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Talking Shop

(April 2008) posted on Wed Apr 09, 2008

Print providers discuss the state of the industry at the Signage and Graphics Summit.

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By Clare Baker, Tom Zeit

What are the thorniest problems facing graphics providers these days, and how are they being solved? Which new technologies are really essential, and which ones are a waste of money? What are the hottest growth areas in the market, and what are your customers going to be looking for in the year ahead? These were some of the questions asked and answered at the third annual Signage and Graphics Summit at the PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, this past January.

More than 100 print providers attended the conference, presented by ST Media Group (parent company of this magazine and others), to meet with their peers and assess the state of the industry in digital printing, screen printing, and signmaking. Three days were spent in lectures, panel discussions, and free-for-all roundtables, with plenty of old-fashioned networking in between and, for one afternoon, golfing on a championship-level course. Present were the leaders of a wide variety of businesses that represented all areas of the industry, from specialty shops to full- service graphics operations, plus representatives of industry’s supply side.

Frank Maguire, business expert and former executive at FedEx, ABC Radio Network, American Airlines, and KFC, kicked things off with the keynote address on Wednesday morning, followed by a secondary session later that day. Drawing from his wealth of experience in corporate America and his days working alongside the real Colonel Sanders, his message to attendees centered around what he calls "Maguire Absolutes" for success-passion, attitude, and relationships. People must be passionate about what they’re doing, have a positive and optimistic attitude about their work, and be willing and able to develop sincere relationships with their co-workers and employees as well as their customers, he said.

Keeping employees highly motivated and dedicated, he added, requires sending a message of positive reinforcement that lets employees know how valuable they truly are; a message summed up in Maguire’s signature phrase: "You’re the greatest." He added that a company should always consider "employee ROI," short for:

* Recognition: Establish a personal relationship with each employee to the degree that you can, and recognize the value each employee brings to the company;

* Opportunities: What are they for each of your employees?; and

* Information: Keep your employees informed about what’s going on in the company.

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