Chris Payne, Director & Vice President Marketing, Commercial Business, at Eastman Kodak, is the 2012 Chairman of NPES, the Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing and Converting Technologies.
Show Daily: "Print Integrated" is the theme of this year’s GRAPH EXPO. How has this industry integration of technology shaped the way your company and other NPES member companies are doing business?
CP: There are many exciting developments in graphic communications today, and I believe that integration is driving everything we do as an industry. Communication is all about making a connection—whether in a direct mail piece, a magazine, a package, or any other medium. With the Internet, mobile devices, and social media, our customers are able to integrate print and digital media to communicate more effectively and make it easier for recipients to respond.
Digital technology is, of course, a key driver in the advancement of print. From digital platemaking and hybrid printing for offset environments to state-of-the-art inkjet and toner printing for digital environments, suppliers today are focused on helping customers identify the best opportunities in their markets and adopt solutions that will drive efficiency and profitability. Tying that all together are powerful, scalable workflow solutions that automate and optimize production.
At Kodak, we have the privilege of being able to offer our customers one of the industry’s broadest portfolios of solutions, with products that can help them grow at their own pace. We’ve come to the show with an intimate understanding of how our customers operate, so we will be showing them ways to operate more efficiently and deliver higher value results for their clients while at the same time integrating the latest digital technologies and becoming more profitable. And of course, sustainability is a critical part of all we are doing at Kodak right now.
SD: What are some of the high points of your year at the helm of NPES, leading its 400-plus member companies on the path toward the future?
CP: It seems as though every year brings us new changes and new challenges as an industry. Printers are seeing their businesses change with shorter runs, more personalization, shrinking margins, and an emphasis on sustainability. NPES has a great responsibility to its members, all of whom look to us for advice, expertise and opportunities to grow. For me, serving as Chairman has been an exciting experience. I’ve been able to speak with my so many of my peers, sharing our insights and our learnings to strengthen the organization and the industry.
One of the highlights has been the planning of GRAPH EXPO and the addition of many new features for the show. We’ve dramatically increased the number of co-located events, which gives attendees the opportunity to leverage their time here to learn as much as possible to improve their core business, but also to look into new applications and services that may help them grow in the coming year. We’ve also adopted RFID technology for the show this year, which will help us learn more about how attendees spend their time and what is most important to them. And finally, we’ve revamped some of our conference content to more directly address the things our attendees tell us they want.
I really am passionate about this industry, and the opportunity to help guide NPES over the past year has been an honor. As a member, I’ve always appreciated the value I get from NPES. I have an even greater appreciation now, and look forward to another great year ahead.
SD: Looking in your crystal ball, what do you see in the next year?
CP: I see continuing change—change that will strengthen and grow the industry. There’s no denying that the way the world consumes print is different in many ways today. The days of high-volume junk mail are gone, replaced by targeted communications driven by customer data and high-speed, high-quality digital printing. The days of massive book inventories are also gone, replaced by shorter runs that improve the supply chain and reduce waste. And the days of cost-prohibitive specialty color package printing are coming to a close as well, replaced by more economical flexo and offset solutions that deliver an extended gamut with process color.