Recent Commentary & Analysis
Requires Premium Membership
Displaying 501-550 of thousands of articles
Some people say that the news is always bad, and they wish someone would report good news now and then. There is good news but no one seems to report it. You’d think that would be a full time job for someone. The economy has set a record for full time employment, and all we hear are crickets. The economy has been doing better lately in some key measures of employment, but the Fed is scaring markets by preparing to raise rates. TINA, meet TAMA, the result of the Fed’s actions; don’t worry, we’ll explain it. The statisticians at the Commerce Department revised printing shipments data. Revising data seems to be a full time job in the Beltway. Dr. Joe clarifies it all for one nearly last time.
Textiles and corrugated were the two major themes of this year’s FESPA Global Print Expo. Here are some quick hits from the show.
Durable goods orders for consumers (less transportation) are growing at a rate almost two times faster than Real GDP. This data series remains -14% below where it was at the start of the recession in December 2017, and is a critical one to monitor for indications of an improved economy.
Digital ad revenue, digitally colored embroidery, and curbing your media consumption. All that and more this week in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
Throwback Thursday, Bindery Edition: Trish Asks Trade Binderies About Their Most Useful Vintage Machines ()
In this special Throwback Thursday feature, Trish reaches out to trade binderies to hunt for funky vintage machines that are still useful in today’s modern workflow. This first edition features fascinating finds from four well-known US binderies.
Quad/Graphics has launched Accelerated Insights, a cloud-based software tool to enhance—and some might even say revolutionize—direct mail testing. This article explores the features of Accelerated Insights and describes its effects on direct mailing.
Psychographic targeting is easier than ever. But can it be trusted? If it can, why aren’t more printers using it? A look inside psychographic targeting and its benefits.
Every industry is being transformed by a new staffing option for the “jobs to be done” and that staffing option is software. Your business needs to get stuff done—some of that stuff needs to be done by humans and a lot of that stuff needs to be done by software.
WhatTheyThink is live at FESPA Berlin 2018 on Day 2 of the show. Welcome to the concept of the microfactory.
In 2018, the combined active and intelligent packaging market value is projected to reach $5.68 billion and will continue to present new value-adding options in the future according to the latest market analysis from Smithers Pira. Read on for more highlights of Smithers Pira’s latest report.
The FESPA Global Print Expo 2018 kicked off in Berlin this morning. Here is a quick teaser of some early show highlights.
According to new research, marketers are increasingly investing in second- and third-party data to create 360-degree views of their customers. Are your customers doing the same? Are they prepared to compete? Read more.
What do we talk about when we talk about “wide format”? How is the term definitionally changing—and what does it even mean anymore? And more importantly, how does whatever we define as “wide format” play nice with other kinds of printing such as industrial, packaging, and commercial? And how can we navigate the “convergence” of these different print silos? Read on for more.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis’ advance report estimated that Q1-2018 real gross domestic product was up at an annual rate of +2.3%, which was slower than the +2.9% for Q4-2017. Because companies and individuals, especially corporations, shifted expenses into 2017 and delayed revenue recognition to 2018 to take advantage of the rates in the new tax law, many key economic data series—such as this one—will be subject to larger than usual revision.
Blockchain, Buffett, and blurring boundaries. Silk and sneakers. One space or two? WhatTheyThink’s new regular Friday feature, Around the Web, presents a miscellany of random news items that caught the attention of our contributors this week. Read on for more.
Seth Godin, world-renowned entrepreneur and marketing and publishing guru, will be keynoting this September’s PRINT 18. Cary Sherburne spoke to him about the changing role of print in today’s marketing and publishing landscape. Read on for some insights from one of today’s thought leaders.
Managing color in today’s ever-changing environment has long been a challenge for printers. No two scanners, monitors, or printers will reproduce colors identically, making it necessary to implement specialized color management systems to achieve an exact match across devices. This article explores some of the options that are available for printers.
Xerox has just introduced the very interesting Xerox® IridesseTM Production Press into the global market, the latest electrophotographic machine in its product lineup. With all of the media hype surrounding the Xerox Fujifilm merger, this new press shows how well Xerox and Fuji Xerox can work together to create technology that brings innovation and value to the market and the company, something you may not be hearing in the distracting news streams. Read on for more.
If you’re on your way to embarking on a Print MIS transition, then you need to sit down and pretend the whole thing was a spectacular failure. Once you’re in that uncomfortable place—work backwards and build a plan to prevent its untimely death.
For a dozen years, Forrest Leighton held marketing roles at Canon USA, and then spent four years with Marcomm Central. Today, he is Vice President of Marketing at MakerBot, a Stratasys company and a global leader in desktop 3D printing solutions. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with him recently to learn more about MakerBot and how 3D printing might be a relevant opportunity for commercial, sign & display graphics, packaging and textile printers.
Transcontinental TC closes transformative transactions, ProAmpac buys, commercial printers actively acquire; Herbie finally retires, and more.
Changing market dynamics, including the increasing proliferation of digital printing technologies for textiles and apparel, are boosting reshoring efforts in many countries. UK-based Standfast & Barracks has worked closely with digital textile printer manufacturer Durst to help accelerate this trend using its Durst Alpha Series digital textile printers. Read more.
A major theme of last week’s InPrint Industrial Inkjet Conference in Chicago was the emerging distinction between two specific kinds of industrial printing: printing as part of a larger manufacturing process and what we have often called specialty printing. The conference explored the differences between them, where the growth areas are, and what the drivers of that growth are. Read on for some reflections on the conference.
Smaller print shops face many of the same challenges as larger shops, so the need for a single system of record to manage the business is just as critical. Until recently, the only solution was purchasing an expensive print MIS with integration capabilities and pay for professional services to set up the connectivity to the other software solutions. This article explores how things are beginning to change for the better for small print shops.
Faces of Finishing: Julie Watson of Ultimate TechnoGraphics on Building Software for Prepress-to-Finishing Automation ()
In the latest installment of this interview series, Trish Witkowski talks with Julie Watson, CEO of Ultimate Technographics, about developing software that drives value by eliminating touchpoints in the bindery.
Tel Aviv-based fashion designer Danit Peleg creates custom garments and accessories using desktop 3D printers. Today, Peleg is also in the process of creating and uploading to her site designs that can be downloaded and printed. Read on for more on her unique projects.
There is a conflux of pressures on businesses today: increase speed, personalize products, respond to the market faster, localize the messaging, and do all this with less people on a tighter budget. Read on for tips on how to cope with these challenges.
One of the high points of the Color Conference held earlier this year was a talk by Lisa Price, Design Operations Director at 3M. I was able to speak to Lisa recently to get a little more detail about her very successful Print Quality Management Program that helps her manage a network of more than 700 printers worldwide. Read more.
New research from Smithers Pira points to major growth for corrugated in serving the fast-developing e-commerce packaging markets. Read on for more detail.
Fashion designer Michal Ratzman turned to digital textile printing to find a way to make her dress design business more attractive to buyers and more profitable for her. By switching to the sell-then-manufacture model from manufacture-then-hope-to-sell, she is able to provide more customized apparel solutions while eliminating returns, inventory and waste for her on-demand dress manufacturing business, byme.
Within the direct-to-shape printing for packaging market, digital printing is generally growing as a complement to offset, flexo, and other analog presses that print labels, folding cartons, flexible packaging, and corrugated. This article explores the direct-to-shape market by answering some basic questions about it.
President Donald Trump signs an Executive Order forming a Task Force to evaluate operations and finances of the U.S. Postal System…The PRC Scolds the USPS for performance shortfalls…Promo standstill…No returns needed.
Paul Marino of Impress Communications Puts 100% Accuracy into Practice with “Picture-Perfect” Bobst ACCUCHECK System ()
Trish visits the team at Impress Communications in Chatsworth, Calif., and speaks with owner Paul Marino about the challenges and the benefits of installing a 100% accurate quality control inspection system on their Bobst EXPERTFOLD folder-gluer line.
Our important customers get our attention and our dedicated resources. What happens when customers prefer online tools over dedicated resources? Read on to find out.
If anyone is using QR codes, it’s Millennials, right? If anyone understands the value of QR codes, it’s marketers. So why doesn’t this Millennial marketer use them? Read on to find out.
In preparation for attending TechTextil/TexProcess in Atlanta in May, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne connected with Will Duncan, Executive Director of SEAMS, a trade organization dedicated to empowering the Made in America movement by supercharging the U.S. supply chain from concept to customer. Learn more about SEAMS and the benefits of joining the effort.
For about 15 years, Carbon Wraps Orlando has specialized in highly creative vehicle graphics. They took car wrapping to the next level when they worked with local artist Kurt Meister and Avery Dennison to wrap one of his paintings on a vehicle live at the ISA Sign Expo last March. Read on for more about the company and this unique project.
A Significant Speed Boost and Cost Reduction with Hybrid Production Inkjet for Flexible Packaging ()
UTECO Group, in conjunction with Kodak, has released and will be installing the first Sapphire EVO aqueous-based production hybrid inkjet press for flexible packaging. This newly designed press significantly raises the bar on production speed while lowering operational costs compared with existing digital solutions.
Can apparel be completely manufactured in an automated environment? Not yet. But it’s coming soon and will revolutionize apparel manufacturing. Learn how NextWave, and its partners EFI, Klieverik, Zund, and Henderson are creating an on demand microfactory, which will be on display at TechTextil/TexProcess in Atlanta in May.
The results from InfoTrends’ annual transactional communications survey uncovered some surprising shifts in opinions about paper-based and electronic communications. This article cites recent survey data to explore how printed and electronic bills and statements continue to coexist in the customer communications market.
Mobile Internet usage continues to grow, including the percentage of users who are mobile-only. Consequently, multichannel marketing strategies must incorporate the full mobile experience. Is your mobile competency keeping pace? Read on to see.
A print software application can do certain jobs for your business. Once you’ve proven it works, don’t forget to execute. Deploy the software so it does that job across your entire organization. Read on to find out how.
Great Northern Corporation added an HP PageWide T400S inkjet press to its operation last year to bring more flexibility to its unique ultra-strong folding cartons. In this post, learn how Great Northern is leveraging offset and digital for more efficiency, and the approach the company has taken to filling the gap between corrugated and folding carton.
Following its announcement of its formation as a joint venture between BOBST and Radex last July, Mouvent is now bringing its innovative textile printers to market. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Ghislain Segard, Marketing & Sales Manager for Textile Machines at Mouvent, to get more details about the current product and Mouvent’s strategies for the future. Read more.
“Staying the course” does not refer to golf, but might be an answer to “Aren’t we there yet?” When all of your economic models are based on something old, and not something new, that could make you blue, and confused. Since we’re now talking about weddings of the business kind, the Amazon-USPS wedding has gotten a lot of press lately. Don’t they take such a pretty picture together? Well, maybe not. The relationship solves one problem and creates another. No, not the in-laws again… what do they want now?
Despite all the talk about personalized mailings, how often do any of us really receive relevant data-driven direct mail? Is the rarity of truly personalized mail part of what makes it effective?
The Federal Reserve revised 2015–2017 industrial production down from its original reports, meaning that industrial production peaked in 2014 and then slowed. The initial data made things seem better than what consumers and employees were actually experiencing.
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) offer a great deal of opportunity for print service providers. This article highlights key communication trends and opportunities in the SMB market, as identified in Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends’ recent research study In Search of Business Opportunities: Finding the Right Prospects.
In the second of this two-part feature on production chain productivity, guest-writer Henrik Christiansen of Graphic Robotics addresses the quantitative aspects of automation, and how the robotization of finishing processes in the appropriate production environments can greatly reduce labor costs and improve productivity. Read on.
The Association for Print Technologies (APTech), through its PRIMIR Research Unit and Market Data programs, provides a wealth of woefully underutilized industry research that can be of great practical use to all the links in the print supply chain—not just suppliers and vendors but print service providers, as well. Read on to see how.