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Friday, May 28, 2010

PEiR Group 2010 Executive Conference Recap

Last week The PEiR Group held its 2010 annual executive conference in Palm Springs, CA. Given the economy and the location we still had a good turnout, about 30 companies and over 40 attendees at the conference. Even though many of our members could not travel to Palm Springs this year (for various reasons) we were pleasantly honored by having several of our international members in attendance: Tony Militano , Tony Smith and Gerry Brust of Carbon Copy, in Calgary Canada, Kieran Obrien of HOBS in the UK and Frank Veltman of Creffield Digital Print in Melbourne Australia.

Outlined below is a summary of some of the key topics, presentations and discussions that took place.

The meeting was held right after the IRgA Convention at The Renaissance Palm Springs which was a beautiful resort. It made for a long week for some of us who attended the IRgA but the weather was fantastic and there was plenty of time to socialize with others from our industry. As usual I got the opportunity to play some golf at one of Palm Spring’s most famous courses, The Classic, where the PGA’s Bob Hope Classic is played.

By the way the PEiR conference was way better than my golf game!

The first day of the conference we had a special welcoming from Suri the CEO of ARC to share with us his vision on the future of our industry. Suri talked about the unprecedented declines in print volumes for reprographic companies and what he believes are the revenue opportunities for reprographers in the future. Specifically Suri discussed the costs of technologies and that these costs need to be recouped by our industry if we are to survive. He stated “If our revenues are only related to print and print services (and we include the technology with the price of the print) the future does not look so good. But if we realize that printing is declining and our technology investments are growing we must stop and think about the way we charge for our technologies! Suri stated that ARC will begin to focus on selling technology for its own benefits and will not be including the technologies with the print services for free. He basically projects that there will be six major revenue buckets for reprographers: (1) Printing, (2) Digital and Content management services, (3) FM & Managed Print Services, (4) Software Licensing and (5) Outsourced Technology Services (like CAD, R2V & BIM) and (6) Equipment and Supplies.

After Suri’s talk, several of our vendor/partners, who were in Palm Springs for the IRgA, stayed and shared some ideas on what they are doing to help PEiR members generate new revenue opportunities. Spiral Binding, Nashua, Océ, KIP, Canon and Wynit all had some interesting products and services that you should look into. The vendor/partner presentations are located in the Member Resources/Executive Library on the PEiR Group’s new web site.

Kumar Wiratunga closed the Friday night session with an introduction of PlanWell Collaborate that is planned to be released to PEiR members in the 4th quarter of the year. PlanWell Collaborate will use a SaaS (software as a service) licensing model. Licensing will be sold on a per seat basis, something new for our industry but a growing trend in the software world. Keep a lookout for webinars and other announcements on PlanWell Collaborate as we get closer to general release.

Dinner on Friday was at a local steak house, The Falls, we had a great time and based on the comments from the group the food and wine was delicious.

Saturday was a full day. We began the meeting with a presentation from the President of the SGIA, Michael Robertson, who shared some interesting trends and applications in LF color imaging or display graphics. Michael showed research that indicated that UV Curable technology is the hottest growing technology in wide format color. FYI, the PEiR Group will be attending the SGIA Expo in Las Vegas, October 13-15; so if you are looking to expand your sales in wide format color you will want to consider joining other members at the SGIA Expo. More details of this event will be coming in the near future.

Following Michael Robertson’s discussion, was a presentation from Paul Stout, a seasoned construction PM who discussed the Paradigm Shift taking place in the construction world and how this paradigm shift could create opportunities for reprographers who offer technology and support services to the AEC marketplace. Many of the members commented that this was a very enlightening presentation so please take a few moments to review Paul’s presentation; it is located in the Executive Library as well.

Océ presented on wide format color. They did a group exercise that I thought was very educational and helpful in illustrating the benefits of using more color in the AEC workflow; they handed (2) sheets of the same architectural drawing to each group. Sheet (1) was a B&W drawing with some toilets and sinks. They asked each of the groups to count the number of sinks. Each group concluded various counts almost all varied from 7-11 sinks. Then they passed out sheet (2) the same drawing that highlighted the sinks in color. Each group easily counted the exact number of sinks. The conclusion, color helps users become more accurate and efficient. Talk to your Oce rep about this exercise and show it to your customers as well. Maybe you can start generating more demand for LF Color output with ideas like this one, from our friends at Océ.

After the Océ presentation, Beth Dobson (Meridian-aka Prolog) and Kumar Wiratunga introduced Meridian as a strategic partner for PlanWell and the capabilities that the PlanWell Prolog DataBridge will offer our members who use PlanWell Enterprise. Many of the members were extremely excited to learn of the opportunities in selling to some of the AEC world that uses Meridian products like Prolog and Proliance.

After lunch we had a presentation on Managed Print Services (MPS) from Jon Styrlund, who shared his vision as to where reprographers can position themselves in this rapidly growing printing trend. Jon said that MPS is growing so fast that if we do not respond to this trend by becoming MPS providers we will lose many of our customers to the vendors that do. Who are the vendors you may ask?

Here is just a small list:

  • Oce
  • Xerox
  • Canon
  • Konica Minolta
  • IKON
  • Ricoh
  • IBM
  • ARC
  • HP
  • Almost every copier dealer

The final session of the conference was presented by Mahil Maurice and he discussed the future and what is the cloud and what is cloud printing. As more and more content is on the internet (cloud) there will and is a growing need to have printing on the cloud. There are currently several cloud printing technology solutions becoming mainstream and ishipdocs has the potential to be positioned as a major player; only if reprographers can get a grasp of the concept and understand what it can mean for their businesses. This is an area we will be spending more time to help our members understand in the months ahead.

What a conference. Here are some of the comments we received from those who attended:

  • “MPS and Prolog are the two areas that will impact my business immediately!”
  • “Webinars and market insights is great, helps small shops keep up with what the rest of the world is doing!”
  • “Suri’s presentation was excellent. Overall the PEiR Conference was better than the IRgA.
  • The Océ presentation; showing differences of color vs b&w was excellent!”
  • “Paul Stout of Power Summit was Excellent! He was not a sales pitch or skewed statistics. He was real, from the field/industry and informative…made the whole trip worth my while!”
  • “I have always appreciated the transparency of ARC. I mean the way ARC shares their vision of the industry and what they see down the road!”
  • “Congrats for putting together another excellent conference!”
  • “Everything discussed regarding color was fabulous!”
  • “Beth from Prolog was Excellent!”

If you want the presentations from the conference just visit the PEiR Group’s website and go to the Member Resources/Executive Library and download the 2010 Executive Conference presentations that you are interested in.

Thanks for your continued support and have a safe Memorial Weekend! Shaun Meany

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