Komori participated in the IPMA (In-Plant Printing & Mailing Association) conference last week in Charleston, SC. This is a great group and an anomaly in the printing industry. They come from corporate in-plant shops, educational institutions, government offices and non-profits and cover sectors from manufacturing to insurance companies to churches and healthcare institutions. What they all have in common is their eagerness to learn and their willingness to share information.
With the bulk of the sessions presented by IPMA members, it was truly “truth from the trenches” with little corporate pandering and positioning. Unlike large events and exhibitions, where attendees need to visit many exhibitors in a relatively short period of time, at IPMA attendees stopped by to chat, learn about our products and share information on what the challenges are for the in-plant print shop. It was relaxed, informal and I must admit, quite enjoyable. It leads me to wonder if these smaller, more intimate settings are a better way to glean market information and connect with customers than larger venues.
IPMA should be commended on the excellent job of organizing relevant content, creating a learning and sharing environment and working to connect attendees and vendor/exhibitors. The challenge for any association working with the in-plant market is finding and engaging these print shops—with approximately 50,000 of them they are a huge segment and I have to believe that participation in IPMA would be extremely beneficial to them. We are doing our best to drive in-plant printers to associations like IPMA and hope others in the industry are doing the same.