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Flexographic Printing: Five Critical Steps Forward

The good news is that flexographic printing for labels and packaging has resisted economic downturns and competition from digital while becoming a higher-quality, more efficient production method in its own right. The better news is that continuing technical improvements are carrying flexo toward still higher levels of performance.


From Europe, a New Definition for Labeling

This summer, members of FINAT, the international trade association for self-adhesive labeling and related industries, met in Monte Carlo for an annual congress around the general theme of "The Battle for Shelf Appeal." What emerged were an updated redefinition of labeling and a frank reassessment of the role that labels play in a greatly altered selling environment for packaged goods of all kinds.


Embrace Print Software as Complimentary to Your People

Your people have the power to resist print software technology changes by focusing on the challenges instead of finding solutions. Your job as a leader is to portray technology as a complimentary tool for your people to work more effectively.


2014 SGIA Expo: Finding new Business Opportunities and Areas for Growth

October’s SGIA Expo was about more than just new technology, it was about finding new business opportunities and areas for growth. Here are some examples of printing companies who gleaned practical information from the show to take their businesses in new directions.


M&A: Still a Buyer’s Market?

Printing companies are experiencing a modest reprieve from the very tough market of the past several years, leading many owners to wonder, is now the time to sell?


Memo to self: get all the *?@#! toothpaste out of the tube, or die trying

Did you know—well, heck, how could anybody know?—that some people are willing to injure themselves if that's what it will take to force the last drop of product out of a container? Or that consumers would rather go to the dentist than see product they've purchased go to waste in packages they can't empty completely?


Dietary Supplements Meet Digital Printing at Labels in Motion, Courtesy of Xeikon

Dietary supplements and nutraceuticals are big business for a small in-plant label printer with digital capabilities that match its marketing ambitions and objectives. An update on Xeikon strategies and financials is also included in this article.


Collaborative Commerce: The Necessary Evolution of Web-to-Print (Premium Content)

Web-to-print technology and the customer facing resources working in print today need to evolve together so we can support online “collaborative commerce”: a procurement process that requires collaboration between the buyer and the seller.


Transforming and Automating Workflows: Packaging Workflow Standards and Futures Part 2

David Zwang looks at process transformation and automation, and the background and steps you need to understand to be successful. He also looks at some of the current product offerings and how they are being used by service providers, to give you ideas about how you can transform your business and strengthen your customer relationships.


Plan for a Culture of Continuous Process Improvement in 2015

One of the biggest challenges with print software technology today is achieving its full potential. We often get lost in the running of our day-to-day business which prevents us from ongoing process improvement. After the initial implementation, we get distracted and back to the reality of getting customer jobs out the door. We fall into the bad habit of reactive improvement, or if you prefer a more technical term, “Band-Aids”.


Accelerating Growth through Strategic Acquisitions (Premium Content)

While hard work is always a key ingredient for successful business growth, printers of all sizes are pursuing strategic mergers and acquisitions as a mechanism to further strengthen their businesses. While growth through acquisition was once considered the domain of large enterprises, companies of all sizes are now discovering that they can gain access to new printing technologies or services by acquiring or merging with another company. This article explores how First Edge Solutions has achieved business expansion through strategic acquisitions and partnerships.


Mimaki Mini-Expo Hits the Spa City

Mimaki’s 25-city road show includes hands-on product demonstrations and educational presentations that highlight new features of, and top applications enabled by, today’s wide-format printing equipment. Here is a report from one stop on the tour.


Print MIS Product Spotlight: CoreBridge

CoreBridge is a cloud based, multi-tenant software solution whose business model is subscription based. Like pure technology startups, CoreBridge’s pricing model is easy to understand, available on their website, and allows you to start small and grow with CoreBridge through volume and/or functionality.


Past Is Prologue: 150-Year History Spurs DWS Printing Associates to New Ambitions in Label Production (Premium Content)

Continuous reinvestment and continuous reinvention sum up the strategic thinking at DWS Printing Associates, a Long Island label printing firm with deep roots in the past and a progressive view of the future.


And the Winner Is...the Package!

What lends itself more readily to creative competition than a well designed package? The packaging industry is full of contests that showcase the high degree of graphic innovation that can be found in packages of all types and materials. Here is a short list of some of the competitions that celebrated the art of packaging design in 2014.


Teaching and Telling Stories Online

First impressions of your business matter, especially to new prospects. More and more first impressions are online. How does your online presence compare to your offline one?


Canada Per Capita Commercial Printing 1992-2014

Using printing shipments and population data from Statistics Canada, we have prepared this chart that shows per capita shipments of commercial printing in Canada current dollars and Canada inflation-adjusted dollars.


HP Prepares for Jetcomm: First Production Inkjet User Group and Global Conference

HP has begun planning for Jetcomm, its first-ever Production Inkjet User Group, with a conference to be held in March 2015 in Washington, D.C., immediately preceding DscoopX. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne speaks with David Murphy, WW Director of Marketing for HP’s production inkjet business, to learn more.


SG360°: Helping Customers Handle the Data Challenge (Premium Content)

Research confirms that there is a growing disconnect between what marketers want and need from their data and what they are actually getting. This article discusses some of the challenges that today’s marketers are facing and explores how SG360° is taking a different approach to improve its clients’ marketing efforts.


Top Challenges When Executing Personalized Communications/Campaigns

InfoTrends’ study entitled Understanding Vertical Markets: Enterprise Communication Requirements surveyed over 1,000 enterprise executives. When asked about the top data challenges that they faced related to executing personalized campaigns, respondents highlighted tracking responses, understanding response drivers, and analyzing and mining data.


Marketing Equals Lead Generation – Give them a Quota

Unless you are a large public company who needs to “protect their brand” and produce appropriate messaging for Wall Street (otherwise known as corporate marketing), the primary role of marketing in your organization should be lead generation.


A Wide-Format Digital Print Perspective from Graph Expo

InfoTrends revisits September’s Graph Expo and recaps some of the highlights from a wide-format perspective. At the same time, the show itself is evolving into entirely new directions, reflective of how the industry itself is evolving.


Holiday Season Marketing and Packaging Trends

Can it be mid-November already, with preparations for the year-end holidays getting into full swing? Just ask International Paper. The Wall Street Journal recently quoted IP’s chief executive Mark S. Sutton as saying that box orders for the online retail segment have been up 15% year-over-year in 2014 and could continue rising, depending on demand. The story reports that the surge in demand for holiday packaging from both online and traditional retailers is helping to improve the performance of IP’s industrial packaging unit, which provides cardboard boxes, specialty packaging, retail displays, and paper bags.


Why are These Millennial-Generation Printers Smiling? – October 2014 M&A Activity

October 2014 –Mergers, Acquisitions & Restructuring in the Printing, Packaging & Related Industries


New Survey Report Takes Fact-Based Look at Label & Packaging Market Realities

Filtering what we know from what we think we know about label and packaging market trends is the objective of “Emerging Technologies for Packaging Innovation,” a newly published report from GrCI Cal Poly and Packaging World.


Print Software: Dreaming vs. Executing

The raw potential of what technology can do for our business is unlimited, like a book a matches there is great possibility. Execution is about determining which match (project, goal, objective) you are going to put your energy into to ignite and then sustain your focus to create real change. Dreaming helps you think big, executing forces you to act within the constraints of your environment (resources, market, customers, and budget).


Generation Z: Changing Communications Forever (Premium Content)

It is estimated that Generation Z—those born between 1994 and 2004—represents over 25% of the U.S. population. These individuals are rapidly coming into their own in terms of influence, consumption, and spending power. This article considers the ways in which businesses can reach these up-and-coming consumers.


SGIA Recap II: Chalk it Up to Experience

The SGIA Expo was about more than just new hardware—new substrates were also on display, as well as what keeps the hardware productive: color management, production, and RIPing software.


The Top Three Functional Additives in the Plastic Packaging Market

Functional additives help plastic packages do a better job of protecting their contents. Of the many different kinds of functional additives, the most widely used are those that remove unwanted oxygen, block UV and IR radiation, and eliminate or reduce static.


Bridgeport National Bindery Turns to Production Inkjet to Revolutionize Its Business

Massachusetts-based Bridgeport National Bindery has turned to production inkjet press technology to revolutionize its business and to significantly outweigh the decline in its traditional library binding business as discussed in this article, sponsored by HP.


Fostering a Great Relationship between Your Web-to-Print and Print MIS Systems (Premium Content)

Having an integrated web-to-print and print MIS system isn’t just about being able to technically connect the systems. To get the most out of this integration you want to enable communication between systems that makes the two systems truly seem like one in terms of information exchanged


Digital Publishing Delivers Significant Business Results for Stryker Orthopaedics

Our continuing coverage of the impact of digital alternatives on the world of print and publishing features Stryker Orthopaedics’ use of digital publishing technologies to more deeply engage its sales force and surgeon customers while reaping significant cost and time savings. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne speaks with Stryker’s Orthopaedics’ Creative Director Stephen Brown to learn more about the journey.


What Does the iPhone 6 Mean For Printers

As a print service provider, your services help your customers build their business and their client base. To stay competitive, it's vital that you stay ahead of the game, keeping abreast of changing technology that can change the way you do business and the services you offer your customers. That's why you need to know about the new iPhone 6 and its NFC (Near Field Communication) technology, brand new for this iPhone model.


Define the Problem First

I am involved in a lot of conversations where companies and people are trying to solve a business challenge with software. Communication is so compressed nowadays, people’s time is limited, and we are almost always communicating across multiple time zones and frequently across cultures. This makes a common understanding difficult and opens up lots of opportunity for confusion.


HP Adds New Dimension to “Blended Reality”

At a launch event in New York City Wednesday morning, HP made two new technology announcements under a category it is calling Blended Reality—a 3D printing platform called Multi Jet Fusion, and a new type of interactive workstation/workspace called Sprout. Both these initiatives are part of what HP is calling its Blended Reality ecosystem designed, says the company, “to break down the barriers between the digital and physical worlds.”


Getting Ready for 2015: Helping Marketers Generate Leads

We live in an interesting time for lead generation marketing. With e-commerce and self-service sales, some companies don’t even need a sales force. They just need very effective lead generation marketing to help bring customers to them. This article highlights recent data and offers success strategies for service providers.


The Future of Kodak: A WhatTheyThink Exclusive Interview with CEO Jeff Clarke (Premium Content)

Senior Editor Cary Sherburne recently had the opportunity to spend quality time with Kodak’s new CEO, Jeff Clarke. Read on to hear what Clarke has to say about what attracted him to Kodak, where he plans to take the company, and his strategies for getting there.


High-Wire Acts: Adventures at the 2014 SGIA Expo (Part 1)

SGIA Expo exceeded virtually everyone’s expectations. In Part 1 of our show coverage we look at some of the major hardware introductions.


Memjet Tears Up Rapid’s inkjet Agreement

Memjet, the US company that in 2012 acquired the patent portfolio of Sydney-based Silverbrook Research relating to MEMS-based inkjet digital printing, has terminated its OEM partner agreement with Australia’s Rapid Packaging Services. The agreement has three more years to run until 2017.


What Can Recent Trade Shows Tell Us about the Industry?

Now that most of the year's big trade shows are behind us, we can think back on what we've seen. The September Label Expo Americas show in Chicago offered what we believe is a good lesson—for a print-related trade show to stay vital, labels and packaging are a key source of longevity.


The Beauty of Packaging

Sometimes, it’s good to step back from the speeds, feeds, and tech specs to reflect on the fact that packages and labels can be, well, downright beautiful. Eye-beguiling examples of the aesthetic gems that high-end production makes possible are all over the Internet.


Getting Found: Yellow Pages to Online Search

Online search has replaced the Yellow Pages as the primary way local businesses get found. This change requires a very different approach by businesses and a steep learning curve. The online world requires you to compete to be “found” for a lion share of the search traffic. The competition is constantly changing, therefore local businesses need to make a sustained investment.


Transforming and Automating Workflows: Packaging Workflow Standards and Futures Part 1

There have been many new digital label and packaging presses released recently, and there are more to coming in the near future. However, these new digital presses will never reach optimal production levels or support and drive the new market requirements, without new standards and workflows.


What Does “Change” Mean to You?

Change evokes fear in some, excitement in others, and dread in many. What we can all agree on, change is picking up the pace.


If You Think Selling Your Business is Like Selling Your House – Guess Again! Part Two: Improving Value

This is part two of a series on the differences between selling a house and selling a business. In part one, we discussed some of the key drivers and the effects that improvements have on home value. In part two, we drill down into the effects that various improvements in a business can have on transaction value.


Xerox’s European Premier Partners Jump on the Innovation Bandwagon

There’s a quiet revolution happening in the printing industry. In an effort to jump-start innovation, printing companies are collaborating with vendors to apply new strategies, digital tools, and technologies. Xerox’s Premier Partner Congress in Madrid, Spain explored how market innovations continue to enhance print’s value as part of the overall communications mix.


Dr. Joe Truncale to Leave NAPL after 30 Years

After serving for 30 years at NAPL, Joe Truncale has decided to leave the association to accept the positon of CEO of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Effective January 12, 2015, Ken Garner will become the CEO for AMSP/NAPL/NAQP. Garner was the CEO of AMSP at the time of its merger with NAPL/NAQP. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne talks with Truncale about the past, present and future of his career.


Impact of the Internet on Print

Messe Düsseldorf, the organizer of the drupa trade fair, recently published a “drupa Global Insights Report” on the impact of the Internet on print. It’s based on responses to a survey from more than 1,000 senior decision-makers in the printing industry, including 240 who furnished personal examples of the impact in their own companies.


The Wrap: Label and Packaging Production Solutions at Graph Expo/CPP 2014 (Part 3)

Post-processing equipment and software solutions for labels and packaging were well represented at Graph Expo/CPP, which has come into its own as a showcase for these applications.


Graph Expo 2014: A Few Highlights

WhatTheyThink was at Graph Expo in full force, including our annual Economic Outlook Breakfast with Dr. Joe Webb and our popular WhatTheyThink Video Studio. We also made time to attend press conferences and walk the show floor in order to bring news and insight to our readers. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne shares a few thoughts about the show.


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