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Innovation with Print Software (Premium Content)

The source of our innovation is moving from the production floor to the customer’s mobile device. We are going from the differentiation based on speed, quality, and finishing to differentiation based on solving customer’s data challenges way upstream of the printing press.


Technical Printing on the Desktop (Premium Content)

Epson announced two new entry-level models in its SureColor T Series, designed for technical and AES (architecture, engineering, and construction) printing. These devices are targeted more to end users—architecture and design firms, SOHOs, etc.—than print service providers, which indicates the direction technical printing as market segment is going.


Looking to Enter the European Print Market? Know Where the Competition Really Is (Premium Content)

Traditional printers across Europe face stiff competition from cheaper online print service providers—and not just for commodity print products anymore. US printers hoping to enter the European market also face this daunting competition.


What Did Not Happen – June 2018 M&A Activity

Edwards Brothers Malloy shuts down as others consolidate book printing, transactional activity at five-year low, other major closures announced…


Around the Web: New Water-Repellent Textiles – A 3D Printing Playbook – CliffsNotes for Food Labels – Missile Mail! – Public Libraries’ Streaming Services – This Week in Printing History

A new process reduces the environmental impact of water-repellent textiles. Harvard Business Review looks at new possibilities for 3D printing. New health benefits of coffee. The best streaming service may just be your public library. RIP Harlan Ellison. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.


DPInnovations: A Complete web2fabric™ Workflow Solution (Premium Content)

Web-to-print is well established in the world of commercial printing, and web-to-fabric is now gaining steam in textiles, as the demand for shorter runs and faster turn times for customized and personalized textiles and apparel grows. We recently spoke with DPInnovations about its web2fabric workflow solution which has been installed in more than 20 customer locations.


Whose Job Is It to Create Demand for Print?

What do you think the role of the printing industry and printers, specifically, ought to be in demand generation for print? Do printers even have a responsibility to work together to generate demand for their own product?


Launched During the Great Recession, SpeedPro Marin Realized There Was “No Place to Go But Up” (Premium Content)

When Steve Moran-Cassese decided to launch a print business in the midst of the Great Recession, he knew it could only grow—and he was right. A mix of the right equipment and picking up on hot new application trends early on has helped SpeedPro Marin thrive. And, somewhat ironically, the Bay Area’s booming economy has created its own challenges.


Around the Web: Amazon’s On-Demand T-shirts – Cooking a 4,000-year-old recipe – “Cash is grief” – Mary Meeker Slide Roulette – This Week in Printing History

A "historical culinary event" featured a 4,000-year-old Mesopotamian recipe carved on a cuneiform tablet. Modern air conditioning was originally invented for a Brooklyn commercial print shop. Amazon beats out Google for product searches. The World Cup gives a lift to streaming services. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.


Smart Print Manufacturing Makes You Money (Premium Content)

Smart Print Manufacturing (SPM) can help companies achieve operational excellence. This article explores how SPM enables workflow automation so businesses can create quality products and services by adding value throughout the supply chain.


Trend Watch: Popularity of Press Coatings Drives “Designer Presses” (Premium Content)

Greater awareness of special print effects and press coatings is driving printers to rethink their press configurations to meet the demands of discerning customers who need high-impact, quick-turn, two-sided printing with press coatings at a competitive price.


Delivering Relevant Benefits in Print Sales (Premium Content)

Sales is about catering your company’s solutions to the specific challenges that are relevant to their current situation. There is no better way to lose a prospect’s attention then to talk about subjects that aren’t relevant to them.


Too Cool to Part With: The Superfan Company Creates Special Print Projects for Superfans

Brittany Hodak co-founded The Superfan Company to make “cool collectible stuff for superfans”—coffee table books, deluxe packages for albums and DVDs, subscription magazines, fan boxes, metal commemorative tickets, limited edition tour books, and more, elaborate, print-centric items that help bring fans closer to a beloved musician or athlete. We spoke with Hodak about her own journey that started at a local radio station and led to The Superfan Company—and an appearance on Shark Tank.


Now THAT’s the Way to Get the Message Out!

A look at one printer’s effort to reach out to the design and marketing community to promote the value of direct mail—and not just any direct mail, but direct mail designed to drive website traffic. It’s a real eye-catcher and great inspiration.


Production Inkjet—The Waves Continue: Ricoh Pro VC70000 (Premium Content)

In 2011, David Zwang began a series that looked at the current production inkjet product offerings from a wide range of vendors, discussing how they are being, or could be, used. Since then he has continued to evaluate and report on new developments. The latest product is the new Ricoh Pro VC70000, which rounds out the Ricoh VC Pro production print offerings with an impressive press targeted at higher-quality offset-to-digital migration with the ability to print on many commodity coated offset papers with higher ink densities and without the need for precoat.


Smithers Pira Tackles Digital with Two Conferences

Smithers Pira hosted two terrific digital printing conferences in Chicago earlier this month—Digital Print for Packaging and Digital Textile Printing. Both had great content and were very interactive. In this article, we’ve just scratched the surface of what was covered. We highly recommend putting these conferences on your calendar for next year!


In The Mail: June 2018 - What You Need to Know About Postal Issues (Premium Content)

Summer comes in with a flurry of reports: Household Diary Study finds mailed payments losing a lot of ground to e-payments…OIG report says USPS should do more to retain customers…Universal Postal Union study ranks USPS eighth in the world. Plus: Updates on PRC and BOG nominees.


New Pantone Polyester Standards Address Increased Demand for More Vibrant, Saturated Color (Premium Content)

Pantone has been providing color standards for the fashion, home, and interiors marketplace since 1987. Cotton standards were introduced in the mid-1990s. Since then, Pantone has developed additional textile color standards, including today’s announcement of 203 new colors for polyester. We spoke with Laurie Pressman, Vice President at Pantone Color Institute, to learn more.


Big Printers' Writedowns and Interest Payments Are a Big Drag on Printing Industry Profits

Writedowns in the first quarter of 2018 for commercial printers with $25 million or more in assets were $157 million, or 1.9% of sales. The assets may be written down, but the borrowing that was created to finance them remains. Interest expense was 4.8% of sales. For the quarter, losses were -1.47% of sales. That rate of loss made average profits before taxes for the industry a mediocre 3% of sales—which means that printers with less than $25 million in assets must have done well.


Around the Web: No More Sweater Pilling – Body Scanning – That Micro Moment – Flexo Innovation – Mary Meeker Slide Roulette – Escalators!!! – This Week in Printing History

Australian researchers have found a way to minimize unsightly pilling and help garments look better longer. HyperCard, the first application for creating interactive documents, was inspired by an acid trip. Fad Fashion? Micro Moments? Learn the new textile lexicon. Rats break into an ATM and eat $17K in cash. A random slide from Mary Meeker’s “Internet Trends Report.” Amazon’s Alexa will soon be sharing your hotel room. A keyboard that can fit in your pocket. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.


Pricing for Digital Part 3: Challenges in Developing Comprehensive Pricing Plans (Premium Content)

As digital delivery proliferates within the customer communications market, service providers with a legacy in print have been challenged to devise pricing models that position their operations for long-term sustainability. As part of its recently published research study entitled Pricing for Digital: Exploring New Models for Transactional Communications Delivery, Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends conducted more than a dozen in-depth interviews with print service providers in North America to gain a deeper understanding of the primary pricing obstacles that stakeholders face in today’s changing market. The final in a three-part series, this article explores the challenges that providers must overcome when developing comprehensive customer communications pricing plans.


Leadership Is Essential to Web-to-Print Implementations (Premium Content)

The transition between sales and implementation of web-to-print systems can be a rough road for the implementation team and the customer. The leadership of the implementation belongs with the printer—all too often the customers take the leadership and run the project off a cliff after spending lots of time and money.


Enhancing Label Production with Smart Workflow Automation

Leading companies in the labels business are benefiting from smart workflow automation. While some feel intimidated by the thought of changing a workflow that works—maybe not as well as it could—we've talked to folks who have made the transition and can't imagine how they actually functioned before.


The Final Column: The Security Guard Will Take Your Badge and Escort You to the Lobby

Back in 2002, Dr. Joe agreed to do a regular column for WhatTheyThink for “only one year and no more”...for 15 years. This farewell column explains how it started, behind-the-scenes intrigue, the problems, and why it turned out the way it did. And then…he explains the exciting adventures ahead.


Annual IPMA Conference Looks at the Changing Face of the In-Plant (Premium Content)

The 54th annual IPMA Conference provided a look at the current state of the in-plant printing department, with more than two dozen sessions and a vendor fair focusing on new opportunities such as interactive print and wide format, and overcoming top challenges such as outsourcing.


Around the Web: Bats in the Biblioteca – Mary Meeker Slide Roulette – DIY T Shirt Printing – “Recycled” Ancient Manuscripts – Bloomsday – This Week in Printing History

A library in Portugal uses a colony of bats to help preserve old books and documents. The UK is confounded by the name change from “Salad Cream” to “Sandwich Cream.” The new heroes of our age: Country Time Lemonade and Domino’s Pizza? A random slide from Mary Meeker’s “Internet Trends Report.” Uncovering lost “data” from ancient manuscripts. What happened this week in printing and publishing history. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.


Highlights from DSF 18: The DOCUMENT Strategy Forum (Premium Content)

Celebrating its 10th year, the 2018 DOCUMENT Strategy Forum (DSF 18) was held last month in Boston, Mass. This peer-driven, peer-reviewed, and peer-produced conference is designed to educate professionals on how to deliver and manage customer communications, customer engagement, and information management. As was the case in previous years, the 2018 event offered a wide array of educational sessions, executive round tables, panels, and inspiring keynotes. Visitors had plenty of opportunities to network with industry peers or any of the 44 exhibitors in attendance. This article reviews some highlights from DSF 18 through the lens of customer communications.


Latest Innovations in Your Print Business (Premium Content)

Do your innovation projects take into consideration what would be best for your customers? Your customers want to know that you’re innovating to solve their challenges.


Technology and the Changing Face of Flexographic Printing for Packaging (Premium Content)

Technological advances and market trends are forever changing the face of flexographic printing. Smithers Pira values the global flexo print market in 2013 at $147 billion, with a forecast for 2.3% CAGR. Key to this growth are packaging-related industries including corrugated board packaging, flexible packaging, bags and sacks, and others.


MWW Upholds Tradition While Pursuing Innovation (Premium Content)

MWW On Demand has leveraged automation and technology to gain its position as the single largest weaving and on-demand printing company for textile-based products in the U.S. The company employs digital printing technologies for heat transfer sublimation, direct-to-garment, and direct-to-textile, and is one of the few—or perhaps the only—company that maintained a large fleet of looms when others began sending weaving offshore. The result is a vertically integrated, environmentally sustainable, on demand manufacturing operation that is a model for the future of textiles.


Full-Time Employment, Sets New Record, Up +904,000, But Does It Really Feel that Good?

The May employment report was regarded as good, but when you dig past the top-level numbers, it was better than it looked. However, while the 3.8% unemployment rate looks good on the surface, it really can’t be compared to when it was last attained nearly 20 years ago. So many workers left the workforce that this figure implies a tighter labor than it really is. We will really know we have a strong economy when the active labor force starts increasing.


Around the Web: GDPR as Sleep Therapy – Vintage NSA Workplace Posters – “Smart Hemp” – New iOS AR Features – Mary Meeker Slide Roulette – Mermaids for Hire – This Week in Printing History

Government Attic discovered a load of NSA workplace posters from the 50s, 60s, and 70s—you can even get them on a T shirt. A 3D printer outputs custom-designed pancakes. Don’t call it “dope”: hemp used for intelligent textiles. A random slide from Mary Meeker’s “Internet Trends Report.” What happened this week in printing and publishing history. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.


Corrugated Gets Glam—May 2018 M&A Activity

DS Smith builds out US platform in corrugated, Traxium acquires two, LSC buys and sells, Deluxe automates soft skill, and more.


Pricing for Digital Part 2: Hurdles in Demonstrating Value through Services (Premium Content)

As digital delivery proliferates within the customer communications market, service providers with a legacy in print have been challenged to devise pricing models that position their operations for long-term sustainability. As part of its recently published research study entitled Pricing for Digital: Exploring New Models for Transactional Communications Delivery, Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends conducted more than a dozen in-depth interviews with print service providers in North America to gain a deeper understanding of the primary pricing obstacles that stakeholders face in today’s changing market. The second in a three-part series, this article examines the hurdles that providers encounter in the market as they attempt to demonstrate value through their services.


The Selling Power of a Successful Client Event (Premium Content)

A successful client event can drive a lot of business your way, and deepen relationships with your customers. This week, Trish will share the secrets of successful events, along with some of the biggest mistakes that can trip up even the most well-intentioned host.


Coloreel Tackles Thread Waste (Premium Content)

What if you could cost-effectively color thread on demand? You know exactly how much of each color you need and in what order. You produce what you need, and you can do even very complex embroidery designs using a single head. That’s a dream that’s rapidly becoming a reality. Coloreel is another example of thread on demand in action. We spoke to CEO Mattias Nordin to take a deeper look.


Are You Sending Personalization that Isn’t Personal?

This morning, I received a personalized email that was anything but personal. While this was an email, the mistake could easily have ended up in print, and it offers object lessons for all of us. Before we send out anything data-driven, let’s make sure it reads as if it was written by a human being.


Canon Launches Océ LabelStream 4000 5-Color UV Inkjet and Flexo Hybrid Press (Premium Content)

Canon is not just entering the label and packaging press market, but challenging the current label press market with the new Océ LabelStream 4000, a 5-color inkjet hybrid UV press that continues to show their strengths in production inkjet.


Experiential Graphics Are a Growing Subset of Wide Format, But Can Require a Different Approach in Terms of Sales and Production (Premium Content)

“Experiential graphics” are a form of interior décor that are becoming a fast-growing part of wide-format and signage. Pursuing that particular application requires a somewhat different strategy than traditional commercial printing—or even traditional wide-format printing.


Gerber Technology: Advancing Automation in Fashion and Apparel (Premium Content)

For 50 years, Gerber Technology has been providing solutions for the fashion and apparel industry, from planning through sourcing and production. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Karsten Newbury, Senior Vice President and General Manager, and Mary McFadden, Executive Director, CAD Product Management, to learn about the company’s latest offerings and how they help the industry in the analog-to-digital transformation.


Around the Web: E License Plates – Direct-to-Egg Printing – Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report – 36 Days of Type – This Week in Printing History

California experiments with E Ink-based license plates. Mary Meeker’s hotly anticipated annual Internet trends presentation has arrived. The first “cyberattack” took place nearly 200 years ago. A beautiful and brilliant collection of crowdsourced letter and number designs. ANA Acquires DMA. What happened this week in printing and publishing history. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.


USPS Challenge: “Mr. Scratch-Off” Digital Variable Scratch and Reveal Technology (Premium Content)

In the ongoing search for new print techniques and technologies for mail, Trish highlights an exciting digital variable scratch-off collaboration between Mohawk, HP and Lawton Connect in Orlando.


Pricing for Digital Part 1: Overcoming Obstacles on the Path to Profitable Pricing (Premium Content)

As digital delivery proliferates within the customer communications market, service providers with a legacy in print have been challenged to devise pricing models that position their operations for long-term sustainability. As part of its recently published research study entitled Pricing for Digital: Exploring New Models for Transactional Communications Delivery, Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends conducted more than a dozen in-depth interviews with print service providers in North America to gain a deeper understanding of the primary pricing obstacles that stakeholders face in today’s changing market. The first in a three-part series, this article explores the hurdles that providers encounter in the market and considers the approaches they have developed as they attempt to establish profitable pricing models.


Learn from Print Sales Losses (Premium Content)

When you lose a sales deal, how does your company react? Do you have a culture of learning from losses or do you have a culture of blaming? A sales loss is a treasure trove of learning—successful companies evaluate and adjust for their next pitch.


Looking for Cool Leggings? Check Out Bombsheller and Its On-Demand Manufacturing Model (Premium Content)

Pablos Holman is a serial entrepreneur whose latest venture is Bombsheller, an online source for leggings manufactured on demand. Customers can select from more than a thousand designs, or upload their own, and each pair of leggings, which are available in 10 sizes, is digitally printed, cut, and sewn, with shipment in 24 hours in most cases.


What Do These 5 “Mail Trends” Tell Us?

These five mail trends from DirectMail 2.0 raise interesting questions about how we are (or are not) proving the value of print and the opportunities that are lost when we don’t.


Breaking Into the “European” Print Market: Understand Geographies and Cultures (Premium Content)

Morten Reitoft of INKISH.TV kicks off a new series of editorials offering advice for U.S. companies seeking to enter the European print market. In this first installment, Reitoft stresses that “Europe” is not a single, monolithic market.


Kudos to Canon Solutions Americas on Great QR Code Implementation

Canon Solutions America’s use of QR Codes in a recent white paper is a great example of everything done right. This is a model of how to do QR Codes well.


Around the Web: Investing in the Swamp – The Quest for Red Pigment – Scented Postage – The Retail Apocalypse Deferred – Blockchain and Digital Signage – Towel Day

Investing in companies by how much they spend on lobbying. Searching for a safe, bright red pigment. Making your mail smell like popsicles. Exaggerating the death of retail. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.


Highlights from the 2018 National Postal Forum (Premium Content)

Earlier this month, the National Postal Forum (NPF) celebrated its 50th anniversary in San Antonio, Tex., with more than 4,000 professionals from the mailing and shipping industry. In addition to the five primary educational tracks over the four-day event, NPF had nearly 130 exhibitors in the exhibitor hall. This analysis provides highlights from the NPF’s Opening General Session, as well as an overview of the USPS’s latest innovations.


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