WFX: Wide-Format Exchange - What to Expect and Why You Should Go
The inaugural WFX, Wide-Format Exchange Conference being held in Minneapolis, Minn., May 21-23, 2018, is poised to be a significant gathering of executives in the commercial printing market and beyond who have, or are already situated to add wide-format inkjet printing to their businesses - a strategic move by printers across the industry that is trending upwards quickly.
According to a research study done in early 2018 by NAPCO Research, printing executives identified an opportunity to better serve their customers with services outside of their current primary offerings, with 95% reporting there is opportunity for expansion within their own businesses, and 93% saying they believe expansion is happening within the industry as a whole.
Across all markets studied and covering more than 500 printers, the most significant expansion is occurring from the commercial printing segment to other market segments, chief among them, graphics and signage. The second most significant expansion is occurring in the garment decoration segment with the primary destinations being the commercial printing and graphics and signage markets. A whopping 43% of current commercial printers’ expansion focus is in the graphics and wide-format segment alone.
One pathway to expansion of these services is through well-thought-out mergers and acquisitions. The study found that 22% of commercial printers expressed interest to acquire or merge with graphics and signage printers. The collaboration does go both ways, as 27% of graphics and signage printers showed M&A interest with commercial printers. The convergence of market segments is happening across the board and everyone wants a piece, as they should. There is major earning potential just waiting to be capitalized on.
“People are becoming increasingly impatient; they want everything right away, instant gratification and one-stop shopping, because of Amazon. If you don’t offer what customers want, others will,” states Chris Urbach, The Printed Image.
Now is the perfect time to offer commercial printing executives a place to network with each other, toss around ideas and gain insight into graphics and signage and how to safely and successfully migrate and expand business offerings. WFX, presented by SGIA and ST Media, will offer attendees just that through three days of networking, educational seminars, thought-provoking keynote speakers and idea exchange opportunities.
“We’re constantly being asked about other services, so it’s natural to add them so we can better serve our customers and get a competitive edge,” says Jessica Johnson, Production Creek Screen-Print & Embroidery.
WFX: Wide-Format Exchange is designed to give attendees a 20/20 vision for the future of print. Visitors will walk away holding a crystal ball to see into the future of their business. With all of the market forces at work in our industry today, the world is changing rapidly. It's not just print technologies that are advancing at the speed of light - it’s business technologies as well. WFX will provide a clear vision for tomorrow.
WFX 'Fosters Connection and Collaboration'
What will WFX offer? Well, more than 25 educational seminar sessions for one. Sessions will explore different strategies businesses can take to make the most of the convergence of markets and technology in the wide-format graphics industry. In addition to networking events, interactive roundtable discussions and case studies will foster new ideas and innovations that drive productivity and problem solving. These case studies will be presented by executives who have transformed their printing businesses and give listeners an inside look at the strategies that propelled their success and the lessons they’ve learned along the way.
“When you’re at WFX, you’ll be immersed in an environment that fosters connection and collaboration,” says Sarah Perkins, director of community development, SGIA. “WFX is all about connecting with peers to discuss solutions to common challenges. Networking events, interactive peer discussions and case studies featuring executives who have transformed their printing businesses will encourage attendees to learn from each other.”
When jumping into a new market segment, it’s not just about saying you offer new services, it is preparing to do so effectively, this includes new workflow automation set up, successful technology adoption, workforce diversity, identifying and assessing competitive threats and innovation - all of which will be discussed at WFX.
The conference, which will be held at the Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel, The Depot, will open and close with two keynote presentations: “Managing Breakthrough Performance in the New Economy”, by Ryan Estis of Ryan Estis and Associates on Monday and “The Only Leadership Decision that Really Matters” by Anthony Tjan, The Cue Ball Group to close out the conference Wednesday.
Other presentations to get excited about include:
- “Why the Retail Store Is Evolving, Not Disappearing,” presented by Kraig Kessel, Kraido
- “How a Punk Rocker from LA Became a One-Stop-Shop Rock Star in Vegas” presented by James Swanson, Screaming Images
- “Preserving Customer Loyalty” presented by Marty McGhie, Ferrari Color; Sino Tour, Icon Image Graphics
- “Reimaging 3D Printing in the Wide-Format Space” presented by Craig Miller, Pictographics
- “Leveraging the Power of Technology and Social Media to Maximize Profits” presented by Inna Semenyuk, Innavation Labs, SnapChat
- “Managing the Dynamics of Family-Held Businesses” presented by Greg Root, GMN
- “The Future is Now: The Two Key Places to Automate Your Production” presented by Richard Labiuk, Holland & Crosby
For a full list of presentations and the complete updated agenda, please visit the agenda page on the website.
Don’t let the expansion into graphics and signage pass your business by without at least hearing about the success others are having. Be a part of the conversation, not just a listener on the outside and be sure to add the WFX: Wide-Format Exchange Conference to your travel itinerary this spring.