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Back to the Basics: Training and Education

(September 2008) posted on Thu Sep 11, 2008

Timing may be perfect to return to the classroom.

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By Gregory Sharpless

In lean times, training and education can be the fine line between making a profit or not. After all, all other things being equal, the shop that can turn around the highest-quality job and do so most efficiently is the one that will continue to get the lion’s share of business.

And the best way to ensure your shop is producing quality, efficient work is to reinforce critical areas of training and education-in essence, reinstituting the basics of a continuous learning process throughout the operation. After all, it’s never too late to teach an old dog the newest tricks, or to remind the young pups about some old ones.

All across the graphic-arts market, the various players-manufacturers and suppliers, associations, tradeshows-seem to be recognizing the import of training and education. So, not coincidentally, the timing is perfect for the smart print provider to hit the classroom, even if it’s a virtual one. The mix of educational opportunities that are available has never been better.

From the horse’s mouth
Let’s look first at what manufacturers and suppliers are offering up in the way of training and education. As you might suspect, some of what’s offered here is company- and product-centric, but many companies are now partnering with other manufacturers, suppliers, and end users to provide existing and prospective customers with a broader range of knowledge and expertise. The list of companies that follows is by no means comprehensive, but it is a good sampling across the board of what’s available to print providers.

Cyrcon Cyrious users conference: Typically held in the spring on-site before the International Sign Expo, the annual Cyrious Users Conference ( comprises product-specific training, user-led roundtable discussions, expert user speakers, and info on new product features and enhancements. The 2009 event will be held in Las Vegas.

Dscoop conference: Founded by HP Indigo users and the HP Indigo company team, Dscoop ( is a user-driven community for Indigo owners and users. The group’s annual conference brings together Indigo users from around the world for educational sessions that cover business/sales, technical matters, labeling/packaging, multidisciplinary sessions, and more.