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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.


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.


The Printing Industry and Patent Trolls – The Industry Responds— What to Do and Not to Do

This is an update to my previous two articles on the growing issue of patent trolls attempting to extort funds from print service providers and OEMs by claiming patent infringement, mostly on bad patents that can easily be invalidated through Prior Art.


Video Meets Print: Two Worlds Collide (Premium Content)

Marketers see video as a more engaging alternative that is capable of delivering a message more succinctly. The worlds of print and video are beginning to merge, and this article explores how companies like Americhip are bridging the gap between the technologies.


Inkjet drupa 2016 – Continuing the Story – Fujifilm

In this article, David looks at the state of Fujifilm imaging, its successful reintroduction of the J Press 720S, the J Press 540W, and a new technology demonstration at drupa, as well as some of its other current technologies.


Graphic Design Employment Up +6%, Agencies up +2.8%

Content creation is in a strong uptrend based on the latest employment data. Graphic design employment is up +6%, and has taken over from public relations employment as the surging area of hiring.


Dr. Joe's Reading for a New Day

Recommended reading from Dr. Joe Webb: It's the end of days for London's print newspaper New Day. Atlanta Fed's GDPNow Model Estimating Q2-2016 GDP at +2.2%, Lingering Effects of Recession, Justice Denies Staples and OfficeDepot... Again. Rubbing Sahl in an Old Wound


A Puzzling Future for Specialty Magazines – April 2016 M&A Activity

April 2016 – Mergers, Acquisitions & Restructuring in the Printing, Packaging & Related Industries


Working In vs. Working On Your Print Business

The temptation is to roll up your sleeves and work in your business. The only job that you can’t delegate to anyone on your staff is working on the business (future plans, strategy, diversification).


New Leadership at NPES/GASC: A Conversation with Thayer Long

A little over a week into his new role as President of NPES/GASC, Thayer Long, who has taken over from Ralph Nappi, speaks with Senior Editor Cary Sherburne in this WhatTheyThink exclusive interview about why he is excited about his new role and what he expect to achieve moving forward


Pride of Place for Labels and Packaging at Pazazz

Warren Werbitt is a passionate printer, and one of his most successfully cultivated passions is the production of high-quality, high-margin labels and packaging.


The Latest Latex Wideformat Printers

Last week, HP announced two new series of Latex printers, so this seems as good a time as any to offer a little “Latex 101” primer for those who may be new to the topic and technology.


Do You Have a Culture of Honest Data? (Premium Content)

The latest employment report had analysts scratching their heads. One ugly report does not a recession make, and things may not be as bad as it seemed. It could just be the same old lackluster recovery. Joel Quadracci had some interesting comments about Quad's restructuring efforts that have a good lesson for all managers. Honest data can take a beating in politics, whether they're in elections or in business offices. Does your business have a culture of frankness in the way it reports information?


Ink Ado: Frank Visits with Benny Landa

Benny Landa drives fast. I think he is in a hurry to reach the future. We had been on a whirlwind visit to the several Landa facilities in Tel Aviv, Israel and we were heading to a secret lab buried in the bowels of a non-descript industrial building.


Selling to SMBs: It’s Time to Get Your Digital Game On! (Premium Content)

Just like large enterprises, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) want to look credible and professional as they spread the word about their businesses. This article explores the top business priorities of today’s SMBs, how the marketing mix is changing, and what it takes to win in this market.


19 Consecutive Months of Improved US Commercial Printing Shipments

US commercial printing shipments have increased compared to the prior year for 19 consecutive months. March 2016 shipments were up +$85 million (+1.1%) in current dollars compared to 2015, and +$22 million (+0.3%) after adjusting for inflation. February 2016 shipments were revised up by $2 million.


Recovery Indicators Better than the Recent General Economic News

The recovery indicators are more positive than the general economic news. One of our indicators, the NASDAQ, is down -1.7% since last month. It's been on a rocky road for the last three quarters. Its recent peak was 5218.86 in July, and it has not gotten really close since. Stock market concerns have focused on a decline in the rate of corporate profits, and Apple's recent financial report did not really help matters. There was a bullish rise in non-manufacturing orders. Manufacturing new orders index might look like a decline, but it is still indicate moderate growth. Proprietors income, a measure of the health of small business, was up only slightly. Other reports of small business health have not been good, especially the recent NFIB Small Business report. This month's recovery indicators don't indicate recession, a word that is bandied about with greater frequency lately, but support the continuing unsatisfying levels of slow but positive growth.


Top 5 Priorities for Your Print Business Website (Premium Content)

Your print business website should be a living, engaging, and a results delivering part of your business growth plan. For business-to-business printers, this means delivering qualified leads to your sales team.


Pitney Bowes Seeds the Cloud with a New Set of Commerce Enablers

The company, traditionally known for postage meters, sees a $40 billion marketplace for its digitally enabled shipping and transaction services.


Innovative Digital Print Production Strategies Drive Dramatic Growth at Quality Tape and Label

In 2008, this full-service label & packaging company saw the writing on the wall with respect to the looming impact of digital printing technologies on its business and wanted to get ahead of the curve with digital adoption.


Eyes on the Packaging and Labels Prize: an Interview with Sappi’s Mark Odgers (Premium Content)

Sappi’s credentials as a supplier of coated fine papers are impeccable. Now the company is taking steps to achieve the same high profile as a source of papers for packaging and labels.


Software for Wide-Format: Beyond the Creative Cloud (Premium Content)

Two weeks ago, at Roland’s second annual ImagiNATION user conference, Giveme Help’s Mark Rugen ran down a list of some lesser-known image editing programs and other utilities for professionals doing design and production for wide-format graphics. Here are some highlights.


Infographic: Driving Smarter Customer Engagement

IDC recently conducted research to gain insight into the evolving Customer Communication Management (CCM) landscape. The study focused on the healthcare, a traditionally document-intensive industry. This infographic provides key insight into the document strategies used within the US healthcare system.


Q1-2016 GDP +0.5%; Inventory Correction Finally Arrives

US real GDP for Q1-2016 was reported at annual growth of only +0.5% compared to Q4-2015. On a year-to-year basis, the growth rate was +1.95%. The inventory adjustment that the economy has needed finally came, with the lowest net inventories in two years. Real GDP growth less inventories was +2.3% on a year-to-year basis.


Harte Hanks Leverages Technology and Direct Mail in the Multi-Channel Customer Journey (Premium Content)

As marketers seek techniques to create effective direct mail, technologies like high-speed, full-color inkjet are creating opportunities to produce personalized and customized direct mail items that will truly capture consumers’ attention. This article explores how Harte Hanks has leveraged advanced digital printing capabilities to effectively deliver targeted, personalized direct mail touches that weave seamlessly into the multi-channel customer journey.


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