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Print MIS and Data are NOT Boring

Nobody uses terms like exciting, sexy, or compelling when they talk about their Print MIS solution. Your Print MIS isn’t supposed to be sexy; its job is to serve up the story of your business in the form of data collected in a trusted system of record.


What’s My Line? Some Labelers Say, “Linerless”

Eliminate the peel-away part of a pressure sensitive label while protecting it from the adhesive on the backs of the other labels it’s rolled or stacked with: it can be done and is being done in the solution known as linerless labeling.


Software Investment Trends and the Return of Color Management

This article explores the increased interest in color management software among corporate and commercial printers. It cites research from InfoTrends to illuminate how more and more businesses are beginning to recognize the benefits of implementing a color management program.


NFIB Small Business Index Falls

The monthly NFIB Small Business Index took a step back after it nearly reached the pre-recession high. The chart shows that high of a few years ago as a green line. The index fell almost to the bottom of the 2003 recession level. For a few years the Index seemed range-bound between that recession and the lows of the recession of the early 1990s (the two red lines). This particular survey had all ten elements of its index fall, which is highly unusual. The Index bears watching as there are very few data series that follow small business activity.


ISA’s Sign Expo Goes Beyond "Sign and Display"

The International Sign Association’s Sign Expo took place last week in Las Vegas, NV. Richard Romano files his observations from the show.


Print Estimating & Quoting System Product Spotlight: arifiQ

Self-service is a growing preference among customers, pricing transparency is a feature of our online world, and speed is a growing differentiator in all aspects of our business. arifiQ has focused on a pivotal function of print – estimating/quoting; enabling printers to adapt to the new realities of our increasingly digital, online, and fast-paced business environment.


Print’s Representation at the MarTech Conference

MarTech – the Marketing Technology Conference took place March 31, 2015 in San Francisco. I attended to see how print is being represented within the modern marketing mix.


How MarTech Impacts Commercial Printing Business

Industry Analyst Junichiro Yamashita recently attended the MarTech Conference in San Francisco to learn about the latest trends in Marketing Technology (MarTech). He shares his thoughts with our readers about the opportunities and challenges MarTech provides for Commercial Printers.


Vistaprint Hits a Double with Global Acquisition Strategy – March 2015 M&A Activity

March 2015 –Mergers, Acquisitions & Restructuring in the Printing, Packaging & Related Industries.


Online Marketing for Printers

You haven’t updated your website in over two years. You don’t remember if you have a LinkedIn page, you thought someone once tweeted something, and you recently had a customer complain about not being able to find you online.


HP’s New Single-Pass Printer Portfolio

Yesterday, on the eve of the opening of the ISA Sign Expo, HP took the opportunity to launch five new products in its high-end Latex and Scitex families. These are the HP Latex 370, the HP Scitex FB550 and FB750, HP Scitex 11000 Industrial Press, and HP Scitex 15500 Corrugated Press.


Are You Doing Your Part to Make Sure PRINT’S VOICE Is Being Heard in Washington?

Do you know about the joint NPES/PIA program for raising Print’s Voice in the Nation’s Capital? We all complain about Congress not getting anything done, but how many of US actually do anything about it? Here’s a great program that gets the word out about print and pokes at Congress to get stuff done.


Reinventing Your Business: It’s about Telling Your Story! (Premium Content)

Because of new and emerging technologies, today’s business owners face a whole new set of challenges. According to Josh Linkner’s book entitled The Road to Reinvention, the way that you position your company and communicate to your various audiences and target markets is a critical component of transforming your business. This article highlights real-world examples of how the art of storytelling can help accelerate businesses transformation.


Number of Employees per US Commercial Printing Establishment

The average number of employees in commercial printing establishments has declined over the years for many reasons. Among large printers, volumes of magazines, catalogs, inserts, and other long run length products produced on web offset and gravure presses have declined, leading to plant closures and consolidations. Desktop publishing shifted work to graphic designers, publishers, and other content creators. That, combined with direct-to-plate and digital printing have nearly eliminated the need for prepress departments. Presses require less staffing than older ones. In smaller printers, copies and digital printers have reduced the need for press operators. Other technologies, such as search engines, e-commerce, advances in administrative software have reduced employment in other functions. Even voice mail, cell phones, and e-mail have gradually reduced the number of staff required to run a printing business.


Adobe Tackles Next-Generation Digital Publishing with Summer Launch of Adobe Publish (Premium Content)

We’ve written a fair amount about digital publishing in this space since we believe it presents a good opportunity for new revenue streams for printing firms – not only for traditional publishing applications but increasingly for sales enablement and other enterprise dissemination of information. Adobe is about to take this to the next level with its summer launch of Adobe Publish.


Brother and Domino: An Important New Combination in Industrial Printing (Premium Content)

With its acquisition of Domino Printing Sciences, Brother Industries has made a strong move into industrial inkjet printing with applications including high-speed, full-color label production.


Data-Driven: Thriving Print Business in 2020

A data-driven print business starts with a trusted system of record and then as selected meaningful metrics that influence your business decisions and your staff’s daily behavior.


Find Big Challenges - The Sixth Rule of Social Selling

Your role is to enable your customers to meet their needs, grasp their opportunities, and defend against their threats. Whether you like it or not that’s how your customers see your role. If you’re not doing one of those three things, you’re a distracting and useless waste of time. Period.


“Dear Packaging, I Hate You”

When designers forget that that the product experience, not the act of opening the package, is what consumers are paying for, things can get stressful.


Earn Your Access – Fifth Rule of Social Selling

Direct, early access to the real decision-maker – not someone whose power is limited to saying “no,” but the person who has the authority to say the final “Yes” – It’s the Holy Grail for professional B2B salespeople. And it has gotten harder and harder to gain.


Is it Time to Reinvent Your Business? Can You Afford NOT To? (Premium Content)

The relentless pace of change is exacerbating the challenges that business owners face today. According to Josh Linkner’s book entitled The Road to Reinvention, leading companies are disrupting the status quo to achieve growth and economic gain. This article explores how businesses can take Linkner’s advice to avoid losing ground.


Know Your Wide Format Inks! (Premium Content)

Herein a basic primer on today’s ink options for wide-format printing, from solvent and eco-solvent to UV, from latex to dye-sublimation.


Enrich Your Network – Fourth Rule of Social Selling

One common trait is shared by all of the highest-performing salespeople I know. Each one works steadily and intentionally to increase his or her Sphere of Influence.


Winston Packaging Moves Into Its Second Century With a Speed Record and a Winning Game Plan

This North Carolina packaging printing firm has earned its place in a demanding market through stringent quality control, smart technology investments, and ultra-efficient production workflows.


Online Engagement: Thriving Print Business in 2020

The online channel is in the language of the customer and you have to compete to be found. These fundamental characteristics of this channel should drive your online presence at every level.


Sharpen Yourself! – The Third Rule of Social Selling

Some B2B salespeople I encounter baffle me. My work brings dozens of them across my path each year. There’s a significant segment who claim to desire and expect productive careers but who show almost no sign of investing in themselves. I don’t get it.


2nd Rule of Social Selling - Reject Funnelism

I have a confession to make. I’m not a Funnelist. I don’t worship at the altar of Funnelism. Never have. It's deadly. Ben Chestnut (founder of MailChimp) was right when he compared the “marketing funnel” to a meat grinder.


Sales and Marketing: An Investment, Not an Expense! (Premium Content)

Proactive sales and marketing investments are vital to growing and driving business results. Citing research from McKinsey and Company, this article explores strategies for building superior marketing and sales capabilities.


Real Interest Rates are Rising, Thanks to Low Inflation

The chart shows one of the rates for Treasury securities called the “constant maturity rate,” used to set rates for instruments like mortgages. The line in the chart is that monthly rate less the year-to-year change in the Consumer Price Index for that month. The Fed has worked hard to keep their interest rates below inflation to stimulate the economy, as well as make housing prices rise so that fewer mortgages were “under water.” It hasn't worked that well, but that's a different topic for a different day. But with all of the worries about the Fed raising rates, the combination of their inertia and changes in the inflation rate may be producing what they've wanted: a Seinfeldian case of “nothing” becoming something. At the end of 2011 the real rate in the chart was -3%, and the last observation in the chart is about +1.5%, a 450 basis point move. For about three years, the CPI has been below the Fed's target of 2%, and in December and January it was negative. February CPI was just reported as an annualized 2.4%, so this rate rise may disappear soon


Sustainable and Green: Do I Still Need to Worry About Compliance?

Standards for “green” or eco-friendly printed products and processes are still in flux, and don’t always gibe with environmental compliance reporting requirements. It pays to know what the differences are.


Social Selling: Rule #1 – Don’t Be Creepy

The horror in his face made me laugh out loud. I was in a videoconference coaching session with a VP, Sales & Marketing. I was coaching some of his salespeople and to track with them, he was doing with me what they were doing. He and I had designed a new business development process from the ground up, and were vetting each stage and step. We were deep into the process, and focused on how to gain access to a decision-maker.


Packaging Plants Are on the Rise

While we are waiting for flowers to bloom in the spring, we can admire the recent crop of plant openings or expansions in various segments of the packaging industry.


CRON-ECRM Joint Venture Declares Bid for Leadership in CTP

A Chinese computer-to-plate systems manufacturer and an American counterpart have joined forces to offer CTP devices that they say are as good as if not better than any other such solutions now on the market.


Production Inkjet—The Next Wave: It’s not a wave; it’s an explosion!

In this article, David reviews how four companies are using the technologies he has been reviewing to their advantage. Wilen Direct, K&H Integrated Print Solutions, Hansaprint and Documation have implemented current generation inkjet presses from Kodak, Canon Océ, HP and Ricoh, respectively


Thriving Print Business in 2020: Diversified, Online, and Data-Driven

Expand your thinking in many directions, beyond the four walls of your manufacturing operations, beyond your business into your customer’s business, and beyond print to the other communication methods that are complimentary to print.


GASC’s Ralph Nappi on Moving Graph Expo to Orlando

On the face of it, all the GASC announcement says is that there will be a one-year detour to Orlando between now and 2017, when the Print show will have its prescheduled run at McCormick Place in Chicago. That’s also where we’ll be heading for Graph Expo this year—no change there, either. So, what’s the larger story?


Web-to-Print: The Best or Worst Investment? (Premium Content)

Some print service providers are automating production with Web-to-print software, but this strategy does not work for all companies. This article explores why some companies succeed with Web-to-print while others fail.


Crashing at the Finish: The Last, Winning Step Too Many Salespeople Skip

She was so close. She had worked to develop the opportunity for two years. She had created a couple of key relationships, and developed them very well. She had a good understanding of the customer’s circumstances and special needs. With help, she created a strong proposal and delivered it to her primary contact. Her primary contact recommended that her proposal be chosen. So she rightly believed she was in the lead. And then she lost it. Why? She didn't ask for the opportunity to make a presentation before the final decision was made. She thought her excellent proposal was enough.


While The World Listens for a Rate Hike News, the Fed Lowers Their GDP Forecasts

On Wednesday, March 18, the Feb removed the word “patient” from the announcement of a potential rate hike, but as the Washington Post explained “Well, the Fed really said that it's going to be more patient than it was before, even if it's not officially so. In other words, it could hike rates at any time starting in June, but it's less likely to do so. And even when lift off does happen, it'll probably happen slower than people thought it would.” There you have it: Janet Yellen does a great Alan Greenspan impression. No one knows what he meant but everyone knows what he said. Dr. Yellen also explained that while the Fed is no longer in the act of quantitative easing, they are replacing all of their holdings as they mature. What got less coverage is that the Fed lowered their forecasts of GDP. For 2015 and 2016 they lowered their prior forecasts by three-tenths of a percentage point. Each tenth is about $150 billion. So their forecast was reduced by $450 billion, or the equivalent of six commercial printing industries. Such data analogies can make one's head spin.


Hunkeler InnovationDays: 22 Years of Collaborative Success

While many other trade events are struggling to survive in a dynamically changing environment, Hunkeler Innovationdays, which has taken place in Lucerne, Switzerland, every other year for the past 22 years (11th event this year!) has continued to grow in both size and vitality. Here’s an overview of the 2015 event.


Generation Next: Mandel Graphic Solutions Keeps Evolving with Technology

After 123 years and four generations of owners, Milwaukee’s Mandel Graphic Solutions has thrived by staying current.


HP and KBA Take Aim at Corrugated Packaging Market with HP’s T1100 Simplex Color Inkjet Web Press (Premium Content)

High, wide, and in its own way, handsome: that’s the kind of machine HP and KBA are out to build in HP’s T1100 Simplex Color Inkjet Web Press, a solution meant to introduce digital printing to top liners for corrugated packaging.


Quad/Graphics CEO Speaks Out about Book Platform Transformation, State of the Industry, Go-Forward Strategy (Premium Content)

Quad/Graphics has been in the news a lot of late … first with its agreement to acquire at least 20 HP T-Series Inkjet Web Presses, and then with the attempt to acquire book printer Courier Corporation. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with CEO Joel Quadracci to get more information and find out what else Quad is up to.


The Role of Marketing in Your Print Business

Marketing is about delivering qualified leads to your sales team. The online world has converted marketing into a role that can be precisely measured. Start thinking of marketing as a role with a quote (# of qualified leads delivered), stop thinking of marketing as your brand colors or business card design.


Who Says Books Aren’t Pretty? – February 2015 M&A Activity

Books were ascendant in the printing deal space as RR Donnelley swooped down and snatched Courier Corporation right out of the arms of Courier’s suitor of choice, Quad/Graphics. Almost two and half times larger than Quad, RRD was not about to let this opportunity escape as it did last year when Quad acquired Brown Printing in a sweetheart of a deal.


Trends to Watch in 2015: Building the Right Infrastructure for Success (Premium Content)

Infrastructure includes the basic physical and organizational components that contribute to the success of an organization in terms of the sale and delivery of products, services, and solutions. This article is part of a series exploring trends worth watching in the printing industry. It explores the infrastructure investments that are critical for success in today’s market.


UV Printing: Good as Gold?

Experts identify new and expanding—and some unusual—markets for UV inks and coatings at day two of RadTech’s UV.EB West.


The Labor Market is Very Dynamic

Don't let four jagged lines on a chart confuse you, because there's good news hidden inside. The labor market is very dynamic, more dynamic than commonly understood. About 2% of the workforce quits jobs every month, and between 1.5%-2% separate from their positions in other ways because their projects are completed, fired for cause, or downsizings. About 3% of the workforce is hired in different positions every month. What's made the improvement in total employment this past year is the increase in job openings (the blue line in the chart). Note that it has a higher upward slope than the other lines. The number of job openings is now around 5 million per month, more than double that when the recovery started in mid-2009. The bottom line, in red, is “quits.” Most workers do not quit their jobs unless they have something better lined up. That line has a general upward slope, and it is common for this to increase as economies improve and workers feel more comfortable changing positions. Though not population-adjusted, the lines are definitely moving in positive directions, with job openings as the most encouraging of them. What's this mean to printers? Never consider your business contacts in companies as “safe.” As economies improve, job changing increases. Be sure to have multiple engaged contacts in your most important clients. Also, be sure your key employees are kept “gruntled” because disgruntled key employees can be valuable elsewhere.


Learning the Language of Labeling

The Constantia Flexibles Labels Division of Spear Inc. recently announced that it has found a way to make pressure sensitive labels compatible with recycling methods for bottles molded from PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic. This is a breakthrough, says the company, because it offers an affordable and environmentally friendly solution for bring pressure sensitive labeling to the 400 billion PET bottles the world uses annually.


UV.EB West Showcases Current Trends in Radiation Curing Technologies

Ultraviolet (UV) and electron beam (EB) curing technologies have been around for decades, but have continually evolved and are well-suited for today’s modern print and packaging production processes.


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