The topic of Print MIS software can be a dangerous topic to bring up if you want to keep things low-key or drama-free. Most printers are really frustrated with their MIS. I’ve been working on customer-facing technology (web-to-print) my whole career—the Print MIS is by far the most important software tool you have in your business.
A look at a well-intentioned personalized mailing that illustrates why it’s so important to get these communications right. Not just so the client gets the best return on investment, but to preserve your own relationship with the client. Poor personalization = poor results, and poor results = disengaged clients. Nobody wants that.
MakerBot, a subsidiary of Stratasys, has two primary missions: Helping to innovate in STEM education to better prepare kids for the future, and to help companies bring product to market faster. It is in this latter category that today’s announcement of MakerBot Method falls. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Forrest Leighton and Shawn Miely of MakerBot to learn more.
I was intrigued to read in a recent Axios newsletter that fashion designer jobs are expected to increase by +148%, according to Cognizant, a technology and business services company. I reached out to Ben Pring, who runs the company’s Center for the Future of Work, to learn more. And boy, did I learn more!
Open Source versions of the Creative Cloud applications. A new font aids reading for dyslexics. Yet another take on what’s happening with retail. Cutting Greenland down to size. Futurists in 1988 predict the jobs of the future. Have a time machine? Skip A.D. 536. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Industry profits data came out earlier this week, and it was good and bad news. Overall, annualized profits for Q3 2018 were $3.07 billion—not a huge gain from Q2, but a gain nonetheless. But it’s the ongoing saga of the low profitability of large printers dragging down average industry profitability.
For the most part, commercial printers are locked out of the existing supply chain for digital textiles. This article explores the more accessible textile segments that commercial printers can participate in, including textile-based sign and display graphics and direct-to-garment.
What were the big trends in wide-format and specialty printing in 2018? It’s been a year of convergence and while shops that were likely to transition to wide-format have largely done so, the applications that can be produced are constantly changing, as new materials and new inks hit the market. Let’s have a look at what’s been happening.
Software is never done. It has to keep moving to stay compatible. It operates in business processes that keep changing. The consumer expectation of how fast and easy software can change is being set by some of the most valuable companies on the planet.
A new kind of electronic paper. The science of paper crumpling. How Choc became a ubiquitous typeface. A “guerilla artist” produces life-affirming stealth signage. Alexa has been integrated into Big Mouth Billy Bass, for reasons passing understanding. A collision of vehicle graphics, AI, and public shaming. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
As 2018 draws to a close, you’re likely doing one of two things: focusing on meeting/exceeding your sales goals for the year or reflecting on why your goal has proven to be unreachable. In many cases, the process used to achieve the goal fails to deliver the desired results. This article explores methods for exceeding your business goals in 2019.
When we look at case studies, we immediately scan to the bottom of the page to see what the metrics are. One case study from IMS Direct illustrates why it’s important to look deeper into the numbers to find the real story.
What are you investing in that will result in the true differentiation of your print business? An important question in a market where many commercial printers look alike (same equipment, same sales approach, similar online tools). I think differentiation is about solving additional customer challenges that your competitors don't even know about.
PRC approves 2019 price increases…USPS reports $3.9 Billion loss…The Universal Postal Union reacts to U.S. withdrawal…Mailers less satisfied with USPS overall…Marketing Mail controversy continues…Next steps for Regulatory Review?
Earlier this month, print shop owners and managers from around the Northeast journeyed to Grant Graphics in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., for a day-long program of wide-format educational sessions and equipment demonstrations.
I first got to know Kirby Best when he was running on-demand book printer Lightning Source. And I was interested to see him turn up as Chairman at OnPoint Manufacturing, an on-demand garment manufacturer. We connected for a wide-ranging discussion at the recent Gerber Technology Ideation event, including the newly announced FashionTech Platform 1.0 initiative.
Your Print MIS should be your trusted system of record for your business; the estimating module is the most critical component of your Print MIS. When you implement estimating brilliantly, it provides you a healthy daily dose of ROI forever.
How do you reinvent a 160-year-old business to address the new market requirements? This is a challenge that we have been seeing over and over again, and many companies have not been able to make that change. Heidelberg seems to have found the formula that looks at their internal organization, but more importantly, at their customers’ changing requirements as well.
Officially launched in September 2018, the Rhode Island Textile Innovation Network (RITIN) is another example of initiatives across the country that are working to revive the U.S. textile and apparel industry, both with innovations that improve efficiency and to reshore textile and apparel manufacturing. We spoke with RITIN steering committee chairman and CEO of textile company Trans-Tex Michael Woody to learn more.
EFI Reggiani held a gala launch event for its new EFI Reggiani BOLT single-pass digital textile printer at Reggiani’s Bergamo, Italy, headquarters. Attended by nearly 300 media, customers, and potential customers, the event generated a high level of excitement. With high-quality print speeds of up to 90 meters per minute, this press looks to be a game changer for high-volume digital textile printing.
In 2010, there were 2,080 establishments offering prepress and/or postpress services; by 2016, that number had dropped to 1,545. (The Census Bureau stopped breaking out prepress and postpress establishments separately in 2012.) It’s not difficult to understand why the number of these establishments has been dropping; prepress is being absorbed into the printing process itself (especially in digital printing), and more print businesses are acquiring their own finishing capabilities.
Mix-and-match jigsaw puzzles. Postcards from World War I. The bestselling books of 2114. Alexa stars in a reboot of "Rear Window." Friendly skies, unfriendly seats. Weighing in on the kilogram. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
Recognizing the challenges associated with making the digital transformation in customer communications, Taylor Corporation created a new organization called Taylor Communications, Secure & Customer Solutions, Inc. (Taylor Communications SCS). This article explores how Taylor has taken its printing and mailing capabilities to a new level by integrating its communications with advanced digital platforms to enhance the customer experience.
After a decade in the ad agency world, Shira Kollins took her graphic design and production background and launched SpeedPro Chicago. By taking an active role in local business associations—and being “pleasantly persistent” when it comes to sales and marketing—she has built a business creating cutting-edge display graphics for some of Chicago’s biggest retailers and restaurants.
Once you make a print software decision, you have to enforce it by communicating the strategy clearly and then repeatedly. Your people will forget, your business will evolve, sales people will appear from other solutions trying to convince your team of a different path.
Europeans in general like Americans, American culture, and American entrepreneurship. However, one of the things Europeans often find difficult to understand is the extent to which money seems to influence almost every aspect of American business. Our European correspondent Morten Reitoft of INKISH.TV explains.
As if you needed one more reason to add packaging to your product mix! A new study from WestRock, a leading provider of differentiated paper and packaging solutions, shows that consumers are loving packaging more than ever. The study, “2018 Packaging Matters,” outlines the key factors that influence consumer decisions.
Austin Community College in Texas has launched an innovative Fashion Incubator with the goal of creating a real-to-industry learning environment in partnership with the City of Austin, Gerber Technology, and others. This is a unique approach to bringing new talent into the industry and giving new fashion-oriented businesses a jump start.
Printing shipments for September 2018 came in at $6.52 billion. That’s down from August—and it’s well below August 2017’s $6.76 billion. Are we seeing a new seasonality in the printing industry—or the end of any seasonality?
Virtual fitting rooms for men. Create customized wrapping paper. Safety apparel for grow lights. Is the flying car on its way? Boots for Mars. Chinese news media introduces AI-based virtual presenters. What’s the deal with “The Piña Colada Song”? All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
As you tease out the last bits of efficiency and productivity from your operations, the primary way to continue to grow your business is to add new services. The question is, which ones? How do you make smart decisions about what is best for your business? Sometimes the considerations go deeper than you might think.
United States, Western Europe, and Japan accounted for nearly two-thirds of total production printing placements in 2017. This article provides a brief overview of how global placements and print volumes are expected to shift over time.
Smithers Pira shares its recent research that looks at the future of packaging to 2028, quantifying the overall market by packaging type and identifying the major emerging drivers of packaging market growth.
Flexography is going through a renaissance. While it has been around since the late 19th century, it has never really had a role in “quality” printing, although that seems to be changing. This change is proving that it can fight off the increased use of digital printing for packaging production with better productivity and lower cost. In this article, David Zwang looks at one of the more significant changes facilitating that transformation.
The USPS announces new prices for 2019…Postal Service continues outreach on proposed new Marketing Mail Content Standards…U.S. intends to withdraw from 144-year-old Universal Postal Union Treaty…New Mail.dat version for January price changes.
The digital transformation in textiles and apparel is well underway. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne writes about the drivers for this transformation and how fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff is leveraging digital technologies in unique ways.
Rumors of retail’s death have been greatly exaggerated (to coin a phrase). But there is no doubt that it is changing. We look at how it is changing, and what that means for POP/retail graphics providers.
In 2016, there were 5,150 total U.S. commercial screen printing establishments. As with most printing categories, the majority have under 10 employees, but screen shops tend to be smaller than other kinds of printing establishments.
Don’t spoil the ends of books...or else. Heidelberg heads to InPrint Milan with the Omnifire. A new meaning of the phrase “high on the hog.” Pantone and United Way develop a new color to raise awareness of social issues. Could you power your home with hamsters? All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
Although the industry has not yet hit a “flash point” that would result in the significant growth of cloud-based software solutions, there are indications that this spark may not be far away. This article explores the growth potential and lingering challenges associated with cloud software.
Your web-to-print solution is underutilized. Do all functional areas of your company—sales, customer service, technology—understand all the challenges your current web-to-print system solves? Probably not. You can’t be “solution focused” without understanding the challenges your toolset solves.
With its new CEO in place for just two weeks, I wanted to tune in to the company’s third quarter financial analyst call to get a feel for his approach to the business. This brief article summarizes what I heard and my thoughts on EFI moving forward.
Two Sides has reported that brands are moving away from “Go Paperless—Go Green” messaging because of negative publicity around greenwashing. As consumers start to recognize these ads as dishonest and really intended to save companies money, brands are switching from environmental messaging to convenience messaging instead. T.J. Maxx is one of them.
The Vomela Companies, headquartered in St. Paul, Minn., started in 1947 doing promotional product printing. Now, 71 years later, the company has expanded through both organic growth and acquisition to produce retail, POS, décor, event, and fleet graphics for a wide variety of local and national brands and venues. Their most recent project: wrapping 3M’s 14-story corporate headquarters.
What were you thinking about at eight years old? Probably not the career that would be your life’s passion! That’s when Ariel Swedroe began her fashion career. At Age 11, she began exploring digitally printed fabrics. Today, at age 15, she has a full-fledged fashion business. But she’s not stopping there! You’ll love this story.
Designers in textiles and apparel typically use Adobe products to create their designs. But until now, there have not been textile-specific tools to make the task easier. To address this, Adobe has announced Project Paras, a set of tools that allow designers to stay within Photoshop CC and reduce the number of steps required to complete and preview a design. We spoke with Adobe to learn more.
Overall printing employment dropped from August to September 2018, and on a year-over-year basis is down -1.5%. Non-production printing employment was up slightly, indicating that production staff are the hardest employees to find. PR employment is again the industry bright spot, employment-wise.
Get a customized reading list from the Brooklyn Public Library. A new process recycles textile waste into dyestuffs. Poor color management made The Hulk green. Shatner Claus? Thwarting the “retail apocalypse.” 200 years of Frankenstein. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
Personalized video advertising is a relatively new marketing method empowered by the digital revolution. This article is the second in a two-part series. It explores how companies can most effectively use personalized video advertising to reach the widest share of audience.
Labelexpo 2018 in Rosemont, Ill., and PRINT 18 in Chicago are over, and it they were pretty exciting shows. The crowds were enthusiastic and buying from early indications. In this second of two parts I will look at how embellishment is moving from a standalone mechanical process to digital mainstream production.
This survey by NAPCO Research and commissioned by the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA) included something rarely seen in digital printing surveys: a look at the use of digital printing across the entire buyer’s journey. It’s good news. Retailers are embracing digital printing for more than just direct mail.
Since launching its high-end Avalanche HD6 direct-to-garment printer and HD upgrade to most Avalanche systems with RAPID ink technology in the first quarter of this year, Kornit Digital has installed or upgraded a whopping 150 HD systems. Now the company has brought HD direct-to-garment technology to within reach of smaller businesses with the launch of the Storm HD6.
From 2010 to 2016, the number of U.S. commercial screen printing establishments increased from 4,454 to 5,150. Growth in screen printing establishments has been consistent from year to year. Chalk this up to the rise of specialty printing.
A new book is nothing but bound slices of cheese. A New Zealand vending machine has a grim message. The Rijksmuseum to livestream a Rembrandt painting restoration. The Museum of London offers a fascinating online archive of package design.
The SGIA Expo 2018 opened yesterday to large crowds and a completely full exhibition hall. Our recap of Day 1 looks at where SGIA President and CEO Ford Bowers sees the organization and the industry going, and highlights a handful of new product announcements.
Personalized video advertising is a relatively new marketing method empowered by the digital revolution. This article, the first in a two-part series, provides an overview of personalized video advertising and explores the role that age plays in a consumer’s acceptance of the technology.
As marketers scramble to increase the depth of their knowledge about every aspect of their customers’ habits, preferences, and patterns, there may be a simple data point that is getting overlooked—the weather. Weather has a direct effect on the sales of 30% of all products and services and is the second biggest influence on consumer behavior. Are your customers taking advantage?
A print business that learns is one that has a foundation for tracking its business processes and improving on them. From a cultural standpoint, a learning organization has to be able to talk openly about mistakes made from all levels of the organization.
Our European correspondent Morten Reitoft recently visited Athens, Greece, to shoot a video of a Greek packaging company. It was his first time in that country, and he took the opportunity to talk to some of the people and companies that lived through the country’s recent economic crisis.
Senior Editor Cary Sherburne recently traveled to Miami Beach to join more than 300 people at the Gerber Technology Ideation event, the company’s software users’ group. This educational and networking event is in its 20th year. The enthusiasm among the more than 240 customers and prospects in attendance reflects the efforts the company has made to listen to customers and stay ahead of the trends.
Gibsonton, Fla.’s Rocken Graphics has carved out a unique niche among print service providers: signage and tent graphics for traveling carnivals. We spoke with Kenny Smith, founder of Rocken Graphics, about how he got into this market, as well as how his product offerings extend beyond simple printed graphics.
A new book identifies flowers by color. An old movie poster to sell at auction for $1+ million. Closed captioning glasses for live theater. Christmas comestibles: mac and cheese candy canes and Christmas tree-flavored potato chips. Is the Internet of Things trouble waiting to happen? All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
Shifting consumer expectations are increasing the demand for relevant and personalized communications, so it is becoming ever more vital for print service providers to offer their clients the tools and expertise they need to compete via all channels. This article cites recent research from Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends to explore how communication practices are changing.
There are a lot of ways to personalize a document. What if something as simple as location could nearly double response rates? It can. By personalizing maps based on this single data point, response rates can be outstanding. The question is why?
The implementation of print software is as important as the software itself. With every software tool there is a foundational knowledge that will help you be more self-sufficient. Those printers who understand their software tools succeed in spite of lack of support from print software vendors.
Labelexpo 2018 in Rosemont (Chicago area) is over, and it was an exciting show. The crowds were enthusiastic and, from early indications, buying. In this first of two parts, I will look at interesting press hardware trends.
Microban recently released Scentry Revive, the second generation of a unique odor control fabric finish that was developed in response to brands seeking a more innovative approach to odor control. This approach could reduce the number of times a piece of clothing needs to be washed, its primary environmental benefit.
For over 10 years BERGSTEIN has been developing and delivering industrial printers. Their first flatbed printers were based on solvent inks, already printing products with a height up to 30 cm. They put significant investments and developments into small flatbed printers, which are suitable for a huge range of industrial products using UV or LED inks and direct to shape. And in the last 5 years Bergstein is selling solutions for customer in Industrial Single Pass printing.
Print advertising success stories. Sans Forgetica, a font designed for memory retention. Young people are deleting their Facebook app. Social media users expect news to be inaccurate. WiFi 6 is coming; this may not be good news. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
In the printing industry, production dashboards provide critical and timely information for owners, managers, and operators so they can control the production chaos. This article provides a brief overview of available production dashboards and explores how they can simplify the production process.
Thinking about adding mail tracking to your roster of services? It takes extra cost and effort, so how would you pitch the value to your clients? Case studies from Pitney Bowes show that mail tracking can benefit more than just high-volume mailers looking to tweak in-home delivery dates. It can solve problems and save your clients from major marketing disasters.
A great deal is being written about graphene, in textiles and other industries. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne talked to Vorbeck Materials Corp. President & CEO Dr. John Lettow to learn more about what many are characterizing as a miracle material.
PRINT has not traditionally been a top venue for wide-format or specialty printing equipment announcements, but does showcase the latest technologies and the applications that can be produced on them, giving commercial printers concrete ideas for exploring new business opportunities.
Last summer, we took a look at the state of industry associationswith the goal of reminding our members about the many resources available to them to help move their businesses forward. By popular demand, we are now presenting Part Two in order to cover additional organizations that were not included in Part One. I’m sure there are still more!
Seth Godin’s keynote encouraged print service providers to eschew commodity printing and focus on selling products that are “remarkable.” “You don’t sell paper and ink,” he said, “you sell a feeling.” It was a fitting theme with which to open PRINT 18.
Hillside, Ill.’s Darwill, Inc., is a 57-year-old direct mail and multi-channel marketing agency. From humble beginnings, the company has grown to be at the forefront of the industry—and one of the early adopters of production inkjet printing technology.
PRINT18 offers the opportunity for attendees to get their own copy of a unique publication that will be distributed at the show. Not only does it feature stunning variable covers, but it contains a wealth of original thought leadership content that will benefit attendees during the show and long afterward. WhatTheyThink President Eric Vessels explains.
Research has identified down to the Pantone number the least attractive color. Merriam-Webster adds 300 new words to the Official Scrabble Dictionary. A nine-year-old dachshund is helped by 3D printing. The pen is still mightier. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
Ongoing research and forecast data from Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends shows that the digital textile printing market continues to grow. As the industry develops new manufacturing methods to meet this continued growth in demand, it is important to consider the environmental impact of these developments. This analysis explores some recent innovations in digital textile printing and considers the effect that these innovations may have on the environment.
Trish talks with Scott Engle of Graphic Visual Solutions of Greensboro, NC, about the power—and the pressure—of making visually striking (and costly) print capabilities brochures to inspire, educate, and motivate today’s customers.
The ability to make data-driven decisions is critical to your business success. The various software systems (Print MIS, web-to-print) are your primary tools for managing this data. When you do integrations make sure you keep the control of right data in the right hands.
The logjam on postal promotions and price increases may be broken with confirmation of two members to the USPS Board of Governors…Postal Service proposals could require more stringent requirements for hazardous liquids packaging and limits on marketing mail content...Deadline for new EPS accounts just days away.
In this next in the series of articles about technical textiles, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne speaks with Smithers Pira Associate Consultant for Nonwovens Phillip Mango to learn more about nonwovens—what are they, how is the market categorized, and what are some of their uses.
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.