Federal printing trade fair gets mixed reactions from suppliers

The event, which was held on 23 May at the Canberra Convention Centre, brought together contractors from the Federal government’s print procurement panel. Some 200 suppliers flew in from across the country to meet up with customers from within government departments.

The Australian government’s ‘Design, Production & Distribution Program’ covers print management, creative and design, printing and production, and warehousing and distribution.

Daniel Hodgson (pictured), print procurement manager at the Department of Human Services, said there were 95 stands, exhibiting to a group of around 150 government representatives.

“The idea of the event was to give contractors and government the chance to meet face to face, allowing contractors to learn about government requirements and government bodies the opportunity to learn about print,” he said.

Eugene Cora, chief executive of Ergo Asia, one of the biggest suppliers of print management to the public sector, was positive about the experience.

“It was a very productive and well-organised event, reflecting the maturity of the Federal government print management program,” he said.

“It showcased a vast industry capability with great energy and commitment to change.”

Cora added that the event was “a unique 360-degree opportunity for designers, printers, print managers and distribution providers to understand the inter-relationship and operational linkages to one another”.

But the three Canberra printers ProPrint spoke to said many suppliers went home disappointed.

Mal Barnett, group manager from Paragon Printers, said some government buyers who visited the stand acted like “kids at the Royal Easter Show trying to fill up their bags with goodies”.

He suggested the event would be improved if it was held in a roundtable format with printers being able to question buyers directly and vice-versa.

QPrint owner Tanya Yachmen also felt the event was poorly organised.

“We only gave away about two show bags and I felt sorry for the suppliers who had travelled from interstate,” she added.

“A company in a nearby stand had brought four staff members up from South Australia and paid for their accommodation, which for them would have been a complete waste of time and money.”

A representative of another Canberra print house said “it was a bit of a waste of time” and “a morning off for government people”.

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