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Global Bond Rates May Make it Hard for the Fed to Affect US Long-Term Rates

The Fed has been in unchartered territory with its post-2008 actions, and unwinding them may take a bit of creativity. One of their obstacles might be the rates of long term government bonds around the world. The chart below shows the yield of 10-year bonds earlier this week. The rate on US 10-year bonds is more than 4x Japan's and more than 2x Germany's. In an odd situation, US bonds are actually paying less than those of Spain. Global investors looking for yield (pension funds, governments, mutual funds, and others) may thwart Fed actions by finding US funds to be compelling deals on a relative basis. The Fed can usually affect only short term rates, which was one of the reasons they became aggressive in buying long term debt in their Quantitative Easing (QE) actions. Getting yields down for all durations is what made their actions were essentially unprecedented for the US. If they attempt to sell their holdings quickly to raise rates, there might be more buyers than they anticipate, making the action fruitless. It still looks like once the QE buying is done in the next few weeks the Fed will simply let their most of their holdings mature rather than force-feed them to the market. Listen for the word “macroprudential” in the next months. That's how Fed officials are describing the gentle prodding they may have to take to reverse their course. It turns out that some of the Fed members are worried their actions may encounter resistance, so they will resort to some arm-twisting to push banks to act in the manner they want. That hasn't worked well in the past, and it probably won't work well now, but it does add a word to our vocabulary.


Making the Transformation: Highlights from InfoTrends’ North American Production Print Study (Premium Content)

Later this month, InfoTrends will release a new study that examines various industry segments and drivers for success among print service providers. This research uncovered five key factors for success in today’s transforming market. This document provides an overview of the findings from the survey and explores how successful service providers are bringing increased value to their customers.


More Print Industry Shelfware: CRM Systems

Lots of Print MIS systems have added CRM modules to their offering. This makes sense, the Print MIS should be your system of record for all the interactions you have with current customers, adding a layer on top of your Print MIS would give you access to all the business the customer transacts with you.


Memjet Looks Back At Its First Generation Printheads—and Ahead to Generation Next (Premium Content)

The first-generation Memjet-based devices have hit the market, and have helped wide-format inkjet conquer the speed challenge. What will second-gen Memjet look like?


For Packagers, Some (Pet) Food for Thought

We Americans love our pets, and there’s no surer proof than the staggering sums we spend on feeding them. That spending drives a gravy train for packagers serving the pet food vertical.


Million-Dollar Presses: High End Presses Remake the Role of Digital in Packaging (Premium Content)

Digital presses in B2 formats are starting to make their presences felt in corrugated, folding carton, and even flexible packaging, where analog production predominates but where the demand for short-run, variably printed packages is rising. Although placement of these presses remains modest, interest in them is undeniable, and adoption will grow.


The Print MIS Job Costing Challenge and Opportunity

Undoubtedly one of the hardest and most stressful parts of configuring and then running your Print MIS is the job costing component. Being in a position to use your Print MIS to accurately compare estimate to actual costs is often given up on in frustration due to the complexity of the setup and configuration. However, when it is done, and done properly it is the ultimate definition of a successful Print MIS system.


Redefining Print: Joel Quadracci Discusses Quad/Graphics and the View from the Industry’s Front Ranks (Premium Content)

At the recent PRIMEX East leadership conference by IDEAlliance, Quad/Graphics Chairman, President and CEO Joel Quadracci gave a keynote presentation in which he reviewed the state of the industry, discussed the impact of new technologies, and commented on Quad’s rise to the number two position among all U.S. printing firms.


3 Critical Factors for Web-to-Print Sales & Marketing Success

Would you put your Sales department in charge of your next IT project? Heck no! So why do you put your IT department in charge of your web-to-print projects?


Labels without Limits: Meet the Graphium Hybrid Press

Developed in partnership, the Graphium offers a unique combination of digital printing, conventional flexo and various finishing options geared towards the tag and label market. It is a totally modular solution that lets printers configure the press to fit the needs of their customer bases.


Inflation-adjusted Commercial & Industrial Loans Growing

Commercial and industrial loans took a while to start growing again, almost two years after the recovery started. Loans now total $1.7 trillion, the highest amount in the history of the data series, a little more than 10% of GDP. Overall, they are up about 40% on a current dollar basis since mid-2010.


Game-Changers for the Printing Industry: Beacons (Premium Content)

We all know that mobile technology is prevalent in our day-to-day lives. Beacons are capturing the attention of technology junkies, retailers, and event planners alike. This article, which is part of a series discussing disruptive forces that are expected to impact the market, explores the effects that beacons are expected to have on retail shopping, tradeshows, and events.


Technology Money Pit or Worthwhile Investment?

If you have ever purchased a heritage home with the vision of renovating it to become a beautifully restored family home for a reasonable budget that you have carefully considered and thought out, you know how foolish that budget may feel once you have actually completed those renovations and uncover all of the hidden heritage wonder. I call our 1908 house the lovely money pit – it’s lovely but it sure proved to be a money pit.


GI Solutions Doubles Throughput with Second-Generation Production Inkjet Presses

GI Solutions in Leicester UK is on its second generation of high-speed production inkjet presses. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Patrick Headley, Deputy Managing Director, to find out what the drivers were for the technology replacement and what benefits the company is seeing.


Big Points: A “This Point Forward” Approach to Wide-Format Printing

Creating a printing business that can cope with a changing market for print and that is “future-focused”—is imperative as we hurtle toward 2020. If you’re a wide-format printer, you may be halfway there—but that’s no excuse for complacency.


Consumers Say, “Nice Package,” but Only Up to a Point

If looks were everything, consumers would be over the moon about their packaging. According to packaging solutions provider MeadWestvaco, appearance is the one aspect of packages that consumers rate higher in performance than they do in importance. It's what prompts two-thirds of them to buy products off the shelf without knowing anything about them or doing any research into them.


Choosing “Commitment” as Its Brand Identity, Lofton Label Regroups and Succeeds (Premium Content)

Lofton Label targets its vertical markets with care and serves its customers with scrupulous attention to detail. In this company profile, CEO Mike Lane talks about how he developed the objectives and implemented the strategy that turned the business around.


Why Printers are Vulnerable to Brokers, Distributors, and Print Management Companies

Customers expect more from their vendor partners than simply delivering the product on time and at a fair price. As the print industry continues to contract, differentiation is required to remain competitive. Printers are at risk from print-manufacturing independent service providers because customers are looking to reduce the number of vendors and engage with vendor partners who make doing business with them very easy.


Make Data-Driven Business Decisions with Your Print MIS

Your business generates a lot of data; your Print MIS should be the system of record for that data. The data should drive your business decisions based on meaningful metrics/key performance indicators (KPIs). Making data a part of your culture will make you a better leader and help your staff understand how their daily actions impact the business.


Initial Jobless Claims as a Percentage of the Workforce

As the number of employed workers has been slowly increasing, and the total workforce has been growing, initial claims for unemployment have been decreasing. The historical perspective is very interesting. This past recession, as bad as it was, did not come close to the levels of the 1970s and 1980s recessions (about 0.6% of the workforce). This most recent recovery is already at the best levels of prior expansions. It doesn't feel “that good”; what's different? The workforce has not kept up with population growth, and about 2 million workers have permanently left the workforce. Also, companies have been cautious in their hiring, meaning, that there are fewer workers to dismiss when businesses of the past needed to. One could look at the chart and say that when this ratio reaches this current level (0.2%) a recession has always followed. Probably not in this case: this ratio may go to unprecedented lower levels because of the workforce exodus and the slow pace of hiring that has made this recovery so different than previous ones. Economist Mark Perry at the American Enterprise Institute discussed the steady rise in job openings at his blog. They are at a 13-year high (not adjusted for population growth), and still less than January 2000 by 800,000.


Order-Entry Data Collection


Being More than a Printer Means Changing Perceptions!

Changing how you are perceived in the minds of your customers is one of the biggest challenges that print service providers face. This article provides a brief overview of the strategies that successful service providers are pursuing to bring more value to their customers.


Forbes Lands the Whale – July 2014 M&A Activity

Forbes achieves stunning price in sale to Asian investment group, Scripps and Journal Communications merge and immediately spin off all their printed publications, commercial printer SG360° buys Lehigh Direct from Visant, and more - July 2014 –Mergers, Acquisitions & Restructuring in the Printing, Packaging & Related Industries


Self-Service vs. Full-Service

Customer preference is trending towards self-service, yet most printers continue to offer only one way to do business with them – a full-service order entry process that involves multiple back and forth communications between customer and printer via e-mail/FTP.


What is the Future of Print?

What could arguably be deemed the strongest of the printing industry trade associations is now surveying its members, asking them to describe whether the future of "print" is grim or bright. They will get a wide range of responses, and setting aside the value of reporting to their members what those members already think, the question itself is much too broad.


Latest Recovery Indicators

Dr. Joe's Key Recovery Indicators were started in 2009, and track the monthly ups and downs of the economy in terms that are relevant to small and mid-size businesses.


The Keys to Mobile Support in Print Software

In one of our recent active discussions on the new Print Software section, a WhatTheyThink reader asked “in your support for mobile do you recommend looking for just the sites being "responsive" or applications to be "native" or just plain "compatible", i.e. no Flash?” After my third paragraph response to this question I decided this warranted a full length feature article to describe and comment on the varying degrees of mobile support in web software.


GLS: What a Difference Three Decades Makes! (Premium Content)

GLS, founded in 1984 as a small printing company, is now celebrating its third decade in business. This article provides a brief overview of how the company is remaining on the cutting edge by updating its services and making strategic acquisitions to further expand its offerings.


The Role of Professional Services in a Complex Production Environment - A Conversation with Canon Solutions America (Premium Content)

Workflows are becoming more complex and savvy print service providers are looking to streamline and automate business and production processes for a more sustainable business and production environment. Utilization of vendor professional services can be an effective means of finding opportunities to take time, cost and touches out of both business and production processes as well as to introduce innovation. Learn what Canon Solutions America has to say about the changing world of professional services.


Re-Examining the Inherent Benefits of Wide-Format Digital (Part I)

In this two part series, Dan Marx of SGIA talks about the basic truths of digital printing in general and wide format in particular. While the basic truths have remained unchanged, the details surrounding them have.


HP Graphic Arts Reorganizes, Shares Strategic Direction (Premium Content)

In May, the HP Graphics Solutions Business effected an organizational change at the top of the Americas organization. WhatTheyThink Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with the new Vice President and General Manager Yishai Amir to see what’s up.


Making Time for an Annual Print MIS Checkup

It is so easy in your very busy world to not sit back and take a look in the rearview mirror at how things are going in terms of processes, applications and projects underway in your company. One area where this effort can pay off tremendously is in terms of your Print MIS system. Making a conscious effort to do an annual Print MIS checkup can help keep your system fresh, moving forward and also tune-up any areas that may not be performing as they should.


GDP Data Revised Down for 2011 and 2012, Revised Up for 2013


Are You Utilizing All Your Purchasing Options?

There are a variety of ways that you can gain leverage and reduce costs in purchasing. Peer groups, Associations, Purchasing Groups and your Vendors can all be utilized to lower your costs.


Game-Changers for the Printing Industry: Millennials and Generation Z (Premium Content)

Digital marketing is relatively new on the scene, but there is no question that this form of communication is already making its mark. Perhaps the biggest single driver in today’s market is the cultural change that is taking place among end consumers. This article, which is part of a series discussing disruptive forces that are expected to impact the market, covers two increasingly influential demographics—Millennials and Generation Z consumers.


Who will capture the Iron Throne: Are you paying attention? Part 2

In this continuation of the last article, while the kinder gentler Zwang continues his summer vacation, his alter ego… a shadowy figure dressed in a trilby and trench coat and telling stories, digs deeper into the drivers and tools that are influencing your clients’ business decisions and how this can and will affect your business decisions.


Konica Minolta Pushes Up-Market with Three New Digital Presses (Premium Content)

Konica Minolta used the launch of three new digital presses as an opportunity to brief a media and analyst group at its Manhattan showroom earlier this month. In addition to learning about the new presses as they were launched, the group also received a strategy update from the company. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne was there and shares her thoughts.


Choosing a Web-to-Print Partner

Print technology of all kinds; presses, production software, Print MIS software, and web-to-print technologies have one thing in common – they are constantly changing. This one factor probably causes the most pain in the purchasing process. As a buyer you want to feel confident with your purchasing decision, yet the very thing you’re investing in is in a constant state of change.


USPS' Every Door Direct Mail Program Declines After Price Increase


Expoprint Trade Show in Brazil: The Strength of Emerging Markets

Hamilton Costa, a leading consultant to the printing and publishing industries in Latin America, shares his thoughts and insights on the recent Expoprint Trade Show in Brazil, highlighting the opportunities for growth in Brazil.


EskoWorld 2014 Puts Spotlight on Branded Packaging

In one way or another, making packages better vehicles for brand communication underlay most of the presentations at EskoWorld 2014, a user conference that drew more than 700 people to Orlando. Esko also used the occasion to launch Suite 14, a software collection that aims to provide a common interface for all participants in the package creation workflow.


Liquid Meddle: Digital Inkjet Makes Inroads in Industrial Printing (Premium Content)

If you look around your home or office (or home office), you’ll notice numerous examples of what I’ve referred to in the past as “stealth printing,” printed materials that don’t fall into what we consider commercial printing, but is a huge market nonetheless.


Game-Changers for the Printing Industry: Mobile (Part 2) (Premium Content)

Mobile is a technology that is increasingly disrupting the role of traditional communications. Over the next few weeks, we’ll explore some of the disruptive forces that are expected to impact the market. This week’s article is the second in a two-part series exploring mobile. It covers augmented reality (AR).


Inflation multipliers have been updated


How to Survive the Print MIS Transition

A Print MIS transition is like a battlefield of sorts. For the person leading the transition it is a time of scrutiny, chaos, incredible intensity and unexpected disruptions. It is, without a doubt, one of the most complex and stress generating events you can face. While it is incredibly rewarding to get through it, you usually don’t come out of it unscathed.


New Presstek CEO Shares Strategy, Business Updates (Premium Content)

Nearly two years after its acquisition by AIP, Presstek named Jeffrey A Beck as CEO. Previously, the company had been managed by AIP executives as they restructured the organization and set a go-forward strategy. Prior to Presstek, Beck was COO of Boston-based iRobot. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne visited with Beck to learn more about his background and Presstek’s strategies for future success.


The Search for a Wide-Format Silver Bullet? (Premium Content)

As wide-format graphics buyers increasingly demand faster turnaround, higher quality, and lower price—as well as an ever-growing range of specialty print applications—print service providers are looking for the fastest and most versatile equipment possible. Manufacturers are helping…but is there really a “silver bullet”?


NFIB Small Business Index Breaks Through 2003 Recession Bottom for Last Two Months

The NFIB index has been trapped between the bottom of two recessions, that of the early 1990s and the early 2000s recession bottom. Though the latest report retreated a bit, it's still above the 2003 low. Small business is improving at a very slow pace, but this may finally be a good sign after the very disappointing Q1 GDP report.


Game-Changers for the Printing Industry: Mobile (Part 1)

Mobile is a technology that is increasingly disrupting the role of traditional communications. Over the next few weeks, we’ll explore some of the disruptive forces that are expected to impact the market. This week’s article is the first in a two-part series exploring mobile. It covers mobile barcodes and near-field communications (NFCs).


What Can You Do to Save Your Customers Money?

A printer e-mailed me recently and said, “the Vice President of Procurement at our biggest customer is open to a meeting but she wants to know what I can do to save her money.” Of course she does, she’s always wanted her vendors to engage with her in a way that solves her business challenges and makes her look good.


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