The inaugural FESPA Directors Summit took place in Geneva, 22nd – 23rd March 2007, bringing together 70 leaders from Europe’s print service provider community and 25 top executives from equipment manufacturers, such as Jan Vangeel of Agfa, Chet Pribonic of EFI, Francois Martin of HP, Arthur Vanhoutte of Mutoh, and Elie Keersmaekers of Roland. With the creation of the summit, FESPA’s aim is to establish a forum which encourages the sharing of knowledge and the initiation of stimulating discussion, to benefit the wide-format imaging industries in the long term.

The summit involved a two-day programme, which consisted of a combination of presentations delivered by international speakers and facilitated debate and discussion sessions. Presentations and discussion focussed on several key themes, including consumer demands, globalisation, and technology trends.

FESPA managing director, Frazer Chesterman, comments: “As a not-for-profit organisation, it has long been our desire to organise an event for industry leaders, involving both printers and equipment manufacturers, to discuss the major factors impacting businesses in today’s increasingly competitive environment. We feel that the summit was a great success, fulfilling its purpose in encouraging lively discussion of some of the key issues faced by printers. We plan to host similar events in the future.”

Presentations were delivered on consumer-centric marketing and current trends in communicating brand messages. Globalisation was a major theme running throughout the summit, with analysis of the economic growth of China and other emerging industrial nations, and to what extent this poses a threat or an opportunity. Similarly, live media technology was discussed, with delegates assessing its potential impact on the market for traditional printed advertising and point-of-sale materials.

Frazer Chesterman continues: “One of the key findings at the summit was the need for printers to adopt more innovation and creative thinking in the services they offer to their customers. It is clear that being more proactive in making creative agencies and print buyers aware of just what is possible in printing will be key to running successful print businesses in the future. We listened carefully to all the points raised and we will now look at how we can further support the industry by developing tailored events and educational opportunities.”

Mark Simpson, managing director of the Simpson Group in the UK, said: “The FESPA Directors Summit was very well organised and featured a number of highly professional speakers. However, it was from the smaller debating groups and informal networking that I derived the most benefit. The summit provided a great opportunity for leading large format printing companies from all over Europe to get together and share best practice. The industry needs to do this more often if it is to prosper and grow. Well done to FESPA.”

Andreas Skantze, of Big Image Systems in Sweden, said: “I especially liked the session with the printing equipment manufacturers, as they provided some answers and insights that were very valuable. The conversations I had with other printers from all over the world were fantastic and it was great to hear other about their solutions to common problems. The sessions about Live Media were interesting; our entire industry needs better understanding of these emerging technologies. It was refreshing to speak openly about China and eastern Europe, since at least China is both a threat and a opportunity for our business."

Roland Niggemeyer, president of Niggemeyer Bildproduktion GmbH & CoKG, in Germany, said: “The FESPA Summit was a great chance and place for the attending directors to exchange thoughts, ideas and experiences, not only on the three basic themes, but also on important individual challenges such as the pros and cons of certain materials, machine problems and perspectives, prices in our business, opportunities for cooperation among printers and much more. In my opinion, there is no other high-class meeting within the international print business that guarantees such intensive personal contacts and communication among decision-making people.”



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