland for the in-plant conference, which featured U.S. presenters Jean-Luc Devis, director of Printing and Mailing Services at Oregon State University, and Ken Macro, assistant professor of graphic communication at California Polytechnic State University.
Wayne Riggall, of the University of Waikato, who has organized this conference for three years now, was pleased with the turnout and the spontaneous audience discussions during presentations.
"There has clearly been a need for a wholly New Zealand conference as many print managers and supervisors cannot get approval to travel to Australia," he said.
Among the differences observed between U.S. and Australasian in-plants are that the latter seem much more connected with their IT counterparts, which positions them favorably for enhanced technological improvements and support. Shops Down Under also seem, more so than U.S. in-plants, to favor digital printing over offset.
One of the key presenters was Richard Vines, the author of two White Papers on the in-plant industry. He championed the need for in-house operations to become part of the wider organization's value chain. Vines believes in-house printing will become a crucial cog in the transformation of the entire communications industry. The focus of print is shifting from a commercial activity to an office management/marketing/communications function, he said.
Variable data printing was a big theme of the conference. Macro shared examples of successful VDP campaigns in the U.S. and noted that commercial printers now provide value-added services like database consulting, mail piece design, one-to-one marketing strategies and fulfillment. He encouraged in-plants to branch out in these areas.