Incoming PRINTING United Alliance Chair Offers Insight on a Changing Industry
Michael Marcian, general manager of CCG, a DCG One Company, was named chair of PRINTING United Alliance board of directors last night at the start of PRINTING United Expo.
Q: Congratulations on becoming chair of PRINTING United! What makes this position most meaningful?
It means a lot to me for a couple of reasons. First, my father, Michael Marcian Sr., was chair of Printing Industries of America in 2003, so this is meaningful. Second, I was part of the group that led the merger of PIA and SGIA, which resulted in PRINTING United Alliance. I’m excited by the unification of an organization that really speaks to the needs of the industry. When you factor in the Expo, education, government affairs, and other services, it’s a single source for businesses. Also, I’m humbled that the organization trusts me to chair something so important.
Q: What would you describe as the biggest opportunities for the Alliance?
I’m excited about this year’s PRINTING United Expo, because it’s the first one in three years. And because of what the Expo is — one show focusing on all things imaged — the culmination of all segments. It’s obvious this is the Expo for all, and it’s great to be chair in a year when the show is reborn.
As an organization, we are only as good as the strength of our members, and growing Alliance membership is a strong priority.
Q: Based on your experience, what is really needed today to drive its progress?
Workforce development is essential. The reality is we have a larger number of people entering retirement than we have entering the workforce. So, printing and all other industries are looking to access the next generation of talent. Other challenges, like the pandemic, paper shortages, and supply chain are important, but I see them as temporary. The drive for talent acquisition is a bigger, longer-term challenge for the industry.
Q: What are you looking forward to most at this year’s PRINTING United Expo?
What I’m most looking forward to seeing here at PRINTING United is the ability to see a lot of the new advances in technology. I’m using this event to increase my understanding of the technology and software advances that are most important to what I do. Also, I’m really looking forward to networking in person.
Q: What has changed recently, and how can companies address this changing environment?
In the past few years, companies have had to pivot from survival mode to pumped-up demand. For our company, revenue in the last year has been increasing at percentages we’ve not seen before. Our customers really need us. The challenge for our business is getting the workforce to move from the anxiety and fear of the past couple of years to the full sprint of today.
Another big change has been in automation. Investing in it gives printing companies the opportunity to reduce their need for labor. One of the things that excites people the most is working for a company operating at the forefront of technology.
Q: What do you think has changed the most in the commercial printing space?
The commercial printing segment has been trying to diversify for more than a decade. This means adding more creative solutions and more automation, and expanding into wide-format and promotional products. It also means attracting talent that can help them maximize those opportunities. For many years, just being a commercial printer was enough. In the past 10 years, it’s been different, and just printing doesn’t fulfill the need. We have customers who work with us only for one type of service. It’s on us to get them to use more of our services.
Q: How do you view the rise in high-speed inkjet technology, and how have these new systems changed the model for your company?
I think investing in that technology before the pandemic was important for our business, and really important to the health of the organization. With high-speed inkjet, we can address much larger projects, with much more flexibility, than we were able to do before. We’ve been able to offer higher levels of customization and do it in color. We’ve been able to meet shorter turn times. In the past two months, to give an example, we’ve brought in two of the largest projects in the company’s history, and I know high-speed inkjet is driving that.
Q: Chairing the board of PRINTING United Alliance surely put you in touch with some printing industry professionals you might not have otherwise connected with. What have you learned from them?
I’ve met several colleagues on the Alliance board of directors who are in the flexible packaging and industrial printing spaces, and it’s been relieving to understand that their challenges are the same as ours. Honestly, there is no unique segment that doesn’t have some sort of “kryptonite.” Those common challenges have shown me that no matter how you make your living in the industry, PRINTING United Alliance has something for you.