It is a reasonably nice day here in Anaheim California, I have been travelling for five days heading towards the Photo Marketing Association's (PMA) annual international conference, and I'm only hours away from the opening sessions.
The reason I have taken five days to get to the conference is that I have been touring professional photo labs through out the USA. This tour was instigated through the Association of Professional Colour Imagers (APCI), of which I am Australian President. The APCI are one of many organisations that come under the PMA umbrella. PMA represents School Photograpers, Sporting Photographers, Photo retailers, Camera stores, Framers, Photo Imaging Educators and many more diverse groups.
The tour has been amazing, I am still reeling from the numbers quoted by these labs, I won't list them here as they were very generous with what I would deem 'private information'. I will say one of the operations turned over 45 times our volume in one year with 3 hour turn around on most products, including albums!!!! I gives me pause....
The labs visited were Burrell Colour in Crown Point Indiana (40 mins drive from Chicago), Miller's Professional Imaging in Colombia Missouri, and White House Custom Color in Minneapolis Minnesota. If you check out a map you will find quite a distance between all three, but the common location factor is they are all in central USA, allowing for shipping to each coast easily. All three are shipping based businesses, and two of them rarely have customers visiting.
Each lab has a different focus and business model, and I'll blog more about this another time. This trip is one of the few ways you can plan for the future. I believe you find your way forward by both having a clear understanding of the past and a complete map of the present. I intend for AtkinsTechnicolour to be at the forefront of photographic services and this trip is keeping us on track. Paul Atkins