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Make Data-Driven Business Decisions with Your Print MIS

Your business generates a lot of data; your Print MIS should be the system of record for that data. The data should drive your business decisions based on meaningful metrics/key performance indicators (KPIs). Making data a part of your culture will make you a better leader and help your staff understand how their daily actions impact the business.


Initial Jobless Claims as a Percentage of the Workforce

As the number of employed workers has been slowly increasing, and the total workforce has been growing, initial claims for unemployment have been decreasing. The historical perspective is very interesting. This past recession, as bad as it was, did not come close to the levels of the 1970s and 1980s recessions (about 0.6% of the workforce). This most recent recovery is already at the best levels of prior expansions. It doesn't feel “that good”; what's different? The workforce has not kept up with population growth, and about 2 million workers have permanently left the workforce. Also, companies have been cautious in their hiring, meaning, that there are fewer workers to dismiss when businesses of the past needed to. One could look at the chart and say that when this ratio reaches this current level (0.2%) a recession has always followed. Probably not in this case: this ratio may go to unprecedented lower levels because of the workforce exodus and the slow pace of hiring that has made this recovery so different than previous ones. Economist Mark Perry at the American Enterprise Institute discussed the steady rise in job openings at his blog. They are at a 13-year high (not adjusted for population growth), and still less than January 2000 by 800,000.


Order-Entry Data Collection


Being More than a Printer Means Changing Perceptions!

Changing how you are perceived in the minds of your customers is one of the biggest challenges that print service providers face. This article provides a brief overview of the strategies that successful service providers are pursuing to bring more value to their customers.


Forbes Lands the Whale – July 2014 M&A Activity

Forbes achieves stunning price in sale to Asian investment group, Scripps and Journal Communications merge and immediately spin off all their printed publications, commercial printer SG360° buys Lehigh Direct from Visant, and more - July 2014 –Mergers, Acquisitions & Restructuring in the Printing, Packaging & Related Industries


Self-Service vs. Full-Service

Customer preference is trending towards self-service, yet most printers continue to offer only one way to do business with them – a full-service order entry process that involves multiple back and forth communications between customer and printer via e-mail/FTP.


What is the Future of Print?

What could arguably be deemed the strongest of the printing industry trade associations is now surveying its members, asking them to describe whether the future of "print" is grim or bright. They will get a wide range of responses, and setting aside the value of reporting to their members what those members already think, the question itself is much too broad.


Latest Recovery Indicators

Dr. Joe's Key Recovery Indicators were started in 2009, and track the monthly ups and downs of the economy in terms that are relevant to small and mid-size businesses.


The Keys to Mobile Support in Print Software

In one of our recent active discussions on the new Print Software section, a WhatTheyThink reader asked “in your support for mobile do you recommend looking for just the sites being "responsive" or applications to be "native" or just plain "compatible", i.e. no Flash?” After my third paragraph response to this question I decided this warranted a full length feature article to describe and comment on the varying degrees of mobile support in web software.


GLS: What a Difference Three Decades Makes! (Premium Content)

GLS, founded in 1984 as a small printing company, is now celebrating its third decade in business. This article provides a brief overview of how the company is remaining on the cutting edge by updating its services and making strategic acquisitions to further expand its offerings.


The Role of Professional Services in a Complex Production Environment - A Conversation with Canon Solutions America (Premium Content)

Workflows are becoming more complex and savvy print service providers are looking to streamline and automate business and production processes for a more sustainable business and production environment. Utilization of vendor professional services can be an effective means of finding opportunities to take time, cost and touches out of both business and production processes as well as to introduce innovation. Learn what Canon Solutions America has to say about the changing world of professional services.


Re-Examining the Inherent Benefits of Wide-Format Digital (Part I)

In this two part series, Dan Marx of SGIA talks about the basic truths of digital printing in general and wide format in particular. While the basic truths have remained unchanged, the details surrounding them have.


HP Graphic Arts Reorganizes, Shares Strategic Direction (Premium Content)

In May, the HP Graphics Solutions Business effected an organizational change at the top of the Americas organization. WhatTheyThink Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with the new Vice President and General Manager Yishai Amir to see what’s up.


Making Time for an Annual Print MIS Checkup

It is so easy in your very busy world to not sit back and take a look in the rearview mirror at how things are going in terms of processes, applications and projects underway in your company. One area where this effort can pay off tremendously is in terms of your Print MIS system. Making a conscious effort to do an annual Print MIS checkup can help keep your system fresh, moving forward and also tune-up any areas that may not be performing as they should.


GDP Data Revised Down for 2011 and 2012, Revised Up for 2013


Are You Utilizing All Your Purchasing Options?

There are a variety of ways that you can gain leverage and reduce costs in purchasing. Peer groups, Associations, Purchasing Groups and your Vendors can all be utilized to lower your costs.


Game-Changers for the Printing Industry: Millennials and Generation Z (Premium Content)

Digital marketing is relatively new on the scene, but there is no question that this form of communication is already making its mark. Perhaps the biggest single driver in today’s market is the cultural change that is taking place among end consumers. This article, which is part of a series discussing disruptive forces that are expected to impact the market, covers two increasingly influential demographics—Millennials and Generation Z consumers.


Who will capture the Iron Throne: Are you paying attention? Part 2

In this continuation of the last article, while the kinder gentler Zwang continues his summer vacation, his alter ego… a shadowy figure dressed in a trilby and trench coat and telling stories, digs deeper into the drivers and tools that are influencing your clients’ business decisions and how this can and will affect your business decisions.


Konica Minolta Pushes Up-Market with Three New Digital Presses (Premium Content)

Konica Minolta used the launch of three new digital presses as an opportunity to brief a media and analyst group at its Manhattan showroom earlier this month. In addition to learning about the new presses as they were launched, the group also received a strategy update from the company. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne was there and shares her thoughts.


Choosing a Web-to-Print Partner

Print technology of all kinds; presses, production software, Print MIS software, and web-to-print technologies have one thing in common – they are constantly changing. This one factor probably causes the most pain in the purchasing process. As a buyer you want to feel confident with your purchasing decision, yet the very thing you’re investing in is in a constant state of change.


USPS' Every Door Direct Mail Program Declines After Price Increase


Expoprint Trade Show in Brazil: The Strength of Emerging Markets

Hamilton Costa, a leading consultant to the printing and publishing industries in Latin America, shares his thoughts and insights on the recent Expoprint Trade Show in Brazil, highlighting the opportunities for growth in Brazil.


EskoWorld 2014 Puts Spotlight on Branded Packaging

In one way or another, making packages better vehicles for brand communication underlay most of the presentations at EskoWorld 2014, a user conference that drew more than 700 people to Orlando. Esko also used the occasion to launch Suite 14, a software collection that aims to provide a common interface for all participants in the package creation workflow.


Liquid Meddle: Digital Inkjet Makes Inroads in Industrial Printing (Premium Content)

If you look around your home or office (or home office), you’ll notice numerous examples of what I’ve referred to in the past as “stealth printing,” printed materials that don’t fall into what we consider commercial printing, but is a huge market nonetheless.


Game-Changers for the Printing Industry: Mobile (Part 2) (Premium Content)

Mobile is a technology that is increasingly disrupting the role of traditional communications. Over the next few weeks, we’ll explore some of the disruptive forces that are expected to impact the market. This week’s article is the second in a two-part series exploring mobile. It covers augmented reality (AR).


Inflation multipliers have been updated


How to Survive the Print MIS Transition

A Print MIS transition is like a battlefield of sorts. For the person leading the transition it is a time of scrutiny, chaos, incredible intensity and unexpected disruptions. It is, without a doubt, one of the most complex and stress generating events you can face. While it is incredibly rewarding to get through it, you usually don’t come out of it unscathed.


New Presstek CEO Shares Strategy, Business Updates (Premium Content)

Nearly two years after its acquisition by AIP, Presstek named Jeffrey A Beck as CEO. Previously, the company had been managed by AIP executives as they restructured the organization and set a go-forward strategy. Prior to Presstek, Beck was COO of Boston-based iRobot. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne visited with Beck to learn more about his background and Presstek’s strategies for future success.


The Search for a Wide-Format Silver Bullet? (Premium Content)

As wide-format graphics buyers increasingly demand faster turnaround, higher quality, and lower price—as well as an ever-growing range of specialty print applications—print service providers are looking for the fastest and most versatile equipment possible. Manufacturers are helping…but is there really a “silver bullet”?


NFIB Small Business Index Breaks Through 2003 Recession Bottom for Last Two Months

The NFIB index has been trapped between the bottom of two recessions, that of the early 1990s and the early 2000s recession bottom. Though the latest report retreated a bit, it's still above the 2003 low. Small business is improving at a very slow pace, but this may finally be a good sign after the very disappointing Q1 GDP report.


Game-Changers for the Printing Industry: Mobile (Part 1)

Mobile is a technology that is increasingly disrupting the role of traditional communications. Over the next few weeks, we’ll explore some of the disruptive forces that are expected to impact the market. This week’s article is the first in a two-part series exploring mobile. It covers mobile barcodes and near-field communications (NFCs).


What Can You Do to Save Your Customers Money?

A printer e-mailed me recently and said, “the Vice President of Procurement at our biggest customer is open to a meeting but she wants to know what I can do to save her money.” Of course she does, she’s always wanted her vendors to engage with her in a way that solves her business challenges and makes her look good.


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

The newest old company, Time Inc., was very busy in June. The venerable publisher of magazines, including household names such as Time, Fortune, People, and Sports Illustrated, was spun off from Time Warner, separating the aging print-centric parent from its progeny’s profitable entertainment and programming businesses.


Who will capture the Iron Throne: Are you paying attention?

In this article, at the request of JW (aka the printing industry’s own Deep Throat), Zwang displays his alter ego… a shadowy figure dressed in a trilby and trench coat, and takes a departure from focusing on your businesses to look instead at the rapidly changing requirements and the resulting workflows of your clients and potential clients, and how that may undermine your very existence.


Game-Changers for the Printing Industry Part 2: 3D Printing

Once considered science fiction, the ability to do 3D printing—to produce objects on demand at relatively low cost—has become a reality. 3D printing is a game--changing technology and this article, part 2 of a series on disruptive technologies, explores its applications and opportunities.


Veritiv: A New Company with a Heritage of Service (Premium Content)

On July 2nd, Veritiv, the result of the Unisource/Xpedx merger, began trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: VRTV). WhatTheyThink’s Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Chairman and CEO Mary Laschinger shortly after she rang the Stock Exchange’s Opening Bell.


Recovery Indicators Improve

The recovery indicators were mainly better this month, with the NASDAQ bouncing around then finishing well, and three of the four ISM indicators increasing. The one that didn’t is still firmly in expansion territory. The original estimate of proprietors’ income was $1,371 then it was reduced to $1,366 billion and now it’s $1,359.


The Print MIS Go-Live Date Dilemma

One of the biggest challenges printers face when transitioning to a new Print MIS system is to pick a go-live date. Picking this magical date is a bit like gambling – you really don’t know for sure when the cards are going to line up the way you need them to.


Building Digital Connections with Your Customers

Your sales team creates customer demand for your products and services, your production team fulfills that demand by manufacturing quality printed products on-time. Both your sales team and your production team need to be SOLD on the strategic, long-term importance of creating digital connections to your existing customers and using digital connections to win new customers.


Canon Solutions America: What’s New? (Premium Content)

WhatTheyThink recently attended a Canon Solutions America customer event at Canon’s Customer Experience Center in Poing, Germany. We had an opportunity to speak to several executives about the future of the company and its achievements to date.


Game-Changers for the Printing Industry: Wearable Technologies (Premium Content)

As evidenced by the explosive, innovative changes that are occurring in today’s printing industry, creative destruction is clearly taking hold. Over the next few weeks, we’ll explore some of the disruptive forces that are expected to impact the market. This week’s article explores wearable technologies like Fitbit and Google Glass.


Selling Solutions: A Path for Your Print Sales Team

Customers have challenges; the best way to increase your sales is to provide your products and services wrapped into solutions to your customer’s challenges. Solution selling is an easier topic to write about then it is to execute on. Too many people write about the idea without providing guidance on how to get from where you are today (selling print jobs) to selling print programs or solutions.


Advertising Agency Revenues Still Climbing

The chart below shows the latest revenue data, on an inflation-adjusted basis, for ad agencies and publishers. Note how ad agency revenues are rising. While there have always been agencies that specialize in certain media, like television, direct mail, or others, the industry is media agnostic in the aggregate. Its job is to increase the positive visibility of its clients and help spur their customers into action.


HP Scales Up Its PageWide Technology (Premium Content)

At an event in San Diego, Calif., held June 9 and 10, HP announced that they are scaling up their PageWide technology for use in wide-format printers. PageWide made its debut in 2013 in the Officejet Pro X Series of desktop multifunction devices.


Reducing your Spot Color Ink Cost

Over the years the cost of spot colors has increased due to reductions in ink company branches, minimum quantities, rush charges and additional delivery costs. If you use a lot of spot colors your ink costs have most likely grown. GFI Innovations manufactures an ink dispenser that can help you reduce your spot color ink costs and reduce your environmental impact.


Vincent Printing: Changing with the Times (Premium Content)

Branding is about getting your prospects to see you as a company that provides a solution to their problems. To be successful, you must demonstrate that you understand the needs and wants of your customers and prospects. This article explores how Vincent Printing is changing with the times to meet its clients’ evolving needs.


Selected Generally “Non-Offset” Products and Services Offered by US Commercial Printers


Experts at the Past vs. a Vision for the Future

Last week I was in Bali, Indonesia, speaking at Dscoop Asia. The event, the travel, and the reading I did along the way came together with a common theme which can best be summed up by a quote from the book I read on the way home.


Chasing Bottlenecks in Wide-Format Digital

I recently had the chance to talk with Scott Crosby of Holland & Crosby, Ltd., about issues relating to bottlenecks in the wide-format production process. In the article, it’s interesting to see how changes (and improvements) in technology can strongly affect a company’s complete process. The comments included here may sound familiar to many using wide-format equipment.


Inkjet’s Irresistible Rise Is Showcased at FESPA Digital 2014 (Premium Content)

Last month, being in touch with the latest developments in wide-format inkjet printing for graphic arts and industrial applications meant being at FESPA Digital, a European trade expo billing itself as the “largest focused digital print exhibition worldwide this year.”


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