Saturday, July 30, 2016

IRgA changes name to ..... Association of Printing and Data Solutions Professionals - my thoughts on this

Recently, the IRgA (the International ReproGraphics Association) announced that members had voted to change the name of the association to the Association of Printing and Data Solutions Professionals.  Evidently, the name change will take effect on September 1st, 2016.

So, the IRgA will become the APDSP (or will it be called the AoPaDSP?)

First thought; you know you are not just old, but very old, when you’ve been around in the industry long enough to see the industry’s name go from “Blueprinting” to “Reprographics” to “Printing and Data Solutions Professionals”.

Second thought; not sure why the industry had to change its name.  The name of an industry is less important to “customers” than it is to its “members.”  At least, that’s my take on that issue.

While I am certain that the decision to change the industry’s name and the process of coming up with a suitable new name were difficult and challenging, I question whether “customers” will understand the new name……in the context of what most of the members offer/provide/do.

As to the word “Printing”, most non-industry people (I’m referring to customers and prospective customers) think of “Printing” in terms of offset printing (whether digital or analog) and services related to that; think, “brochures, annual reports, menus, calendars, business cards, stationery, envelopes, direct-mail and other print-advertising, forms, etc., etc., etc., and finishing services related to those, such as folding, numbering, scoring, perforating, perfect binding, saddle-stitch binding, mailing and variable-data printing.  Most IRgA members do not offer all of those services, and many IRgA members don’t want to offer those services (even though they could.)

And, as to the words, “Data Solutions”, that’s a very broad term; do customers and prospective customers looking for document management and distribution services “Google Search” on “data solutions” to find prospective vendors?  When I think of large-format digital printing and reprographics services, “data solutions” doesn’t pop into my mind.  Are our industry’s members capable of offering data-mining?, data-management (rather than document-management) solutions?

Oh well, I simply hope that the industry’s name change does not give customers and prospective customers the wrong idea about what the industry’s members actually offer!

1 comment:

  1. Changing the name of a company and rebranding is usually a very difficult process. The same goes for an organization,
    especially with a long standing history and serving a very diverse membership. With that being said though this one has me
    mystified. Reprographics is the foundation of the IRgA. The design and construction industry has changed greatly, more so in the
    past 10 years primarily relative to emerging technologies and the great recession which force the AEC industry to do more with less
    or adopt cost saving measures.

    So trying to be the eternal optimist here, by changing to the Association of Printing and Data Solutions Professionals
    I would like to think that a business plan has been conceptualized to expand the base well beyond reprographics
    and to start to target and engage business owners and professionals well beyond that specific marketplace. If this is the direction,
    then great, they have a lot of hard work ahead but can transform into something with an incredibly broad audience.

    If not, then I am not sure how the change best serves the existing membership and how values will be established to attract more members.
    Joel as you mentioned, the use of the word Printing covers a variety of practices but I find that the use of Data Solutions to be even more troubling.
    Do reprographers think that by offering document management or an online plan room to access design/construction plans that they are providing Data Solutions? Obviously a great question for the clients that they serve. A variety of reprographic companies have utilized the additional services of hyperlinking, mobile access to cloud or static documentation. I look at that as being document solutions.

    There are many amazing things happening in the AEC industry relative to data solutions, usually revolving around 4 principles – capture, compute, create and manage. Many of the design software companies are working in a world of reality computing today. Collection and Validation are Data Solutions, collection by laser scanning or drones are early stage Data Solutions. Defining and delivering specific owner required data for facilities management usage is Data Solutions.

    I could go on and on with examples which come from a recent presentation I gave on emerging technologies to a national engineering group.
    Is this the definition of direction for the meaning of Data Solutions relative to this organization? I would love to learn more.