WhatTheyThink

Articles by Patrick Henry

Patrick Henry, Executive Editor for WhatTheyThink.com is also the director of Liberty or Death Communications, a consultancy specializing in research, education, promotional, and editorial support services for the printing and publishing industries.

Patrick Henry is available for speaking engagements and consulting projects. To get more information contact us here.

Please offer your feedback to Patrick. He can be reached at patrick.henry@whattheythink.com.

Displaying 276-375 of 721 articles

Contrary to Reports, Ferrostaal Continues to Operate in North America; Relationship with Ryobi Remains Intact

Published February 22, 2013

Rumors were circulating earlier this week about the reported closure of Ferrostaal Equipment Solutions North America Inc., but the facts don’t bear them out. WhatTheyThink has learned that the Houston, TX based print equipment and services provider remains in operation, albeit with a new president, a smaller staff, and a reduced portfolio.

Gotcha! Heading Off the Hassles of Inconvenient Truths in M&As

Published February 15, 2013

Sometimes, sheer embarrassment can kill a merger—the shock of suddenly having to account for issues that ought to have been dealt with earlier in the process. Privately held printing companies can be prone to the kinds of errors that embarrass sellers and thwart M&As.

To B2 or Not To B2? Sandy Alexander Says ‘Yes’ in Its Beta Test of an HP Indigo 10000 Digital Press

Published February 11, 2013

Many in the industry are still speculating about where B2-format digital presses fit into the scope of commercial print production. Sandy Alexander is weighing the merits of B2 digital printing for itself by beta-testing one of the most advanced examples of the technology.

Ipex Redux: UK-Based Trade Show Gets A New Digital Direction for 2014

Published February 7, 2013

No trade show has taken more lumps lately than Ipex, the quadrennial print and graphic media expo in the UK. But its owner has declared that when Ipex opens for a six-day run in London on March 24, 2014, it will be a new show with a sharper focus and greater value for exhibitors and attendees alike.

Citing Diminished Relevance of Traditional Trade Shows, Kodak to Bow Out of Most Events

Published January 28, 2013

Don’t look for exhibits by Eastman Kodak Co. at Print 13 in Chicago this year, at IPEX 14 in the U.K next year, or at most other graphic communications trade shows after that. In a statement published last Friday, the company announced it would significantly reduce its participation in conventional trade shows and turn to other means of engaging with its customers.

The Edge of Technology, the Color of Success

Published January 18, 2013

WhatTheyThink recently visited two German printing houses that provide an aspirational lesson for printers everywhere who want to know how far investments in production technologies can take growth-minded companies.

In Year-End Review, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG Sums Up and Looks Ahead

Published January 15, 2013

Still #1 in sheetfed, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG nevertheless is adjusting to a new place in an industry over which it used to loom larger. Its leaders outlined the company’s go-forward strategy in a year-end media briefing that hinted at significant change to come.

A Print Business Pro Takes the Long View of an Industry in Transition

Published January 14, 2013

In real estate, they say, it’s all about location, location, location. In business consulting, the triple crown is perspective, perspective, perspective. The most recent addition to the consulting team at New Direction Partners brings a long and multi-angled view of the printing industry to his new role as an architect of mergers and acquisitions within it.

Kodak Exec Says Company Has Reached “Turning Point” in Quest to Emerge from Chapter 11

Published November 26, 2012

As it has at previous stages of its effort to put its troubles behind it, Kodak has reached out to the trade media with another update on the progress it claims to be making toward orderly emergence from bankruptcy. We spoke recently with Chris Payne, Kodak’s vice president - marketing, business to business, about the latest developments and about Kodak’s long-term plan to renew itself as a provider of graphic production technologies.

NDP's Steenburgh Asks: As We Grow Our Businesses, Are We Having "Fun" Yet?

Published November 6, 2012

Frank Steenburgh says one thing his long experience as a business-builder has taught him is that growing revenues and profit will always be more fun and rewarding than cutting costs. Read why.

Some Metro Firms Report Recovery in Sandy’s Devastating Wake

Published November 2, 2012

No small part of the $50 billion economic loss being attributed to storm Sandy will come from business interruptions suffered by printing firms throughout the tristate metro region. Wherever the damage was worst, the toll taken on these highly vulnerable manufacturing operations was highest. Many remain out of commission, their electrical power gone, their communications severed, their work piling up, and their employees stranded at home with gas gauges pointing at empty.

70 Strong At Graph Expo, AlphaGraphics and Its Franchisees Look Forward to Better Times Under New Ownership

Published October 30, 2012

AlphaGraphics franchise owners came en masse to Graph Expo 2012, where Art Coley, the president of the network, briefed WhatTheyThink on steps taken to revitalize the business centers and the company as whole.

All the News from Lake Ontario: Kodak and Xerox Offer Updates on Their Strategic Plans at Graph Expo

Published October 23, 2012

At Graph Expo, both presented status reports: Kodak, on continuing to manage its emergence from bankruptcy; Xerox, on maintaining its commitment to graphics as the company shifts increasingly towards services.

How Valuation and Post-Transaction Intent Mold the Shape of M&As To Come

Published October 22, 2012

For printers seeking to acquire another company or to be acquired by one, the options are straightforward. Where does your business fit in the M&A planning matrix?

Tom Parrot of Excell Color Graphics on the evolution of the business and attending Graph Expo

Published October 16, 2012

Tom Parrot, President of Excell Color Graphics talks to Pat Henry about the origins of the company that started as a prepress shop, the evolution of the business, and the value in coming to Graph Expo.

Paul Mongoven of TPM Graphics on thriving in tough times and attending Graph Expo

Published October 15, 2012

Patrick Henry talks with Paul Mongoven, President of TPM Graphics, about their business and why they are thriving during tough times for the industry. Paul also talks about the importance of attending Graph Expo and what he gets from it.

Heidelberg's Uli Koehler talks about their service organization

Published October 12, 2012

Patrick Henry speaks with Heidelberg Senior Vice President Uli Koehler about their service organization, how they use it to support their customers, as well as details on how the market changes have impacted service operations.

The "Great Communicator" Wows 'em in the Windy City with Something Very Tiny-and Potentially Very Huge

Published October 11, 2012

Nobody else could have made as persuasive a case for an as-yet unproven technology as Benny Landa did at Graph Expo when he captivated a crowd with his vision of nanographic printing.

Brad Krutchen of Kodak on his new division and impressions of Graph Expo

Published October 10, 2012

Kodak President of Graphics, Entertainment, and Commercial Film talks to Pat Henry about his relatively new division and gets his impressions of Graph Expo 2012.

Silence, or Something Pleasantly Close to It, Is Golden at Graph Expo

Published October 10, 2012

If you listen closely, you can hear the new, quieter sound of Graph Expo. It's easier on the ears, and it makes for a much improved trade show experience.

HP's Sumeer Chandra on Recent Business Unit Reorganization

Published September 27, 2012

Pat Henry interviews HP's Worldwide Marketing & Strategy VP for Graphic Solutions Business Sumeer Chandra, who talks about the reorganization of the graphics business and the strategy moving forward. Sumeer also gives a good overview of the Atlanta Experience Center.

A Print Industry "Oligopoly" is on the Way: Are You In, or Are You Out?

Published September 18, 2012

Given present trends, the industry could be dominated by a relative handful of firms in a few years. Some companies can grow profitably into this new landscape. Others can make a safe exit before it fully unfolds. Each outcome demands a strategy-now.

Visit to HP “Experience Center” Finds the Graphic Solutions Business Unit in “Business as Usual” Mode

Published August 24, 2012

Recent news from HP has been turbulent, raising questions about the status of the company’s graphics business. Some light was shed last week at a customer event at HP’s Graphic Arts Experience Center.

Pouring Another Cup O’ Joe: Points for Sellers to Ponder as the M&A Climate Improves

Published August 14, 2012

A pent-up eagerness for deals makes it all the more important for those venturing back into the M&A marketplace as sellers to be clear about why they should sell—and why buyers should want to acquire them.

Fail To Plan, Plan To Fail: the Necessity of Strategizing Acquisitions

Published July 30, 2012

It may be possible to run a printing company without a formal plan, but buying or selling a printing company will be very difficult to bring off successfully without the help of a written roadmap. An acquisition plan is a vital navigation aid that guides the process and certifies the desirability of the deal.

Clean and Simple: FlexoConcepts Offers Uncomplicated Solution for Better Washups

Published July 3, 2012

With its microprocessors, relays, sensors, and software, a modern printing press is a marvel at squeezing time and cost out of production runs. But, one maker of press cleaning accessories contends that these complex systems can still get a big helping hand in a key press function from a simple but strategically placed strip of durable plastic.

Steve Forbes Accepts 26th Prism Award from NYU-SCPS at Record-Setting Event

Published June 28, 2012

The graphic communications industry continues to struggle with declining sales, squeezed profit margins, restricted access to capital, and business pressures of every imaginable kind. But, none of that has dampened the enthusiasm of those who support the Prism Awards, a high-profile achievement recognition program that rings with optimism every year under the auspices of New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS).

M&A Mythbusting: Just How Good an Investment Is a General Commercial Printing Business?

Published June 12, 2012

Some think that general commercial printing companies aren’t worthy targets for acquisition by other printing firms. That’s a major misperception, say the M&A experts of NDP.

drupa Post-Show Report: Around the Messe in 50 Tweets

Published June 8, 2012

This time, instead of a long-form review of product announcements at drupa 2012, here are the highlights in a format that many of us are getting accustomed to: Tweetable bursts of 140 characters or less.

Two State-of-the-Industry Briefings at drupa Give Equal Reason for Optimism and Concern

Published May 21, 2012

“We need to be in the outcome business, not the output business,” said a printing executive at drupa. “They trust you,” said a senior spokesman for a vendor about the underlying strength of printer-customer relationships. Both presentations were rich in insights about the state of print markets and the prospects that printers will discover in them.

You Closed the Deal—What’s Next? Here Are the Steps To Take Now That the Ink Is Dry

Published May 15, 2012

Inking the merger of two printing companies is the formality that signals the beginning of the hard part: implementation. Methodical planning and careful communication can go a long way toward smoothing the transition.

At drupa, Senior Executives Take the 10,000-foot View

Published May 14, 2012

As would be expected during an event of this kind, most of the media briefings at drupa were focused on product announcements and technology introductions. From time to time, though, speakers put the salesmanship aside and offered broader commentary on industry trends and print market conditions.

Xerox “drupa Visualizer” Tracks Top Tweets and Trends

Published May 9, 2012

It's better to label drupa 2012 “the _______ drupa” with the prefix of your choice, so try dipping into the Xerox “drupa visualizer.” This live infographic lets Xerox track and share the top trends being discussed in relation to drupa across the Twitterverse.

First Reactions to drupa 2012: Searching for a “Big Picture” of the Big Show

Published May 8, 2012

What were the principal take-aways from drupa 2012? What was new and exciting in the exhibit halls? Where is the industry headed? We’re sifting our notebooks for the answers. In the meantime, here are some broad observations about the character and “feel” of the show.

President of drupa 2012 Bernhard Schreier: the drupa of Business Opportunities

Published May 8, 2012

Bernhard Schreier, CEO of Heidelberg and President of drupa 2012 answers Pat Henry's questions about the concepts and planning of this mammoth show in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Plaudits from Pundits Are Abundant in “Tribute to Tribute” at drupa

Published May 8, 2012

Regular readers of WhatTheyThink need no reminder of who Andy Tribute is or of how much value he has added to the WhatTheyThink editorial space. Admirers of his writing probably will not be surprised to learn that his peers hold him in as much personal affection as they do in professional esteem.

Package Printing to Be a Highlight of KBA’s drupa Presentations

Published May 2, 2012

Much of the activity at KBA’s stand in Hall 16 at drupa will center upon packaging, an application in which the company has always claimed a competitive edge. At drupa, KBA will reassert the claim with systems it describes as engineered to meet today’s highest-priority requirements in packaging production.

At drupa, KBA’s RotaJET 76 Digital Inkjet Press Will Reveal Deep Roots in Web Offset Production

Published April 26, 2012

KBA’s venture into digital printing with its new RotaJET 76 inkjet web press has origins in a market that the company knows well: high-volume offset web production.

At drupa, Social Media Will Help Xerox Share the Experience

Published April 23, 2012

When Xerox exhibits at drupa, its presence won’t be limited to stand A62 in hall 8b. Throughout the show, the company intends to maintain an equally high profile in the realm of social media as it attempts to viralize not just its own drupa experience but the pulse and the intelligence of the event as a whole.

KBA Prepares for drupa in Confident, Customer-Focused Frame of Mind

Published April 16, 2012

Every four years, the international printing community gathers at drupa and asks itself a question: How are we doing? The Koenig & Bauer Group (KBA) believes that if every vendor’s experience over the last few years had been as positive as its own, the collective answer would have to be: Never better.

High-Profile Industry Figure in Latest Role: Frank Steenburgh, a.k.a “DocuFrank,” Joins NDP as Partner

Published April 16, 2012

It would be impossible to speak for very long about the evolution of digital printing without bringing Frank Steenburgh’s name into the conversation.

Print: Seen! Lean & Green the PrintCity Alliance Theme for drupa 2012

Published March 19, 2012

Pat Henry interviews Helmut J. (John) Dangelmaier about PrintCity's initiatives for drupa.

Post Print City Pre-drupa briefing with Océ's Roland Stasiczek

Published March 12, 2012

Pat Henry sits down with Roland Stasiczek, Director of Marketing, Continuous Feed Printers, Océ Printing Systems to discuss the Océ briefing presented in Munich.

Geographics: Portrait of a Printing Company with M&A in Mind

Published March 12, 2012

Ever since he founded Geographics in 1976, Norvin Hagan hasn’t tried to purchase another company—until now. Read why he’s ready to complement organic growth with the kind that comes from a well planned and executed acquisition.

manroland's Peter Kuisle Recaps Their Recent Web Systems Announcement

Published March 5, 2012

Pat Henry, at the recent Print City Alliance pre-drupa event in Munich, grabs Executive Vice President of Sales & Service Peter Kuisle and asks him to recap the manroland web systems announcement.

PrintCity Alliance Builds Momentum for Strong Showing at drupa 2012 (Part 2)

Published February 28, 2012

By exhibiting as a group at drupa 2012, the members of the PrintCity Alliance hope to present a continuum of solutions that visitors will find well adapted to the new realities of the print marketplace. Previews of some of their show offerings are here.

PrintCity Alliance Builds Momentum for Strong Showing at drupa 2012

Published February 21, 2012

At drupa 2012, the PrintCity Alliance will emphasize and promote the future of print from its usual location on the Messe Düsseldorf fairgrounds. Last week, some of its members gave a preview of what awaits visitors to Hall 6.

Expect a Stepped-up Pace of M&As in 2012, for All the Right Reasons

Published February 6, 2012

No matter what is happening to other print industry metrics, M&As are trending up. This can be to the advantage of many printing companies seeking growth or a path to staying in operation.

SpyderLynk’s SnapTags Strive for Acceptance

Published January 30, 2012

There’s a notable gap between consumers’ understanding of QR codes and their willingness to use them. A company called SpyderLynk has a solution aimed at helping image-based mobile marketing to fulfill the potential that has eluded QR codes.

Kodak Means to Stay the Course in Graphic Communications Throughout Chapter 11 Reorganization

Published January 20, 2012

Kodak will continue to advance its graphic communications business as it tries to emerge from bankruptcy, treating its digital printing, plate, and workflow operations as keys to survival and future success.

Cathedral Corporation: Portrait of a Printing Company with M&A in Mind

Published January 16, 2012

Technical innovation and customer care are the main ingredients in the recipe for growth at Cathedral Corporation, which now aims to accelerate its expansion with the well-planned acquisition of another printing firm. President and CEO Marianne Gaige describes her objectives in this interview.

Harald Weimer Shares About Stepping in as Heidelberg's New President

Published December 9, 2011

Patrick Henry and President of Heidelberg Harald Weimer discuss his background with the company and his recent appointment as incoming president of Heidelberg.

For Three Firms That Grew by Acquisition, the Art of the Deal Came from the Guidance of Their Professional M&A Advisors

Published October 24, 2011

Even experienced fishermen know that there are times when they shouldn’t cast a fly without the help of a fishing guide. A guide knows where the best fishing holes are and how to land the prize fish in them. It’s much the same with mergers and acquisitions in the printing industry. The best catches are made when the principals rely on the skills of deal-savvy M&A advisors.

Alleging Breach of Contract, Kodak Files Suit Against Collins Ink

Published October 21, 2011

The commercial dispute between Kodak and Collins Ink Corporation has escalated into a legal wrangle with Kodak’s filing of a lawsuit that charges the inkjet ink manufacturer with breach of contract.

Promising to Protect Customers, Kodak and Collins Ink Corp. Part Ways

Published October 14, 2011

With each vowing that customers won’t be harmed as a result of their estrangement, Kodak and Collins Ink Corporation have come to the abrupt end of a 10-year deal whereby the latter supplied the former with inkjet inks for Versamark digital presses.

Pouring Another "Cup O Joe": Lenders Talk About Lending (Part 2)

Published October 10, 2011

As everyone knows, the recession has made business financing hard to come by. In this two-part “Cup O Joe,” lenders to the printing industry report that loan products are available and discuss how printers can obtain them.

Low Prices, New Features Mark New Crop of Kindle Devices from Amazon

Published September 30, 2011

This week, Amazon unveiled four aggressively priced content delivery devices: one, a multimedia tablet aimed squarely at Apple's market-dominating iPad; the other three, the latest iterations of Amazon's popular Kindle e-reader.

"Too Good" Was (Almost) the Phrase for Print Production Technologies at Graph Expo (Part 2)

Published September 28, 2011

Whatever may be happening to the demand for print, Graph Expo 2011 made one thing abundantly clear: never before have printers had as many options as they now possess for adding beauty, charisma, and value to a piece of paper.

"Too Good" Was (Almost) the Phrase for Print Production Technologies at Graph Expo (Part 1)

Published September 23, 2011

Whatever may be happening to the demand for print, Graph Expo 2011 made one thing abundantly clear: never before have printers had as many options as they now possess for adding beauty, charisma, and value to a piece of paper.

Whole is Greater than Sum of Parts in KBA-Donnelley, Xanté-Memjet Joint Ventures Announced At Graph Expo

Published September 13, 2011

"Convergence" in the graphic communications industry can mean many things, but at Graph Expo, it describes what happens when vendors pool their R&D resources to create production solutions more formidable than anything they could have devised by themselves.

Remarks by Heidelberg Chairman Provide Appropriate Context for Opening of Graph Expo

Published September 12, 2011

Opening-day remarks at Graph Expo by Bernhard Schreier captured the tone of the event and offered a restrained but still optimistic outlook for global print markets.

Pouring Another "Cup O Joe": Lenders Talk About Lending (Part 1)

Published August 22, 2011

As everyone knows, the recession has made business financing hard to come by. In this two-part "Cup O Joe," lenders to the printing industry report that loan products are available and discuss how printers can obtain them.

NexSteps for NexPress as SX Platform Debuts

Published August 11, 2011

Kodak's NexPress SX digital color production platform is a reminder that while inkjet systems have tended to snare most of the attention from the graphic arts trade media of late, there’s still plenty of technical innovation to write about on the toner-based side as well.

Espresso Machine in NYC's SoHo Brews not Coffee but Print-on-Demand Books

Published August 9, 2011

The new Espresso Book Machine (EBM) at McNally Jackson Books is an experiment in non-traditional publishing that just might represent the start of a new paradigm for bringing books to market, one independent bookseller and one print-on-demand title at a time.

PrintCity Alliance Promotes Poll for Print Lovers

Published July 29, 2011

PrintCity Alliance is running an online survey that invites print fans to count (and measure) the ways they love the medium and its role in the graphic communications mix.

What Would You Do for $5? Want To Find Out Why the Answer Matters to Graphic Communications?

Published July 22, 2011

Have you heard about Fiverr, “The place for people to share things they’re willing to do for $5”? If you’ve ever wondered what the five-dollar phrase “digital disintermediation” really means, Fiverr is a cyber bazaar full of answers.

Deconstructing Deals That Didn't Happen (Part 2)

Published July 19, 2011

Some M&A transactions in the printing industry fall apart before they reach the signing stage. Other deals, however, come undone after the ink is dry, and often for reasons that should have been obvious all along. New Direction Partners looks at how to stay out of the latter trap.

A Slightly Belated Happy 125th Birthday to the Linotype, Ottmar Mergenthaler’s Miraculous Machine

Published July 13, 2011

The recent Independence Day holiday weekend passed largely without notice of the 125th anniversary of the introduction of the Linotype Type Casting Machine on July 3, 1886. But awareness of this amazing device could rise with the upcoming release of Linotype: the Film.

“Monster Machine,” a.k.a. Kodak PROSPER 5000XL Digital Color Inkjet Press, Takes Center Stage at Mercury Print Productions

Published July 6, 2011

On June 30, Mercury Print Productions cut the red ribbon on a Kodak PROSPER 5000XL digital color inkjet press that had already printed in excess of 20 million impressions and was said to be well on its way to producing many millions more.

GCSF Underwrites 29 Young Scholars of Design and Graphics; Alan Siegel Accepts “Champion of Education” Award

Published June 24, 2011

Twenty-nine students have received a total of $40,000 in grants from the Graphic Communications Scholarship Award and Career Advancement Foundation, an organization that has disbursed nearly $300,000 for graphics education since 2002.

2011 NYU Prism Award Goes to RRD’s Thomas Quinlan; Alumni Award Is Presented to NAPL's Joseph Truncale

Published June 21, 2011

The New York University (NYU) Prism Award Luncheon celebrated its 25th anniversary today by conferring the honor for which it is named upon Thomas J. Quinlan III, president and CEO of R.R. Donnelley and Sons Company. Also honored was Joseph P. Truncale, president and CEO of the National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL), who was named the recipient of the 2011 Alumni Award.

Deconstructing Deals That Didn’t Happen (Part 1)

Published June 21, 2011

M&A transactions sometimes fall through. Poor judgment, misinformation, adverse business developments, and personal antagonisms can drive principals apart despite the mutual advantages of deals that should bring them together. This two-part article examines how and why they fail.

In 600 Square Feet, A Whole Wide World of Craft Printing

Published June 16, 2011

“My middle name is Franklin, so I had to become a printer.” And so Dave Moody did, honoring a family heritage and perpetuating the traditional arts of printing on vintage but very busy letterpress equipment.

Canon and Guests Investigate “Success with Print” in NYC

Published June 10, 2011

Canon brought its “Success with Print” educational series to New York City on June 7. The session was one stop on a 15-city tour aimed at helping printers locate new growth and profitability in a market where these opportunities are becoming increasingly hard to find.

Sacks, Bensen, and Heidelberg Accept Educational Tributes at 2011 Gamma Gold Key Award Ceremony

Published June 4, 2011

On June 2 in New York City, Bob Sacks, a.k.a. “BoSacks,” became the 114th recipient of the Gamma Gold Key Award. Also honored for exceptional support of education were Annette Wolf Bensen and Heidelberg USA.

Despite Help from Friends, Historic Print Shop in NYC Faces Possibility of Permanent Closure

Published June 1, 2011

Supporters of New York City’s historic Bowne & Co. Stationers are rallying to save it, but against what appear to be very long odds. Its parent organization has closed the storefront at 211 Water Street, stunning fans of the printing office and its extensive collections of antique types, type specimen books, and equipment.

A Visit from a Chinese Publishing Delegation, and a Thought about “the Human Factor” Behind the Numbers

Published May 11, 2011

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to brief a group of visiting Chinese publishers and printers on the state of the industry as experienced by their counterparts in the U.S. Our discussion highlighted the similarities that link China’s and America’s publishing sectors amidst profound market shifts in both countries. It also illuminated a few notable differences that distinguish our industry’s attitude toward change from theirs.

“The Freedom Press” Makes Art of the Art of Printing

Published May 6, 2011

“Heavy metal” is the printing industry’s affectionate term for presses. It also denotes the material that accounts for 95% of what a conventional printing machine is made of. Now, a sculptor has unconventionally added bamboo, cork, oak, and rope to the equation—and the result serves equally well as an art object and as a functioning example of the thing it represents.

Judge’s Ruling Threatens Some Reforms at McCormick Place; “Disappointed” Reaction from Graphic Arts Show Company

Published April 28, 2011

It was to have been a new deal for exhibitors at Graph Expo, Print, and scores of other trade shows at Chicago’s McCormick Place: a set of legislative reforms aimed at making it easier and less expensive to produce events at the lakeside expo and convention center. But, a recent ruling by a federal judge has overturned some of those changes and may keep them from being retained.

Plant Tours: Excursions to Nowhere?

Published April 26, 2011

We came across this post about printing plant tours while researching something else. The writer is a consultant who sells branding, marketing, and design services, and he’s clearly somebody who’s spent a lot of time inside printing plants.

In Brooklyn, Duggal Visual Solutions Becomes Extramural Classroom for Students from NYCCT

Published April 21, 2011

Students in the department of Advertising Design and Graphic Arts (ADGA) at New York City College of Technology (NYCCT) saw high-end digital printing in action on a recent field trip to Duggal Visual Solutions in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Devil in the Details: Issues and Answers in M&As

Published April 21, 2011

A successful M&A transaction is the sum of many carefully fashioned parts. This month, New Direction Partners and Margolis Becker delve into the details with comments on how deals can be influenced by client concentration; plant ownership; non-compete agreements with salespeople; acquired management teams; post-acquisition price increases; and personally guaranteed debt.

Report Explores New Digital Dimensions of the News Media

Published April 13, 2011

Did you know that seven of the top 25 newspapers in the United States are now owned by hedge funds? Facts like this abound in The State of the News Media 2011, recently released by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. It’s must reading for anyone trying to make sense of what digital technologies are doing to the market for mass communications.

Stories from the Farthest Shores of Sheetfed: Five Printers Share Their Experiences with KBA’s Mighty Rapida 205 (Part II)

Published April 8, 2011

Five printers representing nearly half the installed base of KBA Rapida 205s in the U.S. say that the performance of this 59.5" x 81" press is as impressive as sheet size. They speak assuredly of the big improvements that the industry’s biggest press has made, or is fully expected to make, to the foundations of their businesses.

Professionals Seek New Bearings at Publishing Business Conference & Expo (Part 2)

Published April 7, 2011

Today, thanks to digital production technologies, anyone can publish a book, and the same goes for magazines. How mainstream book and magazine publishers are confronting new business models in which nearly anything (and anyone) goes was a thread running through many of the presentations at this week’s Publishing Business Conference & Expo in New York City.

Stories from the Farthest Shores of Sheetfed: Five Printers Share Their Experiences with KBA’s Mighty Rapida 205 (Part I)

Published April 7, 2011

The smallest format it can print is a bigger piece of paper than most sheetfed plants have ever handled. It’s hard to avoid superlatives when describing KBA’s 59.5" x 81" Rapida 205, the world’s largest sheetfed offset press—especially when five printers representing nearly half of its installed base in the U.S. say that its performance is every bit as impressive as its sheet size.

Professionals Seek New Bearings at Publishing Business Conference & Expo (Part 1)

Published April 5, 2011

Delivering worthy content to receptive audiences remains a cornerstone concept in the publishing industry, but it’s almost the only certainty left. Keynote speakers at this week’s Publishing Business Conference & Expo in New York City tried to identify additional strategies for staying relevant, compelling, and profitable in a game where digital alternatives to the older models write new rules every day.

The Social Network: Enter Heidelberg

Published April 1, 2011

In typically methodical fashion, Heidelberg has embraced the social media. Through these channels, grouped for convenient access here, the graphic equipment manufacturer hopes to enrich its dialogue with the marketplace by getting a better handle on what Heidelberg customers are saying to each other about its products and services.

Heidelberg Plays Host To SkillsUSA Competition

Published March 28, 2011

Congratulations to the winners, and a tip of the hat to their host. Two weeks ago, Heidelberg turned its Kennesaw, GA, Technology Center into a venue for a statewide competition in SkillsUSA’s search for the nation’s rising young stars in graphic communications and advertising design.

Pouring Another “Cup O Joe”: the Essentials of M&A Valuation

Published March 16, 2011

"What's my company worth to a buyer?" Easy to ask, but not so easy to answer correctly. This month, New Direction Partners and Margolis Becker explain the multiple-of-EBITDA formula that's used to determine pricing in many conventional acquisitions. They also discuss asset-based valuation for tuck-ins and note the commission structures that sellers can expect to receive in M&As of this type.

The Social Printshop: Your Friends to Your Wall, via Facebook

Published March 7, 2011

There’s not much crossover between the parallel universes of print and the social media, but Benjamin Lotan is out to change that—once Facebook poster at a time. He’s the creator and the proprietor of The Social Printshop, an online service that lets habitués of Facebook and other social networking sites celebrate their relationships in hard-copy form.

Another “Windmill” Just Keeps on Turning

Published February 26, 2011

If a sturdily-built iron letterpress is carefully maintained and properly operated, shouldn’t it last forever? Well, forever is a long time. But so is five decades, the span of years across which Florida printer Buddy West has operated the same Original Heidelberg letterpress at Panama City Publishing Co. in that town's St. Andrews district.

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee: Straight Talk about M&As in A “Cup O Joe”

Published February 16, 2011

The partners at New Direction Partners join financial management firm Margolis Becker for the monthly Cup O Joe, a conference call with printers on a selected topic. With the help of NDP partners Peter Schaefer and Jim Russell, Cup O Joe tackled the topic “Acquiring A Company from an Owner’s Perspective.” Some excerpts are presented here.

Scannable Valentine’s Day Stamps Say “XOXO” in QR

Published February 11, 2011

Nobody ever called QR codes pretty to look at. But then, nobody has taken QR codes to heart in quite the same way as Chunghwa Post, the postal system of the Republic of China (Taiwan). For Valentine’s Day, the agency has turned the stark black-and-white of these print-leveraging symbols into a palette of pastels with an underlying message of love—a sentiment that’s welcome in the mailbox on any day of the year.

GrCI at Cal Poly Installs Cutter Donated by Heidelberg

Published February 8, 2011

“In our DNA” is a bit of corporate-speak that we’re all probably tired of hearing, but every now and then, it really does express the depth of a company’s commitment to a principle or a cause that it takes seriously. Heidelberg, for one, would be fully entitled to use the phrase to describe its support for industry education—just ask the Graphic Communication Institute (GrCI) at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly).

OSHA to Flagrant Workplace Safety Violators: Prepare to Be SVEPt Up

Published February 7, 2011

Last year Congress deliberated a bill that would have significantly increased penalties for workplace safety violations uncovered by OSHA. To the relief of business advocacy groups, the bill didn’t become law, but this doesn’t mean that the agency hasn’t been stepping up its efforts against unsafe workplaces in other ways.

Coming Soon: “Gutenberg’s Buyers Guides,” Purchasing Directories for Printers—in Print

Published February 4, 2011

The U.S. printing industry has been without commercially produced, regionalized trade directories since the Graphic Arts Blue Books ceased publication in print last year. But, printers gazing wistfully at the empty space on the shelf where the old Blue Books used to go should dust off that space and keep it open—a new set of hard-copy purchasing guides is on its way from north of the border.

Report: Heidelberg To Challenge “Performance” Digital Presses with Hybrid Litho/Digital Offering

Published January 31, 2011

As it stages its re-entry into the digital print equipment market, Heidelberg is out to make high-end digital presses from other suppliers “irrelevant.” That, at least, is the word used and the conclusion reached by the UK trade publication PrintWeek in a recent report on Heidelberg’s emerging digital strategy.

In an M&A Deal, Time Is on Your Side—Until It Isn’t

Published January 24, 2011

Knowing when to do the deal is probably the trickiest judgment call in any merger of printing companies. Correct timing is a must for both parties, but choosing the right moment to step forward into the M&A marketplace rests with the seller. It’s a decision that calls for introspective as well as strategic thinking.