IPMA Conference Off to a Great Start
Sometimes you don’t realize how much you’ve missed something until you get it back. That’s how it’s been all week here at the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association (IPMA) conference. This is my first time attending the event since 2018. (I missed 2019 when my mother passed away.) Seeing so many in-plant managers in one place, and being able to talk to them at any time about their shops – after spending the past few years just wondering – feels almost miraculous.
I’ve spent the past three days chatting with people, taking notes, hearing about their problems (supply shortages, anyone?), and lauding them for their victories. I arrived Sunday afternoon, after a long drive to Buffalo from Philadelphia, and instantly ran into familiar faces. It was difficult to cross the room at the opening reception that night without stopping to say hi to people I knew. Plus there were 44 first-time attendees to meet.
I opened the conference Monday morning with a presentation on in-plant trends, using data from our new research report. Then the enthusiastic Tracy Stock invigorated the room with her keynote on how to create an amazing workplace. Most employees would work harder if they felt more appreciated, she said, encouraging managers to care more about their employees.
Consultant Howie Fenton also spoke on Monday, advising attendees to utilize video more, both in communications with customers and as a training tool. He offered tips to help overcome the labor shortage.
Roundtable discussions broke attendees into groups, such as government in-plants, health care, education, insurance, and more. There they discussed concerns and offered each other advice. Tuesday began with a tag-team presentation by Mark Fallon and Lois Ritarossi, who discussed how to effectively communicate with people who have a different style of communicating than you.
Throughout both Monday and Tuesday, a vendor fair gave managers many opportunities to see equipment and hear about new technologies they can use in their in-plants. Nearly 40 vendors participated.
The IPMA conference continues today and tomorrow. Watch for our full report in the days ahead.
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 nearly 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.