Four Steps to Profitability
The “Wide-Format 101: Four Steps to Profitability” training program held Monday afternoon provided advice from industry executives on how to make informed business decisions.
SGIA’s Dan Marx opened with “Technology & Markets Overview.” The goal of the program, he stated, was to give attendees “some of the basic knowledge they need” to evaluate the solutions offered on the show floor.
“The end product is going to define the technology,” he said. Printers need to ask what the purpose of the purchase is in advance, rather than develop a strategy afterwards.
Presenting findings from the 2017 Industry Survey, Olga Dorokhina, also of SGIA, revealed product areas with the highest growth potential are Digital Displays and Wall/ Architectural/Building Graphics. Since the 2016 survey, there’s been a big jump in the number of respondents citing “Brand Name” as a factor influencing equipment purchases in 2017.
“We believe this is a trend in the industry ... more oriented toward relationships with the suppliers,” Dorokhina acknowledged. “It’s about brand loyalty.”
In “Color Management & Equipment Strategies,” Josh Hope of Mimaki USA (Booths 1231 and 1345) and Travis Barcelona of Nazdar (Booth 1545) provided guidelines on managing color while maintaining consistent quality in the wide-format printing process.
“Color management begins at the design stage,” Hope said. To avoid problems, “have a good rapport with your designer.” He also urged printers to find or develop a “color champion” in their business, one person who can look at process control as well as data points in measuring color.
Barcelona ran down a list of questions printers should ask as they assess what equipment they need to purchase. For example, “Where do I buy the machine from? Manufacturer? Distributor?”
Additional factors that need to be considered in the decision-making process include servicing, environmental specifications, maintenance, power and air requirements, consumables and operator training.
“Materials & Finishing” was split between Darren Speizer of Drytac (Booth 3325) and Ted Borowsky of Foster (Booth 3527), and focused on the technologies needed to create a sellable product.
“Test - test - test ... make sure you know what you’re getting” when choosing your laminates, Speizer said, and know the advantages of each one. While there can be a “lot of ROI from finishing,” he cautioned that “construction on a laminate is key.” Using lower-quality materials, for example, will result in greater stress.
Borowsky also advised printers to take care when selecting the right cutting tools for their shops. “If anyone tells you that there is one cutter or trimmer that can do it all, run the other way,” he said.
In “Running the Business,” panelists Kim Magraw of Supergraphics and Kevin Gazdag of KSK offered their perspectives on challenges they’ve faced over the years. “You don’t have to be a big company to make money,” Gazdag said. But, he advised attendees to get other people involved in their businesses to examine procedures and financials.
Before going to customers with new products or services, “take your time and make sure you’re a good printer,” advised Magraw.