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In his new role as Senior Editor of Labels and Packaging, David will be looking at the demands, technologies and inflection points that are driving the use and growth of digital packaging and labels. The shift from analog to digital production in this area has already started, with the real growth still ahead of us.
The national employment data may have had a headline of +227,000 payroll jobs, but the household survey did not indicate the same. Every year, the report released in February includes revisions to the prior year. The press release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics said that employment was “little changed.”
Estimating is a core function of Management Information Systems (MIS). As companies look to update, upgrade and replace estimating systems, it is important for printing companies and suppliers alike to understand changing business requirements. This article cites a recent RIT research study on the desired features of modern estimating systems.
Is data-driven marketing a fundamental part of what drives your company? If not, your efforts in that area won’t be sustainable or optimally effective. Oracle recently published an article on that topic, and the WhatTheyThink staff has summarized key points as well as providing a link for the white paper download.
Xerox and EFI have further extended their strategic partnership, with Xerox selling its Xerox FreeFlow® Print Server DFE business to EFI. This sale does not include or impact the Xerox workflow solutions that carry a FreeFlow sub-brand name.
The way in which organizations compensate their sales personnel is especially important in 2017 because print service providers are projecting sales force expansion efforts based on improved economic conditions, expansion of service offerings, and an increase in customer communications budgets. This article cites recent InfoTrends research to explore how sales personnel should be compensated.
Your print software strategy is your responsibility. It requires strategic thinking to both define the challenges and the results you want to create (vision). Don’t make the common mistakes with your print software strategy.
Data Services Inc. has published a case study with the side-by-side results of a test on the effectiveness of CTAs use in direct mail and email in the same campaign. The big winner? Direct mail.
There are two major workflows that a job travels through in your print business. The production workflow which results in a printed product and the business workflow which results in an accurate invoice. The job must travel through both workflows; often in parallel and frequently requires some collaboration and/or communication between the workflows to reach both desired results - high-quality print product(s) delivered on-time and an error free invoice.
The next big communication disruption is upon us. There are many ways print businesses should respond, but focusing on specialty items is one way. This article cites IPMA and WhatTheyThink research to explore opportunities in-plants and commercial printing establishments are seeing in 2017.
Packaging is now a significant part of the EFI platform, and the subject got its fair share of attention at the 17th edition of the company’s annual customer-education event.
The fourth quarter of 2016 ended quiently, with a growth rate of +1.9% compared to the third quarter. That brought 2016 to an overall growth rate of +1.6%.
Since so many firms in the graphic communication industry are following outdated staffing practices, they are ill-suited to meet today’s new challenges. This article cites recent InfoTrends research to explore how business owners can staff themselves for success in 2017.
A new administration is in Washington, so we created a chart that looks back at general economic conditions of the prior six administrations.
Your business should be run by your print software systems; your people should run the systems. These print software systems require attention for both short-term initiatives and long-term strategy.
There’s very little in the way of graphic output that this omnifaceted imaging emporium can’t offer its customers—and now, with the addition of an HP Indigo 12000 digital press, probably nothing at all.
We take a look at a good use of QR Codes that could have been done better. Images are provided, along with a challenge for readers to see what they might have done differently.
Last week’s EFI Connect in Las Vegas saw some new product rollouts, status reports on recent product introductions, and an alternately lighthearted and frightening look at artificial intelligence.
A Rememberance by Frank Romano
The torch passes from one administration to another. How should the new administration be judged for its economics? The economy has a lot of ground to make up and population demographics make its urgency all the greater. The louder one complains on the campaign trail, the more responsible you have to be. What's the real story behind the complaints about trade fairness? It may not be about trade at all, but about what happens after the deal is done.
Due to its ever-increasing acceptance and popularity, augmented reality (AR) is a technology that print service providers need to understand. This article explores the significant value that print service providers can deliver with this up-and-coming technology.
Finding a niche for your print business (a target market with specific pain points) is not about aiming small, it’s about FOCUS and EXECUTION to build a repeatable product offering and to dive deeper into learning about your customer’s problems.
At Thomson Reuters Core Publishing Solutions, the focus on lean manufacturing is core to its business. WhatTheyThink recently visited the company’s Eagan MN facility to learn more about the operation. Read the full story.
This post looks at the importance of influencer marketing and the role dimensional mailings can play in supporting it. Encourages MSPs to help their customers develop targeting techniques to help their customers get products into the hands of key influencers using dimensional mail.
Our annual rundown of the current flatbed wide-format printer landscape.
The digital revolution has put the marketing landscape in a state of flux, making exact attribution highly complex. Nevertheless, attribution is critical because it can provide clear and accurate insights into how, when, and where marketing efforts affect customer actions across devices and channels. This article sites recent InfoTrends research to explore how marketers can leverage data to optimize their marketing mix.
The NFIB's small business index came in at 105.8. It has had two months near-vertical increase, now at levels not seen since December 2004 when it was 106.1. It's sheer optimism that small business concerns about taxes, regulation, and the economy will improve. There are many reports about improved confidence, especially among consumers, but it seems like it's too much too soon. While the new administration might be able to provide some regulatory relief in its early days, most of its desired actions require acts of Congress. Those can sometimes take forever... or longer.
User group meetings create a space for you to find peers for collaboration. Use these meetings to find your people. Do not proceed in these disruptive market conditions on your own! I invite you to attend the sessions. For those of you who are not planning to attend, I want to provide you with some of the key learnings that will be delivered.
The US commercial printing industry finished the year with 439,900 employees, down -11,200 compared to 2015. The number of production employees was down -3,100, a -1.0% decrease. Non-production employees represented the biggest change, down -8,400 (-6.0%).
It wasn’t the sole focus of the event, but packaging was well represented in INKredible’s salute to print’s place at the table in the omnichannel environment.
Australian packaging company Orora stakes out US position in retail display, acquiring The Register Group, ICV Partners buys out SG360° ESOP, Cimpress acquires National Pen, Moore DM buys PS/PS Digital and more.
As we plunge headlong into 2017, let’s kick off the year, as we traditionally do, with a look at the current roll-to-roll printer landscape. Next week, we’ll look at flatbed printers.
With the Dow Jones and S&P 500 at all-time inflation-adjusted highs. The recovery indicators are stronger than they have been in a while, with very bullish increases in new orders for manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors, and a strong reading of the NASDAQ stock index.
The beginning of the 2017 should be noisy from a political perspective, but the opportunity for distraction might be the biggest opportunity one can have. Stay focused as we're in the midst of a third media wave that may trap print businesses that have not prepared for it. And then there's the teenager who bought a newspaper. No, not a copy of a newspaper, but a newspaper business. This will be a strange year.
2016 marked my first visit to the Color Conference. Over recent years, the conference has broadened its audience to include more content for designers and brand owners while still sticking to its color technology heritage. Read more to find out why this conference was a great way to end 2016.
As we move into 2017 and beyond, data-driven marketing is going to get bigger, better, and more integrated into the consumer experience. Technology-savvy, data-driven marketers want to get the right message in front of the right audience at the right time to drive the desired behavior. This article leverages information from InfoTrends’ latest Multi-Client study entitled Lead with Data: Follow with Print to explore some areas of key importance as we enter a new year.
When people get frustrated with software, they are looking for an easy answer to get closure. One of the most common reactions to web-to-print frustration is to shop for a different solution. Before you start shopping, take a long hard look at your investment in really learning the web-to-print solution you already have.
The halls, they are decked, the silver bells, they are ringing, and throughout the land a festive Christmas spirit is finally descending upon us. It’s also the electric company’s favorite time of year, I would guess, and it’s always entertaining walking or driving around and seeing how extravagantly some homeowners festoon their homes—tastefully, garishly, and everything in between—with all manner of lights, inflatables, and giant electric snow globes.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis released its third report of real Gross Domestic Product, at an annualized +3.5% over the second quarter. This is considered the final report, revising the advance report of +2.9% two months ago, and +3.2% in last month's preliminary report. This is important because each release of GDP data is based on increasing amounts of actual reported data. The advance report relies the most on estimates and models.
2016 was a very busy year in the printing industry, but the highlight of the year was drupa … it marked what appears to be a turning point in the industry energy level. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne revisits drupa and other key events that occurred during 2016.
Implementing a Print MIS is challenging, it requires a focus on end results without an attachment to “the way things have always been done”, persistence, and adaptability. Look for these personality traits in the people you assign to lead your Print MIS implementation.
Visiting Shutterfly was an amazing experience. The company produces hundreds of thousands of orders per day during peak periods across its three U.S. production sites in a highly architected and efficient manufacturing process. Read the article to find out more.
Last week, we took a wide-format look back at 2016. What lies ahead for wide-format and specialty graphics printing in 2017?
“It's not worth it for us” was the comment during a CEO panel that Dr. Joe attended, and that comment was about print. It was hard to take, but he wasn't surprised. What did the comment really mean? Does it fit with the unfolding new media allocation and shake-up ? Then Dr. Joe reviews the explosion in smartphones in information search and sharing, and how it exploded in the start of the holiday shopping season. What does it this mean for print, printers, and consolidation? Dr. Joe pulls it all together.
How is it possible that corporate giants AT&T and Time Warner reach an agreement on the terms of a merger in only two months while many small business owners languish over deals for six months, nine months, or even years?
We’re all familiar with the first telegraph message, the first phone call, and maybe the first message sent from one computer to another . But what about the first cellphone call?
The effects of consolidation, a challenging pricing environment, cost controls and productivity measures have sent shipments per employee to unprecendented levels. The prior peak was just before the recession began. The industry is more efficient in many ways, especially with the exit of weak and marginal establishments. But is it more profitable? In the December 15 webinar and in the new Forecast 2017 report, industry profit levels are discussed. Despite reaching new levels of sales per employee, profit levels have become tepid, a sign of tightening market conditions. In the webinar we discussed the possibility that another wave of media change is underway. The last major one was the rise of social media ten years ago, and now the growing impact of mobile media, especially this year.
Although the term is often overused, true business transformation is about making fundamental changes in how business is conducted to help cope with a shift in market environment. This article explores how savvy print service providers are changing their go-to-market strategies so they can sell their services in new and innovative ways.
Many companies avoid asking tough questions because the discussion can lead to tension and controversy. How can you help promote an open and productive discussion to fairly evaluate potential growth opportunities?
2016 is almost over! Whew! So, what were the top growth areas for wide-format? What applications are ascendant? What technologies have emerged and evolved?