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Why Software is Challenging and Expensive (Premium Content)

Building good software requires a very desirable skill set in our current economy. Virtually every single company on the planet needs to utilize software in order to increase their efficiency and reach more customers.


Labelexpo 2019 Kicks Off In Brussels

Labelexpo 2019, celebrating its 40th anniversary, launched in Brussels to a huge group of more than 600 exhibitors and a very large global audience of attendees. In this first article, David Zwang looks at general trends at the event.


Production Inkjet: Welcome to the Revolution—Landa Helps Change the Tides (Premium Content)

Considering only about 3% of the total global print production in the market is digital, including all digital technologies, capturing a larger share will depend on production speeds and cost. Landa and their global customer base are now ramping up for a global presence, high demand, and are ready to participate in the Inkjet Revolution. The tides are changing…


Latest Sign Code Court Decision May Have Serious Implications for Billboard and Sign Industry (Premium Content)

Two weeks ago, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s decision in the case of Thomas v. Bright that the government cannot distinguish between on-premise and off-premise signage because it is an unconstitutional content-based distinction. We spoke to David Hickey, VP Advocacy, for the International Sign Association (ISA) about the decision and some of the potential ramifications.


Looking for Fun and Profit? Try Heat Transfer Sublimation! (Premium Content)

Twenty-seven years ago, David Gross identified heat transfer sublimation as an interesting market opportunity with good potential for future growth. Today, at Condé Systems, he has made that vision a reality. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Gross to find out how others can benefit from what he has learned.


Corrugated and Solid Fiber Box Manufacturing Establishments—2010–2016

In 2010, there were 1,356 establishments in NAICS 322211 (Corrugated and Solid Fiber Box Manufacturing). By 2016, that number had declined -12% to 1,200.


Around the Web: Surf’s Up. Sonar Gloves. Wearable Chair. Cardiac Keister. Earthquake Bed. Self-Repairing Robots. Inadvisable Burger.

Graphene: is there anything it can’t do? Inside the University of Minnesota’s Wearable Technology Lab. Lose all shred of dignity with a wearable chair. Monitor your heart health with a smart toilet seat. The grueling, physically demanding world of...chess. “Hope you enjoy your stinking phones.” KFC’s Chicken and Donuts Sandwich. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.


PrintEx 19: The Biggest Thing in Australian Print!

From the 13th to the 16th of August, over 8,000 print professionals converged on the Sydney Olympic Park to experience the latest in hardware and software in document production, commercial print, labels, and packaging at PrintEx 19. This article explores the factors that made this year’s event a standout.


The Real Source of Competitive Advantage (Premium Content)

Technology is easy to acquire—both for you and for your competitors—but for most companies, it’s your employees who provide a real competitive advantage. High-performing companies are winning the competitive battlefield by figuring out how to match their best talent with their best opportunities. Wayne Lynn offers some tips for getting the most out of your most productive employees.


Gimmicks or No Gimmicks? The Challenge of Email

Are “magic” subject lines really magic? Or are they only magic for certain people? Are you tracking who is responding to which? If you know which customers respond to which tactics, you’re way ahead of the game.


Perspectives from Outside Your Print Business (Premium Content)

Getting outside perspectives into your print business is important, especially when implementing a Print MIS or other print software. You want people who see a wide variety of print businesses to weigh in on best practices.


MIS/ERP Systems: How Are You Managing Your Business? (Premium Content)

The best way to look at MIS/ERP systems is holistically, in the context of the bigger picture of managing your business as a whole. Just as you should have a production workflow system, ultimately an MIS system is a workflow system for your business operations.


Technical Textiles: When Do Possibilities Drive Demand? (Premium Content)

Funxion was founded about a year ago as a spin-out from North Carolina State University’s Wilson College of Textiles, where its founders obtained their Ph.Ds. The company is focused on building out a platform for smart wearables that can be adapted to various use cases. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Dr. Raj Bhakta, co-founder and CEO, to learn more.


Executive Q&A: Xerox (Premium Content)

WhatTheyThink spoke with Marybeth Gilbert, Vice President General Manager Production Inkjet and Packing Business, Chris Irick, Worldwide Product Marketing Manager, Entry Production Inkjet, and Bill Bay, Manager, Production Cut Sheet Business Team.


Industry Profits: Mind the Gap

Annualized profits for the second quarter of 2019 were down from $3.61 billion in Q1 to $3.05 billion. However, the gap between large and small printers has only narrowed very slightly.


Around the Web: Chameleonic Kicks. Twisted Twister. Fooling Facial Recognition. Plastic Priests. Kaput Cameras.

Sneakers that put on a light show. An inflatable Twister mat may be just what your next party needs. Adversarial fashion takes on face recognition systems. A.I. priests. A.I. passes an 8th-grade science test. An animation tracks the rise and fall of web browsers. Camera sales fall off a cliff.  All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.


The Role of Tradeshows in Modern Business Planning

With so much knowledge at their fingertips, decision-makers no longer need to travel—or even pick up the phone—to stay informed. Although the role of trade shows has changed as a result, these events remain an important component of modern business planning. This article explores how the role of trade shows has shifted in today’s digital age.


New Ryerson University Study Evaluates Expanded Color Gamut Printing

Ryerson University has just published a detailed study of expanded gamut printing, based on a series of extensive tests using commercial color management systems to process and print test forms containing PANTONE spot colors. The author of the study, Dr. Abhay Sharma, presents some of the top-level findings and conclusions.


Solving Print Software Challenges by Borrowing from Other Features (Premium Content)

Define the challenge you're trying to solve before you jump into a shortcut that borrows from another feature in your Print MIS or web-to-print. If you borrow too much, you’re implementation of the software will get detached from the vendor’s product roadmap—which can be expensive and painful.


Small Business Goals, Challenges, and Marketing Tactics

According to the Small Business Administration, 89.0% of all businesses in the United States have less than 20 employees. What are the primary goals, challenges, and marketing tactics of these companies? This survey from Taradel provides some insights.  


Don’t Call It Wallpaper: “Wallcoverings” Are Just One Aspect of Décor (Premium Content)

Digital wide-format printing and new substrates are changing the face of wall décor, both in commercial and residential spaces. In this feature, we look at some unique applications and detail some prevailing trends.


Enabling Sales with the Right Story—Cater to People’s Interests and Hobbies (Premium Content)

Car enthusiasts. Hiking and biking clubs. Adult hockey leagues. Senior golf associations. Dance troupes. In the latest installment of Pat McGrew's ongoing series on selling in today’s print environment, she provides some tips for approaching hobbyists and other groups and clubs, as well as the unique printed product requirements these kinds of groups have.  


The Target Report Annual Recap—August 2019 M&A Activity

M&A activity in commercial printing continues unabated, mostly tuck-ins; packaging deals are driven by PE; newspaper and magazine publishing segment in turmoil; and more…


Web2Fabric™: Lessons Learned (Premium Content)

Web-to-print has become well-entrenched in commercial printing, and same on-demand production model is now making its way into the textiles and apparel industry. Cary Sherburne talks to Steve Smith, founder of DPInnovations, about the company’s Web2Fabric, a set of tools that can be modularly configured to meet the needs of individual companies.


Converted Paper Product Manufacturing Establishments—2010–2016

In 2010, there were 4,128 establishments in NAICS 3222 (Converted Paper Product Manufacturing). By 2016, that number had declined -12% to 3,638.


Around the Web: AI vs. WTT Round 2. Temporary Text. Fast Food. Siri-ous Sneaker. Dim Bulbs. Forest Bathing. Plastic People. Erse Erudition.

Artificial intelligence attempts to write a wide-format story. “The World’s Most Dangerous Writing App.” Digital signage is too fast. Editor & Publisher sold. Nike’s Self-Lacing Sneakers. How to keep Slack from driving you crazy. All about “forest bathing.” Hide and seek in IKEA. Are we in a true “Age of Plastic”? A revised online dictionary of Medieval Irish. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.


Sustainability Today: Trying to Close the Loop (Premium Content)

WhatTheyThink talks to Renée Yardley, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Sustana Group—parent company of Rolland Paper and Sustana Fiber—about the company’s new sustainability initiatives as well as the current state of sustainability in the paper and printing industry.


What’s Next for Mail? (Premium Content)

Given all the changes that have occurred within the mailing industry, what’s next? This article provides a overview of some current trends within the mailing industry and considers what the future might hold.


Got Sustainability? PebblePost Says Print Does!

Usually, when a printer has a sustainability page on its website, the page talks about things like carbon emissions, tree planting, or use of environmentally certified papers. But PebblePost has a sustainability page, too—but it is talking not about consumables and energy use, but how its trigger-based direct mail programs, in themselves, are environmentally friendly. This is a great model for presenting direct mail as an environmentally friendly option that can help marketers meet their sustainability goals.


The Migrating Value Chain: Print Production to Software (Premium Content)

The value in the print industry today is migrating from the production floor to the mobile device of your customers. How are you investing in providing your customer access to your business from their phone?


Production Inkjet: Welcome to the Revolution—Memjet Targets Light Production (Premium Content)

The adoption of production inkjet so far has narrowly targeted mid to high-end production requirements. However, light production including higher-end departmental MFP devices currently addressed by EP (toner) devices is a significant portion of the market. Memjet just introduced a low-cost single pass OEM printhead solution to target that market. The tide may be turning…


Printing Establishment Births and Deaths

From 2015 to 2016, there was an increase of +1,586 printing establishments and a decrease of -1,881 establishments, for a net loss of -295 establishments.


Around the Web: Fashion Pact. Bug Barrier. Book Sales. Caption Contretemps. Capital Ideas. AI vs. WTT. 80s iPhones. Elemental.

G7 takes on fashion sustainability. Graphene vs. mosquitoes. AAP’s latest book sales figures for January to June 2019. Is captioning audiobooks illegal? How to capitalize headlines. Can AI write for WhatTheyThink? What would a 1980s-era iPhone have looked like? Whither the Periodic Table? All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.


Do You Know the Print Cost of Every Job that Goes out the Door?

Not all print service providers fully understand the costs of the print jobs they create on a daily basis, and this is troubling. Without accurate, detailed reports of cost breakdowns, print companies will continue to struggle to turn a profit, instead investing in a random number of jobs—only some of which will turn a profit. With technology growing more robust, managed information systems can help organizations keep accurate, up-to-date tracks of exactly how well each print job is performing for the company. In this paper, InfoTrends outlines exactly how this information can be gathered, as well as a more detailed explanation of why it is so crucial to do so.


Labelexpo Europe 2019: Getting Ready for the Big Event! (Premium Content)

drupa 2020 is only about eight months away and the rumors and anticipation are starting to heat up. Very much like drupa, Labelexpo is truly a global event. And don’t let the name fool you: it isn’t just about labels. There is also flexible packaging and of course lots of innovative finishing and media being showcased. Even if you are not in label or flexible packaging production, this event offers you a preview of things to come—although you may need to connect the dots.


How Are Consumers Engaging with Digital Content?

Highlights from 2019 Adobe’s Brand Content Survey, including consumers’ daily digital content usage, usage of multiple devices, and some head-scratching data on their attitudes toward personalization.


Making Brutal Software Feature Decisions (Premium Content)

Print software is a pile of features that solve business process challenges. You have to learn how to prioritize what’s the next most important feature in the software by comparing its impact against all the other features.


High Folding Carton Growth Driven by Sustainability and Increasing Demand in Emerging Regions

With a market value exceeding $110 billion in 2019, the cartonboard packaging industry will experience high growth at the end-user level, approaching $150 billion in 2024, according to Smithers Pira’s latest report, The Future of Folding Cartons to 2024. This growth is driven by the sustainability movement and increasing demand in emerging regions.


Enabling Sales with the Right Story—Take Advantage of Trade Shows (Premium Content)

In the latest installment of Pat McGrew's ongoing series on selling in today’s print environment, she provides some tips for using trade shows—not necessarily printing industry shows, but home and garden shows, car shows, hobbyist shows, and other private events—to develop new business opportunities.


Echo Chambers, Finding Open Water, and Navigating to Create Your Own Economy

In any industry, just like in life, there are normally two great barriers that stand in the way of people and companies changing: ego and education (knowledge). When we believe we have all the answers, we find ourselves in a terrible dilemma. Tim Baechle, CEO of Idealliance, explains how stepping outside the industry’s echo chamber and making outselves open to alternative viewpoints can make us more open to change—and make better decisions. 


Folding Paperboard Box Manufacturing Establishments—2016

In 2016, there were 451 establishments in NAICS 322212 (Folding Paperboard Box Manufacturing). More than half of these establishments (57%) have 50 or more employees and more than three-fourths (79%) have 20 or more employees.


Around the Web: Bogus Books. Letterpress Lovecraft. Online Occultiana. Crazy Cards. Bothersome Billboards. Migrating Mattresses. Farewell, FogCam.

Amazon sells fake Orwell titles. An experiential letterpress-printed book inspired by H.P. Lovecraft. Amsterdam’s occult library digitizes its collection. Memorable baseball card photos. The Apple Card: Leave home without it? New York’s continued war on digital offshore billboards. “Popeyes Chicken Sandwich Is an Economic Indicator.” The longest-running webcam is going dark. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.


Where’s the Packaging Opportunity for Commercial Printers?

The ongoing digital transformation has created problems for commercial printers, namely electronic displacement. As a result, many have turned to digital wide-format equipment to add new revenue streams. Nevertheless, with more PSPs adapting wide format, this service is no longer the differentiator it once was. Commercial printers looking for the next value-add product stream should examine packaging, particularly the folding carton and label segments, to find new revenue opportunities.


Where Do Sales Reps Fit Into the Pricing Story? (Premium Content)

Sales reps are key players in your business. Their knowledge of the market and their customers are a central part of the process of optimizing pricing. Your objective is to attract and retain the best ones while motivating them to attain even better results. The objective should to get them on the team and make their interests parallel that of the firm. In this article, Robert Lindgren discusses the various sales rep compensation options.


Transpromo Messaging: More Likely to Be Seen in Print

Are your clients buying into the paperless billing trend? If so, this survey from Consumer Action shows that they might want to think twice, especially if they are doing transpromo messaging.


The Trap of One More Software Feature (Premium Content)

Don’t let a feature stop you from implementing what works for you today. Don’t let the people in your organization that are good at looking for all the ways something won’t work win. Implement what works and then find ways around the missing features. Waiting is keeping your business in neutral.


Production Inkjet: Welcome to the Revolution—Let’s Talk Corrugated (Premium Content)

One of the hottest topics in packaging print today is corrugated, and for many reasons. One of those is that it is a market area showing a solid growth trajectory. So, what are the areas of growth, and what are some of the challenges that will affect the growth of digital print, more specifically production inkjet, in corrugated?


Customer Spotlight: Konica Minolta’s AccurioJet KM-1 Inkjet Press Opens New Business Opportunities for Hummel Integrated Marketing Solutions

Senior Editor Cary Sherburne interviewed John Hummel, fourth-generation owner and CEO of Hummel Integrated Marketing Solutions, to gain insight into how the acquisition of a Konica Minolta AccurioJet KM-1 UV inkjet press has enhanced his business.


Executive Q&A - Wim Maes, Summa

Many of our readers will remember Wim Maes for his tenure as the CEO of Xeikon, a role he held from 2009 to March of 2017. From Xeikon to Summa, Wim Maes helps make the company a worldwide industry leader.


WTIN Shares Insights on Smart Textiles for Fashion, Entertainment, Lifestyle (Premium Content)

Last week, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne tuned in to an interesting WTIN webinar, Smart Textiles for Fashion, Entertainment, and Lifestyle. She summarizes some of the key points here, but recommends that industry professionals interested in smart textiles review the entire free webinar.


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