Recent Commentary & Analysis
Requires Premium Membership
Displaying 2451-2500 of thousands of articles
A rising tide makes everyone a genius, even the bad managers. The improving economy is a less powerful trend than the upheavals that digital media are creating. Capital investment by printers is being affected by consolidation, the upside-down condition of interest rates, investments in new media, and a shift in industry print processes. For those waiting for the old economic and investment cycles to repeat themselves, this will be disappointing.
Leading a printing company can be a challenging task in the best of times. Not only do you have to keep up with all the technology, maintain connections with and a deep understanding of your customers’ business needs, but you also have to build the right team and inspire them to carry your message to customers and prospects. A recent keynote by Joan Davidson at EFI Connect sheds some light on how a successful leader is accomplishing these objectives.
Instead of dividing up existing (and often shrinking) demand and benchmarking competitors, the blue ocean strategy is about growing demand and breaking away from competitors. This article discusses how Reynolds DeWalt, a cross-media communications company, is striving to do just that.
Proficiency in the dark art of prepress once required expertise in a bewildering array of applications; there was QuarkXPress and Pagemaker and Photoshop, but also Freehand, Streamline, Suitcase, Trapwise, INposition Lite and a host of others. Now that prepress has become premedia, the twenty-first century skill set centers on color management, PDF workflows and automation. For most shops, these tasks are made easier by the integration and powerful tools found within Adobe’s Creative Suite software bundle.
This is the 11th EFI Connect conference and the fourth time it has been held at the Las Vegas Wynn. Compared to 2009, the conference has 50% more attendees, and users are seeing first-hand enhancements made to PrintSmith, Pace and Monarch, EFI’s three MIS product families. Also taking center stage are inkjet offerings from VUTEk, Rastek and Jetrion, as well as Fiery.
The trends in industry revenues of advertising and publishing sectors each tell an interesting story. They get more interesting once iPhones, Kindles, and iPads are added to the mix. Dr. Joe explains it all, but may have more questions than answers, which might spell opportunities for print businesses.
Eric Owen, newly appointed as Kodak’s Worldwide Vice President of Customer Development for Digital Printing Solutions started at Scitex and moved to Creo, then Kodak, as a result of acquisitions. Read what Eric has to say about the key strategic objectives of his current position, where he sees inkjet and toner fitting, and his advice for print service providers as the economy begins to recover.
Even though the world is now consumed with electronic communications like Twitter and Facebook, it is reassuring that mailboxes are still brimming with advertising mail. Here are five completely unique reasons why direct mail will be a medium of choice for years to come.
Digital printing is the same technology that has been used by commercial printers, in-plant shops, and corporate offices for quite some time. In industrial printing, however, the technology is just starting to transform packaging design; inventory management; and the ability to respond rapidly to changing design, brand management, and regulatory requirements. This article provides a brief overview of how Mediaware leveraged the digital packaging opportunity through an agreement with Microsoft.
Like a weak hand at the card table, a weak offering in the M&A market won’t be improved by the length of time it’s in play. Unlike a poker hand, it can’t be bluffed because the “cards”—the fundamentals of the business—are always in plain sight of the buyer and its due diligence.
Yesterday, FedEx Office, Canon and HP jointly announced an alliance to create an unmatched network of printing and imaging capabilities. Over time, FedEx Office will be sole-sourcing its black & white and color staffed and self-service copying and printing equipment from Canon, wide format from HP, and will take advantage of other technological advantages and innovations derived from the three companies and their partnership. Read what Canon and FedEx Office have to say about this major announcement.
The first B2 format sheet fed digital presses will come to market this year. This article doubts there is a market for the B2 format compared with the market for the current B3 format digital presses. Among the reasons for this are there are few applications that cannot be handled on the B3 format digital presses, and the increasing efficiency of B2 format offset presses and the arrival this year of Presstek 75DI B2 format D.I. press.
The power of print. Print is vital. Print has had longer than a decade of power outage. Print is not vital, print is a choice, and sometimes that choice is "no." Now what? In this kind of environment, the printing business becomes more important than the print medium. How that all plays out is up to our entrepreneurs. Dr. Joe explains.
Xeikon and Basys Print are likely to have new owners before Ipex starts. One of the largest private investment companies in Europe has made an offer that values Xeikon and Basys Print at $96m. At Ipex, Xeikon will introduce a new industrial label press they claim to be the most productive press in the industry. They will also introduce an enhanced Xeikon 8000 press for document printing.
With the increased focus on interactivity and multi-channel communications, marketers want to integrate online media with documents to enable a cohesive and unified marketing tool. We are beginning to see an increased emphasis on QR (quick response) codes. This article discusses how mobile marketing will take center stage in 2010 and beyond.
Pantone has become virtually the de facto color standard for the graphic arts industry, but we often forget that they also serve other industries, including fashion, home and industrial. Increasingly, designers need to be able to match colors across all or several of those systems for integrated projects. Today’s announcement is designed to simplify that process for designers using either an iPhone app or a free application available on the Pantone web site.
The ISM Manufacturing Index is one of the most watched economic indicators. It's up for 8 consecutive months, and the latest release was one of the strongest of this decade. Dr. Joe gives some background and explains what this latest reading means.
VDP volume is less than 10 percent of all digital printing and digital printing is less than 15 percent of all printing. The use of variable data (or document) printing has been retarded over the last decade by short-sighted suppliers, specifications, and associations. Now perhaps we are on the cusp of opening VDP to all users, big and small. ISO is about to release a worldwide standard for variable data exchange.
This article looks at how HP partnered with Europe’s leading monochrome book printing group CPI in creating a totally new fully automated book production solution. This is a system that takes in digital data and outputs with out any manual intervention totally finished books. The article also provides an update on the current market status of HP’s T300 high-speed inkjet printing systems.
Although creating and maintaining effective job descriptions are both considerable tasks, most employers will recognize how indispensable the end results are in helping staff understand their responsibilities. After all, without a job description, how can an employee properly commit to—let alone be held accountable for--a position?
Selling fulfillment services requires problem-solving skills. This means understanding how your customers develop their products and how they are used. Once their job has been printed and bound, for instance, why do your customers feel that you must ship the job to them and take up space at their facility?
Positive Signs for the Printing Industry? Standard Register and a review of Global Document Solutions and Astoria Graphics ()
There is no question that 2008 and 2009 were difficult years for our industry. It seemed that every week, we received news of another plant closing. This week, Dr. Joe Webb, Director of WhatTheyThink’s Economics and Research Center, indicated that we are “climbing out of the swamp” and may be getting a little closer to the safety of economic high ground. We have a ways to go, but there are positive signs if you look for them.
Bundling is a popular way to sell more products or services. You, as a buyer, hope that the extra money spent delivers a bargain. Just make sure to keep your eyes open!
The new revenue potential within the traditional photo printing market is decreasing, but photo merchandise transforms those digital photos into dollars for service providers. This article provides a brief overview of the current photo merchandise market and includes some recent survey data to highlight the opportunity.
Transpromotional communications… a fantastic business opportunity for those of you who have acquired the capabilities to offer it to your customers. Here are five examples from my own mailbox. These are companies I regularly do business with, who have Transpromo opportunities that they are just plain missing.
Dr. Joe gives us the good news... first... and there really is some! Then he explains how some of the good news is like a Hollywood movie set: great facades, and then only braces and forms behind them, but some of it is really good. He then reminds us that turmoil creates opportunities, and turmoil also creates content. The challenge to printing entrepreneurs is to translate that to value for their businesses.
This week Frank presents a review of responses to polls included with Margie Dana's Print Tips. These polls provide insight into print buying trends. Frank also includes one of his song parodies.
Packaging is a key opportunity for the digital printing market. The global packaging industry is still in the beginning stages of adopting color digital printing as a key tool, which means there is big opportunity in digital packaging print. This article explores the top nine drivers for double-digit growth in the packaging arena.
Despite the industry's shrinkage, printing companies continue to be born “under the radar screen” as firms win new leases on life by merging with other firms. New Direction Partners foresees an increase in M&A activity as the industry regroups around the strengths of its healthiest and most survivable firms.
With Ipex rapidly approaching more and more companies are putting out advance information of what they will showing at the event. Today’s article covers Heidelberg, Atlantic Zeiser, EskoArtwork, Enfocus and Kodak. The more we hear the most interesting Ipex appears as a not to miss event.
The Census Bureau publishes printing industry births and deaths data, but the data take years to be published. The latest data are from 2006, but Dr. Joe estimates what's happened since,especially 2008 and 2009.
The joining of Quad/Graphics and World Color Press followed an intricate dance between giants. Quad/Graphics was the smallest of the three players in the contest for ownership of World Color Press. RR Donnelley's attempt to buy World Color out of bankruptcy failed and, shortly after, Quad/Graphics began discussions that brought the much larger World Color Press under the control of the Quadracci family.
EFI Connect, one of the larger user groups in our industry, will be taking place in April at the Wynn in Las Vegas. Since the event overlaps with the On Demand Conference in Philadelphia, WhatTheyThink is splitting its forces to cover both events. Marc Olin, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Advanced Professional Print Software, of EFI, shared his thoughts with WhatTheyThink about what attendees can expect to experience at the 11th Annual Connect conference.
Packaging is the material surrounding a consumer item that serves to contain, identify, describe, protect, display, promote, and otherwise make the product marketable and keep it clean. Packaging is also a key opportunity for the digital printing market. This article highlights the opportunities that digital printing technology can bring to this market.
This article introduces you to a powerful tool -- highly useful in a brainstorming setting -- that can spark a new level of discovery about how to adapt your business to today’s realities. It is all about considering what you have refused to consider before.
The employment report was better than the cable channel talking heads thought it would be. Printing shipments continued their unfortunate relationship with economic growth. The Postal Service continues a summer sale initiative that only fat cats can like.
he primary goal of marketing communications is to build awareness of a business, its products, and its position through customer-facing materials such as brochures, press releases, Web sites, and trade show presentations. Marketing communications can transform non-customers into customers or get existing customers to buy more or purchase new products and services. Successful print/marketing service providers have integrated marketing communications that reinforce their messages with target audiences and motivate customers to buy using multiple marketing channels.
Make your reservations, buy your plane ticket, pack your golf clubs, and head to Print UV 2010 at the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas. This year’s event takes place beginning Sunday, March 7, and concludes on Tuesday, March 9.
What will DonnellyBowneBantaMooreWallace look like? The addition of Bowne’s products and services will support and leverage Donnelley’s financial print, statement outsourcing, document business process management, and print management services.
Although there has been much discussion in the industry about whether we have too many associations and how much consolidation is needed, IPA and IDEAlliance seem to rarely come up in those discussions. WhatTheyThink spoke with the Executive Directors of both organizations to learn what brought them together and the benefits they believe will come from the new integrated organization. It is a fascinating discussion. David Steinhardt: “We don’t want to be fighting or addressing past issues. We want to be moving forward with a new model and new definition…we have to get out of our bubble to get reengaged where [the market] is moving.”
At the Brand Protection Conference, the hands-on demonstration of wine label counterfeiting draws some sobering conclusions about brand protection, fraud prevention, and digital printing.
Graphics of the Americas keynote speaker looks at the future of interactive displays--it's all very touching.
Buyers are embracing social media, and the tools and possibilities for collaboration continue to improve. As a result, social media is becoming a critical channel for print/marketing service providers to help buyers find one another and market to them. This article provides a brief overview of some recent social media initiatives and offers examples of companies that are getting into the game.
Most companies do a reasonably good job controlling costs in the outbound freight area. This responsibility usually rests in the shipping department, where shippers take pride in getting the lowest price. However, there are ways to lower your freight costs which may be overlooked.
With today’s leaner staff and budgets, every new hire counts drastically. Badly conducted hires will yield you staff who amount to little more than a cost of doing business. But although the money you spend on payroll could well be your largest cash commitment, a staff of properly hired and maintained employees can increase your profits far beyond their cost. Your staff is therefore an investment—easily the most important investment your business ever makes.
Is the U.S. Economy playing out like 1990s Japan or 1970s U.S. stagflation? Dr. Joe changes his mind... again. All it took was the Producer Price Index and Consumer Price Index releases of last week. Well, so much for his lecturing about the tendency of managers to react to the last thing they hear rather than pondering things. He also suggests buying oil with gold might be a good idea after looking at the last 20 years of data. That should be interesting to try during the New England heating season when the oil truck stops by. And if you thought Keynes was dead, you should see his new rap video with Frederich A. Hayek. If dead economists can make a rap video, can Elvis be far behind?
It’s that time of year again, when graphic arts snowbirds flock to the Sunshine State to take in the pastel-hued wonders of South Beach—and learn about the latest developments in graphics and printing.
When Komori and Heidelberg drop out of a Graph Expo show, it portends seismic changes in the printing industry. But it is all part of 500+ years of changes. All things have a lifespan, whether they are living things, inanimate things, or even the universe (the ultimate collection of things). They start out as nothing, become something, and ultimately become nothing again. This pseudo-philosophical statement begins a discussion about technological change, a subject dear to all of our hearts.
For printers who want to make the transition to a marketing services provider, we provide some ideas to help answer the question: How do you gain credibility in the eyes of your customers, that you aren’t just the print services vendor they know…but that you can be a communications problem solver for them?
The custom book market offers tremendous opportunity for a number of different constituencies, including creative content providers, Web publishing solutions, and print service providers. The combination of more affordable high-speed digital devices, Web-based content and tools, and a desire for personalized content is causing the custom book market to grow. This article highlights examples of two companies (Penwizard and RPI) that are capitalizing on this opportunity.