In adherence with COVID-19 finest practices, this yr’s thINK Forward convention was held in two waves — with the thINK neighborhood of Canon Options America manufacturing inkjet consumer attendees cut up into smaller teams, Oct. 11-13 and Oct. 13-15 — to permit ample social distancing whereas indoors and extra outside gatherings on the luxurious Boca Raton (Florida) Resort Seashore Membership.
“The thINK Board was challenged to discover a method to come collectively in smaller teams to guard the well being of our neighborhood, and ended up devising a method that additionally empowers our neighborhood to study, community, and join in a way more private stage than ever earlier than,” thINK President Todd Roth, who serves as VP of Manufacturing & Distribution at Core Publishing Options, famous in a welcome letter to convention attendees.
As such, the seventh annual thINK Forward inkjet customers convention did not miss a beat by way of its successful formulation of well timed, deep-dive academic periods; ample printer peer-to-peer and printer-to-sponsor networking alternatives; and Canon digital press and thINK Forward associate pavilion demos onsite inside the new Canon Americas Buyer innovation Middle (CIC).
Scheduled press demonstrations within the CIC included Canon ProStream 1800 and ColorStream 8000 continuous-feed inkjet presses, the Canon varioPRINT iX-series cutsheet inkjet press, the Canon Colorado wide-format inkjet printer, Canon imagePRESS C10010VP and varioPRINT Titan toner-based cutsheet fashions, and Canon’s PRISMA workflow software program.
thINK Forward attendees had been additionally aware of the revealing of the Canon Americas Buyer Innovation Middle Print Innovation Wall — a celebration of boundary-pushing print initiatives from the inkjet neighborhood. (A video was produced (click on right here to view) to see a number of the revolutionary inkjet functions.)
Encouraging seashore informal apparel all through the occasion, this yr’s convention kicked off with a Cabana Nights Welcome Occasion pool-side, full with a DJ; Latin meals; and a row of particular person cabanas, courtesy of Platinum-level sponsors Domtar Paper, Muller Martini, Pixelle Specialty Options, Solimar Techniques, Normal Ending Techniques, and Tecnau, which featured cigar rolling demonstrations, bourbon tasting, a neighborhood poet and an artist demonstrating their artistic skills, a station handing out paper fedora hats, and extra.
In Tight Labor Market, Convey Your Model and Tradition
Francis A. McMahon, Govt VP, Canon Options America, Manufacturing Print Options (PPS) division, led off the next morning with a spot-on, thought-provoking presentation, “The Time Is Now: Your Model & Tradition Matter Extra Right this moment Than Ever Earlier than,” that completely addressed the present enterprise atmosphere of labor and paper shortages, provide chain disruptions, vaccine mandates, and the sentiments of burnout, fatigue, and isolation going through important, hybrid, and distant employees as a result of pandemic.
McMahon candidly addressed the challenges going through employers and workers alike introduced on by seemingly countless digital Zoom and Groups conferences which have changed face-to-face interplay. “You possibly can’t substitute shaking fingers with individuals, wanting them straight within the eye, and seeing their physique language,” he identified. “Our senses drive our capability to make good choices.”
He urged the enterprise house owners and senior managers to look inward on the tradition they foster by way of retaining their finest print manufacturing employees and attracting millennials who typically maintain totally different values — similar to desirous to know what your group stands for — in a good labor market. “We should radically rethink the best way we do enterprise, and the way we recruit and pay individuals,” McMahon stated. “Making a revenue is essential, however the best way we get there may be much more vital.”
Right this moment, workers and different stakeholders wish to know what your model stands for, McMahon added, and it is crucial that printing firms talk that to their workforces and clientele. “It isn’t only a emblem, a font, or a shade,” he confused. McMahon suggested enterprise house owners to go on Amazon and order worth playing cards, which might be handed out to workers by their managers, to fill out and choose the values they deem most vital to them.
Paper Shortages and Different Provide Chain Disruptions
One other well timed session, “Danger Administration: Positioning Your self for the Future,” featured Marco Boer, VP of IT Methods; Mike Ratcliff, President of Midland’s Specialty Paper & Movie division, and Eric Hollingsworth, VP of Operations at RevSpring.
Boer pointed to shortages of aluminum made to make offset plates as one other driver for the present trade shift from offset to digital inkjet print manufacturing.
From the attitude of a giant nationwide paper distributor, Ratcliff described the proper storm that at present exists out there: Paper producers closed mills in response to a decline in trade demand for coated free sheet grades. Mills shifted to supply linerboard and different grades for the rising packaging market. Mills decreased capability because of COVID-19. Overseas producers cannot get their merchandise into the U.S. because of delivery delays at backed up American delivery ports. There may be additionally a scarcity of chemical compounds used to make paper, in addition to a significant scarcity of truck drivers obtainable to move truckloads of paper to the printers that want it.
Ratcliff inspired printers to speak to their clients steadily about potential paper substitutes for his or her print jobs, which, in flip, offers a printer the power to pivot ought to they be capable to safe one other substitute grade. He additionally suggested printers to verify their guillotine cutter is staffed and operational. “There’s lots of 14×20˝ [paper] made that is sitting round and may very well be a chance,” Ratcliff stated, including that converters have additionally been deluged and are at a choke level.
As a transactional print supplier with three U.S. crops, Hollingsworth famous the necessity to forecast a lot additional out than earlier than. “We’re now inserting orders three weeks out,” he stated. Paper shopping for can be being executed at RevSpring by operations, fairly than by the procurement division, to allow faster decision-making capability. He additionally suggested fellow printers to verify they do not fall to the underside of their paper provider’s buyer record by paying their invoices on time and “not screaming at their paper contact on the cellphone” in frustration to no avail.
When it comes to managing buyer expectations, Hollingsworth stated it is a delicate balancing act of protecting shoppers knowledgeable of what is occurring out there by way of the paper scarcity, but in addition not scaring them off to make rash choices similar to canceling print jobs or shifting to digital alternate options. “It is actually two conversations: the availability downside on one finish, a pricing dialog on the opposite finish.”
Rave Critiques from Sponsors and Attendees Alike
This has been a incredible convention. It was my first yr coming, and has been all the pieces I heard it was and hoped it might be — print trade executives, rivals, non-competitors, all coming collectively and speaking candidly concerning the trade, the problems we face right this moment and the way they’re dealing with them. It has sparked new concepts and inspiration and I am going to head again to the workplace with contemporary perspective and perception that may assist us transfer ahead. — Kirby Mathias, Plant Supervisor, Bookmasters
This convention is totally different, extra intimate, than your typical trade convention, with higher networking alternatives that allow you to speak to individuals 1:1 and construct real, honest buyer relationships on a extra private stage. thINK Forward is certainly totally different than any convention I’ve ever been to and the worth of being right here is obvious. — Mauro Valle, Regional Gross sales Supervisor & Options Supervisor with Platinum Companion Muller Martini
Whereas BCC Software program has sponsored thINK Forward yearly, that is my first time to attend, and it has been greater than I anticipated. If you hear ‘consumer convention’ you do not suppose management convention, and that’s precisely what that is, a convention the place trade leaders come collectively to speak about the place we’re going and the way we are able to adapt and alter to achieve momentum. thINK is likely one of the most vital communities for BCC Software program and we’re pleased to be right here. — Matthew Lauer, Senior Presales Engineer, with Gold Companion BCC Software program
I’ve attended thINK yearly, it’s a particularly helpful convention for print trade leaders. Periods are all the time related to what we’re at present going through within the trade and attendees are open and trustworthy and prepared to share and focus on concepts. thINK Forward is one occasion I do not wish to miss and I am so glad that the thINK Board discovered a method for us to all come again collectively this yr in smaller teams so we are able to proceed these vital discussions. — Angela Hipelius, CEO, Liberty Inventive Options
The thINK board introduced open registration for the thINK Forward Digital Occasion on Nov. 4, 2021, with quite a few periods designed for all roles and inkjet expertise ranges. Registration is now open for Canon Options America inkjet clients.
Because the onsite convention attested, making the digital occasion obtainable to extra groups members in your group can be nicely definitely worth the time away from their regular job duties. It is a chance to ship a message reinforcing the inclusive tradition and model — constructed round persevering with training and data sharing — your group is attempting to foster.