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GCSF Eclipses Previous Fundraising Records with Sum Amassed for 2016 Scholarships

In New York City, industry members who care passionately about education have given nearly $700,000 in scholarship grants to students of graphic communications—all without overhead expenses or strings attached.


drupa 2016: Inkjet Technology and Print Application Trends (Premium Content)

Despite occasional clouds on the horizon, there is no better place than drupa to get a first hand sense of the continuing importance and scale of the printing industry. The baton has passed from the offset press manufacturers to the digital printer manufacturers, with HP having replaced Heidelberg as anchor tenant and champion of print at drupa 2016.


Direct Marketing: Staying Up with the Trends (Premium Content)

Each year, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) compiles hundreds of relevant industry stats and facts for publication in its Statistical Fact Book. The publication culls stats from over 60 leading research sources and marketing experts. This article outlines some of the key data points from the 2016 DMA Statistical Fact Book that PSPs should take notice of.


US Q1-2016 GDP Revised to +1.1%

US real GDP for Q1-2016 had its third and final revision in this reporting cycle, and was +1.1% on an annualized basis compared to Q4-2015. Q1 had been reported as +0.5% in its advance report, +0.8% in the preliminary report, and now as +1.1%. Real GDP remains very low compared to the post-WW2 +3.3% rate.


When Sales Isn’t Involved, Web-to-Print Projects Fail

If sales isn’t involved, your business-to-business (B2B) web-to-print project is going to fail. Web-to-print projects aren’t about features (solutions), they are all about solving the right customer challenges.


Greenfield and 100% Digital, ePac LLC Sets Its Sights Exclusively on Flexible Packaging (Premium Content)

Digital printing for flexible packaging has been slow to take hold, but a start-up company in Madison, WI, says it is equipped and ready for a fast break into this potentially lucrative market.


Mixed Signals, Chaos, and Bureaucracy (Premium Content)

Last week, the polls were wrong and Brexit rattled the markets. But the people most worried were central planning bureaucrats who wonder how to make sure it never happens again. The number of business establishments and microbusinesses are still growing. Durable goods orders send another recession signal. It’s another week of mixed and mixed up signals, something economists like because it makes them look busy.


Key Themes at drupa 2016 Bring Industry 4.0 to the Forefront

By all accounts, drupa 2016 was an amazing show for both exhibitors and attendees. In this article, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne highlights some of the important trends coming out of the show, including drivers bringing Industry 4.0 – the fourth industrial revolution – to print.


Changing the Conversation: Helping Customers Leverage Postal Promotions (Premium Content)

Marketers understand that direct mail is one of the most powerful ways to communicate with current customers, especially when it comes to new customer acquisition and reactivating dormant accounts. The USPS’s recently announced 2017 Postal Promotions are designed to help direct mailers maximize the value of the communications that enter the mailstream.


Industrial Production Continues its Negative Turn

The Fed’s own data probably caused them to have a more dour outlook about the economy. The chart shows that US industrial production started slowing at the end of 2014 and has been in outright contraction since Fall 2015.


Predictive Analytics: The New Productivity Weapon For Commercial Printers

In many instances, predictive analytics is discussed in reference to improving marketing and/or sales performance. However, numerous industries today are benefiting from the use of predictive analytics to improve operational efficiency.


drupa 2016: the Package Tour (Part 2)

The business of printing labels and packaging is changing with almost unnerving speed. Made reassuringly clear at drupa was the fact that new technologies for label and packaging production can give printers the capabilities they must have.


Wide-Format 101: One for the Cutters

In the latest installment of our occasional Wide-Format 101 series, we offer a primer on basic finishing processes, specifically rollfed cutters and flatbed cutting tables.


Heidelberg: Delivering on the Digital Promise at drupa 2016 (Premium Content)

Heidelberg is already a champion of offset press manufacturing, but the firm demonstrated that it was equally serious about helping its customers make the transition to digital at this year’s drupa event. This article explores how Heidelberg is promoting itself as a solutions-oriented service provider that can productively and efficiently support customers in the digitization of their business models.


Advertising Rebounds in Q1-2016 v 2015; Publishing Still Struggles

Advertising agency had a much better first quarter than last year, up by nearly $3.9 billion on an inflation-adjusted basis (+16.5%) according to the most recent Quarterly Services Survey. Advertising revenues had slipped in 2014 and 2015, in similar pattern to the decline in durable goods and other manufacturing orders and shipments.


Prices for Advertising Rise for Magazines, Stable for TV and Newspapers, Down for Digital

The chart shows that magazine advertising has gone up by more than 20% since 2010, but it's hard to know how much might have been bundled in those prices. Pricing reports sent to the Bureau of Labor Statistics are supposed to be in constant units, but it's hard to determine those in service environments, and it's hard to quantify a wink or a nod in an advertising agreement.


The User Experience is the Print Software Product

User experience is the product. 1,000 features does not necessarily equate to a valuable product. When features are embedded into a confusing an cumbersome user experience – they don’t get adopted.


drupa 2016: the Package Tour (Part 1)

drupa 2016 wasn’t exclusively a packaging show, but for label- and packaging-minded visitors, it might as well have been—there was that much to see and be impressed by.


Sticky Discipline for the Label Business – May 2016 M&A Activity

CCL Industries’ establishes international niche positions acquiring label printers at a steady pace, Oliver Printing transitions to carton printing and forms platform company for Pfingsten, M&A activity resumes in commercial printing segment, Dex Media files “Chapter 33”, and more.


Wide-Format at Drupa—Wrapping It Up

Week two of drupa brought few major announcements, but wide-format offerings were hardly inconspicuous.


drupa 2016: About Adding Value to Print!

Many printing companies attended drupa 2016 to understand the latest industry innovations that would increase business and improve profitability. The vendors that participated in this year’s event were focused on demonstrating applications that expanded margins and helped service providers identify new markets and opportunities. This article explores just some of the ways that the industry continues to bring new value to print.


Smaller Printers Are Giants in Profits

The changes in the media markets led to the declines in magazines, catalogs, newspaper inserts, and many of the products produced by large printing organizations. For years, these companies were giants in the industry, but recently this sector has been restructuring through consolidations. Writedowns in goodwill and for closed plants have cut the profits of these organizations.


Q1 Printing Profits Rebound; Large Printers Still Lag Smaller Establishments (Premium Content)

The profits before taxes of US commercial printers rebounded in the first quarter. Profits for the quarter are estimated at $1.37 billion, the highest level since the third quarter of 2013, when they were $1.42 billion adjusted for inflation. Profits were $810 million for the first quarter of 2015, making this a significant turnaround.


Innovative Labeling Solutions Ramps Up in Flexible Packaging

Ohio based Innovative Labeling Solutions and HP Indigo are out to demonstrate that digital printing can become as widely used for flexible packaging as it is for labels.


Consolidating Printing Employment, Shipments End a Streak, and an Ugly Employment Report that Dresses Nice (Premium Content)

Things are not what they seem. Streaking was not good in the 1970s, it’s definitely not good on presses, but streaking is great when it’s a growth streak in printing shipments. Unfortunately, the latter has ended, so let’s start a new one. The employment report was bad but that made interest-rate worriers happy. There’s nothing like getting statistically giddy over the numerical misfortune of others. Maybe they need to find a niche like a very happy Vancouver printer did.


Wide-Format at Drupa—That Was The Week One That Was

Drupa 2016 thus far has not had a lot of wide-format announcements per se, but corrugated—one point where wide-format and packaging meet—is playing a big role this year, with some major announcements.


Frank's drupa Notebook: Kodak 3.0

The yellow box is glowing again. You sense it as soon as you enter the Kodak booth at Drupa 2016. It is the most creative booth I have seen in my eleven Drupas. Every product and service is showcased. Customer samples abound. It is Disneyland for printing geeks.


Frank's drupa Notebook: Important themes of drupa

Frank covers 12 important themes of drupa 2016 that he thought worth sharing, including new inks, corrugated digital presses, digital approaching offset speeds, and more!


HP Indigo Scores Big at drupa with Cimpress and Shutterfly Deals

Just two days into drupa 2016, HP Indigo has announced two large deals: Cimpress and Shutterfly. Combined with some other smaller transactions, the company has already chalked up sales of about 50 HP Indigo Series 4 presses, with likely more to come, making this an exciting show for the company. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Indigo General Manager Alon Bar-Shany to get the details.


Drupa 2016: The Future of Inkjet

The overriding message for drupa 2016 is that inkjet is now ready for prime time across a range of applications and is positioned to displace key conventional printing processes. This article provides a brief overview of the factors that will drive the expansion of the inkjet market during the drupa event and beyond.


Q1-2016 Real GDP Revised Up to +0.8%; Economy Already Recovering from Mini-Recession

The first estimate of Q1-2016 GDP was +0.5%, and that was revised up slightly to +0.8%. The concerns about recession are being reduced lately with some better economic news that show the economy on its sluggish pattern of sub-par growth in the +2% range, well below the post-WW2 average of +3.3%. As noted many times, there are numerous economic indicators that have yet to reach their pre-recession levels. Since this pattern has been so long in duration, even non-money denominated statistics, such as employment, have to be adjusted by population growth to discern true underlying levels. The chart shows Real GDP on a more conservative year-to-year basis as reported and with the volatile effects of inventory changes removed. The economy still seems to be digesting some long-term inventory rebalancing, some of which is related to global currency and other economic issues. The slowdown of the first quarter still seems to be limited to the first six weeks of the year. At the time of this writing, the Atlanta Fed's GDPNow estimate of Q2-2016 is at +2.5%. While that is a disappointing level, it is consistent within the lackluster level of economic growth that has come to be known these past years as “new normal.” Since 2011, real GDP has averaged only 2%. The difference in the average may not seem a lot, but a 2% annual growth rate will result in an economy doubling in size in 39 years; at 3.3%, it doubles almost 16 years sooner.


Defining Product Workflows for Web-to-Print

A Product Workflow is a term I use in web-to-print projects; it defines the different offerings you enable online through self-service user interface. Defining terms is critically important to any project, product workflows is one of the key terms to every web-to-print project.


drupa 2016 to Shine a Light on Packaging

SKU proliferation and the difficulty of staying relevant are challenging brand owners as never before. The answers they seek in digitally printed labels and packages await them in abundance at drupa.


The Value of Tradeshows… As I Head to drupa!

Although some will always question the value of tradeshows, these events are generally worthwhile endeavors. As we head into drupa 2016, this article evaluates some of the unique benefits that tradeshows like drupa can offer to exhibitors and attendees alike.


Metzgers of Ohio Hosts Pre-drupa Event for RMGT of Japan

Nobody ever said that the sheetfed offset equipment market is easy to do business in. But RMGT, a partnership between two of Japan’s best known press manufacturers, thinks it has what it takes to make the most of the opportunities that the market still holds.


Retail Sales Growth Rates Reflect Changes in Competition and Consumer Preferences

Department stores are still having problems. Their year/year growth rate has been negative for more than a decade. E-commerce sales are maintaining a 15% growth rate. At that rate, they double every five years. The last peak in growth for retail sales excluding motor vehicles was in late 2011, and that rate, unadjusted for inflation, has slowed to the 2% range. Retail sales are a function of household income, and their costs, and they remain sluggish as median household income has still not reached the level it was at the beginning of the recession. In the meantime, shopping malls, the department stores that anchor them, and mall owners are having problems. A Weekly Standard article about Amazon has some insights into it. The downslide of brick and mortar retail stores and malls can create collection problems for printers who sell to them, but there are changes underway that might hold some opportunities for those printers who seek them. Developers are using mall complexes for new buildings that include office space and even hospitals and hockey rinks. There are also new efforts to treat the shopping experience not just as a matter of location, but holistically to include all digital touchpoints inside and outside the mall. How will much of this be communicated? It will often require signage, working closely with store owners and local mall management. Those printers, attuned to the nature of communications logistics and data management, can find opportunities there.


Web-to-Print: Stop Forcing an E-Commerce Workflow (Premium Content)

Print is a communication challenge solution. Typically, the printed product is but one part of a much larger challenge. When your sales people learn to take their “print googles” off and uncover the bigger picture challenge, they embed your company deeper into your customer’s business process and ultimately uncover more opportunities for printed products.


Inkjet drupa 2016 – Continuing the Story – Xerox

In this article, David looks at the current state of Xerox. The integration of Impika has produced some exciting collaboration, resulting in some new product introductions at drupa 2016, and perhaps a glimpse of the company’s future direction


Drupa 2016 from a Wide-Format Perspective

drupa opens at the end of this month and while drupa has not traditionally been one of the go-to shows for wide-format printing, as wide-format has become a hot topic in the general commercial printing market, it is taking a bigger role at this year’s show.


KBA and Xerox Target Folding Carton Market with a 40 Inch B1 Sheetfed Production Inkjet Press

KBA and Xerox have created a partnership to create a unique B1 sheetfed Production Inkjet Folding Carton Press. This new relationship allows KBA to continue to build the production inkjet product line to support the transition of its clients to the opportunities that production inkjet affords them. For Xerox, it expands the reach of its inkjet offerings beyond its smaller format production presses.


Government Shipment Revisions Make Everything New Again (Not Really) (Premium Content)

Eventually, the numerous economic data published by the Federal government are right. Like wine, it takes time. As businesspeople, we can’t always be that patient.


Self-Serve Omnichannel Marketing Campaigns - Taking Web2Print to the Next Level

Most printing companies have either adopted omnichannel and web2print solutions or are planning to. With XMPie’s upcoming ‘Campaigns-on-Demand’ feature - an enhancement to both its Cross Media and Web2Print solutions -- the benefits of multi-touch 1:1 campaigns and a more efficient ordering workflow are no longer mutually exclusive. Learn more in this interview sponsored by XMPie.


Impact: Blending Inkjet and Data-Driven Marketing (Premium Content)

Since its founding in 1983, Impact has been providing services in direct mail, fulfillment, data management, critical documents, e-mail marketing, creative, and print management to drive marketing communications. This article provides a brief overview of how the company’s expertise in applied technology, analytics, and production services can help its customers connect with their clients.


Global Graphics Fundamentals Offering Set to Help Production Inkjet Press Manufacturers Increase Functionality and Speed Time to Market

As production inkjet continues to expand its horizons, it can be a challenge for inkjet press manufacturers to have all of the skills internally to take their products to the next level. Global Graphics’ announcement of their Fundamentals service for manufacturers of inkjet presses can help manufacturers overcome some of those hurdles.


Printing Industry Shipments Revised from 2007 to 2016, with Minor Changes Since 2009

The years 2008 through 2013 had slight revisions higher; the end of 2013 to present had slight revisions lower. The Commerce Department's revisions to all manufacturing data are leading up to a multi-year revision of GDP data at the end of July.


Manufacturing Still in Contraction

The latest Federal Reserve industrial production index showed a slowdown since late 2014 and an outright contraction since mid-2015 is still in process. The business press focused on the comparison to the prior month, which looked like an improvement. The chart, however, compares to the prior year. Recent consumer retail data have been more optimistic, and the premise that we had a “micro-recession” at the beginning of the first quarter seems to be justified. There is growing pressure to weaken the US dollar to make manufacturing exports less expensive to international customers. The Atlanta Fed's GDPNow estimate for Q2 GDP is now +2.5%. At that rate, it would be a rebound from Q1's +0.5%.


HP Set to Revolutionize Prototyping/Manufacturing with Jet Fusion 3D

It’s been some time since HP first announced it would be entering the 3D printing market with a production-class printer and it is finally show time. The HP Jet Fusion 3 Printing Solution will be unveiled at RAPID, the largest 3D additive manufacturing conference. As promised, the printer is 10X faster and half the cost of its nearest competitor.


My Favorite (Mostly Free) Software Tools

Communication is the primary thing we all do for work. This article outlines some of my favorite tools for communicating, tracking how we use our time, capturing our ideas, organizing projects, and improving remote meetings.


Lack of Speed Kills: Lessons from Durst’s Retail 2020

The biggest issue facing print buyers for retail brands is turn time and speed to market. How can print service providers best help retailers solve this problem?


HP Indigo 10000 Opens New Doors for Denver-Based Hampden Press

Denver-based Hampden Press recently added an HP Indigo 10000 Digital Press to its fleet of offset, digital and wide format presses and has been able to not only increase capacity and produce many brand-new applications, but has also seen revenues rise 10% as compared to last year, largely due to the HP Indigo 10000. Read more in this article sponsored by HP.


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