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June retail sales adjusted for inflation fell -0.6% compared to May. Month-to-month changes are somewhat volatile, so it's better to look at the comparisons to the prior year. The chart shows that June retail sales were +1.2% compared to last year, the worst comparison since March 2014. There are signs that the economy is slowing again. In the first quarter, real retail sales were +2.6% compared to the prior year, but this second quarter is only +1.6%. The economy always has conflicting positive and negative data, but this downturn in a key sector of the economy is likely to raise some eyebrows among economists and policymakers.
Launching any new print software technology can feel risky. With the rate of change in both our businesses and software technology, we have to create a culture that is comfortable with launching early and iterating through issues. It is impossible to predict every possible scenario; it is liberating to accept that finding issues post-launch is part of the plan.
“Open Up to Cans” is what consumers are being urged to do by a can makers’ trade association. But, when it come to beverages, most already have.
The NFIB Small Business Index was released this week, “The weakness was substantial across the board, showing no signs of a growth spurt in the near future,” according to Bill Dunkelberg, NFIB Chief Economist. “Declines in spending plans accounted for 30 percent of the Index decline, and weaker expectations for real sales and business conditions another 20 percent. The deterioration in earnings trends accounted for about a quarter of the decline.”
Packaging is one area of the printing industry where growth continues. But it is not without its challenges. Learn how leading packaging converters are leveraging digital technology to address time-to-market challenges and developing new revenue streams in this article sponsored by Highcon.
SGIA’s Dan Marx shares some of his organization’s most recent research on industrial printing. What technologies are companies in the industrial printing space using? What products and technologies have they been investing in? Where do they see the most (and least) growth opportunities? What is their business outlook?
One of the keys to effectively running a world-class company is finding ways to constantly increase productivity. This article explores the importance of measuring operational performance and discusses various strategies for doing so.
Print software is an infrastructure investment in our increasing online and digital economy. Adopting a strategic infrastructure approach to investing in and implementing print software will be a key differentiator for print businesses moving forward.
Yesterday, EFI and FedEx Office announced that FedEx Office is using EFI products for a more cost-effective and streamlined delivery of professional print services. I spoke to Udi Arieli, EFI’s Director, High End Market Business Development, EFI Productivity Software, to get the scoop for this WhatTheyThink exclusive.
An investment banker turned label printer is building a network with a widening geographic reach and a deepening capability in flexo and digital production.
Analysis of June 2015 Mergers, Acquisitions & Restructuring in the Printing, Packaging & Related Industries
New applications for outdoor graphics are appearing all the time, and new printing technologies are revitalizing some older applications. Some considerations if you are looking at outdoor graphics, and a look at one South Florida shop that has carved out a niche in the great outdoors.
UK-based Blackdog Digital is a terrific example of a company that has morphed from being a commercial printer to a digital printer to a variable data printer to a full-service provider of cross-media campaigns. Blackdog’s Phil Copperwheat shares his thoughts on the company’s transformation and what other companies need to do to get in the cross-media game.
Commercial printing shipments have been much higher than they are in today's market, but the bounce off the lows of 2014 this year have been notable. The comparisons toward the end of 2015 will be harder to top since the industry started to show this bounceback at the end of 2014. The transformation of commercial printing businesses has been an arduous one, with volume declines of many mainstream products, but a rise in specialty applications. Those new applications are often based in digital printing, such as wide format specialties. There's also a new generation of print business managers who are not burdened by the myopia of history, where print was paramount. These executives and owners have grown up with computers and gadgets and have a better sense of print's new role in media communications
Corporate promulgators of spurious “green” claims that disrespect printing, be warned: a riposte and a recantation may be in your future.
Without leaving their homes or offices, individuals can assess and evaluate an array of products and services. The most successful firms understand that the lifetime value of a customer is more important than the value of the initial transaction. This article explores how Kohler Co. partnered with OneTouch Point to stand out from the competition and maximize the value of long-term customer relationships.
Staffing your technology is as important as staffing your presses. The top characteristics for good technical resources: understand the limits of your knowledge, resist making assumptions, and see opportunities rather than roadblocks.
What would Bubble Wrap be without poppability? Alas, we are about to find out.
As our readers may know, Aurelio Maruggi led the InkJet High-speed Production Solutions (IHPS) division at HP since its inception and has recently moved to a new role within HP. He spent a lot of time with customers and really understood the business and their needs. His successor, Eric Wiesner, has a very different background, but one that is equally valuable to HP and customers alike. I had the chance to speak with him recently about his background and his thoughts about the future.
This privately owned folding carton company follows a straight line from its family values to its strategies for business growth.
We’ve been writing about the adoption of digital publishing tools for publishing and sales enablement. The next wave for this discipline is a natural: employee engagement. We spoke with Douglas Fajardo, CEO of Mirum Miami, an agency working with Sony Latin America, about the impact Sony’s employee engagement app is having on its employee on-boarding process.
As the online world continues to expand, your prospects and customers can become more educated buyers. Your response to this is to invest in your online presence so that first impressions count.
Sleeves are coming on strong as labeling options as numerous technological advances make them more attractive to work with. A recent event in Florida covered some of the most important ones.
Colorado-based EPS Doublet creates amazing event experiences for its many marquis customers and is an expert in experiential marketing. See how the company leverages large- and small-format digital printing to bring innovative solutions to its customers in this article sponsored by HP Graphics Solutions Business.
OK, so you’ve invested in wide-format printing capabilities, the equipment is up and running, the staff is trained, and you’re ready to RIP. How do you get work to run on that equipment?
According to McKinsey & Company, following the leader can be dangerous to your future profitability. This article explores four steps for optimizing performance in today’s digital world, and also discusses the importance of developing a digital quotient.
We all know how the markets seem to panic when the Fed hints that rates will be rising soon, but they already have. That is, the markets have been pushing up the inflation-adjusted 10-year US Treasury since September 2011 by 420 basis points (4.2 percentage points). The rate is now the highest since June 2010, at 2.33%. This measure can be volatile because of the inflation adjustment. We used the year-to-year inflation rate as measured by the Consumer Price Index for that reason. There are Fed governors who believe that they have great latitude to be patient with a rise in inflation since their target of +2% annual inflation has not been met. This means that they believe they have a cushion of “banked” uncreated inflation that they can use up before they move aggressively. Whatever the case, a 25 basis point rise in short term rates is not much, as they might actually be catching up to the marketplace that has already moved and the Fed is already lagging well behind it. They miss an important point. The CPI does not measure inflation in a practical way. If wages are stagnant (though a little better lately), a “mild” 2% rise can be a burden. Median household income is still 4% lower than its peak just after the recession started. A 2% rise in inflation plus the 4% lower income is a 6% difference. That's something that's rarely mentioned in the business press.
Software is mission critical to your business, like other infrastructure investments it takes time and effort to make the best decisions, plan to get the most ROI, and continue to build differentiation in the marketplace. Optimizing your print software investments comes with challenges which every printer faces in order to compete in an increasingly online, digital world.
There’s strength in numbers—and in “clusters” of businesses like the ones that have come together to reinvigorate paper manufacturing in Massachusetts.
In this article, David Zwang looks at the evolution of Color Management in light of the recent approval of CxF3 as a standard by the ISO, what exciting new things it can bring to the process of Color Management in design and production, and what the future holds.
The community of U.S. Esko users descended upon the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Arizona earlier this week to sharpen their skills, answer questions, get product roadmaps, and network with Esko executives and engineers as well as a diverse group of their peers.
Since the start of the recovery all the way back in mid-2009, advertising agency revenues have increased by +$32 billion, +40% since that time. There are many economic indicators that have never recovered (such as full time jobs) but ad agency revenues have blown through the pre-recession high of $91 billion and is now running at the rate of $112 billion annually. The agencies have had this performance because they are immersed in the media upheaval, riding and stoking the changes in communications formats on behalf of their clients. Wages have followed this shift in media, and has been documented by us before. The average public relations pay is about $10,000 more than the averaged of all agency wages. Book publishing industry revenues have stabilized, and trends of newspaper and periodical publishing revenues are still down, but at a lesser rate.
Smart screens that look back at their onlookers are only the beginning of the changes that digital technology will bring to signage and display markets that used to belong to—but now must be shared by—conventional print.
InfoTrends’ research has uncovered some key differences in web-to-print adoption among commercial printers versus corporate in-plants. This article leverages recent research to explore some of the differences in how these two groups use web-to-print technology.
Inbound marketing is the strategy of choice for online marketing, content is the main ingredient to any successful inbound marketing strategy. Your content has to be optimized for two audiences; your target customers and the search engines.
Typography for packaging design will never be the same after Hermann Zapf—and always will be.
Printing is easy; it’s all the other stuff that can pose challenges. Producing wide-format output can require a different approach to traditional processes, from selling, to finishing, to transporting. What do you need to know before you take the plunge?
De-evolution for eBooks Platform? – May 2015 M&A Activity, includes commercial printing, packaging, newspapers, and equipment.
In a perfect world, food and beverage producers wouldn't have to spend billions to protect themselves against bogus packaging. But, at least they have effective ways to spend the money.
At the Dscoop Open event (June 3-5 at the Convention Center in Dublin, Ireland), solutions partners shared their perspectives on how to make a “hole in one” with digital printing. This article provides a brief overview of the event’s highlights.
In spite of recent strength in US commercial printing industry shipments, employment is still on a downward path. The industry seems to becoming more efficient, somewhat from better management, and somewhat from consolidation as weak establishments are aborbed or exit the market. Compared to April, however, the Bureau of Labor statistics estimates that employment increased by about 600, which is common compared for May in recent years. The April public relations employment was very strong compared to the prior year and is up +8.8%. When PR employment is excluded from ad agency employment, the number of employees in agencies is still up +2.1%. The employment data have always reflected the changes in the media market as well as the strength in the economy. Though the economy is slow, advertising agencies have reinvented themselves and are very active in social media and digital media production.
Revised Commerce Department Data Sends Forecasts in Opposite Directions: Will US Printing in 2020 be $90 Billion or $27 Billion? ()
Data for the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 were revised to a slight rise in shipments when the original data showed a steady and significant decline. That period of mild increase was followed by a period of decline that was smaller in magnitude than originally reported.
A rapid changeover from conventional to digital production was both the cause and the result of the installation of digital printing equipment at Accu-Label Inc.
If you happen to have been in Singapore recently—and who of us hasn’t?—you may have caught sight of a new wide-format backlit film that can be used for vehicle graphics. Called eLumiNEX, it has been given a shakedown cruise on a bus.
SGIA’s Dan Marx shares highlights from the 2015 SGIA Specialty Imaging Industry Survey. What equipment is hot? What products are on the rise, and which are on the decline? In what verticals are the hot prospects? And what is the overall market outlook for the wide-format and specialty graphics industry?
Digital printing for packaging has room to grow and the means to achieve that growth. There was plenty of room for discussion about making it happen at a recent symposium of experts in Tampa.
This chart shows how the US commercial printing shipments have been better compared to the prior year for the last 11 months of reporting by the Commerce Department. What's it mean? We're still averaging $400 million per month less than a similar period in 2010-2011, and we're well below the levels of ten years ago by about -$2.8 billion per month. The recent stability may be the result of several factors. First, weak companies are gone as a result of closures and consoPrinting Shipments Rising, Best April Since 2010lidations, leaving companies that know what modern print users need. Second, there has been a generational change in management to owners and executives who are more comfortable with digital technology because they have always used it, growing up with cell phones, video games, and computers everywhere. Third, the big targets for displacement by digital media have been pulverized, and what remains are specialties and applications more appropriate to a multichannel integrated media marketplace. Fourth, there a more companies using business development techniques (tell us about your target audience and how we can make your digital initiatives more effective) rather than old sales techniques (would you like to see my equipment list?). Then again, it could be the calm before another storm. New data networks are on their way, such as 5G, where two hour movies can be downloaded in six seconds rather than six minutes. Print has a good story to tell, but please, don't make it an old story. Print needs to be fresh and new. The market may be stable now, so use this time well to get ready for the market ahead.
ANRO Communications is well-known in the printing community for its innovation and thought leadership position. In this article, sponsored by HP, Paul DeSantis, ANRO’s Director of IT, talks about how production inkjet has future-proofed the company’s business.
Web-to-print is our term for moving customer engagement online. This represents a big change for most traditional business-to-business printers. This article describes the top five mistakes I see when working with printers through this transition from an offline business to an online / self-service customer interaction model.
Commerce Department Revises US Commercial Printing Shipments Data: Revises Shipments Higher for 2013 and 2014 ()
Every May, the US Department of Commerce issues “benchmark” revisions to the manufacturing shipments data it reports. Every month, the shipments report is used by economists and analysts at Government agencies, such as the Treasury Department, but also by banks, businesses, and others, to identify strong and weak areas of the economy, and to forecast future economic conditions. The reports are based on a combination of actual and estimated data from economic models.