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The Training Track

(September 2012) posted on Thu Aug 30, 2012

Hit the classroom – real or virtual – to learn new skills and refine existing practices.

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Print providers are continually looking for an edge over the competition. And while many shops might seek out relatively common advantages such as additional machinery, larger staffs, and the dreaded low-balling on prices, the successful print provider also is sure to integrate a steady mix of education and training programs into his or her operation.

By having your staff stay up-to-date on the latest technologies and best practices using those technologies, you can help ensure that you’re turning around the highest-quality jobs and doing so in the most efficient (and profitable) way. You’ll be increasing the margin of superiority – putting even more distance between your shop and your competitors.

Across the industry, the various players – manufacturers and suppliers, associations, tradeshows – are recognizing the importance of training and education. So the timing is perfect for the print providers to get back to the classroom, even if it's a virtual one.

Training from manufacturers and suppliers
As you might guess, some of what manufacturers and suppliers offer is company- and product-centric by its very nature. Nearly all industry companies offer training on the specific hardware or software they produce and sell – either as part of the purchase price or for an additional fee.

But many companies are now partnering with other manufacturers, suppliers, and others to provide users with a broader range of knowledge and expertise. We shine a spotlight here on those companies that offer training, education, and events beyond the basics.

Agfa Graphics ( hosted several educational events in 2012 – including an open house at a customer’s facility in Salt Lake City in May and another at its distribution center in Plano, Texas, in September – and is planning a half-dozen similar open houses in 2013 as well. Attendees are able to learn about UV and solvent printing, rigid and flexible media as well as inks, and related technology; the open-house events are free with registration. The company also works with other industry suppliers and associations for educational events hitting topics such as color management (with X-Rite) and G7 training (with IdeAlliance).