This summer, members of FINAT, the international trade association for self-adhesive labeling and related industries, met in Monte Carlo for an annual congress around the general theme of "The Battle for Shelf Appeal." What emerged were an updated redefinition of labeling and a frank reassessment of the role that labels play in a greatly altered selling environment for packaged goods of all kinds.
Your people have the power to resist print software technology changes by focusing on the challenges instead of finding solutions. Your job as a leader is to portray technology as a complimentary tool for your people to work more effectively.
October’s SGIA Expo was about more than just new technology, it was about finding new business opportunities and areas for growth. Here are some examples of printing companies who gleaned practical information from the show to take their businesses in new directions.
Did you know—well, heck, how could anybody know?—that some people are willing to injure themselves if that's what it will take to force the last drop of product out of a container? Or that consumers would rather go to the dentist than see product they've purchased go to waste in packages they can't empty completely?
Dietary supplements and nutraceuticals are big business for a small in-plant label printer with digital capabilities that match its marketing ambitions and objectives. An update on Xeikon strategies and financials is also included in this article.
Web-to-print technology and the customer facing resources working in print today need to evolve together so we can support online “collaborative commerce”: a procurement process that requires collaboration between the buyer and the seller.
David Zwang looks at process transformation and automation, and the background and steps you need to understand to be successful. He also looks at some of the current product offerings and how they are being used by service providers, to give you ideas about how you can transform your business and strengthen your customer relationships.
One of the biggest challenges with print software technology today is achieving its full potential. We often get lost in the running of our day-to-day business which prevents us from ongoing process improvement. After the initial implementation, we get distracted and back to the reality of getting customer jobs out the door. We fall into the bad habit of reactive improvement, or if you prefer a more technical term, “Band-Aids”.
While hard work is always a key ingredient for successful business growth, printers of all sizes are pursuing strategic mergers and acquisitions as a mechanism to further strengthen their businesses. While growth through acquisition was once considered the domain of large enterprises, companies of all sizes are now discovering that they can gain access to new printing technologies or services by acquiring or merging with another company. This article explores how First Edge Solutions has achieved business expansion through strategic acquisitions and partnerships.
Mimaki’s 25-city road show includes hands-on product demonstrations and educational presentations that highlight new features of, and top applications enabled by, today’s wide-format printing equipment. Here is a report from one stop on the tour.
CoreBridge is a cloud based, multi-tenant software solution whose business model is subscription based. Like pure technology startups, CoreBridge’s pricing model is easy to understand, available on their website, and allows you to start small and grow with CoreBridge through volume and/or functionality.
Continuous reinvestment and continuous reinvention sum up the strategic thinking at DWS Printing Associates, a Long Island label printing firm with deep roots in the past and a progressive view of the future.
What lends itself more readily to creative competition than a well designed package? The packaging industry is full of contests that showcase the high degree of graphic innovation that can be found in packages of all types and materials. Here is a short list of some of the competitions that celebrated the art of packaging design in 2014.
Using printing shipments and population data from Statistics Canada, we have prepared this chart that shows per capita shipments of commercial printing in Canada current dollars and Canada inflation-adjusted dollars.
HP has begun planning for Jetcomm, its first-ever Production Inkjet User Group, with a conference to be held in March 2015 in Washington, D.C., immediately preceding DscoopX. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne speaks with David Murphy, WW Director of Marketing for HP’s production inkjet business, to learn more.
Research confirms that there is a growing disconnect between what marketers want and need from their data and what they are actually getting. This article discusses some of the challenges that today’s marketers are facing and explores how SG360° is taking a different approach to improve its clients’ marketing efforts.
InfoTrends’ study entitled Understanding Vertical Markets: Enterprise Communication Requirements surveyed over 1,000 enterprise executives. When asked about the top data challenges that they faced related to executing personalized campaigns, respondents highlighted tracking responses, understanding response drivers, and analyzing and mining data.
Unless you are a large public company who needs to “protect their brand” and produce appropriate messaging for Wall Street (otherwise known as corporate marketing), the primary role of marketing in your organization should be lead generation.
InfoTrends revisits September’s Graph Expo and recaps some of the highlights from a wide-format perspective. At the same time, the show itself is evolving into entirely new directions, reflective of how the industry itself is evolving.
Can it be mid-November already, with preparations for the year-end holidays getting into full swing? Just ask International Paper. The Wall Street Journal recently quoted IP’s chief executive Mark S. Sutton as saying that box orders for the online retail segment have been up 15% year-over-year in 2014 and could continue rising, depending on demand. The story reports that the surge in demand for holiday packaging from both online and traditional retailers is helping to improve the performance of IP’s industrial packaging unit, which provides cardboard boxes, specialty packaging, retail displays, and paper bags.
Filtering what we know from what we think we know about label and packaging market trends is the objective of “Emerging Technologies for Packaging Innovation,” a newly published report from GrCI Cal Poly and Packaging World.
The raw potential of what technology can do for our business is unlimited, like a book a matches there is great possibility. Execution is about determining which match (project, goal, objective) you are going to put your energy into to ignite and then sustain your focus to create real change. Dreaming helps you think big, executing forces you to act within the constraints of your environment (resources, market, customers, and budget).
It is estimated that Generation Z—those born between 1994 and 2004—represents over 25% of the U.S. population. These individuals are rapidly coming into their own in terms of influence, consumption, and spending power. This article considers the ways in which businesses can reach these up-and-coming consumers.
Functional additives help plastic packages do a better job of protecting their contents. Of the many different kinds of functional additives, the most widely used are those that remove unwanted oxygen, block UV and IR radiation, and eliminate or reduce static.
Massachusetts-based Bridgeport National Bindery has turned to production inkjet press technology to revolutionize its business and to significantly outweigh the decline in its traditional library binding business as discussed in this article, sponsored by HP.
Having an integrated web-to-print and print MIS system isn’t just about being able to technically connect the systems. To get the most out of this integration you want to enable communication between systems that makes the two systems truly seem like one in terms of information exchanged
Our continuing coverage of the impact of digital alternatives on the world of print and publishing features Stryker Orthopaedics’ use of digital publishing technologies to more deeply engage its sales force and surgeon customers while reaping significant cost and time savings. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne speaks with Stryker’s Orthopaedics’ Creative Director Stephen Brown to learn more about the journey.
As a print service provider, your services help your customers build their business and their client base. To stay competitive, it's vital that you stay ahead of the game, keeping abreast of changing technology that can change the way you do business and the services you offer your customers. That's why you need to know about the new iPhone 6 and its NFC (Near Field Communication) technology, brand new for this iPhone model.
I am involved in a lot of conversations where companies and people are trying to solve a business challenge with software. Communication is so compressed nowadays, people’s time is limited, and we are almost always communicating across multiple time zones and frequently across cultures. This makes a common understanding difficult and opens up lots of opportunity for confusion.
At a launch event in New York City Wednesday morning, HP made two new technology announcements under a category it is calling Blended Reality—a 3D printing platform called Multi Jet Fusion, and a new type of interactive workstation/workspace called Sprout. Both these initiatives are part of what HP is calling its Blended Reality ecosystem designed, says the company, “to break down the barriers between the digital and physical worlds.”
We live in an interesting time for lead generation marketing. With e-commerce and self-service sales, some companies don’t even need a sales force. They just need very effective lead generation marketing to help bring customers to them. This article highlights recent data and offers success strategies for service providers.
Senior Editor Cary Sherburne recently had the opportunity to spend quality time with Kodak’s new CEO, Jeff Clarke. Read on to hear what Clarke has to say about what attracted him to Kodak, where he plans to take the company, and his strategies for getting there.
Memjet, the US company that in 2012 acquired the patent portfolio of Sydney-based Silverbrook Research relating to MEMS-based inkjet digital printing, has terminated its OEM partner agreement with Australia’s Rapid Packaging Services. The agreement has three more years to run until 2017.
Now that most of the year's big trade shows are behind us, we can think back on what we've seen. The September Label Expo Americas show in Chicago offered what we believe is a good lesson—for a print-related trade show to stay vital, labels and packaging are a key source of longevity.
Sometimes, it’s good to step back from the speeds, feeds, and tech specs to reflect on the fact that packages and labels can be, well, downright beautiful. Eye-beguiling examples of the aesthetic gems that high-end production makes possible are all over the Internet.
Online search has replaced the Yellow Pages as the primary way local businesses get found. This change requires a very different approach by businesses and a steep learning curve. The online world requires you to compete to be “found” for a lion share of the search traffic. The competition is constantly changing, therefore local businesses need to make a sustained investment.
There have been many new digital label and packaging presses released recently, and there are more to coming in the near future. However, these new digital presses will never reach optimal production levels or support and drive the new market requirements, without new standards and workflows.
This is part two of a series on the differences between selling a house and selling a business. In part one, we discussed some of the key drivers and the effects that improvements have on home value. In part two, we drill down into the effects that various improvements in a business can have on transaction value.
There’s a quiet revolution happening in the printing industry. In an effort to jump-start innovation, printing companies are collaborating with vendors to apply new strategies, digital tools, and technologies. Xerox’s Premier Partner Congress in Madrid, Spain explored how market innovations continue to enhance print’s value as part of the overall communications mix.
After serving for 30 years at NAPL, Joe Truncale has decided to leave the association to accept the positon of CEO of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Effective January 12, 2015, Ken Garner will become the CEO for AMSP/NAPL/NAQP. Garner was the CEO of AMSP at the time of its merger with NAPL/NAQP. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne talks with Truncale about the past, present and future of his career.
Messe Düsseldorf, the organizer of the drupa trade fair, recently published a “drupa Global Insights Report” on the impact of the Internet on print. It’s based on responses to a survey from more than 1,000 senior decision-makers in the printing industry, including 240 who furnished personal examples of the impact in their own companies.
WhatTheyThink was at Graph Expo in full force, including our annual Economic Outlook Breakfast with Dr. Joe Webb and our popular WhatTheyThink Video Studio. We also made time to attend press conferences and walk the show floor in order to bring news and insight to our readers. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne shares a few thoughts about the show.
Efficiency requires the segmentation of your workflow into at least three different workflows: self-service, light-service, and full-service. Each workflow applies the appropriate amount of labor and technology to deliver on the promise to the customer in the most efficient manner possible.
Part 1 in a two part series on the differences between selling a house and selling a business. In part one, we discuss some of the key drivers and the effects that improvements have on home value. In part two, we drill down into the effects that various improvements in a business can have on transaction value
In today’s ever-changing business world, CMOs are now responsible for forging a bond with new customers, retaining existing customers, and expanding the relationship with all customers. This article provides a brief discussion on the ways in which marketing executives are expected to shape the customer experience. It also offers insight on what service providers can do to deliver extra value to these executives.
For those of us who cover wide-format and specialty graphics printing, the biggest show of the year is the SGIA Expo, coming up next week in Las Vegas. It can be tough, travel being what it is, to muster enthusiasm for far-flung trade events, but there is a great deal of value in getting out of the office and attending these kinds of shows. So in this “listicle,” here are the top seven reasons I am looking forward to next week’s show.
Over the past twelve months or so it seems that iBeacons, a new-ish piece of mobile tech, has pretty much every B2C marketer or technologist so excited that they’re jumping up and down like a 3 year-old with ADHD.
The productive, colorful, versatile, and cost efficient digital systems for labels and packaging on display at Graph Expo 2014 will come to be seen as inevitable investments for every printing company that is serious about making it in the label and packaging business.
In this article, sponsored by HP, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne follows up on progress at Hudson Printing in Salt Lake City with its customized HP T350 Color Inkjet Web Press. Paul Gardner, Director of Innovation, talks ink, applications, substrates and strategy.
There are a number of environmental influences that affect the quality and productivity of a printing operation. Humidity is one that some shops never really address. By maintaining an ideal humidity a number of problems can be controlled.
To breathe new life into their businesses, service providers must develop strategies that reflect the changes occurring in the graphic communications market. This article provides an overview of some of the strategies that industry players are using to transform their businesses.
What's made the economic recovery since June 2009 so intriguing has not been its below-history GDP growth rate, but also the deterioration in key measures of employment. The labor force participation rate has been declining as idled workers decide not to return to the workforce.
One day prior to the SGIA Expo, Roland DGA is launching their inaugural ImagiNATION 2014 user group conference, designed as an information exchange for owners and operators of Roland’s wide-format printing equipment.
It’s been a long downhill slide for roll-up activity in the commercial printing industry. The major players have either exited the field (Consolidated Graphics), partially disintegrated (Nationwide Argosy, né Nationwide Graphics), or struggled with their own lack of clear strategic direction (Cenveo, né Mail-Well). That void may soon be filled by regional players that are stretching beyond the boundaries of their original core operation. In contrast to those aforementioned major league teams that were fueled by shares issued in the public markets, the new draft of contenders are energized and coached by private equity funds flush with cash and the ability to borrow at very favorable rates from eager lenders.
Among printing systems for the quick, attractive, and cost efficient production of labels and packaging, none do it better than or nearly as often as offset and flexographic presses. Conventional label and packaging production was well represented at Graph Expo/CPP 2014.
Canon USA recently hosted a roundtable discussion titled The Evolving Workplace: Examining the Opportunities and Challenges Created by BYOD and Mobile Technologies. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Canon USA’s Dennis Amorosano, Vice President & General Manager of Marketing and Professional Services, Business Imaging Solutions Group, about the internal and external implications of the underlying Workflow Optimization Study for printing operations.
Purchasing new technology is always done with the best of intentions and the desire to implement to a fully utilized state. Often the day-to-day business takes over and erodes the focus of a new technology project. Getting a game-plan together to ensure success and cement the purchase as a worthwhile one is critical.
Graph Expo 2014 was a memorable one. The fire at O’Hare on Friday September 26th had many vendors and attendees scrambling to find their way to Chicago. There were countless stories of planes, trains and automobiles with many people having to find last minute modes of transportation to make it to McCormick. At the very least, people suffered through long delays waiting for planes to take their turn getting air space around Chicago. However, the logistical challenges weren’t the only thing that made Graph Expo 2014 memorable. The footprint of the show was noticeably smaller than in previous years.
Some people wonder if there is still any value in meeting a customer or prospect on a trade show floor as opposed to an office environment. Following the completion of Graph Expo 2014, this article explores the value of trade shows in today’s sales and marketing ecosystem.
There's been a lot of interest in the stronger dollar for many reasons. Some consider it a safe haven during times of global tensions. Others say it's a bounce off a bottom. Still others consider the dollar the least ugly of all the major currencies. But is it really stronger? (Two charts)
As humans, we are beings that choose. We have reached the point, because of technological advances, where we can literally choose the course of our own evolution. We are living in a time of rapid change and the ability to shape it through our choices is mind bending in its implications. We can literally choose our own destruction or the path to abundance and peace. That, in itself, may be the best definition yet of what civilization means.
Many of the production inkjet vendors are beginning to introduce new offerings, David Zwang continues to look at many of these new products as they are introduced in the context of what was learned in the original series. In this article David looks at the Ricoh Pro VC60000.
With a manufacturing footprint that spans more than 50 plants on three continents, Multi Packaging Solutions (MPS) stands at the crossroads of nearly every major market and technological trend in packaging production. In this interview, MPS’s Erin Willigan talks about what it takes for a diversified packaging company to remain a leader on a global scale.
Since its founding in 1980, Buffalo-based Zenger Group has a history of innovation. Today, the company is an expert in personalized communications and runs a highly efficient operation. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne speaks with Steve Zenger for an inside peek.
Change is difficult for most people; everyone travels at their own pace through a process that starts with resistance and for most finishes in acceptance. You can improve your chances of success by communicating a lot in the beginning, providing emotional support in the middle and then becoming more of a coach once people are starting to accept there is really only one option – adapt or leave.
Web-to-Print and Print MIS vendors have always been represented at Graph Expo mostly hidden amongst the presses, wide format devices, and finishing gear. The trend we are seeing is less heavy equipment at the show, hence more room for software solutions to get the air time they deserve.
This product spotlight focuses on three areas of the PageDNA offering: the store building wizard and project management approach to configuring new storefronts, their open approach to integrations, and the flexibility of their services model.
Graph Expo 2014 is shaping up to be an exciting show. WhatTheyThink contributor and industry guru David Zwang and Senior Editor Cary Sherburne highlight a whole range of new hardware and software updates visitors to the show should take time to see.
In the Biblical story of David and Goliath, David defeats the better-equipped and larger Goliath because he is able to transform his opponent’s advantages into disadvantages. This article applies that story to small print service providers and highlights the ways in which they can exploit the weaknesses of larger organizations.
The latest data from the Commerce Department's Quarterly Service Survey shows that advertising agency revenues have climbed at the rate of 7% per year since the recovery began after June 2009. The rate of growth exceeds real GDP growth which has been +2.2% on an annual basis since that time. How did they do it? A strong emphasis on digital media strategy and production that's replaced their loss of commissions and fees for broadcast and print advertising. Publishers revenues have not come close to even that lackluster GDP rate. The steep decline for magazines and books is over, for now: they are not growing and the decline in revenues is mild. Newspapers, however, are still in long term decline. Newspaper revenues are about half of what the were in 2004.
Graph Expo 2014 kicks off on Sunday. Every year, wide-format becomes a more conspicuous and important part of the show. Here is a rundown of some of the things you can look forward to on the show floor.
Co-located with Graph Expo, the CPP Expo for packaging specialists does full justice to the term “show within a show” by offering a rich mix of exhibits, educational sessions, and technology investment opportunities.
Senior Editor Cary Sherburne talked with Aaron La Porta, graphic designer/developer for the Buffalo Bills. The team is leading the NFL in implementation of mobile apps, and La Porta has a great story to tell. Inside the story is sage advice for printers looking to get into the mobile app world.
Focus is a challenge in our always connected and therefore always interrupted lives. Print software projects like web-to-print and Print MIS require long-term dedicated focus to ensure success. Project success is about getting live sooner and incrementally determining the next most important improvement to the implementation (forever).
When installing and using print technology, you have a lot of resources to rely on: the vendor, your internal team, the internet, user manuals, consultants and so on. However, often the most untapped resource pool is the user community to which you belong.
Adapting to the new realities of our digital world is a challenge for all industries. Digital Darwinism impacts all of us because the rate of change in technology and society is outpacing our organizations. Change is inevitable; the pace of change has to accelerate if you’re going to be on the survivor side of Digital Darwinism.
Small business seems to be improving, at least according to the NFIB monthly survey of small business owners. For years, it was usually trapped between two recession bottoms, but it has broken through of three consecutive surveys. It's an encouraging report, but it's not bullish. The NFIB commentary states “More owners still think business conditions will be worse in six months than think they will be better. Few see the current period as a good time to expand. The outlook for improvements in real sales volumes faded. Interest in borrowing continues to remain at record low levels; owners are satisfied with inventories and aren’t planning a lot of investment.” The NFIB is still in the range of a 2+% GDP growth level, but sees not robust small business activity in the near term. Basically, the NFIB report is good news in that conditions are better, but a big positive breakout in activity will remain elusive.
Apple recently announced the release of its iPhone 6. As many predicted, the device includes an NFC chip. The assumption was that Apple would offer tag-oriented capabilities with its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, but this is not the case. For the time being, the NFC chip with the iPhone 6 cannot be used with anything other than Apple Pay. This article provides an overview of the new phone’s technology and the implications for service providers.
“Virtuous and healthy: those are the attributes of tomorrow’s packaging.” That proposition keynotes Packaging trends / The future of manufacturing, a white paper addressing the ethical as well as the technical mandates that packaging manufacturers must uphold in changing consumer cultures.
Versioning, the use and integration of digital displays, eye-tracking, point-of-purchase displays, mobile technologies, and payment software, “virtualization”—where a company offers a particular printing service but outsources the actual production, and printing as a service are quickly becoming the status quo in the wide-format printing business.
This product spotlight focuses on three areas of the EPMS Print MIS offering: the continuous expansion of Print MIS direct users, the support for an industry that is aggressively diversifying, and the ability to make EPMS work uniquely for your business through customization and integration.
Bioplastics—plastics made partly or wholly from renewable raw materials such as cellulose, vegetable oils, and other natural substances—are deepening their reach into packaging for food and other consumer products. Behind their rise are distinct economic and market forces driving global demand for alternatives to fossil-fuel based plastics.
Senior Editor Cary Sherburne recently spoke with Documation Vice President and COO Martin Aalsma in developing this HP-sponsored feature. Documation is the proud owner of two HP T230 Color Inkjet Presses that it is leveraging to reduce costs, improve throughput and develop new product offerings
Streamworks acquires design and production boutique, Maidstone Capital adds EU Services to its portfolio to join with Com-Pak Services, YGS Group acquires Print Management, Performance POP buys Miramar Designs, RockTenn purchases display division from American Greetings, and more - August M&A transactions and restructurings are posted at The Target Report.
Consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies need to plan for a “1-5-10” market in the United States during the next five years, in which digital’s current 1 percent penetration will likely expand to 5 percent and could accelerate to as much as 10 percent in short order. The source is a new report, The Digital Future: A Game Plan for Consumer Packaged Goods, prepared for the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Google, and Information Resources, Inc. (IRI).
Second quarter US commercial printing profits were $1.13 billion, based on the recent Quarterly Financial Report issued by the Department of Commerce and combined with other Commerce Department and Bureau of Labor Statistics data. This was down -7.5% compared to Q2-2013. For the last four quarters, total profits were $3.67 billion, and that is +20% higher than the equivalent measure a year ago. The Q1 four-quarter moving total was revised down from $4.03 billion to $3.77 billion.
Just being a printer is no longer enough. Today’s customers are seeking marketing service providers with a variety of skills. This article cites recent survey data from eMarketer and InfoTrends to explore the shortcomings that marketers see within their agencies and how service providers can fight back and become more valuable in the eyes of their customers.
Corrugated board meets a wide range of consumer and non-consumer packaging requirements. Customers who appreciate the full range of functional and creative possibilities with corrugated board are turning to Axis Corrugated Container for help in migrating their packages to the substrate.
WhatTheyThink is the global printing industry's leading independent media organization with both print and digital offerings, including WhatTheyThink.com, PrintingNews.com and WhatTheyThink magazine versioned with a Printing News and Wide-Format & Signage edition. Our mission is to provide cogent news and analysis about trends, technologies, operations, and events in all the markets that comprise today’s printing and sign industries including commercial, in-plant, mailing, finishing, sign, display, textile, industrial, finishing, labels, packaging, marketing technology, software and workflow.