Photo: Messe Düsseldorf, Constanze Tillmann
drupa 2016 proved itself to be a global microcosm of print. Exhibitors from 54 countries showed their capabilities in Düsseldorf, treating it as a global stage for their innovations. And the global nature of the event made it a magnet for visitors from all over the world; 76% of visitors are reported to have come from outside Germany.
The hubbub of different languages and cultures is one of the lasting impressions of such a major trade show – there’s little more surprising among a sea of business suits than the sight of two Buddhist monks in orange robes poring over the output from a digital press.
The multinational interactions between salespeople and customers are amazing to witness. Different people, from diverse businesses, bringing together expertise and insights from their home countries. Unique and wide-ranging business challenges are discussed, solutions are found through close dialogue between technology experts from matrix teams, straddling countries and continents.
What also strikes me is how, in today’s market, very few exhibitors can truly showcase their capabilities in isolation from other vendors. Collaboration is king to enable end to end solutions from workflow to finishing. Partnerships are fundamental to the success of each exhibiting company, and that of their customers. Without the close cooperation between a press manufacturer from one country, a workflow specialist from another, and finishing partners from several more, the true potential of any single link in the chain will never be achieved.
Of course, this cooperation must work at every level – it’s not enough for the R&D teams to create integrated solutions if the relationship breaks down in front of the customer when things go wrong. The real test of partnership surely comes when there are problems to fix.
But when collaboration works – and it undoubtedly takes commitment and energy on all sides – it delivers the power to solve complex problems, devise inventive solutions and drive growth, for everyone in the chain.