By Noel Ward, Executive Editor August 18, 2003 -- The undercurrent in several of this week’s offerings is value. It’s a topic we’ll likely revisit with some regularity because it is so critical to our respective businesses. Value means many things to many people, and too often it is associated with price. Mass market retailers claim to offer great values, but as we all know, just because something sells for a low price does not make it a good value. Still, the siren song of deep discounts and less money out of a check book often wins out over recognizing a good value. This week Joel Crockett points out how it’s important to re-evaluate pricing from time to time to identify where businesses deliver the greatest value. “What do we deem of value?” he asks. “Where is our worth?” It may be, he points out, that some things that once represented value to your business or your customers have decreased in value. It’s a good idea to find out what those are and also look for where you can add new values to your customer relationships. This is echoed in Chuck Gehman’s piece that discusses the growing need for printers to know their way around a database. Being able to put ink or toner or a page is no longer enough--you have to do far more to present a compelling value to customers. Service bureaus, direct mailers and digital printers know this and are encroaching on the turf of more than a few print providers who have invested in digital technology but are still climbing the curve on data handling. Then in this week’s case study you’ll see how Sloan Valve company found clear value in the shift from paper to digital and streamlined operations along the way. And the white paper, on Future Proofing your Business, is really about the short- and long-term values to be found in using print technologies that are adaptable, flexible, versatile and scaleable. As you peruse these various bits, think about how your business delivers value. Many businesses have a USP, or Unique Selling Proposition. These days it seems that most also need a well-defined UVP--Unique Value Proposition to further differentiate themselves and show customers the deeper, more lasting values of doing business with them. Where do you add value? What does it mean to your customers? And how do you communicate it?