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Print Software Evaluation – First Define the Problem It Solves (Premium Content)

Every software tool sets out to solve a set of problems, all too often the problem is never defined because the sales process focuses on solutions, benefits, and features. Take the time to understand the problem print software solves and most importantly whether you have that problem!


PDF For Packaging: The Missing Link in Digital Packaging Production (Premium Content)

In this article, David looks beyond the hardware at prepress, and how new developments will play a significant role in driving the growth of digital packaging production. This is not surprising, since we have been here before in other areas of the industry.


Making Tracks: Signage, QR Codes, and Customer Journey Analytics (Premium Content)

QR codes are great for “making print interactive,” but in today’s high-data marketing environment, they also have a more important purpose: making print measurable.


Marketing Mix Trends 2010-2016: Winners and Losers

Highlights from Target Marketing’s annual Market Mix Trends report, including trends in direct mail (both personalized and traditional), FSIs, email, online search, and mobile.


Industry 4.0: Leading the Transformation (Premium Content)

Industrial revolutions are momentous events, and many historians agree that there have been three to date. Interconnected digital technology might be triggering the fourth revolution, and this article explores the actions that printers should take to remain at the forefront of Industry 4.0.


Mailers Weigh in on USPS

How is the United States Postal Service perceived by key members of the mailing supply chain? A recent Idealliance study lays it all out, the good, the bad and the ugly. While there is certainly room for improvement, and it is unclear what the USPS response to this study will be, be sure to read to the end for a view of what mail and communications would be like if the USPS wasn’t functioning as well as it is!


EskoWorld: A Unique Experience

Last month, I attended EskoWorld for the first time. This was the 26th EskoWorld, so I am a little slow on the uptake. But the event was well worth attending and had quite a different feel from other user groups I have attended.


Product Spotlight: Kodak PRINERGY Cloud

Your print business runs on software, more and more of that software is being delivered via the cloud where resources can be precisely controlled and scaling (both up and down) is configurable in real-time. Kodak’s flagship workflow product – PRINERGY Workflow is no exception to taking advantage of what cloud computing can do to a printer’s production workflow.


Conversations on Print - Ep 2: Being a Data Driven Company - Featuring Susan Moore

In this podcast we talk to Susan Moore about the various roles Susan has had in the printing industry: supplies sales, printing business owner, MIS platform provider. We talk about becoming a data-driven company and how MIS transitions are hard but they create a great opportunity to restructure your business model and to transition to today's world.


Small Printers are Big Business – May 2017 M&A Activity

Global franchise system owner of Mail Boxes Etc. acquires US-based printing franchise system PostNet, Standard buys Epic, ICV Partners moves upstream with LeadingResponse, and more.


Friend to the Industry Kip Smythe Has Died

Sadly, the industry lost one of its loyal behind-the-scenes advocates, Kip Smythe. His coordination of efforts involving industry research, statistics, standards, trade, and others, was appreciated by everyone who worked alongside him. Dr. Joe has a special remembrance.


Recovery Indicators Move to Half Here, Half There; Shipments and Profits Fall, Concerns Raised (Premium Content)

US commercial printing shipments and profits are in a pattern that suggests another re-set of media communications strategy is underway. The national employment data looked great on the outside, but were disturbing on the inside… again. The latest publishing revenues suggest that content’s kingship status is not what everyone thinks it is.


What Google Trends Has to Say About QR Code Searches

QR Codes have been trending. What does a deeper dive into online search data tell us about interest in QR Code adoption and usage? What market categories show the greatest curiosity? Here’s a look at what Google Trends has to say.


Inkjet Helps BMS Make a “Statement” (Premium Content)

Printing and mailing customer communications, statements, and bills is a critical business process that can benefit from outsourcing. This article explores how BMS Technologies is capitalizing on the transaction document outsourcing services opportunity by supporting its customers’ ever-changing needs and investing in inkjet technology.


Software is our Primary Business Tool

Buy, implement, build – software is part of your everyday business life now. It is the primary tool of all businesses.


Measuring Efficiency with Overall Equipment Effectiveness (Premium Content)

Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) can be used to both measure your production efficiency, as well as use it as a tool for making equipment purchasing decision.


Show Me the Money: Why Strategic Buyer Financial Disclosure Is Normal in Printing Industry M&A and What to Do About It

In the world of strategic M&A among privately-owned print, mail and graphics communications companies, seller due diligence into the buyer is a common practice.


Six Big Mistakes That Aspiring Wide-Format Printers Can Make (Premium Content)

Wide-format and specialty and specialty printing are where a lot of the action is today. But expanding into these new areas is not without its pitfalls. Here are some worth avoiding.


Augmented Reality: Will it Revolutionize Packaging? (Premium Content)

Augmented Reality has the potential to open a world of possibilities for brand owners who are seeking to drive an immersive consumer interaction with their products. When applied to packaging, the digital information is visible through mobile or tablet devices and is enabled by an app. Customers are becoming more receptive to AR, and this article explores how brand owners are leveraging packaging to integrate the technology into the customer experience.


Understanding the Software Development Process

Making good software is like building a nice home, it takes multiple resources who are coordinated to deliver on your needs. The more a printer understands the software process, the better they will be at managing it for internal projects or influencing the software roadmap of their vendors.


No Time for Automation? Try Lean

You may not be able to make a commitment to implement full workflow automation, but this does not mean you should write off workflow efficiency gains entirely. Why not try going lean instead? This printer did.


Specialty Printing and Events: Made for Each Other

Commercial printing is evolving into specialty printing, and opportunities abound—if you know where and how to look for them.


Inflation-adjusted Shipments per Employee

The Commerce Department’s revisions to industry shipments show a much different picture of a key metric for the industry, sales per employee. The chart was created using 12-month moving totals of inflation-adjusted shipments and the 12 month moving average of total industry employment. The latest reading through March 2017 is $182.65 per employee, a meager +1.5% higher than it was at the end of 1992. It fell from a peak of $195.51 which was just before the burst of the housing bubble, the rise of social media platforms, tablets, and smartphones. The fall in this calculation has some interesting characteristics. Historically, large printing businesses focused on magazines, catalogs, and newspaper inserts, had sales per employee that were significantly higher than the industry averages, anywhere from 30% to 50% higher.


Inkjet: Finding the Path to Profitability (Premium Content)

Advances in inkjet technology have print service providers asking “not if, but when” they should invest. This article highlights recent interviews with a number of inkjet users to find out the critical strategies they are following to accelerate their organization’s path to profitability.


New Xeikon President Benoit Chatelard Shares Vision for the Future (Premium Content)

In late March, Xeikon announced that Benoit Chatelard, at the time the Vice President, Production Printing, for Ricoh Europe, would be joining the company as President & CEO Digital Solutions, Flint Group, Xeikon’s parent company. Chatelard began his new role May 8th, and speaks with Senior Editor Cary Sherburne about his vision for Xeikon.


The Danger of Rushing to a Solution (Premium Content)

We want to be efficient, we want to feel smart. When we hear even the first words of a challenge, we categorize it and start trying to solve it based on our available tool set. This prevents you from a real understanding of the problem.


Last CTP Innovations and High Quality Printing Innovations Case Dismissed

Another Major Victory for the Printing Industry: The largest of the most recent patent troll cases against the printing industry and its OEMs was dismissed.


The Changing Specialty Printing Market: New Opportunities Big and Small (Premium Content)

The same technologies that have enabled the proliferation of wide-format graphics are also profoundly changing the traditional specialty printing market. Here’s how print service providers can take advantage of the “nichification” of commercial print.


Where’s the Workflow?

Despite all the talk about the need for automated workflow, printers are still not rushing to invest in these solutions. How long can they hold on to fractured and inefficient workflows without this becoming a serious liability?


Commerce Department Revisions Send 2015 and 2016 Shipments Down More than -4% (Premium Content)

We love numbers, especially when they go in a direction we like. Accuracy of the information we use in decision-making should not be a matter of liking numbers, the numbers are what the numbers are. What happens when one set of numbers you relied on are revised on the basis of new and better information and describe a different scenario than before? Dr. Joe helps sort it out… we think.


Xerox Forum: Connecting Your Network!

Under the “Connecting Your Network” theme, the 2017 Xerox Forum focused on business growth opportunities in today’s dynamic graphic communications market. This article highlights announcements and speakers from the event.


Your Customer’s Lack of Change Management Kills Web-to-Print Adoption

People don’t like change, they need to be led through change because the transition between “how you’ve always done it” and the “new more tech-focused way to do it” can be a river of misery.


Omni-Channel Communications: Secrets of Success

Marketers’ love affair with a digital-only strategy has begun to wane, and while they are continuing to invest in digital channels, print is regaining ground as an important part of the overall media mix. This opens the door to a more active role for print service providers in moving upstream and becoming engaged with helping marketers develop and execute an effective omni-channel strategy that aligns with the way consumers want to interact with brands. We spoke with some experts to learn their secrets of success.


FESPA 2017 Showcases European Wide-Format Introductions

Last week, FESPA 2017 drew attendees from across Europe and beyond to see the latest in wide-format and specialty printing technology and applications.


Creating Value with a Technological Infrastructure (Premium Content)

Savvy print service providers recognize the need to offer relevant, integrated services to an ever-changing market. Investing in the right technologies will play a key role moving forward. This article discusses some of the technological areas that can fuel growth in today’s complex marketplace.


Births and Deaths of Commercial Printing Establishments, 2010 to 2014

The Commerce Department tracks the number of business establishments by industry, and among he more interesting reports is the calculation of new and closed businesses. The data take a while to be released, and these new data about 2014 were recently made available. There’s a word of caution here. If someone was a corporation and decides to become a partnership or a proprietorship, that counts as one business closed and one business opened. And then there’s “poor man’s mergers” where two business owners decide to close their two businesses and open one new one. Same people, same equipment, no real change except to the tax authorities and government statisticians. The most important number is the net change of births less deaths. In the worst of the recession, the net number was 6% of establishments. For 2014, that had fallen to a little more than 2%.


Leading Technology Change (Premium Content)

Change management is considered a soft skill (maybe because it can’t be measured easily in a spreadsheet). Change management can cause a lot of hard problems with technology change when it ignored.


Legacy Printing Companies Fade Into History – April 2017 M&A Activity

Sheridan Group is sold, Intelligencer joins with Pemcor, Kennedy Group and Resilience Capital form Lux and buy National Label, ProAmpac and Resource Label acquire, summary of equipment manufacturing deals, and more.


Economy, Employment, Print, and Management Decisions

The economy is showing signs, but no one can figure out what kind of signs they are. GDP is down, employment is up. Apple confounds the analysts with a financial report worthy of corporate envy, but the analysts were not happy, and seem to blame Apple for the analysts bad guesses! And then there’s printing shipments: let’s change the subject… it seems many printers are doing just that by changing the process. Do policies in your company insulate you from the detection of market changes and opportunities? It’s not always denial, it’s procedure. That’s not a good thing.


QR Codes Growing in Use for Mobile Banking and Payments

Even as people continue to hate on QR Codes, we see them popping up in more and more places, including mobile banking and payments. This article takes a look at three places we regularly see QR Codes in the world of mobile payments and why we should pay attention.


Annual Summit Educates Printers on the Ins and Outs of Inkjet (Premium Content)

Attendees at the recent Inkjet Summit reported that inkjet technology is mature, profitable, and offers printers a variety of options in terms of size, format, and speed. The event attracted 48 sponsors and 139 attendees from commercial print, direct mail, book manufacturing, data center, service bureau, and in-plant operations.


NPES, PIA and Idealliance: The Strategy Moving Forward

Last month, NPES announced it was taking on sole ownership of the Print/Graph Expo show franchise in order to give it the flexibility to make necessary major changes to the show. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with both Printing Industries of America and Idealliance to get their take and to better understand what their involvement would be moving forward.


Strategy vs. Tactics in Print Software Projects (Premium Content)

A print software strategy is a definition of where you want to end up – an objective, a goal for how you want all the software components in your business to work together.


Spectrum Printing Weighs in on Idealliance’s G7 Master Facility Qualification Process

Tucson-based Spectrum Printing recently underwent the Idealliance G7 Master Facility Qualification process by leveraging G7 Expert, Jeff Collins, National Color Solutions Manager for Konica Minolta. We checked into learn more about the process and the early results. We’ll touch base again in about a month to find out what longer term benefits the company has achieved.


Wide-Format: Shelter From the Coming “Third Wave”? (Premium Content)

We are about to be hit by a “Third Wave” of technology disruption that will negatively impact the demand for print. Or will it? Not all print is created equal these days. Here are some suggestions for how to weather the storm.


Investing in the Value of Print (Premium Content)

As reaching consumers across multiple channels becomes more difficult, marketers’ budgets are rising to meet the challenge. This article explores how print service providers can add value to the overall marketing strategy through investment in core print products, analytics, and digital integration.


Printing Industry Lags Other Manufacturers in Defined Management Processes

In what is not a surprise to many, the job shop operational structure of many printing businesses put the industry near the bottom of all manufacturing industries in terms of its management processes.


Does This Print Software Fit into Your Technology Stack?

There is no “one software package” that runs your entire business. Businesses of all sizes have a technology stack (a collection of software). How well your technology stack fits together (like a beautiful puzzle) greatly determines your success in today’s market.


Carl Dantas, former head of Compugraphic, dead at 83

A lifetime is filled with many people. In 1971, I joined Compugraphic Corp. as their first marketing communications manager. Carl Dantas was then the VP of Operations. As the two founders, Bill Garth and Ellis Hansen, became less involved, Carl moved up the ranks to head the company.


Esko Presents Flexo Innovation

On a recent visit to Belgium, I attended a Esko press briefing scheduled in conjunction with the company’s Flexo Innovation Day customer event.


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