WhatTheyThink

Commentary & Analysis

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Building Your Sales Funnel: Awareness is Everything!

The order of the traditional sales funnel has typically been to discover a new opportunity, initiate communication, conduct fact finding, develop a solution, propose that solution, evaluate the solution, negotiate the details, create a purchase order, and maintain the account. This article explores how today’s empowered prospects have rendered this systematic approach obsolete.

Transitioning Your Print MIS System

If you are currently functioning on a legacy Print MIS system, you know better than anyone that you are going to have to make a move ‘soon.’ Maybe soon is in the next 2 months or the next 2 years, but you know that your system isn’t going to lead you into the future.

Wide-Format Graphics Community Charts another Strong Year

The results are in from SGIA’s annual Specialty Graphics Industry Survey (the full report will be released in June), and the data we’ve received shows the wide-format graphics community going strong. The information included here covers some of the “high-points” of our findings, and provides a bit of analysis, from my viewpoint.

For O’Neil Data Systems, the Need for Speed Leads to an Inkjet-Driven Transformation

Next week, O’Neil Data Systems (ODS) will be hosting an HP-sponsored event at their Plano, Tex, facility, which will bring together vendors, customers, and printers from all corners of the digital printing ecosystem to see the company’s high-powered “data-driven publishing” in action, as well as showcase their own contributions to this expanding print market segment.

Augmented Reality… A New Reality in 2014

Today’s hyper connected consumers are truly in control of the media that they consume. Today’s marketers must pursue media strategies that deliver holistic integrated communications to drive results. This article explores how printed communications are being combined with augmented reality to increase revenues and response rates.

Labor Market Net Hiring Turns Negative

US employment data has many cross-currents: the unemployment rate is down, but the labor participation rate is at 35-year lows. Last week the Bureau of Labor Statistics published its JOLTS report, which shows they dynamic factors at play in the labor market. This chart shows the percentage of hires less the number of quits on a year-to-year basis. Note in the chart below the rapid rise in employment as the recession ended and the recovery began, and also how it has narrowed and turned negative in recent months. It's been mainly negative for about 18 months.

Web-to-Print: A Mission Critical Sales and Marketing Project

Web-to-Print is a sales and marketing project that happens to involve technology, yet most printers delegate the leadership of web-to-print projects to their technical resources. We are collectively as an industry putting too much emphasis on the technology and not enough emphasis on the sales and marketing aspects.

What’s in a Name? Is it Time to Rethink Your Brand?

Although some companies only start looking at their brand image when things are not going well, successful firms are out in front of the market. This article discusses the importance of market dynamics and how they can be leveraged as key catalysts for change.

April 2014 – Deals, Court Filings & Closures in the Printing, Packaging, Paper & Related Industries

It was a Tale of Two Cities for sellers of printing companies in April. For some, it’s the best of times; they appear to have chosen wisely, believed in the power of the internet to transform the business of print, they saw the light and felt the hope of spring as they embarked on their journey. The market anoints these fortunate few with the ultimate reward – the high multiple.

Future-Proofing Your Business: People. Process. Technology

In Part One of this two-part series, we discussed how printing companies are responding to changing market dynamics to future-proof their businesses, and offered some of the questions you may consider asking to stimulate new customer conversations. In Part Two, we look at people, processes and technology required to successfully and profitably change the conversation and deliver new services.

Q1-2014 US Commercial Printing Shipments Down -4% Compared to 2013

March 2013 US commercial printing shipments were down -$148 million (-2.2%) compared to 2012. The first quarter was down -$770 billion (-4%). On an inflation-adjusted basis, shipments were down -$270 million (-5.4%) and down -$1.05 billion (-5.4%) for the quarter.

Recovery Indicators Rebound; Q1-2014 GDP Below 1% but Corrects for Business Inventory Misjudgments

The recovery indicators rebounded since last month. New orders for manufacturers remained at the same level that indicates growth.

April Printing Employment +1,000

Printing employment in April rose by 1,000 workers. It is always hard to determine if these were actual workers or if the changes were the result of issues with the estimation models of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Production workers were the greatest part of the increase (800).

Your Marriage to Your Print MIS May Be in Trouble!

There are several marriage mistakes that lead to divorce: cheating, dishonesty, addictions, and major changes in priorities. What does this have to do with your print management information system (Print MIS)? I am suggesting that your Print MIS is your most important business partner.

Transforming and Automating Workflows: Thinking out of the box

There is an assumption that as service provider there are very specific, almost predetermined ways that a workflow to support your business operations should be developed and deployed. However, sometimes, to use a somewhat overused term, you need to think out of the box.

ISA Sign Expo Showcases Dynamic Evolution of Sign Solutions

At the International Sign Association’s Sign Expo, the current state of dynamic digital signage (DDS) was reminiscent of a kind of “Cambrian explosion,” with a proliferation of solutions emerging.

Sexton Printing: Being a Strategic Problem Solver

While growing your client base is important, a strategic focus is essential for growing your business and setting yourself apart from the competition. This article describes how Sexton Printing is taking a strategic focus in the face of today’s changing industry.

How Sales Creates Web-to-Print Disasters

The sales process sets up the critical transition period from lead to customer. Customers remember what was said in the sales process and they often use this to guide their approach to implementation. Don’t inadvertently focus your soon to be customers in the wrong direction.

Adobe Summit: The Digital Marketing Conference

Recently, WhatTheyThink joined more than 7,000 marketing professionals from more than 30 countries at the Adobe Summit in Salt Lake City. This is the world’s largest digital marketing conference, according to Adobe. It was a great place to network with marketers, benefit from great content and learn what marketers are thinking about the future of business communications and where their challenges lie.

4over Packaging – A new way of looking at Short Run Packaging

We read a lot of articles and company profiles in the packaging trades that describe companies who are growing their businesses by focusing on a specific niche of the market and developing specialized offerings to serve that niche. I recently interviewed Preston Herrin and Patrick Green of trade printer 4over headquartered in Glendale California who described for me their new offering 4over Packaging.

New Xerox Versant 2100 Raises the Bar for Mid-Entry Digital Presses

David Zwang takes a look at today's announcement by Xerox of their new Versant 2100 press and provides some insight into how the press was developed and what impact it will have on the mid-entry-level production market.

IMS, Inc.: A Role Model for Being Strategic

The importance of a strategic business approach is becoming increasingly common as today’s technology-charged environment demands rapid change from us all. This article pulls ideas from Erika Andersen’s book entitled Being Strategic and describes how IMS, Inc. is serving as a role model to the industry by performing true strategic thinking.

2013 Newspaper Revenue

Circulation revenue for U.S. newspapers recorded a second consecutive year of growth, rising 3.7% to $10.87 billion in 2013 according to figures released by the Newspaper Association of America. Total revenue was $37.59 billion in 2013, a loss of 2.6 percent over 2012.

Table of Latest Inflation Multipliers

Below is the latest set of multipliers based on the Consumer Price Index. Multiply your historical financial statements by the figures below to adjust data to the CPI for the first quarter of this year.

March 2014 – Deals, Court Filings & Closures in the Printing, Packaging, Paper & Related Industries

The traditional divide between commercial and packaging printers continues to blur as commercial printers seek opportunities in packaging where they can apply their talents, utilize their capital equipment investments, and transition to the packaging industry.

Don't Prioritize Activity Over Strategy

Activity does not equal results. You can be really busy, work really hard and fail miserable because you were busy doing the wrong thing.

Why be a Certified Sustainable Printer

Any company can say they are environmentally responsible. But what does it really mean? Print buyers who have a mandate from their management to use environmentally responsible suppliers have a tough task sorting through the claims. The Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP) is an independent, non-profit organization providing a certification label for sustainability in the graphic communications industry. Here is what certification means to four printers.

The Future of Publishing From SXSW

In March Bo attended South By Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, TX to see if he could find connections between emerging digital technology and the ever-changing world of magazine media consumption.

Printing Industry Shipments and Profits

For the year, profits were $4.34 billion. On an inflation-adjusted basis, that was the highest level of industry profits since 2007. This is despite there being $28 billion less printing shipments, 8,000 fewer printing establishments, and 73,000 fewer employees. It was the best profits per establishment ($173,000) since 2000.

Being Strategic: It’s Time for Focus!

The concept of re-evaluating your strategic business plan often gets pushed to the wayside as you get caught up in the day-to-day operations of your business. Erika Andersen’s book entitled Being Strategic provides a step-by-step model that business owners can use to build out their strategies. This article provides an overview of the book’s key points of advice.

Printing Profits per Employee Rise

Profits per employee increased to higher levels since 2000. Industry consolidation is a big factor in this report. It is not just mergers and acquisitions, but also plant closures and bankruptcies, and the opening of new businesses that absorb the best and most appropriate resources of the closed plants, and also the strategic changes that surviving companies make as they respond and anticipate marketplace changes, absorbing the sales volume of departed competitors.

Hudson Printing: Innovation and Inspiration

On a recent visit to Salt Lake City, I had the pleasure of spending time at Hudson Printing. The company’s tagline is Reinvent Print, and it boasts a Director of Innovation. Read more about my visit and the great things happening at Hudson Printing.

Digital Value Discovery

Those developing systems for packaging applications need to understand what brand owners are interested in, and what are their perceptions of digital printing.

Why it’s Important to Understand the Disruptive Technology Adoption Curve

All members of the packaging supply chain are under pressure to better address the needs of their customers and offer more efficient products and services. This has led to the development of systems that are classified as “disruptive” to address “areas of need” or “pain points” in the process.

Pitch Perfect: Everyone Wants to be a Better Communicator!

Results are determined by our words as well as our actions. This article explores Bill McGowan’s book entitled Pitch Perfect: How to Say It Right the First Time, Every Time can help you achieve the results that you want. It also highlights the key principles for effective communication that are highlighted in the book.

New Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke Briefs Trade Media

Three weeks into his new job as Kodak’s Chief Executive Officer and a member of its Board of Directors, Jeffrey L. Clarke conducted a briefing with the printing trade media. WhatTheyThink’s Senior Editor Cary Sherburne was on the line and shares some of the thoughts and insights from the call.

Employment-Population Ratio Still Below Pre-Recession Levels

One of the measures of the health of the labor market is the comparison of the total population to civilian employment. This measure has yet to approach levels achieved prior to the recession. This measure is important because it follows the growth in population. The number of workers is now nearly what it was at the start of the recession, but population has grown about 6% since that time. In rough terms, this means that the economy is short about 5.6 million jobs.

Industrial Printing Moving to Digital

Industrial printing is a massive industry, serving vertical markets from aerospace to electronics, and from medical to interior design. What makes industrial printing (for the most part) unique (and mostly hidden from view) is that most industrial printing companies are not “print for pay” enterprises.

In a “Digital Sneak Peek,” Heidelberg Offers First Word on New Products and a Promise of a Changed Attitude

In announcing a new and in some ways strikingly different digital strategy, Heidelberg has acknowledged that it can no longer live by sheetfed sales and its own technologies alone.

Print-to-Mobile: An Interview with GTxcel CEO and President Peter Stilson

Reaching target audiences typically means connecting with these consumers on their desktops, laptops, tablets, and/or smartphones. This article explores how GTxcel is working with its customers to turn a printed document into a browser-based digital edition that can be enjoyed by readers on a desktop/laptop, tablet, smartphone, or any web-enabled device.

Transforming and Automating Workflows: Do I need to do it all at once?

In preparation for this article, David spoke with a wide format print service provider with a portfolio of disparate equipment that implemented the first phase of a production workflow system to automate and optimize some of his processes. The results were quite impressive.

Landa Nanographic Printing – A New Approach for Printing?

Andy Tribute reviews the nanography printing process and where Landa is with commercial availability of its Nanographic presses. How the claimed advantages of Nanographic presses compare to modern sheetfed offset and liquid toner technology and inkjet systems from Canon/Océ, Xeikon and Konica Minolta.

IPEX 2014 Review

The Ipex 2014 event in London was not one for major product introductions. The size of the event was much smaller than originally planned due to the withdrawal of many of the major suppliers. Highlights include Konica Minolta, FFEI, LumeJet, Scodix, Riso and others.

Dscoop University: A Competitive Advantage

At Dscoop9, the organization debuted Dscoop University, a member educational initiative announced last year that has come to fruition in a big way. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne provides insight for our readers into the competitive advantage that this offering provides for Dscoop members.

Future-Proofing Your Business

In Part One of this Two-Part series, learn how to “up your game” in sales by changing the customer conversation. Are you “talking the talk” and “walking the walk” in a way that reflects the way marketers approach their day? In Part Two, we will look at the people, process and technology required to successfully and profitably change customer relationship dynamics.

IPEX – A New Approach for Trade Shows

Ipex 2014, which moved from Birmingham to London, was anticipated to be the key event for availability of the raft of new digital presses announced at drupa 2012. Unfortunately Ipex was hit with two major difficulties. First the printing industry did not appear to be recovering from the recession, and second almost none of the new products announced at drupa were going to be ready for release by March 2014.

New Proposal Stresses “Economy of Language” to Save Printing Costs

Last week, the mainstream media were abuzz with the results of a new study—conducted by a 14-year-old-high school student—that found that the U.S. Government could save $400 million by switching typefaces from Times New Roman to Garamond. While the results of this study have not gone without legitimate criticism, that hasn’t stopped others from proposing initiatives that would save the government even more money through changes in typography.

Open House at Mark Andy had a few Stars

On March 26th I attended an open house at Mark Andy’s global headquarters in Chesterfield, Missouri. The main reason I was invited was to be part of the formal introduction and “coming out” of the company’s Digital Series press.

Signs of the Times—and Times of the Signs: Countdown to the International Sign Expo 2014

The ISA International Sign Expo 2014 is coming to Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center this April 23–26, with educational and networking sessions starting on the 23rd and the trade show itself starting on the 24th. (Each year, the Sign Expo alternates between Las Vegas and Orlando.) Some new features of the show debuted in Vegas last year, and will thus be new to an Orlando—and thus a largely Southeast U.S.— crowd.

Mobile Trends in 2014: It’s Time for PSPs to Pay Attention!

The Forrester Report entitled Predictions 2014: Mobile Trends for Marketers offers advice that also applies to print service providers as they evolve their businesses and leverage cross-media communications. This article offers recommendations for reaching today’s on-the-go consumers.

The Value Proposition for Digital Package Printing; Part Two – The Two-Track Approach

In Part One of The Value Proposition for Digital Package Printing, we discussed the operations (material and operations planning) and marketing benefits relating to digital printing. Recognizing the reality of this operations and marketing dual purpose for digital, we break the compelling reasons for digital printing in packaging into two tracks.

Future of Changing Leadership

Companies are continually exploring situations that transform their businesses. Leadership must embark on a personal transformation that results in new behaviors and builds a strong aligned team that requires serious-minded personnel decisions.

Partnering for Printing Sustainability

SGP is helping to define what it is for a printing company to be sustainable. Sponsoring organizations play a large part in guiding and supporting SGP. The following article looks at the reasons why some of the sponsors participate.

Big Data…The Right Data!

“Big Data” is a buzz-phrase that is tempting marketers with the promise of increasing customer engagement. While big data is part of the solution, the real power lies in using the right data. This article discusses the data challenge that today’s marketers face and explores how service providers can help them embrace data to deliver a relevant message.

The Value Proposition for Digital Package Printing; Part One

Most decisions made by brand owners related to digital printing have a basis in their understanding of the value proposition that digital brings to their organizations. In our report; Is Digital Printing Part of Your Brand or Operational Strategy? we describe how this value proposition is directly tied to unmet needs.

Latest Trends in Packaging Create New Opportunities

Brand owners rely on packaging to not only carry their products to market, but to represent the quality and desirability of those products on store shelves. The package is typically the first interaction a consumer has with a product or brand, and from then on serves as a visual reminder of the experience.

Ad Agency Revenues On Steady Rise Higher

Since the second quarter of 2007, the first quarter for which we can create four-quarter inflation-adjusted moving totals, ad agency revenues are up more than 13%. Publishing industries have note fared well at all.

The Colour of Money

Sean Smyth of Digital Demand World looks at the importance and capabilities of colour control in print as brands invest more heavily in design.

Breaking the Mold at Dscoop9: Education, Collaboration, and Community

Dscoop9 took place during March 6 – 8 in Orlando, Florida. This article describes how this year’s event emphasized Education, Collaboration, and Community to help promote business growth.

Wide-Format: Pain Points & Opportunities

Dan shares some of the most pertinent pain points discussed at SGIA's annual Congress of Committees, as they provide a unique view into today’s wide-format industry.

The Way You Do Anything is the Way You Do Everything: Great Lessons for the Printing Industry

Before you can hope to change your company’s fortunes, you must first change yourself. This article highlights advice from Suzanne Evans’ book entitled The Way You Do Anything is the Way You Do Everything and discusses how print service providers can use these insights to make better investment decisions.

The Growing Role of Digital Printing in Brand Protection Strategies

For marketers and manufacturers of consumer products, true value lies not only in the products themselves but also in the recognition and reputation of the brand. Unfortunately, brand owners are facing more risks as counterfeiting and diversion activities increase around the globe.

...But Is It Art?

It was a sunny morning Southern California. An ocean breeze was blowing in from nearby Redondo Beach, and as the freight train next door—the bane of our existence—clattered endlessly and rattled the building, we gathered in the first floor conference room of the Torrance offices of Micro Publishing News magazine to evaluate the hundred or so submissions to what, back in 1999, was our Seventh Annual Digital Art contest.

New Travel Planning Apps are the Star of the Celebrity Cruises Marketing Show

Senior Editor Cary Sherburne interviews Celebrity Cruises about its first-ever set of digital vacation planning apps and what they mean for brochures and other printed materials. Most of what we have written about Adobe DPS and other publishing app makers has been focused on digital magazine issues. This story takes digital publishing deeper into print territory. Is it good news or bad for print?

US Commercial Printing Industry Demographics, 2011 to 2018

In recent weeks, readers have asked for industry demographics and some prognostication about them. The data tables are below. But first, some information about the data and where they come from. Get a strong coffee.

The Value Proposition for Digital Package Printing; Part One

Most decisions made by brand owners related to digital printing have a basis in their understanding of the value proposition that digital brings to their organizations.

Industry Veteran Ramesh Ratan Joins Bell and Howell as CEO

Industry veteran Ramesh Ratan joined Bell and Howell as its CEO in January of 2014. He previously held executive positions with the DMA and Pitney Bowes, among others. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne speaks with him about Bell and Howell’s current state and it strategies for the future.

DG3 Blasts Off into High-Volume Personalization with the Debut of Its HP T230 Color Inkjet Web Press

The installation lets customers add high-volume digital web printing to the array of services they buy from DG3, one of the top providers print and visual communication products in the Northeast.

Certifying Your Sustainability

Any company can say they are environmentally responsible. But what does it really mean? Print buyers who have a mandate from their management to use environmentally responsible suppliers have a tough task sorting through the claims. The Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP) is an independent, non-profit organization providing a certification label for sustainability in the graphic communications industry.

Is Anybody Listening?

As leaders that play formal and informal roles, you must continually develop your face-to-face communication skills. Whether you are motivating and influencing your team members or persuading and engaging clients, you must strengthen your interpersonal communication skills by assessing your competencies and developing a thoughtful action plan.

Brand Building – A Marketing View

The days of one-way messaging through TV or print ads to appeal to consumers’ purchasing decisions have given way to “engagement marketing”. Two-dimensional (two-way) communication where consumers participate, share, and interact with a brand creates crucial interaction resulting in business and personal success. The bi-directional nature of social media enables a two-way marketing channel.

More than Four Colors: Adding Value to Digital Print

Recent technological innovations have led to an expansion of capabilities in digital printing services. This article discusses the ways in which digital printing output can be moved beyond four colors so that print service providers can increase the value of their offerings.

Transforming and Automating Workflows: Can I really have it all?

David speaks with a print service provider with a variety of disparate equipment that implemented a business and production workflow system to handle it all, and his only complaint is that he wishes he had done it sooner.

Does Being a “Marketing Services Provider” Make a Difference? In 2013 it Did, but Not for Everyone

Many printers have started promoting themselves as “marketing service providers” (MSPs), almost to the point that the terms “printer” and MSP are synonymous.

Canon Solutions America Hosts Media/Analysts for One-Year Anniversary Celebration

Canon Solutions America recently hosted 28 members of the media and analyst community in Southern Florida to share results of the integration of parts of Canon USA with Océ post-acquisition into a new organization: Canon Solutions America. It has been one year since the acquisition was finalized and the new organization was formed. WhatTheyThink contributors Richard Romano and Cary Sherburne were among the attendees at this event and both share their perspectives in this article.

Just Between Us: Peering into the Inner Workings of Peer Groups

Some printers draw their power from peer groups: small, private circles of owners who use candor and confidentiality to solve common problems and share models for business success.

The Drive for Better Use of Data to Build Loyalty in 2014

When effective, loyalty programs can bring significant business opportunities to marketers and service providers alike. This article discusses the new media technologies that enable a connection with customers, while also exploring how loyalty programs can be used to engage existing customers.

3D Print Building More Than Hype

Sean Smyth of Digital Demand World, the publication for the digital print industry, looks at the progress of 3D printing and the momentum being built that promises an emerging technology that commercial printers can profit from.

Storefronts and Digital Magazines

Since its launch in March of 2011, Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite has captured a significant market share of digital magazine issues (Adobe claims 80% of top 100 magazines on iTunes) and we have followed its progress both in terms of added features and results for publishers. This article by Senior Editor Cary Sherburne takes a look at another option for digital magazine publishing. Mag+ launched in 2010. Mag+ premiered on the first iPads in April 2010 with PopularScience and has recently attracted former MPA Senior Vice President, Digital Strategy & Initiatives Ethan Grey as its Director of Product Strategy.

Is It Time to Specialize Your Sales Force?

In today’s market, you must align your sales organization with your overall business strategy while also accommodating the changing demands of your customer base. This article discusses how taking a specialist approach can help you meet these objectives.

NPOA: Newest Star in the Association Constellation Aims to Be the Brightest for Quick and Small Firms

For an organization that’s said to have come into existence almost by accident, the National Print Owners Association (NPOA) has traveled a remarkably long way in a surprisingly short time.

EFI Highlights “Big Bets” at Connect 2014

About 1,500 people descended on the Wynn Las Vegas for Connect 2014 at the end of January. WhatTheyThink captured lots of video interviews (watch for them!) and had an opportunity to participate in the event as well. Here are a few Connect 2014 thoughts, including an interview with Benny Landa, who joined EFI CEO Guy Gecht in making an exciting announcement re: Landa Digital Printing.

Dscoop University to Debut at Dscoop9 in Orlando

In Part Three of our Dscoop series, WhatTheyThink Senior Editor Cary Sherburne speaks with John Tenwinkel, Director of Dscoop University, for a sneak peek into its debut at the upcoming Dscoop9 conference and what it will mean for Dscoop members worldwide.

E Pluribus Unum: “Butterflies & Buffalo” Project Uses Wide-Format Graphics to Document and Celebrate American Cultures

In this age of poor-quality cameraphone images and unflattering “selfies,” it’s easy to forget how powerful high-quality, professional photography can be.

IDEAlliance, TAGA, and Their Quests to Make Sense of It All

IDEAlliance and TAGA are closest things that the industry has to “brain trusts”: trade associations that have taken upon themselves the daunting task of curating the industry’s practical intellectual capital.

Advertising Agency Employment Surpasses Commercial Printing, Reflecting the Shift from Traditional Media

The major news in the data update is that employment in advertising agencies surpassed that of the printing industry in July 2013. For 2013, printing employment was down by -12,600 (-2.8%). The biggest change was in employees outside of production who were -8,400 of that decline (-5.7%). Graphic design employment was down slightly for the year, but these data do not include freelancers, which are an essential part of that business. Inside the advertising agency employment data are public relations employees, the main area of employment growth in this sector.

Eight Steps to Winning a Sales Process

Companies that were disappointed with their 2013 results may be hoping that the year ahead will bring better things, but creating a winning sales process involves more than just hope. This article discusses 8 steps that businesses can take to improve their sales processes in 2014.

Chris Petro Discusses Global Aspects of Dscoop

Chris Petro is an innovator and thought leader in the digital printing industry and has given selflessly of his time to Dscoop over the past several years, currently serving as the Chairman of the Global Board of Directors as well as running his own multinational business, GlobalSoft Digital Solutions. WhatTheyThink Senior Editor Cary Sherburne recently spoke with Petro to learn more about what is happening with Dscoop on a global basis, and new developments he expects for the future.

2013 US Commercial Printing Shipments Reach $77.6 Billion

The Department of Commerce released December 2013 and revised November data. December shipments were $6.271B (-3.7% vs. Dec. 2012). On a current dollar basis, the total for the year was $77.6B, -3.8%. After adjusting for inflation using the Consumer Price Index, shipments were down -5.1%. The chart below shows current dollar and inflation-adjusted shipments starting with 2007

Megatrends in Packaging: The Digital Age

The digital age is changing our world. Forces driving the change are: people, information and technology.

Association Activism at the Grass Roots: PIAlliance, PGAMA, and PIASC

If all politics is local, the same is true of the work done by the printing industry’s regional trade associations. The executive directors of three PIA regional affiliates discuss how they bring grass-roots insight to the universal challenges of trade association management.

You’re Embracing Change… But What Are Your Customers Looking For?

Marketing industry pundits have been analyzing today’s trends and are making recommendations about how to do things differently in the New Year. This article summarizes the insight that is being delivered to your customers and prospects from a variety of sources.

New CapEx Report Shows Substantial Interest in Investment in Wide-Format Capabilities

Our own Dr. Joe Webb has just published the results of his latest survey of commercial printers and their planned investments for 2014—Strategies for Management’s 2014 U.S. Commercial Printers Capital Investment Survey and Forecast.

Dscoop9 Shaping Up to be “Best Ever”

It’s hard to believe that we are already in the 9th year of the Dscoop conference, the highly successful annual event for the Dscoop independent HP user group. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with both the Executive Director of Dscoop Mike Fogarty and Conference Chair Gary Garner, Chairman & CEO of GLS Companies, to find out why Dscoop9 is being positioned as the “Best Ever” and what the organization has done to keep its momentum going.

The Inkjet Paper Chase

Paper has always been critical to the printing process. After all, paper is both the raw material and the end product. Nowhere is that more apparent than when transitioning to production inkjet printing. Paper selection will have a tremendous impact on the production quality and profitability of your inkjet solution.

Transforming and Automating Workflows: Getting work into the plant Part Two - Have We Arrived or is it Just a Rest Stop?

In Part two of this two part article, David looks at some of the current solution offerings that are designed to bring your client’s jobs into your plant to see if and how they are meeting the challenges of today’s service provider.

2014: It’s Time for Service Providers to Embrace Change (Part 3)

The communications world is changing, and printers of all sizes are realizing that it’s time to reposition their businesses. This article is the third in a three-part series on the top trends of 2014 that can help you grow revenues and profitability. It evaluates the options for transforming your business model.