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The Nutrition Facts Label Gets a Makeover, and the Label Industry Gets a Mandate

In one way or another, the changes will alter the labeling of virtually every packaged food and beverage product. But, label producers expect to be able to take it all in stride.


Mid-Year Progress Report: The 2016 Story So Far (Premium Content)

The first half of 2016 is in the books. How is the industry faring thus far compared o last year? Our new Economics and Research Center report looks at the latest economic, technological, and cultural trends affecting the industry.


Look What I Found! Print! (Premium Content)

An Olgivy & Mather executive discovers print. We need to discover it, too, looking at print through the eyes of our clients and prospects. It's not that print is dead or not dead, there is a generation of media buyers for whom print is not alive. This ad exec's comments are vital in understanding how to make print relevant and, surprisingly, new.


Color Plus Personalization: Selling the Value of Inkjet (Premium Content)

Many marketers are turning to color and personalization to create pieces with strong visual appeal that prompt consumers to take action. This article cites recent InfoTrends research to explore the effects of color and personalization.


Arizona-based bluemedia Takes Unique Approach to Large Format Workflow

Arizona-based large format printer bluemedia has taken a unique approach to workflow that is serving them well, making it possible to efficiently produce large and small projects – including all of the Super Bowl graphics.


Packaging Material Moving Towards a $1 Trillion Milestone in 2020

The demand for packaging is growing everywhere, but the growth is far from being uniform or monolithic. As always, consumer trends and preferences dictate which packaging formats will gain the most market share.


The New OSHA Injury and Illness Recordkeeping Rule Is Final

OSHA’s latest injury and illness recordkeeping rule is now on the books. Now is the time to review your records and safety policies and make sure they are accurate and compliant with. SGIA’s Rick Hartwig walks us through the new rule and requirements and what they mean for print businesses.


How Much Excellence Is in Your Operation?

A new book by former HP Executive Dieter Legat is a how-to guide for getting to operational excellence. Surf the Waves of Opportunity: Lead your business to operational excellence with five things done right, draws on Legat’s many years of operational and consulting experience to provide a working model that can be used in any business.


Dotcom Survivor Retains Print – June 2016 M&A Activity

Dot-com era company, Internet Brands, with backing from KKR, invests in Fodor’s travel guides and commits to maintain print editions, Transcontinental builds flexible packaging division with third US acquisition, Weyerhaeuser completes next step of exit from paper business, ALJ Regional bolts Color Optics onto portfolio company Phoenix Color and more.


Social Media Should Be Part of Your Marketing Mix (Premium Content)

When used effectively, B2B social media marketing can be an essential avenue for building awareness. It can also establish you as a thought leader and act as a mechanism for creating an ongoing dialogue with customers. This article explores what social media techniques B2B firms are using, as well as why and how they are being used.


Xerox and RR Donnelley to Merge? What Would This Mean for the Industry?

Say what? Mainstream media is reporting that the two are in talks, and all this in the middle of Breaking Up Is Hard to Do for both companies. Xerox responded to an email inquiry early this morning with this: “All we are willing to share at this point is that we don’t comment on market speculation.” Expected. RR Donnelley has always been extremely close to the vest even when the topic is not material, so there wasn’t any point in reaching out there. But we do have our feelers out to see what we can pick up.


Web-to-Print From the Customer’s Perspective

Web-to-Print software is sold to printing companies. Yet, the primary users of web-to-print solutions are a printing company's customers. This situation is the cause of many issues with the success of web-to-print programs. We have three perspectives at work (only one really matters).


Shutterfly and HP Indigo: The Inside Scoop (Premium Content)

At drupa 2016, HP Indigo announced its largest deal ever – 25 HP Indigo 12000s to go to photo specialty printer Shutterfly. This is notable not only for the size of the agreement but for the fact that all 25 units are to be installed over the summer in order to be ready for peak production in the 4th quarter – a monumental task.


Think 3D Printing is Not for You? Think Again!

3D printing was one of six focused areas at drupa 2016. Most printing operations are probably wondering how this can apply to their businesses. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne has some ideas to share that will shed light on the subject.


Next Stop, Industry 4.0: an Interview with Anthony Thirlby (Premium Content)

A master printer, a consultant, and now, the leader of Heidelberg’s Prinect workflow software business, Anthony Thirlby has a framework for process automation that he says can transform every printing plant.


Employment Data Discombobulation Might Require an IRL Meeting (Premium Content)

Commercial printing's workforce reflects consolidation and leaner management. Last week's employment data was so haphazard it looks suspiciously like a dart board was involved. The USPS still needs to be Spooner-fed. If this all sounds confusing, perhaps it's time for an IRL with Dr. Joe.


For This Wrap Cup Master, Competition is Education

This year’s FESPA Wrap Cup Master Jim Miller started in vehicle graphics at the age of 15, applying screen printed decals to his father’s Little Debbie truck. Today, Miller Decals installs vehicle graphics and other types of displays for more than 600 customers around the country.


Successful Sales: Finding the Right Talent (Premium Content)

The relationship sell that worked perfectly fine just a few years ago isn’t good enough anymore. Many sales managers face a common pitfall—they fail to define the skills that are required before determining a strategy. This article discusses the six capabilities are essential for selling successfully in today’s market.


Recovery Indicators Better than Recent Economic News

The recovery indicators showed better economic activity in June. This ended the second quarter in a manner that seemed contrary to many recent economic data.


Are We Headed to QE4?

This chart shows the Fed's balance sheet in the format known as the St. Louis Adjusted Monetary Base. Prior to the doubling of that balance sheet, it was growing at the annual rate of 6%, which was basically comprised of the long term rates of 1% for population growth, 2% for inflation, and 3% for economic growth.


drupa 2016: A Watershed Event

In this article, David Zwang gives a recap of some of the interesting exhibits, products, and some important trends that came out of drupa 2016.


Fall in Love with the Problems - That Software Solves

The biggest mistake in software decisions is relegating the discussion down to the feature level. The feature is a potential solution to an often ill-defined problem which may or may not be relevant to your business.


May Printing Shipments Up +1.2% Versus 2015; Trend is Flattening

US commercial printing shipments for May16 were $7.37 billion, the highest level in current dollars for the month since 2013. For the first five months of 2016, shipments are up approximately +$476 million in current dollars (+1.4%) and up +$79 billion after inflation (+0.2%)


Start-Up Label Producer Seeks Short-Run, Multi-SKU Opportunities

A new label and package printing company is open for business in Lowell, MA. It's called InTouch Labels & Packaging, and while its start-up footprint may be small, its ambitions are anything but.


Emmy-Worthy Press Conferences at drupa 2016

For journalists, drupa means a press conference marathon. Most of these conferences have great content, and it is important to be able to ask questions of executives during these sessions to be able to bring the most accurate and important news to our readers. In this post, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne highlights four press conferences that are deserving of special recognition.


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.


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