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We Have Always Done it This Way

Change is viewed as risky because we want to believe that past success guarantees our future success. Your customers are changing, technology is changing, and your competitors are changing, why would you think that maintaining the status quo is anything but the riskiest thing you can do? Standing still is the only way to assure your business’ decline


Ho, Ho, Ho… Christmas Catalogs Go Mobile! (Premium Content)

eMarketer estimates that worldwide smartphone users will surpass 2 billion by 2016, so it is no wonder that retailers of all sizes are making it easy for on-the-go consumers to link to catalogs with mobile applications. This article explores how retailers are integrating mobile to accelerate the purchasing process.


EFI plans Connect on Steroids in 2015

EFI Connect 2015 is shaping up to be one of the best ever, so much so that EFI COO Marc Olin describes it as “Connect on Steroids.” Read what he has to say about Connect, EFI’s future strategies and his role as COO of the company in this interview with WhatTheyThink Senior Editor Cary Sherburne.


Profits Still Below $4 Billion on Annual Basis

Four billion dollars was the approximate bottom of 2005's inflation adjusted annual profits. The four-quarter total annual profits have had a difficult time breaking through that level for more than eight years.


What Kind of Day Has it Been?

2014 has been a year of incremental—but substantial—improvements in wide-format systems. These improvements are creating ever more opportunities in a variety of applications. Here’s what to keep an eye on in 2015.


Miyakoshi Showcases Its Equipment Portfolio for Label Printing and Other Applications

A print equipment supplier for almost 70 years, Japan's Miyakoshi Printing Machinery Co. Ltd. is an OEM partner to many of the industry's top technology providers. At a recent open house, the company put the spotlight on presses for labeling and other uses that it markets under its own brand.


Mark Cuban and Print Shop Owners Score with Shark Tank – November 2014 M&A Activity

Less than a year after swimming with the sharks on the popular TV show Shark Tank in January 2014, husband-and-wife team and printing company owners, Julie and Brian Whiteman, sold their digital photobook app, GrooveBook, to Shutterfly for $14.5 million.


Increase Print Software User Adoption by Showing Less

Often the best way to drive a print software solution’s adoption rate is to eliminate the complexity. How ironic is this? We buy print software products based on extensive feature lists and then we drive adoption of the software by turning most of the features off so people will actually use the tool. Isn’t that an awesome irrational cycle we put ourselves into?


Ho, Ho, Ho… Greeting Cards on the Go! (Premium Content)

This holiday season, greeting cards are taking on a whole new dimension. This article explores how tried-and-true greeting cards are becoming more innovative with the inclusion of interactive elements.


Semiconductor Manufacturer Maxim Integrated Finds Sales Power in Adobe Digital Publishing Suite

As our readers will know, we have been following developments with Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, both in terms of how it is helping publishers tackle the “dollars to digital dimes” conundrum of digital publishing as well as some interesting views into how enterprises are adopting DPS for sales enablement. Today’s story takes us to Maxim Integrated, a designer and manufacturer of semiconductors, who has benefited from the integration of DPS with Adobe Experience Manager for increased sales power.


Inflation-adjusted Sales of S&P 500 Firms Still Below Pre-Recession Levels

GDP may say that the recession ended in June 2009, but there are still data series that have not yet confirmed that five years later. Total employment is one of them, as is median household income, but so is the inflation-adjusted sales of companies in the S&P 500. Even though the companies in the S&P 500 index have revenues lower than the peak of June 2008, the S&P 500 stock index is getting closer to all-time high levels of Spring 2000 (The Dow Jones average already is, the Russell 2000 has been for a while, but the NASDAQ is still off by about 15%). These sales of 500 of the world's best companies have not kept up with real GDP growth since the recession ended (about 2% per year). Some economists believe that this is an indication that GDP data should be viewed with great suspicion, and that there has yet to be a true recovery.


Print MIS Product Spotlight: PressWise

The online channel is vital to the future of your print business. The online channel includes all the ways you engage with your customers online. Every new channel you open up with a customer increases the overall loyalty of that customer, creates barriers to entry for your competitors, and has the potential to decrease the customer burden of doing business with you by offering self-service access to your business.


Solid Five-Year Outlook for Corrugated and Paper Boxes

There's encouraging news for producers of corrugated and paper boxes in a newly released research report which forecasts that demand for these products will increase 2.6% per year to $39.4 billion in 2018.


Business Goes Swimmingly for Digital Dye-Sublimation Printer

Epson’s beachwear “fashion show” highlights the possibilities of digital dye-sublimation fabric printing, and how it could change fashion design.


How Heidelberg Is Realigning Its Product Offerings to the New Realities of the Label and Packaging Market (Premium Content)

Heidelberg's profile as an equipment manufacturer is not the same as it once was, but its interest in label and packaging production is as keen as ever. This report comes from a high-level briefing that WhatTheyThink received on the company's current ambitions in the L&P equipment market.


Landa Digital Printing Provides Update, Outlook to drupa 2016

We haven’t heard much from Benny Landa lately. But the team has been at work perfecting the first press, the S10, and lining up customers. A blog post from Landa and a link to a video tour of the press and the factory are highlights of this post.


Is Upgrading Worth the Risk?

Making the decision to upgrade a Print MIS or web-to-print system can cause anxiety about the unknown issues that may result. A well-planned out implementation can minimize risk and disruption to both the printer and their customers.


Ho, Ho, Ho… Mobile Barcodes on the Go! (Premium Content)

Today’s consumers have truly embraced a number of new channels, and the penetration rate is something that marketers couldn’t have even imagined a decade ago. The holiday season is here, and this article explores how retailers are embedding mobile technology into their holiday campaigns.


Revised GDP Pushed Higher, But Did Not Change Longer Range Growth Rate

Third quarter GDP was revised from +3.5% to +3.9%, but the change was mainly in net inventories, and did little to affect the assessment of underlying and longer range growth compared to the prior year of about +2.43%. Inventories have been bouncing around a bit over recent quarters and are running a little higher than they should be, indicating that some minor correction is forthcoming, especially if non-US economies are slowing down.


Rapid Digital Press Maps Out Wide-Format Success

With a little research, a clearly defined strategy, and fast, high-quality wide-format printing equipment, Phoenix, Ariz.’s Rapid Digital Press has carved out a successful niche in map and GIS printing applications, and is now poised for growth.


Rotolito Establishes Digital Production Unit to Meet Changing Demands for Book Printing

Rotolito, one of the largest printing companies in Europe, has built a €10 million business in digital book printing since the inception of its digital operation in 2010. Read what Rotolito’s Gabriella Moretti has to say about the changing dynamics of its book printing business in this article, sponsored by HP.


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.


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