Game planning

By Steve Katz, Editor | September 1, 2012

Labelexpo exhibitors don’t have it so easy. Setting up a booth can be a logistical nightmare, not to mention expensive. I don’t pretend to know how much these things cost, but I imagine, taking into account the number of people needed to effectively staff a booth, plus travel expenses, it can get real pricey, real fast. Some exhibitors transport machinery hundreds or even thousands of miles. It is the hope that these transported machines will not go back to the showroom or plant where they came from. They will be sold in Chicago and shipped off to its new owner. That’s one of Labelexpo’s great sights – the “SOLD” signs dangling from gleaming, new machinery.

The show is a feast for the senses. Its energy is palpable, with the sights, smells and sounds of the industry hitting you as you walk through the door. For a prospective buyer, seeing a machine in action is an experience that can’t be duplicated through sales brochures, PowerPoint presentations or promotional videos. And for three days in Chicago, you can see and touch an endless array of anything you might want or need. I appreciate the effort that goes into a Labelexpo booth. A well-choreographed machine demonstration can go a long way in educating, informing and sometimes even entertaining its audience.

For a show as immense as Labelexpo, all participants (the trade media included) head to Chicago with a “game plan” – a strategy. Questions must be posed and answered by converter attendees. First, who in your operation do you bring along? A press operator? Prepress? Your accountant? Or, who can you afford to bring? Back home, your own show must go on. Some converter teams I’ve spoken with take a divide-and-conquer approach, divvying up sections of the show, then later on discussing what they saw and what they liked.

Speaking of strategy, this issue features the Label & Narrow Web debut of Rock LaManna, whose new column, aptly called “The Bottom Line,” pays special attention to developing strategies that cut to the heart of a business – its finances. Rock does a good job of introducing himself and the kind of advice he’ll be giving in issues to come, so I’ll give him the honors on page 50.

As a journalist covering Labelexpo, I also have a game plan. While I want to see what’s new and different in the industry, I also want to know your reaction to what’s going on, and what’s catching your eye. So if you see me, please take a moment to say hello, and let me know what you’re impressed with. It may make me change my strategy.

Steve Katz, Editor
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