Wednesday, 11th December 2013
PETER VAN TEESELING, Dscoop’s director, EMEA, provides background to a round-table discussion, aimed at raising awareness of Dscoop’s value.
DIGITAL technology has changed the graphic arts industry from a community of printers to one of print service providers (PSPs) or, as some maintain, marketing service providers.
Today, success is not found in cutting prices but in adding value and helping print customers find the best solutions. At the same time, digital printing technologies continue to evolve.
For all these reasons, Dscoop (the Digital Solutions Cooperative) was founded in 2005, to bring together technical expertise, shared best practice, networking, and education and training opportunities.
Since its beginnings in North America, Dscoop has established a successful, regional organisation including Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and membership has been extended to large-format PSPs using HP Scitex printers.
In November 2012, Dscoop held its first EMEA conference in Barcelona which attracted 500+ attendees and set the standard for this year’s Print Grand Prix in Rome.
As this second annual Dscoop EMEA conference approaches, PSPs across the region still have questions about the event. Was the first conference beneficial to those who attended? With such a wide-ranging and varied geographical reach, has the EMEA division of this organisation managed to overcome its challenges? Should I attend this year’s EMEA conference and become a Dscoop member?
A group of commercial, label, packaging and large-format printers, plus an equipment supplier, address these questions and share their thoughts on the benefits of membership.
A remarkable thing is the growing popularity of an association filled with potential and real competitors. Is Dscoop an association of competitors?
Eran Friedman: The first Dscoop conference I
attended was in Florida. I didn’t know what to expect, but the level of sharing was impressive. Coming from a small country, it was great to see how being honest and open about best practice actually benefits members. So, no, it doesn’t feel like an organisation
of competitors, but like-minded business people with the same goal – business growth and long-term success. I was recruited into the EMEA organisation shortly after, and now head up the membership
Jon Bailey: I had a similar experience. I first visited a Dscoop event as an observer, to see what the organisation was about. I was blown away! I’d been in user groups before but they had never lived up to their promises. What I learned very quickly was that for everything I gave away, I got six things back in return. A good return on investment!
What’s more, with contacts made through Dscoop, I’ve done business for customers in the US and China as well as across Europe. Just recently, we won a job because I could arrange a translation into Turkish and print locally through a Dscoop member in Turkey. Far from being competitive, Dscoop membership has had a positive impact on our bottom line.
Marcus Tralau: From a supplier’s perspective, being part of Dscoop is very valuable. An important part of our customer base is right there, and, while exhibitions around the world are getting fewer and smaller, Dscoop’s conference and exhibition is growing.
András Kárpáti: We were one of the first large-format members of Dscoop in EMEA. The potential for extending the benefits of cooperation and networking to the large-format community is important and I’m encouraging other large-format printers to join. For anybody concerned about sharing with competitors, I’d say the ‘digital vision’ is more important; there’s a fantastic opportunity for networks of smaller digital PSPs, working together, to take on jobs – or parts of jobs – from large international brands.
When Dscoop EMEA launched, sceptics argued that owing to different languages, country-specific market requirements and cultural diversity, networking opportunities at EMEA conferences would be limited. How has Dscoop overcome the EMEA challenge?
Jon Bailey: We knew there would be challenges, but EMEA markets, business, practices, print formats and cultures are different from North America. We believed strongly that with a separate EMEA structure, our own conference and a board comprising people who work in EMEA would be hugely beneficial.
Eran Friedman: One obvious difficulty with an EMEA organisation is language; while we can work in English, it isn’t easy for everyone.
Marcus Tralau: Some cultural differences will take a while to adjust to. But being at the Dscoop conference, it’s easy to see the benefits of openness and sharing. At the ‘Solutions Showcase’, you can have deep and detailed discussions in an informal way that you can’t have at major exhibitions. Such openness doesn’t always come easily to some nationalities that are traditionally more reserved; but when they experience the Dscoop atmosphere the benefits are clear.
Jon Bailey: Dscoop organisers are aware of cultural concerns. Conference sessions are translated into French, Italian, German and Spanish, and no one is pressured or rushed into sharing anything they don’t want to. They work hard to ensure that language isn’t a barrier to membership or event participation.
The real test of an organisation like Dscoop is whether it contributes to business growth, or is it just a social club?
Cees Schouten: Both aspects are important. The biggest benefit of Dscoop is the ability to tap into the knowledge of members 24/7. Customers are looking for a one-stop shop, so for a label printer to be successful in the future he will probably have to provide services producing pouches and other flexible packaging. To learn about these things from people you know is extremely valuable.
András Kárpáti: The same is true when looking for new technologies. Listening to what other companies are doing, I can better see those things we should do for our customers; how we can adapt our services and processes. To be able to ask people you trust about their experiences of a new piece of equipment can save – or make – real money.
Eran Friedman: There’s no doubt that the ideas that can be shared and implemented are good for everyone, and can contribute to growing the business and the industry.
Marcus Tralau: I find the combination of educational sessions at the conference, coupled with the presence of related equipment is excellent, for business and developing long-term relationships.
Jon Bailey: Dscoop creates opportunities. The different programme tracks at the conference can involve several people from the same company and that shared understanding can simply transform the way you work.
The expertise at a Dscoop conference is enormous. And it’s not just PSPs; there’s great participation from Dscoop partners in the ‘Solutions Showcases’, providing products and services designed to positively impact a business. Like anything, you get out of it what you put in, but in my experience, what you get out is always much, much more.
Ed’s note: To find out more about Dscoop and to arrange to attend the Print Grand
Prix November 6-8, 2013, in Rome,
Participants in a round-table discussion about Dscoop represented general commercial printing, sign & display, label printing and finishing. They were Eran Friedman (Ilan Print, Israel), Jon Bailey (ProCo, UK), András Kárpáti (OSG, Hungary), Cees Schouten (Geostick, Netherlands), and Marcus Tralau (KAMA, Germany).
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