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Flexible Packaging is Hot – November 2017 M&A Activity

TC Transcontinental executes long term strategy in flexible packaging, Graphic Packaging acquires again; Kingery Printing acquires United Graphics; and more…


It’s an Omni-Channel World… Especially During the Holidays! (Premium Content)

This holiday season, savvy retailers are working to meet customers on the channels where they are shopping and buying, whether it’s in a physical store, online, or via social media. This article highlights how various retailers are driving sales and encouraging engagement with multi-channel integrated campaigns.


The Customer’s Perspective of Web-to-Print (Premium Content)

I’ve been interacting with a lot of customers of web-to-print lately (the people who order from web-to-print, not the printers). In every single interaction I learn something new.


Apocalypse Soon? Retail’s Troubles and What They Mean for POP Printers (Premium Content)

Brick and mortar retailer has been struggling with foot traffic. According to early estimates all signs are pointing to more ecommerce, less in-person commerce this holiday season. What does this mean for retail graphics?


The Cloud Lets Printers Go Computer Agnostic

When we think about the cloud, we think about benefits such as anytime, anywhere access, cost savings from the elimination of servers, and automatic updates. But there is one benefit that many people don’t think about—computer agnosticism.


Tax Reform May be Near; Only Dr. Doom Would Celebrate a Recession Anniversary

What’s more important than tax reform? A tenth anniversary! It’s been ten years since the recession started. What does one get as a gift? We’re told it’s tin or aluminum. Does that mean someone’s giving all of us litho plates? Tax reform is a much better gift for the celebration. The reform is flawed, but better than nothing. There are some signs that the economy is improving for real, and Dr. Joe has his unique twist to offer.


Direct Mail Engages…Even with Millennials! (Premium Content)

Even in this digital age, tried-and-true direct mail communications continue to get noticed. This article cites recent research from Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends to explore how direct mail can be used to cut through the clutter and capture the attention of today’s “always on” consumers.


My Evolving Opinions on Project Management (Premium Content)

Creating results in your company takes coordinated effort by a group of people – some would call that a “project”. Project management is the art of keeping all the contributors to the project on task “herding the cats.” This skill set and this role is underappreciated in our industry. When you need to get complex things done with a group of people – you need a project manager to drive the project to successful completion.


Collaboration: The Low-Hanging Fruit of Cloud Migration

Whether it’s for administrative, production, or marketing initiatives, the cloud brings significant benefits to businesses of all sizes. One of those benefits, and one that is the easiest to implement, is collaboration. Let’s take a closer look at this low-hanging fruit from the cloud.


Using Overall Equipment Effectiveness in Flexo Packaging Printing

Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) is a powerful tool that can be used to benchmark, identify areas for improvement, and measure progress. It combines equipment availability, performance, and quality (waste) into a single metric.


Do We Need to Move Beyond the Terms “Prepress” and “Workflow”?

As an industry, have we moved past the terms “prepress” and “workflow”? Are they too broad to provide any significant benefit to the industry discussion? There is an argument to be made that it’s time to break up the process and discuss it in terms of its discrete elements.


Print Software Investments Have to Fit into Your Technology Stack (Premium Content)

When you buy print software for your business, it needs to “fit” into the technology stack you already have. This means that it solves challenges you cannot solve with your existing software and it will fit with the other pieces of your technology.


Want Better Marketing? Study Says: Automate It

A new report from eMarketer looks at the growing use of marketing automation to help marketers better manage their marketing consistency and effectiveness across channels. Data is drawn from third-party data over the multiple years. The results beg the question: What are the implications for MSPs and print?


Printing Ladies of the Night at Roland’s “Image Imaginarium”

One of the pioneers of digital art walks through the steps involved in printing images for a recent book project and complementary dye-sublimation aluminum prints.


The Truth is Not Always in the Headline

Look at the shiny object, and please don’t peek behind the curtain. It’s a data game that’s played by many, and it starts with a good headline, and sometimes includes a great chart. A rising stock market without increasing revenue? Declining e-book sales that conveniently ignore niches that are contrary? And then there’s one for the record: the LP record. A pretty chart makes that story convincing, but only if you forget history. Don’t fall into that vinyl LP trap: there’s a hole in the middle of it.


Information is Power… Use It to Make Your Best Business Decisions! (Premium Content)

Printing business executives and managers who have learned to fortify their companies' business plans and strategies with a consistent flow of useful and compelling business data will be much better positioned to unlock growth potential and protect against sales declines. This article explores how business leaders can use internal and external information to drive business expansion.


Print MIS Product Spotlight: printIQ

The Print MIS/ERP system is the foundation to your overall print business technology stack. It is the system that should run your business. Many Print MIS solutions have and continue to expand their support for a diversified printing operation. One of printIQ’s strengths is its approach to and the execution of a modular approach to supporting additional manufacturing processes


Solution Selling of Print: Find the Challenges Important to the Customer

The solution sale only works if you’re solving the problems that are most important to the customer. The race to find solutions often results in sales teams wasting tremendous effort solving the wrong customer challenges. When you first agree on the challenges and their importance to the customer – solution selling works.


Understanding the Alphabet Soup of Expanded Gamut Printing (Premium Content)

CMYK, XCMYK, CMYKOVG, ECG, Fixed Palette – so many terms to describe various types of process printing. What do they all mean and why should you care? We’ll explore all of that in this article.


AWA’s Annual Market Update: Release Liner For Pressure-Sensitive Labels

Overview of the annual update on release liner for pressure-sensitive labels by industry market research firm AWA (Alexander Watson Associates).


Xerox Sets the Page Free at NYC’s 92nd Street Y

The company’s unique rebranding project resulted in an anthology of current authors writing about work, a series of videos, and a book launch event with author readings at New York’s venerable 92nd Street Y.


Are You Using Call Tracking to Prove Direct Mail ROI?

Call tracking provides vital insight and marketing intelligence to help clients optimize their marketing channels, messaging, and focus. This post takes a look at how three clients benefited from using call tracking to prove and optimize the value of their direct mail.


Differentiating Your Business with Wide Format (Premium Content)

Wide format printing is a profitable and complementary product offering for print service providers that are seeking new markets and higher-margin businesses. This article discusses the three key practices for success in this market.


Transactional Print – Fertile Ground for Consolidation – October 2017 M&A Activity

OSG Billing Services, now owned by PE firm Aquiline Capital, adds first bolt-on with acquisition of Microdynamics, label printer Brook & Whittle acquired in secondary buyout, Vomela buys another commercial printer; and more…


Flint Digital Group’s President & CEO Talks Strategy (Premium Content)

Following last week’s announcement of the strategic alliance between EFI and Xeikon, transferring sales, marketing and service responsibility for Jetrion inkjet label presses to Xeikon, Zwang and Sherburne had the opportunity to speak with Benoit Chatelard, President & CEO of Flint Group Digital Solutions, to gain a bit more depth to the story. He was joined by Mark Brussel, CFO.


When to Buy a Different Print Software Solution (Premium Content)

Purchasing new software is exciting; it’s full of potential, the vendors invest a lot in making the sales process enjoyable. This influences our reaction to when our existing technology gets hard or frustration – it can feel easier to quit and buy a different platform thinking that will solve all our challenges.


Making Sense of, and Profits with, Technology (Premium Content)

In our rapidly evolving world of often disruptive technology, making sense of the options available to printing companies can be challenging. Buying a new press is no longer a sufficient investment to ensure ongoing profitability. Printing companies must also invest in a range of solutions that optimize productivity and streamline workflow. In this article, Bondy and Sherburne provide concrete advice that will help printing companies in making the right technology decisions as they plan for 2018 and beyond.


Defining Cloud Production for Printers

Cloud production doesn’t have to be complicated. A simplified definition, along with three ways to use the cloud for business, change the conversation from “why should I?” to “what’s the big deal?”


Fed Change Means Fed Same, Shipments Tumble, Economy Muddles, and Can I Interest You in the Best Leftovers Ever? (Premium Content)

We have a new chair at the Fed who is likely to stay the course, no matter how damaging that is. This month’s shiny object is the unemployment rate; don’t look at how it got there. A kerfuffle and a scuffle, and it all happened because of used equipment, which means the once mighty aren’t any more. And printing shipments… can we talk about something else?


Jetrion Comes Home – Inside the Xeikon Jetrion Partnership (Premium Content)

This week, after several months of negotiation, EFI announced a strategic partnership with Xeikon whereby sales, marketing and servicing for the Jetrion line of digital UV inkjet label printers would be transferred to Xeikon with the Jetrion trademark and ownership of ink manufacturing remaining with EFI. Zwang and Sherburne dug into the details.


Where Does Print Fit into Your Clients’ Customer Journeys?

Are your customers mapping their customer journeys? If so, those journey maps can provide critical insights into where your customers are using their channels well and where opportunities are being missed. These insights can help you help your customers while also getting a greater share of wallet.


Fall in Love with the Problem

We are biased towards solutions when the most valuable thing we can do it clearly define the problem first. The tech startup world calls this innovator bias (falling in love with solutions) – there are always many ways to solve something, the more time you spend understanding the problem, the better chances of getting to the optimal solution.


Pioneers in Graphic Design

I was recently given the opportunity to review a new book, Pioneers of German Graphic Design. Did you know that modern graphic design originated more than 100 years ago in Germany? I didn’t. The book is fascinating and includes fabulous imagery. I’ll recap some of it here, but you might want this one for your personal library!


Trends and Futures at Labelexpo Europe: Flexo Goes 21st Century, Embellishments, Emerging Inkjet (Premium Content)

It seems like we just finished with drupa 2016, yet Labelexpo Europe 2017 appeared to be a subset extension of that event. Everyone in Label production on any level from around the globe was there, showing and looking at the latest products and trends. It is a very exciting time, with a very promising future for label production. In part one of this two-part series, we looked at some of the major trends and product announcements at the show. In part two of the series, David continues to look a bit deeper at some trends and some interesting futures.


Ink Migration and Food Safety Take Center Stage at Inaugural Radtech Packaging Conference

Radtech’ first UV+EB Packaging Conference last week featured suppliers, vendors, and brand owners surveying the current packaging landscape, with an emphasis on food packaging and safety.


Ricoh Shares Strategy with Media and Analysts at Boulder Facility

Ricoh hosted a small group of media and analysts at its Global Executive Briefing Center in Boulder CO last week. This is one of four sites worldwide that has extensive capability to demonstrate Ricoh’s production printing portfolio, with the others being in Telford (UK), Thailand and Singapore. The company shared its strategy for the Commercial and Industrial Print Group, formed last April, as well as provided a tour of the facilities, including the demo center and some of the labs.


NPES Teams with the CMO Council to Gain Marketer Perspectives on Print

All too often, it seems that within the printing industry, we spend more time talking to each other than to customers. Ask yourself: How well do you truly understand your customers’ businesses, the issues they face every day, and how your services could help them meet their goals and objectives in truly unique ways? What services could you add to be able to do this even better?


A Case Story Isn’t Just a Leave-Behind: 6 Habits for Successful Delivery (Premium Content)

A case story isn’t just something that you leave behind before you walk out the door. It is a tool that is delivered in a framework to bring personality and credibility to your business. This article explores how the ability to tell a compelling story can create a meaningful connection between a brand and a customer/prospect.


The Cloud: Speeding Receivables for Printers

Two printer case studies on speeding receivables show another way that cloud business can save print shops money.


What Graphic Communications Students Need to Know

This article contains a young professional’s perspective on how to find a successful career in graphic communications. While it is directed at students, it is also an excellent piece that teachers and professors can use to inspire their students, and that parents can also use with their kids.


Boring Execution as a Differentiator (Premium Content)

There is no magic innovation button, there is a boring execution button that can differentiate your business. Consistent execution on complex tasks is a path to profitability – checklists are a key tool to help you get there.


BrandQ: What Does It Mean for Packaging Converters and Suppliers to the Industry

Today, Idealliance announced a new program – BrandQ, designed to provide brands with the proper tools and language to better manage print quality across complex supply chains. What is not addressed in the press release is what that means for packaging converters and suppliers to the industry. We spoke with Idealliance Vice President, Global Print Technologies & Workflows, Tim Baechle to find out more.


“Industrial Printing” Takes Center Stage at SGIA Expo 2017

What turned out to be the penultimate SGIA Expo featured an emphasis on “industrial printing”—a nebulous but increasingly common term for what mainstream printing may be morphing into.


The Fed, Economic Data, and Other Topics (Premium Content)

It’s an interesting time at the Fed, especially when Dr. Yellen’s turn is expiring and one of Dr. Joe’s favorite candidates is in the running. There’s a lot of claims about jobless claims, and the claims are not really what they’re claiming. Labels and wrappers? That’s a tiny niche market in the big printing industry. Now 1 in 8 commercial printing dollars are in that specialty.


Xeikon Café North America Draws Larger-Than-Expected Attendance

The first-ever Xeikon Café North America drew a larger-than-expected audience. Xeikon has been using this platform as a gathering point for its customers and prospects at its European headquarters for the last several years. The success of the event prompted Xeikon to launch a North American version, which the company reported would be convened on an annual basis moving forward.


thINK 2017: A Thriving Inkjet Forum (Premium Content)

The third annual thINK 2017 event took place during October 9 – 11 at the Boca Raton Resort & Club. The sold out event was the largest thINK conference yet. This article outlines the key highlights and speakers at the show.


The Print Industry Education Gap

There is an educational gap in the print industry, our industry events are still centered around buying and selling equipment rather than preparing printers to compete in the internet age.


Driving Business Growth: How Techniprint Re-Invented Its Business

Phoenix-based Techniprint needed to adjust its business to account for a growing trend to digitally distribute document sets for architectural and construction projects rather than printing a large number of copies of these sets. Adding two HP PageWide XL 8000 wide format printers to its business resulted in a 25% increase in revenues in the first six months.


Augmented Reality: Setting the Record Straight (Premium Content)

The interest in Augmented Reality has grown, especially with recent attention paid to the technology by Apple, Google, Snap and others. But there is also a great deal of confusion about Augmented Reality – what is it, really? How is it different from other technologies like QR codes? What is the relevance to print? Read more.


Apple iOS 11 Natively Supports QR Codes

Apple’s new iOS 11 natively supports QR Codes. This means consumers no longer need to download a QR Code reader, know how to use it, or even know what a QR Code is in order to access content.


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