Post-pandemic, the business environment is changing rapidly. Balancing the needs of customers, operations, and the workforce is the big challenge employers now face. Guest contributor Lou Caron offers hiring strategies for printers needing to staff back up.
The Direct-to-Garment (DTG) business is booming. During the pandemic, businesses with online ordering capabilities explored new ways to add new solutions or capacity to their portfolios, and DTG was one of the key ways to do so. Learn more.
A new Shoppers.com study finds that Americans are more likely to boycott a brand due to their political positions than they were one year ago. So be careful how you post, share, and comment on your social media pages. You could be driving away potential customers.
Stakeholders in print and packaging have a new awareness that automation and Industry 4.0 will be what’s going to keep their companies competitive. It may be true, as it was for Granpak, a large packaging manufacturer, that implementing an MIS/ERP can impact an organization WITHOUT spending any additional money on machines or additional personnel.
Lots of activity, little in the way of results is often the situation when your culture jumps to solutions without defining the problem first. Pause, say the problem out loud. Ask others to say it in their own words. Don’t move to the “how” until you all agree on the “what.”
Even moderate winds can be destructive to outdoor graphics if they have been insufficiently reinforced. And while taping, sewing, or welding banner edges may not be the sexiest finishing techniques in the world, they are important considerations when producing outdoor graphics that are designed look good as well as last.
It is very possible that the software in your workflow is not the best fit for your business! Business workflow suites and production workflow suites can be found for every size and type of business and at every price point. You can even find freeware for some of your common tasks. But just because it looks good and meets your budget doesn’t mean it’s the software for you. Pat McGrew explains how and why.
In this fifth article of this series, we continue to look at Industry 4.0, not as a marketing term, but in an actionable way so that you can begin or continue to prepare your company and participate in the many benefits today and tomorrow. In this article, we look at a solution that provides some process connection points, data collection and analysis.
Personalization is a trend that’s not going away any time soon. Research shows that about 63% of consumers agree that personalization is now part of a standard level of service that they expect. This article, sponsored by HP and written by HP Indigo's “Workflow Chef” Gershon Alon, looks at the essential elements of a successful VDP program.
We recently suggested that the Fast Fashion trend should come to an end sooner rather than later, especially in today’s more sustainability-conscious environment and increased focus on solving climate change issues around the globe. In this article, we share insights from recent UBS and other research supporting this position and suggesting what happens if consumers cut back on fast fashion.
Video conferencing is becoming the business communication of choice because it engages the participants. Face-to-face conversations build trust, particularly since all parties can see the non-verbal cues. Contributor John Giles outlines the advantages and requirements for effective video conferencing.
According to County Business Patterns, in 2010, there were 134,432 employees in NAICS 51112 (Periodical Publishing). By 2018, employees had decreased to 84,424. In macro news, ecommerce as a percent of retail sales has dropped almost back to its pre-pandemic level.
A graphene-enhanced jacket for sailing. Why are Captchas getting harder? A bakery creates essentially a cookie-based wanted poster. AI writes bleak and depressing stories. AI paints “self” portraits, raising all sorts of existential questions. A cicada cookbook, for some reason. LED lightbulbs attract fewer insects than incandescents. Perfect for BBQ season: a levitating hot dog roaster. Learning to ride a penny farthing bicycle. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
As digital workflow increasingly makes its way into the textiles & apparel supply chain, how do you simplify the complex process that carries a creative piece of artwork through print production? That’s the question that Debbie McKeegan, textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor, addresses in this article.
It is a truism that most problems in today’s world of organizations are created by poor implementation of change initiatives. This stems from poorly thought out decisions all the way through to not putting in place clear decision boundaries that can prevent subversion of the desired outcomes. In this article, Wayne Lynn looks underneath the components of effective implementation with an eye toward creating a deeper understanding of what’s needed to improve our ability to improve how we get things done.
For many, “digital transformation” is likely a buzz term that roughly translates into “using computers.” In reality, however, it is so much more than that. The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly propelled digital processes and workflows forward, impacting almost every area of business today. Printing firms must ensure that they are prepared for this new normal of digital transformation.
Print shops with under 20 employees have typically been left behind when it comes to automation tools. However, the environment is changing quickly, and cloud-based solutions, such as Good2Go, opens the door to automation for printers of any size.
How careful are you with sharing information about your company, your sales practices, or your processes and technologies in public, thinking, “Nobody knows me here”? Could you be giving away compromising information without realizing it?
In this bimonthly series, WhatTheyThink is presenting the state of the printing industry in different European countries based on the latest monthly production numbers. This week, we take a look at the printing industry in the Netherlands
In this fourth article in this series, we continue to look at Industry 4.0, not as a marketing term, but in an actionable way so that you can begin or continue to prepare your company and participate in the many benefits today and tomorrow. In this article, we pause the background education and take a look at some currently available solutions and a peek into futures.
Ralf Schlözer quantifies the impact the pandemic has had on print production in Europe. There are still only pieces of data available, but they already provide an overview on how the market and some segments fared in 2020.
Providing the broadest range of Beyond CMYK solutions and presses is not enough. Xerox understands print providers, designers and production houses need their help, training, and support in order to take advantage of this new print technology. It’s why Xerox created the Genesis Initiative. This article, sponsored by Xerox, takes a close look at this new initiative.
The knowledge level of employees is one of those important cornerstones to a successful operation. There is clear evidence that a well-informed and self-sufficient production team ensures higher productivity, resulting in increased business success. This article, sponsored by HP and written by HP Indigo's “Workflow Chef” Gershon Alon, looks at how can you ensure your staff has all the knowledge it needs to keep your print shop running smoothly.
Last month, we said that “shipments can only get better from here”—and we were right. March shipments roared back from a historical low of $6.39 billion in February to $7.44 billion in March, the second best March in the past five years.
The IRS’s broken printer problem. A coronavirus-themed pack of Tarot cards. Get vaxxed at Dracula’s castle. Thermally regulated jeans, thanks to graphene. A Teflon coating for textiles. Monitor your hydration with the Pantone Pee Chart. The Museum of Plastic is going to be recycled. A jumpsuit for the “new normal.” The great chiken wing crisis. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly post-vaccination miscellany.
According to recent research from Keypoint Intelligence, the top investment areas for IT decision-makers in the United States include cloud-based solutions and cybersecurity. This article explores how print service providers can leverage these and other areas to better meet their customers’ ever-changing print requirements.
In this week’s article from textile expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan, we get an inside look at how Kirath Ghundoo, the Queen of Geometric Wallcoverings, has leveraged technology to build her own brand and a thriving business.
If you were asked to come up with a list of ways that QR codes can be used in marketing, how many could you list? Could you come up with at least 10? As QR codes see a resurgence, being driven by everything from the COVID-19 pandemic to USPS postal promotions, it’s time to take stock of how they are being used, as well as the opportunities that are being missed.
The PrintVis Print MIS/ERP is an offering that combines a globally recognized ERP system from Microsoft (Dynamics 365 Business Central), with the print industry specific addon from PrintVis, and in this article we’re featuring Sabre Limited as the implementation partner.
Steven Johnson is underwhelmed by market researchers offering a chance to win an Amazon gift card in exchange for his opinion. In this month’s “Johnson’s World,” he identifies what would make him more likely to respond.
Whether you are a printing company, a marketing services company, or a vendor who serves them with hardware or software, potential customers can only find you if they see you, and today it takes more than a Facebook page or website. The odds that your Instagram page or LinkedIn page will attract attention independently aren’t very great in today’s crowded market. You need a visibility plan. Pat McGrew explains what that is, and how to create one.
Cornhole boards, barn wood, hand sanitizer stations, 3D effects, and acrylic on glass. In this photo gallery, we highlight some recent projects that users have produced using flatbed UV printing equipment.
Being part of a print or sign franchise family has become quite appealing—especially when you consider the core advantages. Joanne Gore looks at the health and growth potential of franchises, as well as the advantages to being part of a franchise.
The pandemic has driven significant change into a number of aspects of our lives, many of which are likely to stick around long after we get through this difficult period. One technology that has seen an increase in adoption is Smart Glasses. We’ve got examples of how forward-thinking companies have leveraged this technology to keep revenues coming in despite pandemic restrictions.
The industry is challenged by increasingly tough customer requirements for fast delivery, high quality, and low price. Without a significant improvement in production efficiency, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to meet these challenges. Industry 4.0 provides the technological infrastructure for improvement, and government support will lower the barriers to implementation. This article, sponsored by HP and written by HP Indigo's “Workflow Chef” Gershon Alon, details the importance of Industry 4.0 for the printing industry.
A new highway sign typeface. A cybersecurity expert’s adventures in book publishing. Air Ink makes ink out of carbon emissions. Are you cheugy? Replacing ads on disused phone booths with art. A subscription-based motorcycle safety vest. The CIA has a grammar stylebook. An Ohio senator in a Zoom meeting tries to hide that he’s driving. The latest in pasta technology can save on packaging waste. An attaché case for live fish. Today is No Pants Day—and for a good cause. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s miscellany.
When owners or sales leaders are asked about their sales teams, their descriptions frequently leave something to be desired. Without a team mindset where all of your reps operate in sync with one another, you are left with nothing more than a sales group. This article explores how print service providers can establish a team mentality among their salespeople to drive better business results.
Designers are increasingly selling their designs directly to consumers for a variety of fabric-based applications. WhatTheyThink contributor and textiles expert Debbie McKeegan highlights the successes artist Gillian Arnold has had with this approach using the HP Stitch digital textile printer.
Both brand owners and pharmaceutical manufacturers have been much in the spotlight this last year. Packaging, label, and flexographic packaging companies are likely closely examining practices, procedures, training—and the way data is collected and reported. In this article, written and sponsored by HiFlow Solutions, see how an MIS/ERP can be an all-in-one comprehensive solution that not only assists with compliance issues, but can also control costs and improve efficiencies across pharmaceutical manufacturing.
This is the third in the series about what can be done to keep the pipeline of new talent flowing into the printing industry. In this article, we look at the relationship between the graphic arts schools (or lack thereof) and the local printers and the profound impact this has on the pipeline.
Where are you headed? What is your strategic goal? Then who is going to execute on all the tasks required to reach that goal. Strategy + execution plays a part in almost every project you take on in your business—especially print software projects.
As businesses start to open back up, the way businesses interact with their customers has changed. “Contactless” has become the key phrase, and merging print media with digital media is key to unlocking the way forward in today’s pandemic-recovery world. FASTSIGNS International’s Wayne Rasor provides an introduction to using QR codes and Near Field Communication to make print interactive.
In this bimonthly series, WhatTheyThink is presenting the state of the printing industry in different European countries based on the latest monthly production numbers. This week, we take a look at the printing industry in Portugal.
In this third article of this series, we continue to look at Industry 4.0, not as a marketing term, but in an actionable way that you can begin or continue to prepare your company and participate in the many benefits. In this article, we take a look at content production software.
The print label market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.2% from 2021 to 2026, and last year had a significant impact on consumer purchasing habits—as a result, it also had an impact on labels and packaging in general. David Zwang runs through some of the trends that have started shifting at an increased rate, facilitated by new technologies.
The time it takes to prepare a job for digital print depends on many variables: the type of application, job complexity, number of pages, quality standards, and of course, the type of systems you have in place to automate and enable all of these. This article, sponsored by HP and written by HP Indigo's “Workflow Chef” Gershon Alon, looks at prepress and what it means for your bottom line.
Kornit recently upped its direct-to-garment (DTG) game with announcement of the Kornit Atlas MAX printer, incorporating new technology that allows much more detail to be printed on garments than before. MAX technology is expected to be available for direct-to-fabric printing in the future.
Print newspapers will survive—if only to light barbecues. A tribute to forgotten inventor Bette Nesmith. A photographer is documenting COVID signage for posterity. Beer can designs using the Pantone color the beer most closely matches. A man is banned from carrying “loose QR codes.” SVA students design post-pandemic New Yorker magazine covers. A new toothpaste tube lets you extract all the toothpaste. Coming soon: deepfake satellite imagery. Two words: “Banana artist.” Citizen Kane is no longer “100% Fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes. When Dr. Demento ruled radio. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s miscellany.
COVID-19 fueled a surge in ecommerce, leading to increased demand for digitally printed garments. This article offers a brief discussion about the changing dynamics of consumer buying habits, explores why the pandemic accelerated digital print on-demand, and considers how supply chain and GTM strategies will be forever changed as a result.
The Ghent Workgroup (GWG) is an international organization made up of graphic arts experts, users, hardware and software vendors as well as educational members building best practices for print and packaging workflows. David Zwang highlights the accomplishments the organization has achieved over the past 20 years, expanding beyond its initial goals.
The latest trend in the analog-to-digital transformation underway in textiles is creating home and other decor on demand. In this article, WhatTheyThink contributor and textiles expert Debbie McKeegan shares how Epson's developments in pigment inks are transforming home decorating.
Training is not learning. Training is something you hire other people to do to you. Learning is something that you do. Start building a learning culture now in your print business; it is the only defense to the acceleration of change in our industry.
In WhatTheyThink/Printing News’ Annual Sign Franchise Review, we take a look at how the major sign franchises fared in the past year, how they managed the COVID-19 pandemic, and how they plan to make up lost ground in 2021.
Following up on last week’s article on the current state of high school and trade school graphic arts programs, what can be done to keep the pipeline of new talent flowing into the printing industry? Has anyone asked the teachers of high school graphic arts programs on the front lines? Here is a selection of responses to a query about what can be done from their perspective...and they had a lot to say.
Estimating in any print business can be a challenge, but inkjet users face a level of variability that users of other print technology don’t. In this article, Inkjet Insight’s Elizabeth Gooding and Alexandra Pekar look at the challenges of inkjet estimating and offer some solutions for overcoming those challenges.
In competitive industries like print there are so many options for a print buyer that you can find yourself undercut, even if you believe you have a good customer relationship. To differentiate your company and offerings, think about your people, your processes, and your technologies. What makes you different? What can you offer that would be hard for your competitors to mimic?
In this new series we look at Industry 4.0—not as a marketing term, but in an actionable way so that you can begin or continue to prepare your company and participate in the many benefits. In this second article in the series, we take a look at internal hardware systems.
Drupa 2020 never happened, and drupa 2021 fell victim to the pandemic as well—but was transformed into a virtual drupa for 2021. European section editor Ralf Schlözer attended and provides an overview, some highlights, and overall impressions from virtual.drupa 2021.
The best way to figure out how to deploy technology to accelerate adoption of emerging trends is to use it yourself in a real-life operation. That’s exactly what software and services company Ziel is doing. Learn how the company is leveraging its own on-demand apparel manufacturing platform to develop industry-changing solutions for those wishing to implement a sustainable, on-demand manufacturing model for their businesses.
Having an accurate estimate is crucial for business success. Making mistakes—such as costing that is too high or too low—can have significant implications on the top and bottom lines. This article, sponsored by HP and written by HP Indigo's “Workflow Chef” Gershon Alon, explains the advantages of automatically collecting production data and using it to generate accurate estimates.
We flew a helicopter on Mars! Has the pandemic changed book publishing, part the infinity. Now being shown: a 3D-printed house. Could lab-grown wood be the future of furniture? “Could the solution to fashion pollution be…tiny nuclear reactors?” Turning plastic back into oil. An artist who “draws” portraits by smashing glass with a hammer. Digitally adding product placement to classic films. Alton Brown on the history of the gin and tonic. “The crime-ridden global market for eel.” The new number two on our wish list: action figures for the 1967 TV show The Prisoner. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s miscellany.
Office printing vendors are primarily focused on helping their customers save money and streamline processes—which certainly makes sense from the customer’s point of view—but some of their efforts inherently reduce the opportunities for printing. This article cites a recent New York Times article that explores the benefits of print-based learning.
By far, the best indicator of job success is the presence (or absence) of behavioral traits that match up with the traits of people who have exhibited strong success in the job in the past. In this article, Wayne Lynn takes a look at an approach to making people decisions that has a high probability of success. That’s the goal in making people decisions: make the decision with the highest possible probability of success, both for the person and the company. Wayne shares some of his own experiences and gives examples of why this approach works.
There has been increased focus on reshoring manufacturing from Asia to Europe and the Americas, perhaps accelerated by the recent Suez Canal debacle. But as many experts have pointed out, including those cited in this article, written by Guy Alroy of Early.Vision, the new jobs that result from reshoring efforts cannot be using the same processes. They must be a more technology based on-demand model that is more sustainable as well.
In WhatTheyThink/Printing News’ Annual Print Shop Franchise Review, Cary Sherburne takes a look at how the major print franchises fared in the past year, how they managed the COVID-19 pandemic, and how they plan to make up lost ground in 2021.
The integrity of your print business data is a foundational building block of your business. It impacts how fast you can move. Lack of data integrity is like an anchor your business has to drag around—it slows almost every aspect of your business down.
Jeff White, director of development for the Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation, solicited insight on the dwindling pipeline of skilled labor from the teachers of graphic arts programs at the high school level. The results reveal why printers can’t wait for someone else to fix the problem.
According to data from our recently published Printing Outlook 2021 special report, recovering business lost to COVID and national economic conditions dominated printers’ top challenges—but traditional challenges will gain prominence post-COVID.
In this bimonthly series, WhatTheyThink is presenting the state of the printing industry in different European countries based on the latest monthly production numbers. This week, we take a look at the printing industry in Spain.
In this new series, we look at Industry 4.0. Not as a marketing term, but in an actionable way so that you can begin or continue to prepare your company and participate in the many benefits. In this first article of the series, we start at the beginning and look at the state of readiness.
Cary Sherburne talks to Robert Stabler about the latest digital packaging product introductions from Koenig & Bauer Durst, as well as some of the changes the pandemic has brought to the press placement process.
Color correction is a repetitive, time-consuming, and complex process. This article, sponsored by HP and written by HP Indigo's "Workflow Chef" Gershon Alon, explains how to optimize color correction, focusing on two aspects: automation and simplification.
According to County Business Patterns, in 2010, there were 907,152 employees in NAICS 511 (Publishing Industries—except Internet). By 2018, employees had increased to 1,015,946. In macro news, retail sales were up 9.8% in March.
Google’s Gutenberg Doodle perpetuates a sartorial anachronism. 5G may let you ditch wired broadband. A deluxe, expensive collection of Philip K. Dick stories. Remembering the Columbia Record Club. The contentious free-speech history of license plates. Mind-blowing paper cutting and folding. The mathematics of Pringles chips. Alexa can now share songs. This summer, instead of A/C, try the Sensu Punkah. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s virtual miscellany.
Is Rialto’s growth a sign of the times? The UK-based digital textile printer thinks so. The company prints millions of meters of dye-sublimation prints onto polyester bases but is also investing in the future with technologies that can print digitally onto a wider array of fabric types.
When asked what they would change about their job if they could, most salespeople cite speed—“I need to get quotes faster. I need to get answers faster. I need to get my jobs through the system faster.” WhatTheyThink contributor Dave Fellman explains why managing customer expectations is important to avoid putting unnecessary pressure on all aspects of the business.
In this age of virtual everything, print means more—it is tangible and can be personalized to replicate that human connection we’ve been craving since the pandemic hit. This article explores how print service providers can better sell the value of variable data printing to businesses and brands.
Do you have a client who seems to be doing everything right in its direct marketing campaigns, yet its metrics are not what they should be? Before the client pins the blame on you, they might want to check two potential culprits that lie between the campaigns and the sale: the website and the call center.
Replacing your Print MIS might be one of the most important projects you take on in the history of your business. Shopping is not the first step. Assessing your data and your processes is ideally done before you start interacting with software sales representatives.
Printing is a valuable and versatile platform that provides methods of communication, identification, even interaction. However, what happens when you need your printing secure or validated? David Zwang looks at today’s options.
With 1.3 million employees in printing and papermaking in Europe, print and related industries are no small industry. This article looks at employment trends, revenue per employee, and offers an outlook on employment numbers.
Contrary to advertisements, no press is going to magically make you more money, but, wisely chosen, a new machine can be a useful tool on your carefully planned roadmap to increased profitability. Steve Johnson explains why you should stop looking at what equipment your competition has bought.
WhatTheyThink European section editor Ralf Schlözer talks with Kilian Renschler, the new CEO and president of Koenig & Bauer US/CA. Previously, Renschler was executive vice president of sales of Koenig & Bauer US/CA.
The gap between early adopters and laggards continues to widen. Weighed down by the technical debt and disconnectedness of legacy systems, many print companies are investing precious capital and time in course-correcting their technology strategy. B2B customer expectations of user experience are increasingly blurred with the B2C ease of online shopping. Thus, the print service providers who can tightly align with emerging customer expectations will own the future. The answer to this growing problem is to establish a new agility within your operation.
Last week, ISA staged its Sign Expo 2021 Virtual, which succeded in replicating, perhaps as best as possible, the feel of being at a live event and networking with colleagues. Here is a quick rundown of the first day.
It seems like everyone is talking about “OEE” these days. This article, sponsored by HP and written by HP Indigo's "Workflow Chef" Gershon Alon, explains how OEE is a standard way to measure the “overall equipment effectiveness” of a manufacturing process—in this case, the printing process.
WhatTheyThink is the global printing industry's leading independent media organization with both print and digital offerings, including WhatTheyThink.com, PrintingNews.com and WhatTheyThink magazine versioned with a Printing News and Wide-Format & Signage edition. Our mission is to provide cogent news and analysis about trends, technologies, operations, and events in all the markets that comprise today’s printing and sign industries including commercial, in-plant, mailing, finishing, sign, display, textile, industrial, finishing, labels, packaging, marketing technology, software and workflow.