OutputLinks founded
    the Women of Distinction program in 2002 to recognize the many contributions,
    achievements and successes of stellar women in the output industry. The OutputLinks
    Communications Group Women of Distinction program was initiated to recognize
    outstanding women who have contributed to the development and enhancement of
    the high volume transaction output (HVTO) industry. Selection of this unique
    group of women is based upon industry experience, leadership skills and
    participation in HVTO associations and events.


    The newest Women of Distinction are: Jackie Connor, Digitalpress (Australia); Elvire Del Fondo, Audigny (France); Mary Garnett, Printing Industries of
    America (United States); Marianne
    Gaige
    , Cathedral Corp. (United States); Meegan Hinds, Symcor Inc.
    (Canada); Chantal Juvet, Docapost
    DPS, (France); Cheryl Kahanec, EARTHCOLOR, (United States); and Kathleen
    McHugh
    , Presstek, Inc. (United States).


    Over the past 10 years, OutputLinks Communications
    Group

    has recognized 72 industry professionals as Women of Distinction. This past fall, I had the opportunity to meet some of these presidents
    and CEOs, senior managers, educators and technical consultants at the Electronic
    Document Scholarship Foundation gala, held during GRAPH EXPO 2011.


    We recently asked these distinguished professionals to share their thoughts on
    key 2012 trends.


    Explore inkjet in 2012

    "Evaluate and capitalize on inkjet technology as application opportunities
    increase to meet or exceed customers' expectations," advises Printing
    Industries of America's (PIA) Mary Garnett. "Effectively integrate inkjet and offset
    processes to support a high-value customer partnership with quality
    production."


    PIA's 2012 Offset and Beyond Conference will feature a one-day seminar on
    inkjet technology as well as how to use it as part of a broader strategy to
    create high-value customer relationships. "We examine the components, ink,
    quality and cost, database, security and distribution along with the
    application opportunities," Garnett explains.


    Expect more color with better quality







    Marianne Gaige, president and CEO of Cathedral Corp. (Rome, N.Y.), cites
    continuous-feed color as a key trend. "Focusing on print quality in full color
    continuous printers will allow print service providers to turn financial
    communications, such as monthly statements, daily notices and invoices, into true
    marketing documents that will help our customers grow," she says. "In the
    direct mail world, we will be able to print high quality full color fundraising
    appeals that can be customized and personalized to the individual donor to
    enhance the relationship and increase the dollars raised."

    Electronic documents are on the rise







    Color is also top of mind for Meegan Hinds, senior vice president, general
    manager, Symcor (Mississauga, Ontario). She expects to see more color used on
    high-value documents, such as credit card statements — a development that's being
    fueled both by technology and customer demand.

    "Full-color inkjet technology has enabled printers like us to offer color cost
    effectively (e.g., replacement of forms that were previously done by commercial
    printers), but clients also are interested in enhancing their statements
    because it is now cost effective," says Hinds. "Color messaging is a good
    example of the latter."


    Hinds also anticipates more interest in non-print vehicles: "The shift from paper
    to electronic documents is a trend we see accelerating in 2012 as our clients
    seek bottom line savings from postage and to improve their client's experience
    through offering multiple channels of document delivery," she reports.


    Be a marketing partner







    Just about anyone can put ink on paper. The real challenge is moving beyond
    being a printer to be a marketing service provider. "One of the biggest shifts
    in our supply chain role is that in addition to delivering a quality product,
    we are increasingly responsible for the ultimate success of the product in the
    marketplace," observes Cheryl Kahanec, executive vice president, Earth Digital,
    EARTHCOLOR (Moonachie, NJ). "That's transforming our role as a printer to more
    of a marketing communications advisor."

    Solutions, solutions, solutions







    Chantal Juvet, director of development for DOCAPOST, echoes Kahanec's
    sentiments: "Technologies are now mature and the outsourcers have developed the
    best services," she says. "This will be the year of agile customer
    communication in which each of us will have to answer, with the most appropriate
    and responsive solution. We must address the organizations' special needs."

    It's all about upstream integration







    Kathleen McHugh, VP and chief marketing officer at Presstek (Hudson, N.H.),
    concurs with Kahanec and Juvet about the expanded marketing role. "Today's
    printers must work to build relationships further upstream in the
    marketing communications supply chain in order to influence projects early
    on," she says. "This will allow printers to integrate new services or
    techniques, like QR codes with print, to make it more effective and
    interactive. This enables a stronger, more profitable business that is
    well-positioned to retain existing customers and gain new ones."

    Finally: Put your people first







    Overall, 2012 will be the "year of awareness" for companies in terms of their
    employees, says Elvire Del Fondo, chairman of Audigny. Del Fondo believes
    businesses need to be aware and face the reality that they're going to have to
    do more with less in 2012, especially in terms of staff. Nonetheless, the best
    strategy is for companies to focus on its team members — people power.

    "Organizations need to believe in their teams, which sustain their business and
    help them grow," says Del Fondo. "They need to take care of those team members
    by training them, trusting them and placing the spotlight on human resources — the heart of the system — because people create value."


    KATHERINE O'BRIEN is the senior editor of the American Printer
    division of OutputLinks Communications Group, which is a growing set of global
    business divisions in the corporate communication ecosphere. For a complete list of
    all past and current Women of Distinction or to nominate a 2012 candidate, visit www.OutputLinks.com/WOD.