FORUM 2021’s Chairs Explain the Event’s Focus on Efficiency & Productivity

FORUM 2021 logo horizontalTo a printer, efficiency means something different than what it means to a prepress provider, or a CPC, or a manufacturer, or a distributor.

But at its core, it means the same thing to all of them. “Efficiency is the cornerstone of running a successful and profitable business,” explains FORUM 2021 Chair Ellen Farrell of DuPont Cyrel® Solutions. Adds Pacificolor’s Bart Wright, the event’s co-chair: “At the end of the day, how quickly and on target we can deliver product is the heart of what we do.”

Efficiency is so important that it forms the basis for FTA’s FORUM 2021 and its theme of “Prosper Through Efficiency.” Through more than 20 technical presentations in nine sessions, attendees will see and learn how to make every area of their workflow more efficient, and hear why that efficiency is so important now and for the future.

Farrell and Wright discuss with FLEXO Magazine everything happening at FORUM, its exhibit counterpart INFOFLEX 2021, and more.

Ellen Farrell headshot square


FLEXO Magazine: “Prosper Through Efficiency” is the theme of FORUM 2021. What is its message and how will it be supported by the conference’s agenda?

Ellen Farrell & Bart Wright: If 2020 brought us anything good, it was a chance to reflect inward at our efficiencies and see where improvements can be made. This conference is a direct result of that and hopes to share a strong technical focus emphasizing key efficiencies through best practices, technology, troubleshooting, maximizing your workflow and emerging products.

FLEXO: Efficiency has undoubtedly become a key component of every business that has a place in the flexographic workflow. Even if you discount everything that’s happened in the last year, why is this such an important piece of the puzzle?

Wright: At the end of the day, how quickly and on target we can deliver product is the heart of what we do.

Farrell: Efficiency is the cornerstone of running a successful and profitable business. But it is imperative to be both efficient and effective to be able to solve problems and meet the demands of your customers. We aim to help deliver the necessary tools to increase knowledge relevant not only in challenging times, but to also deliver content to help you continue to prosper into the future.

FLEXO: FORUM 2021 follows Virtual FORUM 2020 and Virtual Fall Conference 2020 as a fully virtual conference. Where will attendees see evidence of that virtual event experience?

Farrell: Last year, for FORUM 2020, we needed to make a quick pivot to a virtual format due to the pandemic. Much of what we learned was put into transitioning Fall Conference 2020 to also be virtual.

FORUM 2021 was always planned as a hybrid event. The preparation for delivering it virtually started on day one. Staff and speakers are well-versed in what it takes to best present the technical content FORUM is known for, virtually.

Personally, out of the large number of webinars and conferences delivered over the past year, I must say FTA is first-in-class on delivering content virtually. The organization of events, timing, technology, preparedness and delivery has made its virtual events over the past year truly exceptional. And as always, the attendee feedback loop brings continuous improvement.

FORUM 2021 will be organized in a way that allows attendees to maximize their learning by incorporating a realistic pace of the sessions. We are working hard to employ a format where more company employees can attend, either as individuals from their office computer or in larger group environments.

Wright: All the session topics are incredibly strong and hyper-relevant in our industry today. The roster of speakers is filled with experts. And having to “Zoom” for a year has given all of us on-the-job training.

People attend FORUM for the content. That content is as strong as it has ever been, and maybe more relevant than it has ever been. Moving Virtual FORUM 2020 and Virtual Fall Conference 2020 enabled many flexographers who otherwise could not attend in person, to attend virtually. I hope even more take this opportunity to get excellent and essential content.

FLEXO: What are some of the unique opportunities enabled by a fully virtual conference?

Farrell: A fully virtual conference does have its benefits. As Bart pointed out, more people can attend from your company. Without the various costs to get to FORUM, the content is much more readily available to more people.

Wright: Sessions are also spaced out, so you don’t lose entire days in a conference, but only a few hours. There is something for everyone in your facility, so I think it would be important to take advantage and project it on a wall for everyone to learn.

FLEXO: CPCs, printers and prepress workers: Why should they attend? What will they learn and take back to their companies?

Farrell: The technical content of the sessions is geared to be relevant for them. Whether you are new to the industry or an expert in your field, your time spent at FORUM will yield increased knowledge, spark new ideas, enhance your troubleshooting skills, and leave you with new ideas and technologies to implement within your company.

Wright: On top of that, because everyone else will be there. Where else can you meet with all your suppliers, learn about new technologies and take back ideas to immediately implement in your facility?