Event Sessions and Key Speaker Insights from thINK22

Looking at customer-first initiatives and post-pandemic challenges



Tanya Sherman



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Canon’s thINK22 event, held in Boca Raton this past July, had a tremendous turnout of attendees who gathered to hear industry leaders share constructive insights on market trends and pandemic-related challenges. As always, the voice of the customer was one of the central messages across all educational sessions, but the disruptions caused by the pandemic and (most importantly) how to manage them took the spotlight.



In educational sessions, the most critical industry challenges were highlighted (e.g., supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, cybersecurity, and inflation), while other, more traditional topics for this type of inkjet event were also addressed (sales enablement, direct mail and transactional print, publishing, and book manufacturing). Human-centric approaches were the fulcrum of many discussions around relying on employees and self-leadership to drive a more successful, effective, and profitable business. As could be expected, the technology factor was also addressed to improve efficiencies and enable business growth.


Besides emphasizing the value of human capital to maximize opportunities, panelists spoke on enriching company culture with a focus on diversity and inclusion, and nurturing talent acquisition while decreasing attrition rates. Faced by the pressures of increased labor shortages and staffing challenges, companies need to deepen employees’ commitment and loyalty to organizational success by innovating their recruitment and incentivization strategies. Enabling leadership to inspire and empower their employees is also a critical factor of developing diverse yet centralized work cultures across organizational levels.


Recent crises have challenged companies of all sizes on all fronts, and sometimes it has been a case of survival of the fittest. Smaller companies might benefit from consolidation and the relevance of localization and environmental sustainability, while larger companies with more financial resources might consider acquiring smaller ones to increase capacity for local production. Investing in automation and diversifying local supplier networks were highlighted as key strategies to increase efficiency. Localization can increase costs, but it has proven to be a very relevant means to continue serving customers. Customer communication and transparency have become essential for offsetting the impacts caused by supply chain disruptions. From an optimistic perspective, disruptions in supply chains have also had a favorable impact, such as transforming inventory from a liability into an asset (even though that might only favor the bigger companies that can afford to invest in larger inventories). The core theme of these sessions was that there is much to be gained and learned by taking a step back and observing what appears to be a crisis from one angle, and an opportunity from another.


An important lesson to all is that people are the only part of a business that cannot be a part of a “copy-and-paste approach”. It is imperative to invest in talent acquisition and to innovate strategies for work culture development as part of a sustainable growth strategy. As momentum in innovation gains traction and the core of a holistic and successful business grows deeper roots in human resources as the greatest differentiator and asset, we will continue to see new opportunities be revealed and radical acceptance of change take place across industry verticals. 


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