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WhatTheyThink Staff

Recent Commentary & Analysis from WhatTheyThink Staff

Displaying 25-49 of 2505 articles

The Next Chapter in the Printing Profits “Tale of Two Cities”

Published December 20, 2019

Industry profits data for the third quarter of 2019 were down from $3.05 billion in Q2 to $2.65 billion. Large printers continue to be the trouble spot.

 

Around the Web: Decade Dilemmas. Fiber Fallout. Paper Packing. Tentacle Trouble. Nifty Notebooks. Clever Keyboard. Helping Hive.

Published December 20, 2019

What are technology’s biggest challenges for the next decade? What are the top emerging technologies? Are natural fibers better for the environment than artificial fibers? Paper-based alternative to Bubble Wrap. The eternal struggle: eagle vs. octopus. For sale: Alaskan newspaper. Cost: $0. A teenager installs a 1,500-pound mainframe computer in his parents’ basement. A portable roll-up keyboard for smartphones and tablets. The rebirth of cursive writing? Bees as service animals. Rejoice: Gary Larson’s “The Far Side” is now online! All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

 

The Smart Factory Comes to Australia’s CMYKhub

Published December 17, 2019

Dayne Nankervis of Australian trade printer CMYKhub talks about the company's automation efforts, and how it is helping address the challenge of finding qualified staff. Ease-of-use allows staff to operate multiple machines, and gain new skills as they move around the company.

 

Around the Web: Gaga for Graphene! Vexing Valuation. DNA Data. Explaining Ecommerce. Sham Shipping. Stalking Signage. Mysterious Millinery.

Published December 13, 2019

A graphene jacket. A costly typo in Utah. Merriam Webster’s Word of the Year. The DNA of things”—creating materials with built-in memory. Intricate paper sculptures of microorganisms. Free shipping isn’t always free. User-tracking billboards—and with whom they share data. Who is putting hats on Las Vegas pigeons? KFC’s chicken-scented yule log. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

 

October Printing Shipments: Raise a Glass of Holiday Cheer

Published December 13, 2019

The value of printing shipments for October 2019 was $7.65 billion—a pretty big jump from September’s $7.14 billion. October has become the biggest month of the year, and this is the best October the industry has had since 2016.

 

The “Orders of One” Industry

Published December 10, 2019

Julian Marsh, Digital Print Expert, talks about the latest challenges facing digital book printers. Customers want highly customized and complex books with faster turnaround than ever—the “Amazon effect.” At the same time, book printers are facing a skills shortage. Enter automation and the smart factory approach to book manufacturing.

 

Around the Web: Crafty Carlsberg. Couture Clash. Fatal Fashion. Local Losses. Sham Shipments. Brainy Brush. Cuneiform Cookies. Purring Professors.

Published December 6, 2019

Carlsberg Group replaces plastic ring carriers and shrinkwrapping with innovative adhesive dots. The environmental toll of haute couture. A textile-based horror movie. The death of local news. An interactive look at the graphic design and development of New York City’s subway map. An AI system attempts to write about printing shipments. “A fitness tracker for your mouth.” A new look at Marco Polo’s last year in Venice. A Welsh password generator. Cats teaching economics. A $1 hotel room—exhibitionists preferred. A smoke-breathing Godzilla Christmas tree. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly, Baby Yoda-free miscellany.

 

First Look: Industry Business Conditions 2019

Published December 6, 2019

Preliminary results from our 2019 Business Outlook Survey show that one-fourth (24%) of survey respondents reported that, compared to 2018, revenues for 2019 were up more than 10%. That’s the highest this has been since we started our annual survey in 2015. Elsewhere, though, things are a bit more muted.

 

Bookmasters Brings the Smart Factory to Book Production

Published December 3, 2019

Brad Sharp, Director of Manufacturing for Bookmasters, talks about the company’s implementation of the “smart factory,” not only in the front end, but also in printing and finishing, leveraging automation to tie together as many work centers as they can for short-run, on-demand book production.

 

October Jobs: Production Down, Managerial Up

Published November 22, 2019

In October, overall printing employment dropped -0.3% from September. On a year-over-year basis, though, it was down -2.4%. Production employment was down -0.7% from September to October, but year-over-year was down -4.8%. On the other hand, non-production employment was up +0.7% from September to October, and year-over-year was up +2.9%.

 

Around the Web: Publishers’ Peril? Gargantuan Gannett. Assessing AR. Female Pirate Printer. Festive Footwear. Shirt Supreme. Goofy Gravy.

Published November 22, 2019

What happens when a print publication goes all-digital? Has Apple News Plus cannibalized publications’ own digital efforts? Gannett and GateHouse to merge and create the biggest newspaper publisher in the US. What is in store for AR in 2020? Well, not Apple Glasses. Manhole cover-based art. Painting on Vans loafers. Hacking into pet dishes? A unique way to drug your Thanksgiving guests. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

 

Christine Erna on Intelligent Mail

Published November 20, 2019

Christine Erna of Strategic Postal Advisors provides some updates on the mailing industry, specifically "full-service intelligent mail." Intelligent mail offers mailers many benefits, such as address change services, secure destruction, and informed visibility data, although many mailers may not be aware how to take advantage of it.

 

Canon’s Versatile imagePRESS Technology

Published November 19, 2019

Canon USA’s Matthew Poliniak talks about the company’s imagePRESS technology—specifically the imagePRESS C10000VP and C910 Color Digital Presses—and the wide range of applications imagePRESS technology can produce, achieving the same high quality on uncoated and coated stock, as well as textured and other specialty substrates.

 

Xanté Introduces InfoMark, an Alternative to QR Codes

Published November 19, 2019

Robert Ross, CEO of Xanté, introduces InfoMark, a simple four-digit alphanumeric code designed to replace the QR code. InfoMark gives publishers, designers, packagers, and others a simple digital link to quickly access audio, video, PDF, and any other digital content from a printed piece using a desktop computer, smartphone, or tablet.

 

Software Binds Together All the Elements of an Automated Workflow

Published November 19, 2019

Ray Duval of Ultimate TechnoGraphics talks about the concept of the “smart factory,” how virtually any print process can be automated, and how software is the glue that holds together all the different parts of the automated workflow.

 

With the Ricoh TF6250, It’s a Whole New Ballgame for MAC Specialties

Published November 18, 2019

Mark Cohen, President of MAC Specialties, talks about the wide-format and specialty printing services his company offers, and explains how they produce custom cellphone stands. MAC Specialties recently installed a Ricoh TF6250 UV LED Flatbed Printer which allows them to print on materials other than flat sheets or boards—such as foam footballs.

 

Paperboard Container Manufacturing Establishments—2016

Published November 15, 2019

In 2016, there were 1,971 establishments in NAICS 32221 (Paperboard Container Manufacturing). One-half of these establishments have 50 or more employees, and three-fourths have 20 or more employees.

 

Around the Web: Looming Automation. Tough Lung Love. Fantasy Fabric. Sea Silk. Tangled Tapes. Cochlear Craziness. Olivetti Oddity. Missing Millennials. Canine Conversation.

Published November 15, 2019

An automated digital weaving loom. Hemp cigarettes are apparently a thing. A hat made of silk from mollusks goes up for auction. The Zagat Guide is back in print. Cassette tapes are coming back into fashion, for some reason. Send your ear data to Sony, for some reason. The bizarre tale behind the first desktop computer. Is online advertising the new dot-com bubble? There’s no such thing as a Millennial—or even a Boomer. Salvador Dalí’s Tarot deck. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

 

Teaching Millennial Marketers About Direct Mail

Published November 14, 2019

Jeana Garms, VP of Marketing for SG360°, talks about her experiences as a Millennial working for a direct mail company. Her age cohort tends to think in terms of digital media first, so she finds that marketers who entered the workforce in the last 10 years need a lot of education about print direct mail.

 

Finishing Automation is Becoming a Critical Investment

Published November 14, 2019

Bob Flinn from Standard Finishing talks about why, with the current labor market, investment in automation within binding and finishing is imperative.

 

Horizon International Introduces IoT Capabilities in its Finishing System

Published November 13, 2019

Yoshihiro Oe, General Manager at Horizon International Inc., talks about the "ICE Concept" that Horizon International introduced at the Think Smart Factory event. The concept brings Internet of Things (IoT) interconnection to finishing equipment to provide real-time data analytics, predictive maintenance, remote service, and support. Horizon is collaborating with customers to determine which type of IoT functionality is most useful within an automated print factory.

 

Transformation and Transition at Kodak

Published November 12, 2019

Patti Smith, VP, WW Business Development & Marketing, Digital Inkjet Printing, for Kodak, talks to David Zwang about the latest developments at Kodak, the company's new CEO Jim Continenza, and the renewed emphasis on understanding—and replicating—the transitions customers are undergoing.

 

Think Smart Finishing Showcases Automated Print Production

Published November 12, 2019

2019 Think Smart Finishing, organized by Horizon International, showcases automated print production from order to finished product. WhatTheyThink spoke to Yasuo Taketsugu of Horizon International about bringing 14 industry partners together across software, print, and finishing to show a fully integrated print environment.

 

Tri-Win Direct Wins with Continuous-Feed Inkjet from Ricoh

Published November 11, 2019

Andy Chagan of Tri-Win Direct talks about the direct mail company's humble beginnings in a second-floor apartment and now, 22 years later, mails 350-400 million pieces a year. The company uses predominantly Ricoh equipment and, in 2015, the company transitioned from cut-sheet to continuous-feed, and the Ricoh VC60000 was a game-changer.

 

No Fall for Printing Shipments

Published November 8, 2019

Heading into Fall 2019, the value of printing shipments for September 2019 was $7.14 billion—up from August’s $7.10 billion. It’s not a huge rise, but given that for the last few years September shipments declined from August’s, we’ll take it.

 

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