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Retail Trends in Wide Format

I was talking with the owner of a sign shop recently, and we got to talking about new technologies that sign and display companies were starting to utilize—I was thinking specifically of EFI’s SmartSign Analytics—but he happened to mention other new technologies such as “smart fitting rooms” whereby sensors in a clothing retailer’s fitting room mirror track RFID tags on the clothing you brought in to try on and suggests accessories or complementary items. Sound creepy? It does a bit, doesn’t it?


Table Service at McDonald’s

The dining experience at fast food restaurants isn’t about the dining experience at all. It’s about the price, the availability, and the consistency no matter where you are in the world. The value proposition is clear, you serve yourself, you’re encouraged to clean up after yourself, and clearly by the comfort of the seats, you aren’t encouraged to linger.


From Across the Atlantic, Lessons to Be Learned About Sustainable Packaging (Premium Content)

A review of recent news about sustainable packaging initiatives in the U.K. and Europe raises confidence that global strategies for managing packaging’s impact on the environment can be developed.


AF&PA’s PaperRecycles.org Sends the Right Message the Right Way

The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) has done a nice job of consumer outreach with PaperRecycles.org, a new web site that aims at better educating the public about recovering paper and paper-based packaging for recycling.


Focus on Solutions in Print Software

Frustration happens, especially with print software projects like Print MIS and web-to-print. When frustration happens do you flex, adjust, look for a solution or do you stay in that frustrated state? Find evidence of the behavior you want more of and reward that behavior, in your people, in your vendors, in your partners – that will accomplish more than yelling, escalating, and threatening will ever do.


EFI Connect and the Imaging of Things

About 15 years ago—give or take—in a monthly humor column I wrote at the time for the late, lamented Micro Publishing News, I proposed the idea of a drive-through wide-format printer for vehicle graphics.


Trends to Watch in 2015: Data Analytics and Micro-Targeting

To thrive in today’s environment, service providers must connect strategy, capabilities, technology, and specific initiatives. Print and marketing service providers who are willing to embrace change can drive profitable business growth. This article is the first in a series exploring trends worth watching in the printing industry.


Production Inkjet—The Next Wave: Super Web Digital with Memjet Aspen

In a continuation of the Next Wave of new production inkjet presses and technology series, we cover Super Web Digital, a ‘Made in America’ press manufacturer, which has introduced two new web press platforms based on new Memjet inkjet imaging technology. What makes this interesting is that both Super Web and Memjet have introduced new technology in these products, bringing both of their offerings to a new level.


Latest Inflation Multipliers

For those who have been following along, the chart below is the latest update for budget planning. It's always a benefit to understand your sales and costs in historical perspective. Without adjusting for inflation, you could be working on assumption of trends and relationships that are untrue. Make it “real.”


What to Strive For in 2015 (And a Plea for Help)

Build your business in 2015 by exploring new opportunities, developing a clear vision for success, and stretching the boundaries of what your shop and your shop’s equipment can produce.


Guinness record: World’s largest wad of paper!

We can’t improve upon a recent press release from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) about the creation of the world’s largest ball of paper—a stunt with an important point to make about recycling for packaging.


Pennsauken, NJ Printer Follows “Value Stream Map” to Packaging Success

At Contemporary Graphic Solutions, manufacturing efficiency and process improvements are 24/7 preoccupations, especially as they apply to the company’s demanding but rewarding packaging business.


Swiss-Based Trendcommerce Group Looks to Production Inkjet for Business Growth

Swiss-based Trendcommerce (Schweiz) AG has always been a trendsetter in Switzerland. The company has secured its market-leading position through the acquisition of production inkjet presses. This has enabled a white-paper-in workflow, virtual elimination of offset printing, reduction in black & white toner-based volumes and a revenue growth of 50% since 2011. Read more in this HP-sponsored story.


Industry Events, Peer Recommendations, and Print Software Decisions

EFI Connect, Dscoop X, AMPS Executive Leadership, NPOA, and PODI, the upcoming industry events where you have an excellent opportunity to connect and collaborate with peers. Do you want to do everything in your power to assure your next print software decision is a good one? Get the whole story from a peer who has already implemented the solution.


Full Time Employment Still Not Recovered

The number of workers with full time jobs has still not exceeded levels at the start of the recession about seven years ago. This is despite continuous population growth and higher GDP levels for 21 of the last 22 quarters. Of last year's +2.2 million increase in employment, about 970,000 were part time positions. Many part time positions are by choice of the employee, an unknown number may be from distortions resulting from the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and others are from uneven economic conditions and low expectations about future business conditions. There is some employment optimism in recent surveys of the National Federation of Independent Business and both the manufacturing and non-manufacturing surveys of the Institute for Supply Management.


What Is Wide-Format?

As I was planning the 2015 editorial calendar for our Wide-Format section, I began by drawing up a list of topics that I had covered, topics that were heavily featured at trade shows like SGIA and ISA, and topics tend to get covered elsewhere in the industry press. And aside from the basic technological topics like “Roll-to-Roll Printers,” “Flatbeds,” “Finishing,” and so forth, the majority of the subject matter was on specific applications—and applications that were all over the map (and some even included maps!).


Will You Thrive, Survive, or Die in 2015?

In the coming year, trying something new rather than continuing with business as usual can be the difference between success and failure. This article leverages recent research from InfoTrends to explore how industry leaders are making the most of today’s turbulent market.


SGIA Webinar Considers Web-to-Print for Wide-Format

Web-to-print is not a new technology, but despite its many advantages, when evaluating solutions, be sure to ask some specific wide-format questions.


December 2014 – Mergers, Acquisitions & Restructuring in the Printing, Packaging & Related Industries

The Darwinian process of growth, change, merger, and failure proceeded with full vigor during 2014. The 241 transactions announced during 2014 in the printing, packaging, and related industries in the US and Canada represent a 40% increase compared to the 172 transactions that we noted during all of 2013. The vibrancy of the market is consistent with the M&A activity noted across many industries over the past year


Precision and Pride Drive Label Manufacturing at Mossberg & Company (Premium Content)

Mossberg & Company, a commercial printer since 1930, has built an equally successful label printing business through judicious investments in technology and scrupulous attention to quality assurance.


Looking Toward Hunkeler Innovationdays

2015 is already shaping up to be a busy year, and one of the highlights is Hunkeler Innovationdays scheduled for February 23-26 in Lucerne, Switzerland. Cary Sherburne speaks with Standard Finishing President Steven Reny to learn what we might expect at this year’s event.


The False Security of the Print Software RFP (Premium Content)

The checklist RFP (Request For Proposal) fails to deliver the best purchasing decision. Your peers (the voice of current customers) are your most trusted source of information about how print software products perform in live environments and how print software companies support their customers after the sales process.


This Is the New Year and I Have No Resolutions

New year’s resolutions are ephemeral things. January 2, for example, is a kind of Black Friday for gyms and fitness centers, but by the end of the month, the crowds have returned to normal.


Innovairre: Rebranding Done Right!

In today’s world, the introduction of new offerings is not always enough; rebranding is sometimes required to truly respond to changing market dynamics. This article explores how Qdmh has rebranded itself as Innovairre.


Federal Debt as Percentage of GDP Over 100%

Economic press coverage of the Federal budget is usually limited to the annual deficit, the shortfall of tax and fee collections versus spending. While the deficit as a percentage of GDP is down to about -4% from 2009 when it was more than -9%, the deficits do accumulate. Now, the total debt of the US exceeds GDP. This is likely to keep political pressure on the Fed to keep rates down. It also means that a 1 percentage point rise in interest rates would cost $180 billion and can double the annual deficit. But the Fed may not be able to increase interest rates when they want to no how hard they might try. International rates, such as those in Germany, have recently been below 0.5% for the 10 year bond. US rates are comparatively high in the 2% range, and any push upward by the Fed would probably be met by arbitrage actions in the other direction.


2015 Should Be Chock-a-Block with Opportunity for Packagers, Market Watchers Say

The end of the year always brings a flurry of state-of-the-market reports from research organizations and commentators tracking the global packaging industry. Here are pulls from some of the year-end pronouncements for 2014 that we gathered last month. They tell us that despite the unpredictability that always has to be factored into forecasts like these, 2015 is shaping up to be a promising year for the world’s packaging printers and converters.


Wide-Format Roll-to-Roll Printer Roundup

In today’s wide-format market, flatbed printers are all the rage and, for certain applications, deservedly so. But the earliest wide-format printers were all rollfed (or roll-to-roll) devices, and it wasn’t until the early 2000s that flatbeds existed as a product category. Flatbeds emerged to take time and materials out of the “print-then-mount” process; after all, why not just print directly on the surface you want the graphic?


Print MIS Product Spotlight: PrintVis

The PrintVis MIS solution has a phenomenal product span, meaning the ability to “flex” in both directions, respond to growth and decline. In this Product Spotlight, Jen Matt reviews the PrintVis MIS solution.


In Eastern Europe, HP Flexes Packaging Muscles It Wants the Whole World to See

With the help of partners in Germany and the Czech Republic, HP aimed to show printers and converters everywhere how digital strategies for packaging production can be attuned to changing demand and “future proof” at the same time.


We Have Always Done it This Way

Change is viewed as risky because we want to believe that past success guarantees our future success. Your customers are changing, technology is changing, and your competitors are changing, why would you think that maintaining the status quo is anything but the riskiest thing you can do? Standing still is the only way to assure your business’ decline


Ho, Ho, Ho… Christmas Catalogs Go Mobile! (Premium Content)

eMarketer estimates that worldwide smartphone users will surpass 2 billion by 2016, so it is no wonder that retailers of all sizes are making it easy for on-the-go consumers to link to catalogs with mobile applications. This article explores how retailers are integrating mobile to accelerate the purchasing process.


EFI plans Connect on Steroids in 2015

EFI Connect 2015 is shaping up to be one of the best ever, so much so that EFI COO Marc Olin describes it as “Connect on Steroids.” Read what he has to say about Connect, EFI’s future strategies and his role as COO of the company in this interview with WhatTheyThink Senior Editor Cary Sherburne.


Profits Still Below $4 Billion on Annual Basis

Four billion dollars was the approximate bottom of 2005's inflation adjusted annual profits. The four-quarter total annual profits have had a difficult time breaking through that level for more than eight years.


What Kind of Day Has it Been?

2014 has been a year of incremental—but substantial—improvements in wide-format systems. These improvements are creating ever more opportunities in a variety of applications. Here’s what to keep an eye on in 2015.


Miyakoshi Showcases Its Equipment Portfolio for Label Printing and Other Applications

A print equipment supplier for almost 70 years, Japan's Miyakoshi Printing Machinery Co. Ltd. is an OEM partner to many of the industry's top technology providers. At a recent open house, the company put the spotlight on presses for labeling and other uses that it markets under its own brand.


Mark Cuban and Print Shop Owners Score with Shark Tank – November 2014 M&A Activity

Less than a year after swimming with the sharks on the popular TV show Shark Tank in January 2014, husband-and-wife team and printing company owners, Julie and Brian Whiteman, sold their digital photobook app, GrooveBook, to Shutterfly for $14.5 million.


Increase Print Software User Adoption by Showing Less

Often the best way to drive a print software solution’s adoption rate is to eliminate the complexity. How ironic is this? We buy print software products based on extensive feature lists and then we drive adoption of the software by turning most of the features off so people will actually use the tool. Isn’t that an awesome irrational cycle we put ourselves into?


Ho, Ho, Ho… Greeting Cards on the Go! (Premium Content)

This holiday season, greeting cards are taking on a whole new dimension. This article explores how tried-and-true greeting cards are becoming more innovative with the inclusion of interactive elements.


Semiconductor Manufacturer Maxim Integrated Finds Sales Power in Adobe Digital Publishing Suite

As our readers will know, we have been following developments with Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, both in terms of how it is helping publishers tackle the “dollars to digital dimes” conundrum of digital publishing as well as some interesting views into how enterprises are adopting DPS for sales enablement. Today’s story takes us to Maxim Integrated, a designer and manufacturer of semiconductors, who has benefited from the integration of DPS with Adobe Experience Manager for increased sales power.


Inflation-adjusted Sales of S&P 500 Firms Still Below Pre-Recession Levels

GDP may say that the recession ended in June 2009, but there are still data series that have not yet confirmed that five years later. Total employment is one of them, as is median household income, but so is the inflation-adjusted sales of companies in the S&P 500. Even though the companies in the S&P 500 index have revenues lower than the peak of June 2008, the S&P 500 stock index is getting closer to all-time high levels of Spring 2000 (The Dow Jones average already is, the Russell 2000 has been for a while, but the NASDAQ is still off by about 15%). These sales of 500 of the world's best companies have not kept up with real GDP growth since the recession ended (about 2% per year). Some economists believe that this is an indication that GDP data should be viewed with great suspicion, and that there has yet to be a true recovery.


Print MIS Product Spotlight: PressWise

The online channel is vital to the future of your print business. The online channel includes all the ways you engage with your customers online. Every new channel you open up with a customer increases the overall loyalty of that customer, creates barriers to entry for your competitors, and has the potential to decrease the customer burden of doing business with you by offering self-service access to your business.


Solid Five-Year Outlook for Corrugated and Paper Boxes

There's encouraging news for producers of corrugated and paper boxes in a newly released research report which forecasts that demand for these products will increase 2.6% per year to $39.4 billion in 2018.


Business Goes Swimmingly for Digital Dye-Sublimation Printer

Epson’s beachwear “fashion show” highlights the possibilities of digital dye-sublimation fabric printing, and how it could change fashion design.


How Heidelberg Is Realigning Its Product Offerings to the New Realities of the Label and Packaging Market (Premium Content)

Heidelberg's profile as an equipment manufacturer is not the same as it once was, but its interest in label and packaging production is as keen as ever. This report comes from a high-level briefing that WhatTheyThink received on the company's current ambitions in the L&P equipment market.


Landa Digital Printing Provides Update, Outlook to drupa 2016

We haven’t heard much from Benny Landa lately. But the team has been at work perfecting the first press, the S10, and lining up customers. A blog post from Landa and a link to a video tour of the press and the factory are highlights of this post.


Is Upgrading Worth the Risk?

Making the decision to upgrade a Print MIS or web-to-print system can cause anxiety about the unknown issues that may result. A well-planned out implementation can minimize risk and disruption to both the printer and their customers.


Ho, Ho, Ho… Mobile Barcodes on the Go! (Premium Content)

Today’s consumers have truly embraced a number of new channels, and the penetration rate is something that marketers couldn’t have even imagined a decade ago. The holiday season is here, and this article explores how retailers are embedding mobile technology into their holiday campaigns.


Revised GDP Pushed Higher, But Did Not Change Longer Range Growth Rate

Third quarter GDP was revised from +3.5% to +3.9%, but the change was mainly in net inventories, and did little to affect the assessment of underlying and longer range growth compared to the prior year of about +2.43%. Inventories have been bouncing around a bit over recent quarters and are running a little higher than they should be, indicating that some minor correction is forthcoming, especially if non-US economies are slowing down.


Rapid Digital Press Maps Out Wide-Format Success

With a little research, a clearly defined strategy, and fast, high-quality wide-format printing equipment, Phoenix, Ariz.’s Rapid Digital Press has carved out a successful niche in map and GIS printing applications, and is now poised for growth.


Rotolito Establishes Digital Production Unit to Meet Changing Demands for Book Printing

Rotolito, one of the largest printing companies in Europe, has built a €10 million business in digital book printing since the inception of its digital operation in 2010. Read what Rotolito’s Gabriella Moretti has to say about the changing dynamics of its book printing business in this article, sponsored by HP.


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