How do you measure an event’s success? If the answer is by growing audiences and high attendee satisfaction, then the recent Continuous Improvement (CI), Binding Industries Association (BIA), and Printing Industry Financial Executives (PIFE) Conferences, co-located in Indianapolis, were a phenomenal success!

Thanks to the diligent work of many people at Printing Industries of America, and our partners for CI, the Flexographic Technical Association (FTA) and Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA), and our Affiliates, these events saw record numbers of attendees in April 2013. CI attendance, which has been growing over the past decade, increased again. BIA experienced an even larger increase, and director, Justin Goldstein, remarked that, “one of our biggest goals for the 2013 BIA Conference was to attract a wider variety of attendees so that they could be immersed in not only industry-group-focused BIA sessions, but also well-suited CI sessions.”

Exceptional content for ultimate learning

“Continuous Improvement requires a unique mindset.
It can’t be looked at as just a task or project, but more a way of life.”

— 2013 CI Attendee, Russ Palm, Continuous Improvement Manager, IWCO Direct

Any great educational event needs relevant, superior content to keep attendees coming back. These conferences were no exception with knowledgeable presenters, valuable networking sessions, and exceptional plant tours. With a combined attendance of more than 450, attendees reported that they were impressed with the CI keynote speakers. Here is a sampling of what they learned:

  • Alan Robinson, author of Ideas Are Free, explained how to put in place an idea system that will generate multiple implemented improvement ideas from each employee each year.  He challenged attendees to have at least 12 implemented improvement ideas per employee before the 2014 CI Conference in Dallas.
  • Mike Wroblewski, director of Kaizen Institute USA, reviewed exactly what front-line supervisors should be doing every day—hour by hour—in order to sustain an improvement culture.
  • Jim Lancaster, CEO of Lantech, a manufacturer known for its use of Lean Manufacturing concepts, spoke about how he changed his leadership attitude, behavior, and activities in order to support the improvement efforts of employees.   

Dan Marx, SGIA’s Vice President-Markets & Technologies, also learned that, “innovation and efficiency go hand-in-hand.” As he stated in a recent article in What They Think, printers “need to invest in innovation as a planned part of their business approach and to benefit from the strong benefits that innovation can bring.”


Many BIA and CI attendees took the opportunity to participate in local plant tours and networking sessions for experiential learning. The BIA conference was highlighted by tours of Great Lakes Graphics Association members D.E. Baugh’s and Eckhart & Co.’s state-of-the-art facilities. As Goldstein reports, BIA plant tours, along with peer and supplier networking opportunities, are among the biggest draws for the conference each year.

CI participants got to witness the Toyota Production System in action at Toyota’s plant making material handling trucks for the North American market. They could also tour the HardingPoorman Group printing facilities that boast 98.0% on-time delivery, a 98.8% client satisfaction ratio, and less than 1.0% spoilage.

There were plenty of networking opportunities and a reception at the NCAA Hall of Champions. Many of the networking sessions were combined to offer optimal “bang for your buck” as attendees could connect with other conference goers.

Back for More in 2014

Hosting a collaboration of successful events leaves organizers with only one problem—attempting to do it even better in 2014. Well, check back because we will deliver another round of prime events next spring when you can expect more practical information from leading presenters, plant tours, and networking events. Here are the 2014 Conference Dates:

  • 2014 CI Conference—March 30–April 2
  • 2014 BIA Conference—March 31–April 2

Both events will be held at the Fairmont Hotel, Dallas, Texas.

“Very informative—great to see Lean in actual practice.”

“A very valuable conference with great organization and great material.”

“Networking sessions are a great opportunity to compare practices with industry peers.”

—Sampling of 2013 Attendee Feedback

We would like to thank all of our attendees and supporters for helping to make these 2013 conferences highly informative and successful. For more information on the CI Conference, BIA Conference, and PIFE Conference, please visit us online.