WhatTheyThink

Commentary & Analysis

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To Robotize or Not? The Real Numbers Behind Production Chain Productivity (Part 2 of 2)

In the second of this two-part feature on production chain productivity, guest-writer Henrik Christiansen of Graphic Robotics addresses the quantitative aspects of automation, and how the robotization of finishing processes in the appropriate production environments can greatly reduce labor costs and improve productivity. Read on.

In Praise of Data: How PRIMIR Industry Research Can Improve Your Business

The Association for Print Technologies (APTech), through its PRIMIR Research Unit and Market Data programs, provides a wealth of woefully underutilized industry research that can be of great practical use to all the links in the print supply chain—not just suppliers and vendors but print service providers, as well. Read on to see how.

Harlequin 12: PDF 2.0 and Then Some, Almost Ready for Prime Time

Global Graphics today announced what appears to be the first PDF 2.0-compatible RIP/Renderer available to OEM partners. Technology Editor David Zwang delves into the details and explains what this means for the market. Read more.

The Culture of Business Meetings

The meeting is a tool that should be used sparingly. It is expensive. It is for a specific purpose (alignment, understanding, status check-in, etc.). It is overused and the art of running a good meeting is underrated.

HP PIAZZA: A Solution to Organize and Streamline Book Publishing

Zwang and Sherburne tuned in to HP’s analyst briefing concerning today’s announcement of PIAZZA, a cloud-based solution designed to make the book publishing supply chain more efficient. By integrating with PrintOS Site Flow, PIAZZA aims to deliver a near-touchless end-to-end book publishing and printing process. Read more.

Bespoke and Hybrid Processes and Manufacturing: Facilitating Technologies Part 2—The Successful Marriage of Ink and Media

In this series, David Zwang will look at the new requirements for print and packaging manufacturing, and how the demands and opportunities of Industry 4.0 are being facilitated by new bespoke production and workflow methods. In this article in the series, he looks at ink and why it is the key technology.

Retail’s Returns Conundrum and How Digital Textile Could Help

Retailers are seeing an unprecedented volume of returns, according to a recent eMarketer Retail story, and they are struggling with how to deal with this while still keeping margins at an acceptable level. Many are burdened with legacy supply chain issues that digital technology could mitigate. This post is a recap of some of the innovative approaches to digital textile and apparel manufacturing that are poised to revolutionize the world of textiles and apparel.

A Wrap to Remember: Kennickell Group Turns Harbour Town Lighthouse Plaid

If you watch the RBC Heritage Golf Classic this week, pay attention to the iconic Harbour Town Lighthouse. In a first-of-its-kind wrap project undertaken by Savannah, Ga.’s Kennickell Group, the 90-foot structure had its red stripes converted to plaid to commemorate the event’s 50th anniversary. Read on to find out more about the company’s dramatic growth in the wide-format market and how the unique project came about.

FESPA 2018 Features “Print. Make. Wear.” Trend with Special Exhibit

Are you going to FESPA 2018 in Berlin? If so, there’s a special treat in store that you will not want to miss. In this article, show organizer Duncan MacOwan explains FESPA’s Print. Make. Wear. exhibit that showcases how digital technologies are transforming textiles and apparel while also demonstrating the ongoing value that analog production processes still add to the mix. Read more.

Press Onward!—March 2018 M&A Activity

German and American rivals agree to merge, Contiweb spun off, Sun and Siegwerk acquire specialty inks, Autajon strengthens US presence, and more.

InPrint Industrial Inkjet Conference to Highlight the Intersection of Industrial and Commercial Printing

Inkjet technologies have been blurring, or completely eliminating, the lines between commercial and industrial printing. But understanding new print applications and new print markets involves more than technology. We talk with Frazer Chesterman, Director of FM Brooks, which is bringing the InPrint Industrial Print Conference to Chicago next month, about the dwindling distinction between industrial and commercial printing and the opportunities that are emerging.

Q4-2017 GDP Revisions Stronger than Earlier Reports

Q4-2017 GDP estimates were raised to +2.9% from the original estimate of +2.5%. (But beware inventories.) At the same time, shenanigans resulting from the latest tax bill are blurring statistics visibility, especially where corporate profits are concerned.

The Value of Platforms: A Revolution is Coming!

All printers are seeking ways to embrace a business and production infrastructure that enables them to add new tools as needed and depreciate tools that no longer serve a need. This article provides a brief overview of the platforms that facilitate these skills as well as a specific example of the Chili Publisher platform.

Productivity and the Total Profitability of the Print Production Process (Part 1 of 2)

Henrik Christiansen of Graphic Robotics writes about the real meaning of productivity and efficiency in the print production process. This two-part article will address the quantitative side of automation in print.

Two Reasons This QR Code Should Work—and One That Makes It Fail

We love to hate QR Codes, right? But it’s not the codes themselves that are working against near unanimous consumer adoption. It’s the often rookie mistakes made by marketing departments. Are you letting your customers fail at QR Codes unnecessarily?

The First Few Weeks Using New Print Software

When new software is implemented in your native environment – that’s when the real learning happens. Everything prior to that point was theoretical. Take this time to learn how this software uniquely meets the needs of your business.

Post-Reed, Communities Reevaluate their Sign Codes

The landmark 2015 Supreme Court case Reed v. Town of Gilbert turned a sign code issue into a First Amendment battle. Three years later, its effects are still being felt throughout the signage industry—for good or ill. Read on for some of the latest developments in signage regulations.

Go, NextPage! Congrats on a Great Self-Promo Campaign Demonstrating the Value of Combining Social Media, Video, with Direct Mail

If MSPs want to convince their clients of the value of multichannel marketing, they must be willing to use it to promote their own businesses. That’s why I was excited to see NextPage launching a really fun campaign combining direct mail, email, video, and social media, along with a targeted digital ad buy.

Spoonflower: Demonstrating the Potential of Digital Textile Printing

Durham, N.C.’s Spoonflower allows users in its community of more than 3.5 million individuals to design and digitally print their own custom fabrics for curtains, quilts, clothes, bags, furniture, dolls, pillows, framed artwork, costumes, banners, and much, much more. Read on to see how Spoonflower is continuing to transform the digital textile printing market.

Dr. Joe: It’s Time to Stop Cooperating with Postal Reform

Forget postal reform; Dr. Joe Webb calls for privatization of the postal system.

TAGA 2018 and the Future of Graphic Arts Research

Frank Romano reports from the 70th TAGA Annual Technical Conference, held March 18–21 in Baltimore, Md.

Faces of Finishing: BindTech/Finish Line Bindery Owner John Helline On the Trade Bindery As an Investment Target

In the latest installment of this interview series, Trish Witkowski talks with bindery owner and investor John Helline on the pitfalls and the strategic opportunities involved in the trade bindery business.

The Customer Experience Potential of Critical Communications

Today’s empowered consumers are conditioned to expect instant access to information, goods, and services. These expectations are forcing businesses to reconsider their marketing strategies. This article cites recent research from Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends highlighting the importance of a positive customer experience in driving revenue growth and improving customer satisfaction.

HYBRID PACKZalyzer Brings Packaging Tools to HP PrintOS

At DScoop 2018 this week, HYBRID Software announced PACKZalyzer, HP PrintOS-compatible software that “will allow order entry or customer service personnel to receive files from clients and get them ready for production before they enter the prepress department.” David Zwang comments on this announcement.

The Changing Role of Print Sales Representatives

Your sales team must do more than sell. They must be good learners (that means less talking, more listening, and more curiosity about how they can help their customers). Your customer’s time is valuable. When they give you their time they are voting on your value.

Bespoke Processes and Manufacturing: It Can Be Done, but Where to Begin?

In this series, David Zwang will look at how the new requirements of print and packaging manufacturing, and how the demands and opportunities of Industry 4.0, are being facilitated by new bespoke production and workflow methods. He will look at the requirements, technologies, methods, and educational processes necessary to bring it all together. In this article, he looks at some of the issues that can and should drive a decision.

In the Mail: March 2018 - What You Need to Know About Postal Issues

An industry coalition of more than 50 mailing stakeholders expresses opposition to the ratemaking plan proposed by the Postal Regulatory Commission; the USPS rolls out an electronic payment system, reduces truck mileage, continues to lose money. Read on for this month’s postal system update.

The Traditional Meets the Technological at Sign Expo 2018

The International Sign Association (ISA) Sign Expo 2018 was held in Orlando, Fla., last week. Channel letters, magnetic signage, neon lighting, LED displays, digital displays, 3D printing, and wide-format and display graphics in all their various incarnations were being showcased. Read on for some highlights from the show.

Show and Tell

As the current industry trade show landscape changes, Frank Romano looks back at how the trade show landscape has always been changing.

Developing Sales Talent Requires Coaching!

When it comes to managing—and more importantly coaching and developing sales talent—the skills that are required are different than the ones that make a good salesperson. This article highlights research from Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends to explore how high-growth sales organizations develop the best talent.

HP Announces New Product Family Featuring Latex Rigid Technology

At an ISA preview event last night, HP presented a new technology for Latex printing on rigid substrates up to two inches thick. Although pricing and availability are not yet available, the company showed sample prints and plans to demonstrate the machine in operation at FESPA in Berlin in May. Learn more.

Epson Dedicated to Speeding Adoption of Digital Textile Printing

Epson’s 2018 Digital Couture Project leading up to New York’s Fashion Week caught my attention, and I reached out to the Mark Radogna, Strategic Marketing for Epson America, to learn more about how Epson is approaching the digital textiles market and where the company sees it going in the future.

Print Software Bootcamp at Dscoop 2018  

Your business toolset is changing; software is becoming one of the most important tools for managing, growing, and innovating your business. At Dscoop next week, we are conducting a Print Software Bootcamp to help Dscoop Members learn more about the Print Software toolset.

Are You Distinguishing Between Macro and Micro Conversions?

Are you helping your clients track both micro and macro conversions? If not, you’re losing opportunities to understand not just what works and what doesn’t, but why.

Retail, Transportation, and Manufacturing Central to Hot Future of Thermal Print Supply

New Smithers Pira Research forecasts strong growth for thermal printing, identifying retail, transport, and manufacturing as the top three applications for thermal printing equipment and supplies. Read on for an overview of the thermal printing market from 2018 to 2023.

Conflicts, Inconsistencies, and Misrepresentations: Situation is Normal

Trade tariff talk has confused the markets, but so have the recent economic data. Employment data look great, retail sales look bad, consumer confidence surges in the lowest third of households by income. Explain that, Dr. Joe! He does, and offers insight into the selection of Larry Kudlow as the President’s economic advisor. There may be no free lunches, but Dr. Joe has some free podcasts and a webinar. Get them now before someone proposes a tariff on electrons.

Breakthrough Material Makes Heat Transfer News

As a garment decorator or textile printer, have you ever bemoaned the fact that you have to pretreat natural fiber fabrics in order to use heat-transfer sublimation for a brilliant, durable image on natural fiber textiles? Moan no more! The Mosaica Group is introducing a breakthrough product from a European mill that makes heat transfer news. Read more.

Latest WhatTheyThink Webinar Looked at the Current Economic Climate and Print Business Conditions

Last Wednesday, Dr. Joe Webb presented his quarterly economic conditions webinar, which included a look at the overall macroeconomic environment as well as current printing industry business conditions. Read on for a brief summary of what Dr. Webb discussed.

Update on HP's Digital Packaging Strategy

HP’s Media day focused on packaging this year, which is a very hot topic. This article explores how the PageWide Industrial C500 cut-sheet corrugated inkjet printer expands the number of options for corrugated packages and the people who design them for brands.

Mimaki Focused on Accelerating the Digital Transformation in Textiles

It’s been 20 years since Mimaki began its digital textile printing journey, one of the first, if not the first, to do so. We spoke with Ronald Van Den Broek, General Manager of Sales for Mimaki Europe, to gain insight into how the company addresses the growing digital textile market today and it is vision of the future.

Web-to-Print Is for Your Customers

The most precious thing you spend every day is your customer’s time. Treat it with the respect it deserves or it could be the reason you are replaced.

Bespoke Processes and Manufacturing: Unique Screening Software Solution that Drives Quality in Labels and Packaging

In this new series David Zwang will look at how the new requirements of print and packaging manufacturing, and how the demands and opportunities of Industry 4.0, are being facilitated by new bespoke production and workflow methods. He will look at the requirements, technologies, methods and the educational processes necessary to bring it all together. In this installment of the series, he takes an initial look at an interesting new software development that significantly improves the quality of inkjet imaging.

Epsilon: Personalization and the Power of Me

Epsilon’s study “The Power of Me” is a terrific data dump for those looking for insights to help their customers justify moving to—or increasing their use of—personalization. Here are some key takeaways.

OnPoint Manufacturing Making Apparel Microfactory a Reality

OnPoint Manufacturing offers an innovative approach to an on-demand manufacturing model for textiles and apparel. Leveraging digital technologies to streamline supply chains, remove waste and speed time to market is the hallmark of the analog-to-digital transformation of any industry. OnPoint combines a number of interesting technologies to enable this in textiles and apparel for its own manufacturing, and a vision of the future for the industry.

For SpeedPro Imaging Apex, Networking Is One of the Keys to Success

Less than two years ago, Mark Simmons left the retail world and launched a SpeedPro Imaging franchise in Apex, N.C. A knack for networking, a talented in-house designer, and a vibrant local business environment have helped drive Simmons’ success.

US Commercial Printing Capital Expenditures

The capital expenditures of commercial printers fell in 2016, but the investment in less expensive used equipment may have been a major factor.

Turning a Big Ship – Quad/Graphics Acquires Ivie - February 2018 M&A Activity

Quad/Graphics transforms with acquisition of Ivie, Graphic Village buys competitor Multi-Craft, Taylor builds on display platform, Platinum Equity acquires WS Packaging; and more.

Dangerous Potential: The True Power of A Strategic Approach to Paper Cutting and Handling

A shop’s cutting department is often thought of—when it’s thought of at all—as an “invisible workhorse”: highly productive—until it’s not. In this feature, Trish Witkowski takes a 360-degree look at cutting equipment, from retrofitting newer features onto older cutters, to the latest automated, and even robot-assisted, cutting systems.

Emerging Technology Assessment: Personalized Video Outlook

Personalized video is a popularizing tool with potential for modern customer communications strategies. The technology provides inherently engaging one-to-one audio-visual experiences, but that doesn’t mean that it’s effective independently and by default.

Garment Decorators Gather for Inaugural ThreadX

Senior Editor Cary Sherburne reports from the inaugural ThreadX, powered by SGIA, a unique conference held last week to serve the needs of garment decorators.

If You Act Like a Printer, You’ll Be Treated Like One

The definition of a successful printer is changing with the times. The updated definition is forcing printers to solve more than a manufacturing challenge. For printers who refuse to move out of their comfort zone; price will be the primary subject of conversation in every sale.

The Shapes of Things to Come: Direct-to-Object Printing Bridges the Gap Between Industrial and Commercial

New systems are emerging that can print directly onto three-dimensional objects, especially cups, glasses, and bottles, to serve what is emerging as a lucrative promotional drinkware market. In this feature, Richard Romano looks at direct-to-object offerings from Xerox, Inkcups, and Engineered Printing Solutions.

Bridging the Gap Between Screen and Digital Printing for Textiles

As the analog-to-digital transformation in textile printing starts taking off, hybrid solutions are emerging that fill the gap between screen and digital printing. In this article, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne discusses this gap issue, includes insight from a California-based screen printer, and highlights an interesting hybrid solution in the form of M&R’s Digital Squeegee. Read more.

Interest in Print Retargeting Growing?

Is interest growing in retargeting with print? Here are some reasons the answer is yes.

Canada’s Commercial Printing Shipments 1992-2017

Canada’s printing industry has been holding steady compared to the US, despite being subject to the same competition from digital media

Kodak Aims to “Take Print Further” at Customer Event

At a “Taking Print Further” customer and media event this week in Rochester, N.Y., Kodak offered some forward-looking trend presentations, new product announcements for both cutting-edge and legacy systems, and customer panels. Read about Kodak’s commitment to the print industry.

Faces of Finishing: Industry Legend Werner Rebsamen On the Hidden Costs of Poor Material Handling

Trish kicks off a new interview series to introduce perspectives of knowledgeable people in the print-finishing category. The series begins with the legendary Werner Rebsamen, who steps out of retirement to share his opinion on the greatest advancements in bookbinding, and where he feels the trade still has a long way to go.

What is Smart Print Manufacturing?

The industry remains focused on reducing costs through automation. The next decade will be about making print manufacturing smarter as we transition to the next industrial revolution. This article discusses why it is important for all print service providers to prepare, plan, and take steps to implement their own version of Smart Print Manufacturing.

Growing a Boarding Business with Print

What happens when a lifelong print industry account executive starts an entrepreneurial venture? An instructive look behind one entrepreneur’s marketing that includes Facebook, word of mouth, and print.

Proactive Customer Service

What is the difference between reactive and proactive customer service? The former waits until the customer has a problem and then makes contact. The latter strives to keep those problems from happening in the first place. Rather than wait for customers to complain, why don’t print software vendors proactively publish helpful best practices to their existing customers on a regular basis?

Print Business Outlook Survey: Areas of interest in new print-related applications

WhatTheyThink surveyed printing business owners and executives: "What are your areas of interest in new print-related applications."

Bespoke Processes and Manufacturing: What Technologies Facilitate the Development of These Systems?—Part 1

In this series, David Zwang will look at the new requirements for print and packaging manufacturing, and how the demands and opportunities of Industry 4.0 are being facilitated by new bespoke production and workflow methods. He will look at the requirements, technologies, methods, and the educational processes necessary to bring it all together. In this article in the series, he takes an initial look at facilitating technologies that are driving the growth of these solutions.

Where Does HP Stand with Regard to Digital Textile Printing?

Since the launch of our dedicated textiles section in January, we have been talking to the major suppliers to the industry about their offerings in this exploding space. Recently, we spoke with Mike Horsten, Business Manager for Large Format Professional EMEA at HP. He shares his thoughts on the digital textile market and HP’s future plans in that segment.

Furious Goose Attacks Silk Scarves and Pocket Squares with Digital Textile Printing

A Furious Goose can be frightening and entertaining at the same time. It was this idea that led to the unique naming of this British provider of high-quality silk scarves and pocket squares. The company works with Think Posi+ive Prints UK (Think Positive) in producing stunning accessories. Read more.

Sound Off! Why Do You Love Print?

As an industry, we fiercely defend print because our livelihoods depend on it. But we love it, too. Professionals from around the industry share why they are print nerds. How about you?

Color Inkjet Improves Business Communications

The combination of more and better consumer data, the drive for personalization, and the affordability of inkjet have finally made creating higher-value communications a market reality. This article explores how IDS.com (a Doxim company) has implemented inkjet production printing technology to make messaging and color more flexible and efficient.

In the Mail: February 2018 - What You Need to Know About Postal Issues

Industry experts review effects of proposed Postal Regulatory Commission Rate Hike Plan. The USPS finalizes mail preparation changes, delays Move Update assessment fees, ends support for non-secure FTP for IV-MTR, and bids farewell to RIBBS.

Could User-Generated Content Benefit Your Print Business?

Could user-generated content be a key to selling print? A new survey suggests some intriguing possibilities.

What’s Holding Your Print Business Back?

This software won’t work for our print business—a conclusion that can be the result of weeks', months', even years’ worth of time and money. Nobody wins in this outcome. Yet, it is an all to common result of failed software implementations.

Print Business Outlook Survey: Which of the following investment items have you budgeted for and plan to acquire in the next 12 months?

WhatTheyThink surveyed printing business owners and executives: "Which of the following investment items have you budgeted for and plan to acquire in the next 12 months?"

Expand Beyond Signage at the Upcoming ISA Sign Expo

ISA Sign Expo 2018 heads to Orlando next month, with four days of educational sessions and a packed exhibition floor. Richard Romano spoke with Brandon Hensley, ISA’s Chief Operating Officer, and Iain Mackenzie, ISA’s VP of Meetings & Events, about new show features and some returning favorites.

Threading the Needle in Digital Textiles

There’s a lot happening in the world of digital textile printing, an exciting and vibrant market. It seems like every day we come across new products, services and applications that digital technology enables—either to streamline existing traditional methods or to enable entirely new capabilities. Israeli company Twine Solutions is bringing digital printing technology to the most basic commodity in the industry, the thread. Read more to learn how this technology can benefit your business.

Stocks Gyrate, CapEx Shuffles, and Dr. Joe’s a Video Star

The countdown for Dr. Joe’s departure continues with four months to go. Please, let’s hope his brief video stardom does not go to his head. That head of his may not fit through the doorway when it’s time for his exit. The stock market is up…and then it’s down…blame it on visibility. Small business optimism is booming, and maybe the economy will get the hint. The industry’s capital investment is changing, with the appetite for used equipment increasing. But wait…there’s more to this month’s Dr. Joe submission.

Consumer Durable Goods Still Struggle to Reach Recession Levels

CPI-adjusted consumer durable goods manufacturing remains well below its pre-recession level—one of the reasons that GDP has been so lackluster.

Graphic Communications and Specialty Printing Mean BIG Opportunities!

When print service providers seek to expand their offerings, wide-format printing applications like sign, display, and specialty graphics are often considered an attractive opportunity. This article cites recent research from Keypoint Intelligence–InfoTrends to explore the benefits that wide format can deliver to print service providers that are hoping to enter new markets and achieve higher margins.

Print Business Outlook Survey: In the next 12 months, which of the following will be your biggest business opportunities?

WhatTheyThink surveyed printing business owners and executives: "In the next 12 months, which of the following will be your biggest business opportunities?"

How Fogg’s Behavior Model Brings “Simple” Back to Marketing

Are we over-complicating marketing strategy? With so many techniques competing for dominance, it’s easy to forget that sometimes the simple things work, too. This post looks at Fogg’s “behavior model,” which can help your clients keep it simple...and successful.

Self-Service—Your Customer Expectation and Preference

What can your customers do without your parental supervision? Your customer wants to be empowered to interact with your business online. Can they?

Bespoke Processes and Manufacturing: What Are They and What Are They For?

In this new series David Zwang will look at how the new requirements of print and packaging manufacturing, and how the demands and opportunities of Industry 4.0 are being facilitated by new bespoke production and workflow methods. He will look at the requirements, technologies, methods and the educational processes necessary to bring it all together. In this article in the series, he takes an initial look at drivers and solutions.

The [Office] Space Age: Signs By Tomorrow Transforms the American Diabetes Association’s New Headquarters

Environmental or experiential graphics are a growing trend in signage, with sign shops using the latest display graphics technologies and substrates to transform office spaces. As a result, sign and display graphics providers are working more closely with interior designers and architecture firms. Case in point: Signs By Tomorrow’s interior graphics for the American Diabetes Association’s new headquarters.

Unmade: Changing the World of Fast Fashion

Unmade, a UK-based company dedicated to providing solutions and tools to enable widespread adoption of on-demand personalization and customization of apparel and other soft goods, started by developing software to enable custom knitted items, but is now expanding into direct-to-textile printing and more. Read the full story.

2018 TAGA Conference to Feature Latest Printing Technology Trends

TAGA is known for its informative sessions and animated discussions of print technology, and the 2018 TAGA Annual Technical Conference will be no exception. Scheduled for 18 to 21 March in Baltimore MD, this is a must-attend event for anyone in the printing industry who wants to stay current with emerging trends and learn about opportunities for new revenue streams and continued business growth. Learn more.

Q4-2018 GDP +2.6%, But +3.2% Excluding Inventory Effects

The first report of fourth quarter GDP was a disappointing +2.6%. Sources such as the Atlanta Federal Reserve’s GDPNow and the New York Fed’s Nowcast were for a stronger reading. Inventories are a major factor in the volatility of GDP data, and excluding that data, the economy neared those estimates, producing a much better +3.2% rate compared to Q3.

UV and Aqueous Inkjet: Notes from a Label Converter Who Uses Both!

Both UV and aqueous inkjet are growing as alternates to electrophotography (EP) in label converting, and like EP they complement flexography as production-level print technology there. Where do UV inkjet and aqueous inkjet fit? Keypoint Intelligence recently interviewed DLS President Bob Hakman to help answer this question.

Impact XM Adds Gamification to Exhibits & Events - January 2018 M&A Activity

AGI Partners builds marketing services platform; Windsor files, Xerox turns Japanese (with a nod to the Vapors’ 1980 hit song); and more…

If Print Is So Powerful, Why Do Multichannel Marketing Studies Ignore It?

If the benefits of including print in the marketing mix are so clear, why is print regularly shut out of the multichannel marketing studies and discussions in the larger world of marketing? Is it simply because digital channels are easier to track? Or is it something else?

How to Choose the Leader of Your Print MIS Transition

A Print MIS transition requires an individual inside your organization to convince all aspects of the business to embrace change. The right leader is a critical decision in making a Print MIS transition less painful.

Memjet Explores New Opportunities with DuraLink Printhead Technology

We recently had the opportunity to visit Memjet’s San Diego headquarters and get an update on how the business is going since our visit last summer. The Print 17 trade show gave the company’s prospect list a huge boost. Read more.

The State of Labels and Packaging

We have a new report out, the Printing Forecast 2018, based in large part on the results of our Fall 2017 Print Business Outlook survey. There is quite a lot in the 172-page report, but here are some highlights specific to label and packaging printing. Thus far, commercial plants don't see tremendous opportunities in digital label or packaging—but that may be changing.

Sixth Annual NPOA Print Business Owners Conference Will Offer Inspiration and Hands-On Training

The NPOA Annual Print Owners Conference sails to the Riverside Hotel in Fort Lauderdale on February 22 to 24. The three-day event includes a dozen sessions that cover the waterfront of business, technology, and marketing issues important to small and md-size print business owners.

Highlights of the WhatTheyThink Printing Forecast 2018

WhatTheyThink’s Forecast 2018 report, by Dr. Joe Webb and Richard Romano provides detailed analysis of the most recent Print Business Outlook Survey, the latest industry economic data and macroeconomic trends, as well as industry and cultural technological trends to look out for in 2018.

Print Business Outlook Survey: In the next 12 months, which of the following will be your biggest business challenges?

WhatTheyThink surveyed printing business owners and executives: "In the next 12 months, which of the following will be your biggest business challenges?"

Welcome to the Future of Finishing!

Today marks the launch of a new Finishing Section on WhatTheyThink and section editor Trish Witkowski gives us an overview of the kinds of things she'll be covering in this special interest area. Welcome to the future of finishing!

2017 NAICS 323 US Commercial Printing Industry Shipments

The US Commerce Department has released data for November 2017, and this is the first look at the full year by making an estimate for December. Based on shipment and employment trends, it appears that 2017 came in at $76.3 in current dollars. That's a -6.4% decrease in current dollars compared to 2016, and a -8.4% decrease on an inflation-adjusted basis. The chart includes selected prior years starting at 1995. December data will be released at the beginning of February, and will be revised in March. In May, the Commerce Department will revise the last three years of data, plus minor revisions to the years prior to that.

Non-Bankruptcy Debt Restructuring in the Printing Industry

What options are available for financially troubled print businesses? John Hyde, the leading expert in M&A involving financially troubled printing companies, talks with Graphic Arts Advisors about how there are more choices than ever, including Non-Bankruptcy Debt Restructuring.

2018: Execution and Implementation Are Essential for Business Growth!

In the year ahead, changing customer demands, ongoing technological shifts, more intense market competition, and ever-changing communication trends will require print providers to make innovation a top priority. This article, the third in a three-part series, highlights the biggest challenge print service providers face—transforming their creative ideas into business realities!

Industry Press and Analysts React to Fujifilm Xerox Deal

Xerox and Fujifilm announced a deal to combine Xerox and the Fuji Xerox joint venture into a single company called Fuji Xerox. Industry Analysts share their reaction to the deal.

Keeping Print in the Mix in Customer Communications

For many companies, digital communications promised fast, easy, relevant, and more affordable customer communications. But now marketers are realizing that print has a valuable role in the customer communications mix that cannot be underestimated. As a result, the role of print in an omnichannel world is being redefined yet again, with print as a key element.

Standard Operating Procedures, Print Software, and Human Error

A business is a set of processes that are done over and over, do you have those processes written down? Do you review them? How often do make mistakes due to a human error that just involves “I forgot”? Process improvement starts with defining the process, adhering to them, and then constantly learning and adapting the process to the smarter you.

Bespoke Processes and Manufacturing: The New Reality?

In this new series, David Zwang will look at how the new requirements of print and packaging manufacturing, and how the demands and opportunities of Industry 4.0, are being facilitated by new bespoke production and workflow methods. These new methods are becoming available as a result of the evolution of current and emerging digital technologies. He will look at the requirements, technologies, methods and the educational processes necessary to bring it all together. In this first article in the series, he takes a look at the changing landscape to lay the groundwork for future discussion.