WhatTheyThink

Commentary & Analysis

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Opportunities in Print Equipment Markets

The total global market for new printing equipment was $21.5 billion in 2012 and will reach $22.7 billion by 2017 according to our new research study.

Moving From Marketing to Strategy

I started my last article with two questions. Does your company matter in the market? If your customers got up next Monday morning and discovered your business was no longer open, would you be missed?

xpedx Road Show Offers Data and Demos for Prospective Wide-Format Print Providers

WhatTheyThink's Richard Romano attends an xpedx wide format printer summit and comes away with the impression that a cutter stole the show!

Augmented Reality: Taking Hold with Practical Applications

Although a number of the initial AR marketing techniques have been a bit gimmicky, practical applications are beginning to emerge. This article provides some examples of how the technology is being effectively used today.

Precious Fluids II: Wide-Format Inks Are Opening Up New Applications for Graphics Providers—And Vice Versa

In part I of this feature, we took a broad look at the different categories of inks available for wide-format inks. This week, we’ll take a closer look at how inks handle different applications (or perhaps vice versa) and, more importantly, how to think about ink in the context of choosing wide-format equipment, and how to measure and evaluate estimates of things like “cost per square foot.”

Does Your Business Have A Magnet?

Does your company matter in the market? If your customers woke up next Monday morning and discovered your business was no longer open, would you be missed?

Gaining a Competitive Edge

The High-Velocity Edge, a reissued edition of five-time Shingo Prize winner Steven J. Spear’s book entitled Chasing the Rabbit, describes the things that set market-dominating companies apart. This article provides examples of companies that are leveraging critical success factors to set themselves apart from the competition.

Wide-Format: Equipment & Financial Takeaways

Dan provides a summary and his take on some of the results from a recently conducted SGIA Survey. The full survey results will be published in the SGIA report " Equipment & Financial Outlook Benchmarking Report".

Pricing for Added Value

Today’s print market is as competitive as ever and so it is essential that you understand how to use pricing to maximize your profits.

A Real Commitment to Change

A commitment to real change requires real risk because you have to be all-in for it to work. Too many technology projects fail because nobody was committed to bring forth the change necessary for success.

Transforming and Automating Workflows: Workflow Systems, déjà vu all over again

This series of articles by David L. Zwang focuses on the processes and products that can lead to the transformation of your current workflows and business, to prepare you for the new challenges ahead. In this article, David moves the discussion forward, now focusing on ‘workflow systems,’ what that encompasses, and some of the things you need to pay attention to as you review them. All of this done with an eye toward building a flexible platform upon which to grow.

What Would Michael Porter Think?

I am naturally curious. I have always enjoyed learning and early in my career made a point of immersing myself in the work of some of the best thinkers in the business world. First, it was Peter Drucker whose writings are the foundation of what I know about management.

Interview with JoAnn Hines, The Packaging Diva

JoAnn is a syndicated packaging writer who is arguably the most prolific “packaging person” on social media. I have been following her for years and thought it extremely appropriate to have her featured here for the WhatTheyThink Labels & Packaging audience. Following are the highlights from an interview with “The Packaging Diva”.

Thought Leadership Counts!

Bruce H. Rogers and Russ Alan Prince co-authored a book entitled Profitable Brilliance: How Professional Service Firms Become Thought Leaders. This book identifies three key criteria for success in becoming a thought leader. This article provides examples of industry players that are already following this advice.

Precious Fluids: Wide-Format Inks Are Opening Up New Applications for Graphics Providers

There is, in some ways, a fundamental paradox when it comes to wide-format inks. There are more ink choices than ever, and yet for any given piece of equipment, you are generally stuck in a “one-cartridge-fits-all” situation.

Is Your Sales Team Holding You Back?

I frequently hear that incumbent sales people are inhibiting a company’s ability to introduce new products and services and are increasingly resistant to prospecting for new business opportunities. As the role of the sales professional continues to evolve we need to rethink our pre-conceived paradigms regarding what top performing sales professionals look like. A carefully designed strategy for attracting, recruiting and selecting sales talent is an essential component to building a sustainable business.

Why We Choose Choice

In this guest article, Xerox’s Dustin Graupman talks about why choice is good, sheds some light on the Xerox acquisition of Impika, and expands the discussion of the value of choice beyond simply choosing among technologies to a discussion about why choice is important for the business as a whole.

Digital Folding Carton — How to Make it Work for You

With the market pushing packaging printers and converters towards shorter runs and faster turnaround times, you might be tempted to assume that folding carton printing is on its way out.

Bundling - Know What It’s Costing You

There are many ways to structure a deal. One way is to bundle other services, equipment or consumables together to alleviate upfront costs. This type of deal can be very beneficial for the printer and the vendor. It does make it harder to do comparison shopping and evaluate true costs. Make sure you make an informed decision before agreeing to this type of deal.

Making Investments in “Print Plus”

A combination of media types==online, mobile, social, and print—is critical to today’s overall communication process. Industry firms are playing a significant role in serving customers across all forms of communication. This article explores how print is being used in conjunction with other channels to improve communications with customers.

New Product Announcements at ISA 2013

Last month’s ISA show at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center was a good opportunity to review the wide-format graphics market and some of the spinoff products in adjacent markets.

Technology’s ROI Requires People

Technology alone does not create value, differentiation, or competitive advantage. It has to be combined with strategy and execution (by your people) – that’s where real differentiation happens.

Why Printers Must Ask Themselves, “Is My Business Irreplaceable?”

The profitability gap between the best-performing and the weakest printing firms is wider than ever. It reflects the difference between the “haves”—firms with effective strategies for competitive differentiation—and the “have nots,” which lack them.

Kodak’s German Sacristan Talks About ROMI, Big Data and More …

German Sacristan is ROMI (Return on Marketing Investment) Developer for Kodak and the author of The Digital and Direct Marketing Goose: 16 Tips and Real-life Examples That Will Help You Lay More Golden Eggs. His work is focused on helping marketers gain increased ROI through the use of data and effective marketing techniques. We spoke to him recently to learn more.

On Demand Marketing: It’s Here and Now!

Technology and consumer expectations related to communications will continue to force marketing experiences to evolve. This article explores how successful service providers are re-evaluating their services to help clients succeed in today’s “on demand” marketing era.

The Shows Must Go On! Next Stop: FESPA London

Perched on the northern quay of the Royal Victoria Dock in the Docklands of London is the ExCel Centre, an exhibit space constructed in 2000 but retooled and overhauled for the 2012 Olympic Games, where weightlifters, fencers, boxers, and wrestlers grappled for the gold. Next month, the Centre will host competitors of a different sort.

The Flexible Packaging Sector, excerpts from 2012 PRIMIR Research

To help us introduce the various packaging sectors to the growing WhatTheyThink Labels & Packaging readership we asked PRIMIR if we could pull excerpts from their 2012 study that Karstedt Partners was commissioned to write titled Packaging: Evaluation of Vertical Markets & Key Applications.

Definitions Shift and Understandings Change as “Printing” Takes On a Third Dimension

Although it may be difficult for traditionalists to imagine, “printing” can be done in more dimensions than two. The Inside Printing 3D Conference and Expo made clear why this high-touch manufacturing process is gaining increased attention both as an emerging technology and as an investment opportunity.

Efficiency & Innovation in Wide-Format

I recently had the chance to attend PIA’s annual Continuous Improvement Conference, and among the many kernels of information I left Indianapolis with was the concept that innovation and efficiency go hand-in-hand.

Personalization Goes Mainstream

To keep their products and services top-of-mind, marketers must offer highly personalized communications that are relevant to each recipient and communicated via the right channel. Personalization has finally gone mainstream, and marketers must consider individual needs and preferences to drive consumers to take action.

Samsung Partners with Blurb for Unique Native Photo Printing App

Last month, Blurb announced a global partnership with Samsung for auto-creating photo books and magazines on the company’s new GALAXY S 4 smartphone, available today from T-Mobile and later this week from other carriers. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Blurb SVP Bruce Watermann who shared details about the app and his thoughts about mobile and print in general.

The Role of the CEO When Transforming Your Business

The challenges that we face when transforming a business are substantial and require the involvement of the entire organization. Each member of the team plays a different role but without the involvement of the CEO the chances of success are drastically reduced. In many situations there are multiple strategies in play; while the legacy business must be maintained and expanded the transition team must define and create the future. Under these circumstances, the CEO’s role must be carefully examined and defined.

Transforming and Automating Workflows: Production Infrastructures –DFEs: The State of the Market

In this article, David continues the infrastructure discussion, now focusing on the current state of the DFE (Digital Front End, aka RIPs) in the market, covering Digital Print DFEs as well as CTP DFEs, and the beginning of the plant production workflow. All of this done with an eye toward building a flexible platform upon which to grow.

The Goal Revisited

The Goal is a book written in the 1980's. It does not get as much attention as it did a number of years ago. However, visiting older ideas can sometimes stimulate new thinking.

Interview with Ben Markens, President of Paperboard Packaging Council (PPC)

For the past 84 years, the Paperboard Packaging Council (PPC) has been the leading industry association serving suppliers and converters of all forms of paperboard packaging. We spoke with Ben Markens, President of PPC, about the current state of the folding carton industry and the opportunities and challenges faced by its members.

First Edge Solutions: Understanding Changing Communication Dynamics

Graphic communications service providers of all sizes need to “future-proof” their businesses in terms of services, solutions, and data capabilities to deliver relevant information and optimize customer service. This article discusses how First Edge Solutions has expanded its multi-channel communications to stay ahead of the competition.

Remembering Efi Arazi

WhatTheyThink was saddened to learn of the passing of innovator and entrepreneur Efi Arazi on Sunday. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with EFI CEO Guy Gecht and Landa Nanographics CEO Benny Landa who share their thoughts about Arazi’s contributions to the industry and the world, and she invites our readers to chime in with their own remembrances and thoughts about this great man.

Upping the Ante at Konica Minolta

At Graph Expo, we reported on some interesting software additions to the Konica Minolta family of products. WhatTheyThink’s Senior Editor Cary Sherburne followed up with Gavin Jordan-Smith, Vice President for Solutions and Production Planning, to see what else is new at the company.

Inkjet International Days

On March 19th Océ (part of the Canon Group) hosted an International Inkjet Days event at its site in Poing Germany (just east of Munich). Océ invited a group of industry analysts to see the latest enhancements to its impressive inkjet product portfolio and it offered educational sessions on inkjet technology, document security and color perception.

New GMC CEO Henri Dura Sees Bright Future, Expansion for Company

Following the acquisition of GMC Software Technology by Neopost last summer, long-time Chairman and CEO Dr. René Müller has ceded the CEO position to Henri Dura, retaining the position of President of the Board for the time being. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Dura to learn more about his background, the status of the integration process post-acquisition, and his strategic view of the future.

QuantumDigital: Making Direct Mail Simple and Fast

SMBs have a wide range of communication needs, including corporate identity, marketing collateral, direct marketing, point-of-sales materials, transactional documents, and publications. This article cites recent InfoTrends research to uncover the priorities and challenges for SMBs, and also discusses how QuantumDigital can make a difference for small businesses.

Interview with Jay Willie of the Independent Carton Group

I caught up with Jay Willie, Executive Director of the Independent Carton Group (ICG) just before he struck out for one of the groups quarterly meetings. The ICG has an interesting business model and long history.

AIP Restructures Presstek, An Interview with New CEO David Savage

In October of 2012, Presstek announced the completion of its sale to American Industrial Partners Capital Fund, taking the company private. WhatTheyThink has learned that the company is in the process of undergoing a significant restructuring. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with David Savage, Presstek’s new CEO, to get the details.

With DDS, Graphics Professionals Sink Their Teeth Into Electronic Signage

The Las Vegas Strip is home to many things that you’d be hard-pressed find anywhere else—and, generally, that’s a good thing.

Magazine Publishers Seeing Real Results from Digital Issues

Senior Editor has been having ongoing conversations with Adobe’s Lynly Schambers-Lenox, Group Product Marketing Manager, Digital Publishing, about the impact adoption of digital publishing is having on magazinepublishers, especially for users of Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite. In this article, Schambers-Lenox shares new data that is beginning to show real results in revenue, advertising and subscribership for publishers.

Business-to-Business Commerce aka Web-to-Print

Business-to-business commerce may not be getting the headlines in the print industry, yet across all industries in the US it’s nearly twice the size of the business-to-consumer market. It’s vital that printers understand the B2B opportunity and not confuse it with jumping into a price war with retailers online.

Canon Poing Customer Experience Center Offers World-Class Experience for Customers/Journalists

Last month, WhatTheyThink’s Senior Editor Cary Sherburne joined a group of journalists, industry analysts and customers for a visit to Canon’s Poing Customer Experience Center located on the outskirts of Munich, Germany.

The Role of the Sales Leader

The role of the Sales Leader is to manage your system and coach your people. They must provide Structure, Support and Accountability for your sales program and as you continue your journey towards re-inventing your business, this function will take on much greater significance. Adhering to unsuccessful, past practices will only hold back your efforts as you continue to recruit, hire and develop your next generation sales team.

Augmented Reality: Practical Applications in Today’s Market

Recent technological investments suggests that technology leaders are expecting augmented reality (AR) to play a much larger role in how consumers access various types of content. This article provides just a few AR examples that have recently hit the headlines.

Wide-Format Inkjet Printing: A Transition to Higher Utilization and Productivity

IT Strategies has just completed its 19th wide-format graphics inkjet forecast, wrapping up nearly two decades’ worth of experience into a single large Excel spreadsheet. The trends year-over-year aren’t surprising. Growth continues.

Transforming and Automating Workflows: Production Infrastructures – The evolution of the DFE

David continues the discussion, now focusing on the production infrastructure by looking at the role of the DFE (Digital Front End, aka RIP), and how that has changed as a result of digital press technology and the changing demands of the marketplace. In keeping with the series theme, he looks at it with an eye toward building a flexible platform upon which to grow.

We Have A Pope—and His Apostle to the Printers

In one of his first official acts since his election as pontiff, Pope Francis has unveiled a radically new strategy for proselytizing to the world: he’ll carry on the work of St. Peter through an international network of printing companies he intends the Church to acquire.

Is Strategy Necessary?

There has been much chaos and confusion in our industry in the past two decades. According to every credible source, collective industry sales are declining. Offset printing, which rode a 60 year wave of process dominance, has been declining since 2007. Digital print sales, as well as a variety of ancillary services, are growing but not fast enough to stem the tide of total industry revenue decline.

One-to-One: Meeting Consumer Expectations and Delivering Marketing Results

All customers are not alike; they have different demographic profiles, income levels, business requirements, and lifestyle choices. Marketers understand that they cannot ignore these differences, and they are creating customer communications that position their products and services to cater to individual preferences and characteristics. This article leverages recent research that highlights the importance of personalized messaging.

The Countdown to the International Sign Expo Continues

We have been previewing ISA’s International Sign Expo 2013. A fortnight ago, we looked at the educational opportunities to be had, and this week we will look at but the merest handful of the offerings on the show floor.

Integrating Impika: A Talk with Xerox’s Andrew Copley

Although the ink is barely dry on the deal that has made Impika a unit of Xerox, the acquirer believes that bringing its target into the fold will give it the major-player status in inkjet that it has been seeking.

The Folding Carton Sector, excerpts from 2012 PRIMIR Research

To help us introduce the various packaging sectors we asked PRIMIR if we could pull excerpts from their 2012 study that Karstedt Partners was commissioned to write titled Packaging: Evaluation of Vertical Markets & Key Applications.

Label and Packaging Security: Brand Protection Tools in Printing and Packaging

Billions of dollars a year are on the line for companies as they seek ways to ensure that the products sold with their logos and branding are authorized and authentic. The proliferation of counterfeiting requires brand owners and their converter/printer partners to work together to create a multi-layered  protection plan so that their packaging and labels protect their brands and deter those trying to profit at their (and their reputation’s) expense.

Strategies for Niche Players

In my last article I discussed the Rule of Three and how it appears to be playing out in the print industry. This article will review those strategies.

Dscoop Executive Director Eric Hawkinson to Depart

In a move that is likely to cause a few ripples, Eric Hawkinson, who has been Executive Director of Dscoop, HP Indigo’s user group, will be departing to join Canon Solutions America, working for VP of Marketing Francis McMahon as Director of Marketing. Cary Sherburne speaks with several of the principals about this surprising move.

Loyalty Matters… And It’s Time to Make it Work!

Loyalty programs have always been about treating your best customers better, but today’s marketers want to court their customers, engage them, and track their behaviors. This article discusses some of today’s techniques for connecting with customers and keeping them engaged.

Wide-format Inkjet: Many Communities, One Process

Wide-format inkjet technology has become the “go to” technology for a number of traditional and non-traditional printing segments The purpose of this article is to define the differences between these segments, in general terms.

Interview with Steve Young of AICC

We recently had the opportunity to catch up with Steve Young, President of AICC, and asked him to share his thoughts around the mission of AICC, the role of AICC, and the opportunities and challenges facing their members.

Building Your Next Generation Sales Team

The behavioral competencies and skills that we must look for in the next generation sales professional are quite different from what we have focused on in the past. The ability to engage clients in dialogue to uncover and define challenges is of utmost importance. It is also important that sales professionals be great listeners; listening 80% of the time. However, as buyers we usually don’t experience that behavior. So what can we do to change that dynamic? I believe we can dramatically improve our success in selecting the right people as well as coaching those with the necessary behavioral competencies to become great engagers.

New X-Rite Pantone President Talks About Danaher, X-Rite Pantone Future Prospects

Following Tom Vacchiano’s departure as President of X-Rite Pantone, WhatTheyThink’s Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with his successor, long-time Danaher veteran Ron Voigt, in this exclusive interview to learn more about Danaher business strategies and the future prospects of X-Rite Pantone under the Danaher banner.

Once you have built the trust and credibility, these deals are worth a lot, but it takes time to get there.

There are many relationships in business today. One that is often not given enough weight is your vendor relationship. In the past, this relationship could be adversarial. Today, cooperation is needed more than ever. Looking at how you can get more out of your vendor relations can have a large positive effect on your bottom line.

Interview with Kristi Ledbetter of TAPPI

We recently had the opportunity to catch-up with Kristi Ledbetter, the Converting Division Manager for Tappi, and had the opportunity to get an update on what is happening at Tappi.

Think Patented: Expanding Value-Added Services through Acquisitions

Think Patented has embarked on a transition strategy to improve its competitive edge in today’s turbulent market. The company is broadening the set of production tools that it uses, embracing value-added services, and refocusing itself on becoming a marketing services provider. This article provides an overview of Think Patented’s growth strategy, which includes a shift to value-added services as well as strategic acquisitions.

Countdown to the International Sign Expo

The International Sign Expo, coming up April 3–6 will feature more than 500 exhibitors, more than 40 educational sessions, and ample networking opportunities, all related to the “on-premise” signage industry.

What Job Does Web-to-Print Do for Your Customers?

Web-to-print is a product that should do a “job” for you and/or your customers. When you look at technology purchases through the lens of “jobs” you focus on what’s really important.

The Rule of Three

After What They Think published my article Survival of the Small and Mid-sized Printing Company in Today’s Chaotic Environment, Scott Johnson commented with some nice words and the question: Had I read the book The Rule of Three: Surviving and Thriving in Competitive Markets? I had not read it but out of curiosity I found it, bought it and read it.

Kodak’s Loss; Three Leaf Insights’ Gain

With pieces of Kodak being lopped off as it works to emerge from bankruptcy proceedings, some are taking root as new businesses. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne interviewed one of the founders of Three Leaf Insights, born out of the ashes of Kodak’s MarketMover Managed Campaign Services, as well as a print service provider and an end customer, to offer a view of how these services are likely to evolve after being shed by Kodak.

The Corrugated Packaging Sector, excerpts from PRIMIR Research

For the next few weeks we will be looking at the corrugated sector of packaging, which accounts for approximately $85 Billion in shipments globally and $24 Billion in North America.

The “New Kid” on the Block - CHINAPRINT

Having just returned from Beijing where I attended the International Media Week, patterned after the drupa format, I can tell you that the Chinese are no longer the student and could be considered the teacher.

What's the Good Word in Mergers and Acquisitions? Most of the Time, Ssshhh!

If silence is golden in most of the affairs of life, in M&A transactions, it’s pure platinum. Nothing assures a better outcome for a deal—or yields a worse one if it’s violated—than maintaining a policy of tight information control while negotiations are under way.

Universal Wilde: Success Starts with a Vision

Selling a product or service requires a vision. A vision is a picture of the future that we seek to create, described in the present tense, as if it were happening now. It shows where we want to go, and what we will be like when we get there. This article provides a brief profile of Universal Wilde, which has developed a vision for its business and is using this vision to power its growth.

Latex-Ink Wide-Format Graphics Printers Drive Market Growth

HP introduced its first latex-ink wide-format printer in 2008, targeting replacement of aggressive solvent printers. Since that time, HP has introduced multiple versions and the market has taken off a growth rates reflecting the beginnings of the aqueous WF industry back in 1992.

Transforming and Automating Workflows: It starts with a good business infrastructure Part 2

In this article, David continues the discussion of the business infrastructure by looking at some of the packaged MIS and ERP systems, and how they are structured, with an eye toward building a flexible platform with which to grow.

Managing the life cycle of the business

It is amazing to me how many of us get a “deer in headlights” reaction to changes going on around us. The leaders of a business can take a business on the downside of its life cycle and reinvent it and create something new causing it to grow again.

Your #1 Strategic Imperative: Build a Learning Organization

The greatest investment you can make in your business is to assure you living the example of a lifelong learner for your organization and then surround yourself with other lifelong learners.

Georgia's Colson Printing Adapts to a Changing Industry

New buying trends in the printing industry are driving Colson Printing to launch an extension of its website to enable 24/7 click ‘n print functionality for its clients. Expected to go live in the first half of 2013, the new website capabilities will enable Colson to broaden its market nationally and appeal to locals who prefer to order online.

Take a New Look at China’s Printing Industry

I recently returned from Beijing where I attended the International Media Week at which more than 20 overseas media representatives from the U.S., UK, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Russia, India, Korea, UAE, Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau spent their time learning about the great strides of the China printing industry and the upcoming CHINAPRINT.

What is coming in WhatTheyThink Labels & Packaging

With the launch of the Labels & Packaging section of WhatTheyThink now behind us, we wanted to give you a preview of upcoming topics and what to expect.

The Right Strategy is Essential to Building Your Business!

During Dscoop8, Barb Pellow moderated a panel entitled “Building a Strategic Marketing Plan.” She was joined by three service providers who have developed strategic marketing plans to transform their businesses. This article discusses best practices for thriving in the printing industry, even during tough economic times.

The Grandest Printers of All

Today’s superwides, which are proliferating in terms of number of models on the market, boast much better image quality, resolution, speed, and versatility than their forebears.

Vegas Restaurant Goes High Tech

Recently I was in Las Vegas for PODi’s AppForum. Our team arrived on the weekend prior to the conference, which was at the Planet Hollywood. It was Sunday and time for lunch so five of us headed down to casino area where the restaurants are scattered about. Looking for a casual, inexpensive and quick lunch we settled on Burgr, a new restaurant owned by Gordon Ramsay, the chef from the TV show Hell’s Kitchen.

Big Changes at Mimeo.com

WhatTheyThink has become aware of a number of major changes at Mimeo.com over the last few months. With the recent decision by CEO Adam Slutsky to step down, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne talked with Co-Founder and new CEO John Delbridge to get the inside scoop.

What Role Do Your Sales Professionals Play?

The role that sales professionals play within our organizations continues to evolve. As clients demand more and technology changes the buying process, we need to rethink our pre-conceived paradigms regarding what we look for in top performing sales professionals, what their job is and how we will compensate them in the future.

Dscoop Launches Aggressive New Programs to Benefit Members

Dscoop, the Digital Solutions Cooperative, just held its 8th annual conference. The group, comprised primarily of HP Indigo and HP Scitex users in the graphic arts industry, has continued to add member value since its inception. At Dscoop8, which concluded last week in Nashville, Tennessee, Dscoop raised the bar once again with new member value.

HCMiller: In Its 2nd Century But Certainly Not Old and Stuffy!

How does a printing company with more than a century of history and success step out of the box and reinvent itself for another century of success? Hire the right people! WhatTheyThink Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke to industry veteran Tom Clifford to find out how he and his team have made a difference at HCMiller.

Contrary to Reports, Ferrostaal Continues to Operate in North America; Relationship with Ryobi Remains Intact

Rumors were circulating earlier this week about the reported closure of Ferrostaal Equipment Solutions North America Inc., but the facts don’t bear them out. WhatTheyThink has learned that the Houston, TX based print equipment and services provider remains in operation, albeit with a new president, a smaller staff, and a reduced portfolio.

Near Field Communications: Practical Value-Added Applications

First introduced nearly a decade ago, near field communications (NFC) technology is entering the consumer mass market. Statistics indicate that hundreds of millions of smartphones and portable personal information devices will be NFC-enabled in the near future, creating a tremendous opportunity for integration with print applications. This article provides examples of how NFC might take hold in tomorrow’s market.

Digital Wallcoverings Transform Interior Décor

The idea of printing materials that go on walls is not exactly new. Wallpaper, posters, murals, and other items have been printed by traditional technologies for decades, if not centuries.

WhatTheyThink on the Road Again at GOA and Dscoop

The tireless WhatTheyThink crew is on the road again. This time in both Orlando and Nashville attending Graphics of the Americas as well as Dscoop. Yes, simultaneously! How do they do it?

Tukaiz Continues Innovative Leadership for Business Growth

A recent press release from Tukaiz, an early adopter in color digital printing, caught the eye of Senior Editor Cary Sherburne. This interview with Frank Defino, Sr. and Frank Defino Jr. provides more “color” to the story!

Thought for Improving Your Purchasing

As companies continue to focus on cost reduction, it gets harder and harder to locate ways to accomplish this. Freight and recycled waste are two areas where you may still be able to find some savings.

WhatTheyThink Kicks Off Special Labels & Packaging Section

Welcome to the inaugural post for WhatTheyThink’s Labels & Packaging website. The folks at WTT and I have been speaking for quite some time on the need a version of WTT that focused on the needs of those in the packaging supply chain. I am honored to be the Managing Editor of this new endeavor and will strive to bring meaningful and timely content to those in the packaging supply chain who are looking for information and intelligence in order to do their jobs better.

Gotcha! Heading Off the Hassles of Inconvenient Truths in M&As

Sometimes, sheer embarrassment can kill a merger—the shock of suddenly having to account for issues that ought to have been dealt with earlier in the process. Privately held printing companies can be prone to the kinds of errors that embarrass sellers and thwart M&As.

Packaging Brief: Highcon Update

As the digital transformation of the packaging industry continues to present new challenges and opportunities for both brand owners and converters, WhatTheyThink Senior Editor checked in with Aviv Ratzman, CEO of Highcon, to see what progress the company has made relative to Euclid, its market entry for laser die cutting and creasing. Read more.

Move Over, QR Codes… Near Field Communications are Just around the Corner!

NFC is set of technology standards designed to enable short-range, "contactless" communication among phones, as well as other types of targets. Very few of today’s smartphones include embedded NFC technology, but this is expected to change over the next couple of years as more phones with the technology become available and marketers look to integrate NFC into their marketing efforts.