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The business process of print spans the needs of several technology solutions. Whenever multiple technologies exist, there is potential overlap and the need for integration. Get clear on what each technology’s core purpose is and then determine your source of master data throughout your workflow.
Two-dimensional barcodes have become the hot new response mechanism to use in marketing campaigns. While they add interactivity to print by connecting it directly to mobile devices, mobile barcodes can easily be misused and abused. By delivering a seamless, engaging experience, print and marketing service providers can achieve mobile marketing success and repeatable business.
The upcoming Print UV Conference in Las Vegas will offer a wealth of information and resources about the technological, environmental, and business opportunities to be had with UV printing. Sessions run the gamut from new inks and substrates to selling and marketing UV-printed products.
As Heidelberg announces its plans to partner with Ricoh on a digital printing venture, Andy Tribute sees that Heidelberg has learned its lesson from its last foray into digital. He looks at the features of the press, its place in the pressroom and Heidelberg’s new relationship with Ricoh.
This year’s Hunkeler Innovationdays, held in Switzerland every other year, was a resounding success by anyone’s measure. More than 5,000 attendees descended on Lucerne, Switzerland, taking up just about every available hotel room, to benefit from this highly focused digital printing event. Several suppliers chose this venue to make important announcements and to discuss future and planned digital printing/finishing innovations.
Just as the economy seems to be improving, Dr. Joe is back with his Dr. Doom persona. He thinks it's justified based on the latest inflation and wage data, and makes the case accordingly. The pace of technological change seems to be independent of the economic situation, and while Dr. Joe suggests that caution is the economic watchword, he says that the continued rapid rate of technological change should lead to urgent and direct management action in print businesses.
Next week’s 36th annual Graphics of the Americas show, colocated with FESPA Americas, increases its focus on educational programs for present and prospective wide-format service providers. The show also retains its focus on traditional printing, as well as content creation via the colocated Cre8 Conference targeted to graphic designers and publishers.
Being in a rapidly evolving industry is always challenging. As you decide where to focus your business for the future, think about looking outside the industry for inspiration and new ideas. Here are two very different industries that bear an uncanny resemblance to printing/graphic arts – and offer lessons you can use in your own business.
Generating relevant marketing communications generally means creating personalization or customization for potential customers. Print and marketing service providers that are successfully participating in the more lucrative data-driven marketing value chain have four common traits—culture, people and processes, data, and technology. This article discusses the importance of these traits and includes examples of companies that are profiting from data-driven marketing.
This article examines how to differentiate your printing company through the use of large format press equipment. It looks at how large format presses can create a competitive advantage for your company. Costs associated with moving to large format press equipment are also considered.
The partners at New Direction Partners join financial management firm Margolis Becker for the monthly Cup O Joe, a conference call with printers on a selected topic. With the help of NDP partners Peter Schaefer and Jim Russell, Cup O Joe tackled the topic “Acquiring A Company from an Owner’s Perspective.” Some excerpts are presented here.
Hunkeler Innovationdays running this week in Switzerland will cover trends and developments in digital printing and print finishing for digital printing. The following is a brief outline of the event, identifying some major announcements being made. WhatTheyThink will report on the event, keeping up to date with the latest news.
Xerox chose Hunkeler Innovationdays 2011 in Lucerne, Switzerland as its platform to make its long-awaited production inkjet announcement. The company has been showing technology concepts, beginning with drupa 2008, and speculation was it would be some time before they were able to get a product to market. That time has come, with an innovative waterless printing process that can use virtually any type of uncoated substrate without pretreatment.
Customers are clearly in control of the media they consume. Mobile devices, iPods, DVRs, and the Internet have changed marketing forever. Effectively utilizing cross-media communication and giving prospects a variety of ways to respond can have a dramatic impact. Media dynamics are changing and we’ve covered how businesses are taking advantage of this evolution.
Océ’s Envision the Future Forum, held last week in Houston, TX, drew on keynote presentations, strategy sessions, networking opportunities, and a print shop tour to help printers understand which aspects of print are growing, get a sneak peak at some cutting-edge “interactive print” applications, and develop business strategies for success.
Print businesses are actively diversifying their services to include marketing services, online print ordering, and more. To enable quicker time-to-market and offer greater differentiation, printers are shifting the roles of their IT departments away from administration and closer to development. This article discusses why this shift is occurring and how your business can effectively deal with it.
Sometimes you see a lot by looking, according to famed economist Yogi Berra. Somehow, the labor statisticians’ “whoops” factor involves over-counting the number of employed people by a mere half million. Then they say unemployment got better, except, of course, for the parts that got worse. At least there was exceptionally good news from the Institute of Supply Management reports, the best in quite a while. Dr. Joe explains what printers should assume in their planning, saying that skill really matters, and that luck will have nothing to do with it.
December 2010 commercial printing shipments were $7.48 billion, up $347 million (+4.9%) compared to 2009. Adjusting for inflation, shipments were up +3.3%. This brought the year's shipments to $86.7 billion.
Andy Tribute looks at how the agreement between Océ and manroland is about more than just distribution but an opportunity for these two companies to leverage their strengths. And Andy tells us what's the big deal about Kodak entering the consulting business for the printing and publishing markets.
In mid-January, show organizers for PrintChina 2011 hosted more than 40 journalists from around the world to raise awareness about the importance of PrintChina and to encourage foreign visitors to attend the show. WhatTheyThink represented North America at this event, which featured presentations from government, industry and supplier representatives as well as a visit to a Chinese printing factory. Interesting data, and some thoughts about the future of print in China. Read more.
Last week, EFI and Heidelberg announced an agreement under which Heidelberg will distribute the VUTEk GS series of superwide format digital printers to the commercial print market across the U.S. WhatTheyThink spoke with both Heidelberg and EFI to get the inside scoop on this deal.
This article provides a case history of the Allegra Network, a Michigan-based company that began franchising in 1977 and launched its franchise brand name in 1996. The Allegra Network is embarking on an aggressive plan to help its members evolve into cross-media specialists and marketing service providers who also excel at the delivery of print.
Vistaprint has been a unique model of success within the printing industry – particularly during financial downswings. Here is a closer look at the company as it seeks to stay ahead with new product lines and capitalizing on the Asia-Pacific market.
As social media become more and more popular for personal use, it is becoming an increasingly common tool in the corporate world. Companies utilize social media in a number of ways to accomplish a variety of tasks. The print industry is not immune. Learn how they’re finding value in posting, updating and tweeting online.
Knowing when to do the deal is probably the trickiest judgment call in any merger of printing companies. Correct timing is a must for both parties, but choosing the right moment to step forward into the M&A marketplace rests with the seller. It’s a decision that calls for introspective as well as strategic thinking.
Where does your business transition start? Changing WHAT you do or HOW you do it? The first step to evolving your business in the digital economy is to transition your existing business from an offline business to a primarily online business (HOW you do your business is leveraging the digital infrastructure).
As communications channels and tools undergo seismic changes…and as sourcing options continue to expand…it has never been more vital to understand, build upon and expand your core competencies and company strengths. Here are some tools, techniques and elements that can help you discover and take maximum advantage of what your company really does best.
November 2010 commercial printing shipments were $7.48 billion, up $303 million (+4.2%) compared to 2009. Adjusting for inflation, shipments were up +4.2%. “This was a very encouraging month, and continues the consecutive gain in current dollar shipments for eight months,” explained Dr. Joe Webb, director of WhatTheyThink's Economics and Research Center.
It’s no secret that the methods companies use to communicate with the public have begun shifting to electronic media. As printers shift to electronic media services and print e-commerce storefronts, the sources they use to obtain industry information are also changing. Recent research gives us a glimpse into the top sources that printers are leveraging to stay informed.
The recent study by PRIMIR showed the changes in the printing market for offset and digital and looked at when the “tipping point” when digital would be of more value than offset would take place. This article looks at the PRIMIR projections and compares them with figures generated by Heidelberg. The assessment shows that the “tipping point” is still years away and that there is a good future for offset printing.
Upcoming FESPA Americas 2011 to Offer Unique Hands-On Events for Screen, Textile, and Wide-Format Printers
FESPA Americas 2011 comes to the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, in February, and offers business strategies, market trends, new technologies, and unique hands-on workshops for commercial printers, wide-format specialists, and screen printers. The Wrap Cup Masters is an open competition where contestants vie to wrap a variety of vehicles right at the show.
Dr. Joe digs into the details of the economy now that it's three years since the recession started, and eighteen months since the recovery started. Does it really feel like a recovery? The headlines of the various economic news stories seem to be quite different than reality, so Dr. Joe explains what's happening behind the scenes as he starts his ninth year with WhatTheyThink. And they said it wouldn't last.
This article includes tips for saving money and improving your operational excellence by using all your resources – especially your vendors. Areas covered include: consumables, freight, paper, and recycled waste. By picking one or two of these ideas you can improve your operation and lower your costs.
Dr. Joe interviews Richard Romano to discuss the iPad report.
It's a New Year, and we all know what that means... resolutions! Deciding what we want to achieve is easy, but actually reaching our objectives can be quite challenging. This article outlines eleven value-added strategies that graphic communications service providers can consider for additional success in the year ahead.
Bill McGlynn was well-known to many of our readers during his 25 years with HP, where he helped accelerate the company’s printing business from $150 million to $24 billion in annual sales, including his role in the Indigo acquisition which led HP’s entry into the commercial printing space. Now McGlynn is building Memjet’s Home & Office Business as its President. Read more…
Mailing giant Pitney Bowes has announced a new secure online mailbox initiative. Volly is a secure repository for bills, promotional mail and even household documents that attempts to solve many of the issues that have been barriers to more rapid adoption of online billing. Read more...
As the WhatTheyThink team prepares to head for Lucerne, Switzerland in February to attend the Hunkeler Innovationdays, we talked with Hunkeler CEO Stefan Hunkeler to gain insight into what to expect at this unique event. We also asked Hunkeler to share his thoughts about the current state of the industry.
What better way to end the year than by having a conversation with Joe Davis, CEO of Consolidated Graphics and WhatTheyThink’s Print CEO of the Year. Davis tells us what’s new at Consolidated Graphics, talks about acquisition strategy, and shares valuable insight into the strategies that have delivered business success for the company.
In the time-honored tradition of ending the present year with resolutions for improvement in the year to come, New Direction Partners offers guidance for print company owners who may find themselves on one side or the other of an M&A transaction in 2011.
Press headlines and reported hiring trends in both the U.S. and Canada indicate a modest increase over the past few months. PrintLink believed employment would start to moderately improve at the end of Q3/beginning of Q4 2010... and our stats demonstrate this is indeed the case. See how this should impact the way your thinking about hiring.
In the twelfth and last article of this series, industry expert and WhatTheyThink contributor David Zwang finishes his discussion about cross-media communications and production basics, this time with a review of what you should be doing and why you should be doing it.
Retailers are working to combine the power of mobile and print as they attempt to convince consumers to shop with them. They can get the word out about holiday sales via print, SMS, the mobile Web, and branded applications, while brands can use various forms of mobile advertising to achieve their holiday-specific goals. This article provides examples of several retailers that are using mobile marketing to increase their reach.
Kodak Puts in A Good Word for Print Before, During and After the Advertising Age “Media Evolved” Conference ()
In the minds of media professionals whose the icon is the iPad, how much attention can print and other traditional channels expect to command? Speakers at this high-level event indicated that no matter what media are used, the quality of the content is what spells the difference between virality and oblivion for the brand message.
In a recent article titled “How Well Is Your Business Positioned for the Future”, we posed a series of six strategic questions designed to prompt some reflection. In this article we elaborate on the question: What Business Are You In?
This past year several publishers realized they could increase their print runs for digital books beyond what was previously thought profitable. The key was high-speed, continuous inkjet printing. WhatTheyThink caught up with Pearson Publishing to explore their thoughts on this new format.
Set to open February 24th, FESPA Americas 2011 is the best opportunity the print industry gets to bring its international community together. We’ve highlighted six special features of the show that promise to entertain and enlighten.
U.S. Commercial Printing Businesses Produce Estimated $1.1 Billion in Profits in Third Quarter 2010 ()
The third quarter of 2010 continued a welcome continuation of profitability for the industry. It has had seven consecutive months of increased sales, but it's clear that the profits trend is increasing, but the long term sales trend is flat.
Even if you know the price of new equipment, do you really know the total cost? We show you the questions you should be asking to get a comprehensive picture of what your total cost of ownership looks like.
The formerly manageable world of marketing that primarily used print and mass media has exploded into countless choices related to cross-media communications. Marketers can now successfully engage their customers to achieve higher brand awareness and consumer ownership of their brands.