In one way or another, making packages better vehicles for brand communication underlay most of the presentations at EskoWorld 2014, a user conference that drew more than 700 people to Orlando. Esko also used the occasion to launch Suite 14, a software collection that aims to provide a common interface for all participants in the package creation workflow.
If you look around your home or office (or home office), you’ll notice numerous examples of what I’ve referred to in the past as “stealth printing,” printed materials that don’t fall into what we consider commercial printing, but is a huge market nonetheless.
Mobile is a technology that is increasingly disrupting the role of traditional communications. Over the next few weeks, we’ll explore some of the disruptive forces that are expected to impact the market. This week’s article is the second in a two-part series exploring mobile. It covers augmented reality (AR).
A Print MIS transition is like a battlefield of sorts. For the person leading the transition it is a time of scrutiny, chaos, incredible intensity and unexpected disruptions. It is, without a doubt, one of the most complex and stress generating events you can face. While it is incredibly rewarding to get through it, you usually don’t come out of it unscathed.
Nearly two years after its acquisition by AIP, Presstek named Jeffrey A Beck as CEO. Previously, the company had been managed by AIP executives as they restructured the organization and set a go-forward strategy. Prior to Presstek, Beck was COO of Boston-based iRobot. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne visited with Beck to learn more about his background and Presstek’s strategies for future success.
As wide-format graphics buyers increasingly demand faster turnaround, higher quality, and lower price—as well as an ever-growing range of specialty print applications—print service providers are looking for the fastest and most versatile equipment possible. Manufacturers are helping…but is there really a “silver bullet”?
The NFIB index has been trapped between the bottom of two recessions, that of the early 1990s and the early 2000s recession bottom. Though the latest report retreated a bit, it's still above the 2003 low. Small business is improving at a very slow pace, but this may finally be a good sign after the very disappointing Q1 GDP report.
Mobile is a technology that is increasingly disrupting the role of traditional communications. Over the next few weeks, we’ll explore some of the disruptive forces that are expected to impact the market. This week’s article is the first in a two-part series exploring mobile. It covers mobile barcodes and near-field communications (NFCs).
A printer e-mailed me recently and said, “the Vice President of Procurement at our biggest customer is open to a meeting but she wants to know what I can do to save her money.” Of course she does, she’s always wanted her vendors to engage with her in a way that solves her business challenges and makes her look good.
The newest old company, Time Inc., was very busy in June. The venerable publisher of magazines, including household names such as Time, Fortune, People, and Sports Illustrated, was spun off from Time Warner, separating the aging print-centric parent from its progeny’s profitable entertainment and programming businesses.
In this article, at the request of JW (aka the printing industry’s own Deep Throat), Zwang displays his alter ego… a shadowy figure dressed in a trilby and trench coat, and takes a departure from focusing on your businesses to look instead at the rapidly changing requirements and the resulting workflows of your clients and potential clients, and how that may undermine your very existence.
Once considered science fiction, the ability to do 3D printing—to produce objects on demand at relatively low cost—has become a reality. 3D printing is a game--changing technology and this article, part 2 of a series on disruptive technologies, explores its applications and opportunities.
On July 2nd, Veritiv, the result of the Unisource/Xpedx merger, began trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: VRTV). WhatTheyThink’s Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Chairman and CEO Mary Laschinger shortly after she rang the Stock Exchange’s Opening Bell.
The recovery indicators were mainly better this month, with the NASDAQ bouncing around then finishing well, and three of the four ISM indicators increasing. The one that didn’t is still firmly in expansion territory. The original estimate of proprietors’ income was $1,371 then it was reduced to $1,366 billion and now it’s $1,359.
One of the biggest challenges printers face when transitioning to a new Print MIS system is to pick a go-live date. Picking this magical date is a bit like gambling – you really don’t know for sure when the cards are going to line up the way you need them to.
Your sales team creates customer demand for your products and services, your production team fulfills that demand by manufacturing quality printed products on-time. Both your sales team and your production team need to be SOLD on the strategic, long-term importance of creating digital connections to your existing customers and using digital connections to win new customers.
WhatTheyThink recently attended a Canon Solutions America customer event at Canon’s Customer Experience Center in Poing, Germany. We had an opportunity to speak to several executives about the future of the company and its achievements to date.
As evidenced by the explosive, innovative changes that are occurring in today’s printing industry, creative destruction is clearly taking hold. Over the next few weeks, we’ll explore some of the disruptive forces that are expected to impact the market. This week’s article explores wearable technologies like Fitbit and Google Glass.
Customers have challenges; the best way to increase your sales is to provide your products and services wrapped into solutions to your customer’s challenges. Solution selling is an easier topic to write about then it is to execute on. Too many people write about the idea without providing guidance on how to get from where you are today (selling print jobs) to selling print programs or solutions.
The chart below shows the latest revenue data, on an inflation-adjusted basis, for ad agencies and publishers. Note how ad agency revenues are rising. While there have always been agencies that specialize in certain media, like television, direct mail, or others, the industry is media agnostic in the aggregate. Its job is to increase the positive visibility of its clients and help spur their customers into action.
At an event in San Diego, Calif., held June 9 and 10, HP announced that they are scaling up their PageWide technology for use in wide-format printers. PageWide made its debut in 2013 in the Officejet Pro X Series of desktop multifunction devices.
Over the years the cost of spot colors has increased due to reductions in ink company branches, minimum quantities, rush charges and additional delivery costs. If you use a lot of spot colors your ink costs have most likely grown. GFI Innovations manufactures an ink dispenser that can help you reduce your spot color ink costs and reduce your environmental impact.
Branding is about getting your prospects to see you as a company that provides a solution to their problems. To be successful, you must demonstrate that you understand the needs and wants of your customers and prospects. This article explores how Vincent Printing is changing with the times to meet its clients’ evolving needs.
Last week I was in Bali, Indonesia, speaking at Dscoop Asia. The event, the travel, and the reading I did along the way came together with a common theme which can best be summed up by a quote from the book I read on the way home.
I recently had the chance to talk with Scott Crosby of Holland & Crosby, Ltd., about issues relating to bottlenecks in the wide-format production process. In the article, it’s interesting to see how changes (and improvements) in technology can strongly affect a company’s complete process. The comments included here may sound familiar to many using wide-format equipment.
Last month, being in touch with the latest developments in wide-format inkjet printing for graphic arts and industrial applications meant being at FESPA Digital, a European trade expo billing itself as the “largest focused digital print exhibition worldwide this year.”
Digital content platforms attracted financial and strategic buyers last month, as increasingly sophisticated online systems drive information to centralized providers that automate the design, hosting and distribution of content.
IPMA 2014 (Milwaukee, WI) featured a tagline of “Full-Throttle Communication.” This article describes how today’s in-plants are moving up the value chain to better serve their customers, and also provides examples of in-plants that were awarded for innovation at the show.
A Print MIS implementation/transition is a massive undertaking. It is usually driven by an extensive technology-focused project plan and/or strategic document. These projects can take anywhere from 6-18 months to implement. So much thought and effort gets put in to so many elements.
Now that time has passed, and many of the production inkjet vendors are beginning to introduce new offerings, David will look at many of these new products in the context of what was learned in the original series as they are introduced.
Now that time has passed, and many of the production inkjet vendors are beginning to introduce new offerings, David will look at many of these new products in the context of what was learned in the original series as they are introduced.
interpack, a once-every-three-years trade fair held in Düsseldorf, Germany, is like Pack Expo in Chicago—a huge show that’s heavy on packaging and packaging automation but light on digital printing (with the possible exception of coding and logistics labeling).
Unless you have been lost, you are all too aware that the market for print has been changing, changing dramatically, and not changing for the best. We’ve had this discussion for a long time, so we need not dwell on it here. As a result, many companies have looked to wide-format and other types of specialty printing as a compelling replacement.
Two-thirds of print service providers consider workflow automation a top investment priority simply because it enables them to better service customers and increases customer satisfaction. Today, customers typically want more speed and less cost, whether it’s 100 business cards or a half-dozen editions of 1,000 books each in different page dimensions—by tomorrow—from facilities on three continents.
Xerox announced the grand opening of its expanded Impika Inkjet Innovation Center in Aubagne, France, with a customer Inkjet Summit on June 4th. Chairman & CEO Ursula Burns was on hand to officially open the new center. WhatTheyThink Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Andrew Copley, President of Xerox’ Graphic Communications Operations, to understand the extent of the expansion and what it means for the Xerox production inkjet business.
About a year ago, we interviewed X-Rite Pantone President Ron Voigt shortly after he took on the leadership role. In this interview with Senior Editor Cary Sherburne, he updates our readers on what has transpired in that year and strategies moving forward.
Eager to promote the outcomes of its integration with Océ, Canon is making a concerted marketing effort to acquaint printers worldwide with the merged product lines and ongoing progress in R&D. Lately, Canon has been concentrating the effort in Europe, where it recently made a series of major announcements about new digital printing systems.
A web-to-print site is all about customer convenience, enabling your customers to order from you in a self-service fashion. One thing to understand about your customers is whether they are ordering or shopping.
Legal expert and printing industry pundit Kevin Keane contributes this article about the risks printing companies face as they handle an increasing volume of internal and external data. But he doesn’t stop there. He provides our members with specific steps that owners and managers must take to mitigate data breach risks.
There is an assumption that as service provider there are very specific, almost predetermined ways that a workflow to support your business operations should be developed and deployed. However, sometimes, to use a somewhat overused term, you need to think out of the box. In Part 2 of this article we continue to look at some other ways to approach offerings, and workflows.
The printing industry continues to look at how to improve processes and reduce the environmental impact of printing. Kodak has developed a new plate, Sonora, which is process free. Process free plates have been around for a long time but they have been more of a niche product. The Sonora plate may change that.
The folding carton industry has lost a legend. Alan Crane (1924-2014) was a visionary, mentor and cherished friend to many, including members and suppliers of the Independent Carton Group (ICG), who remember him fondly.
McKinsey Insights and Publications recently published an article entitled The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Digital Enterprises. This article provides a brief overview of the insights from this article and also explores their particular relevance to the graphic communications market.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis released the second revision of Q1-2014 US Gross Domestic Product (GDP), indicating a contraction of the US economy in the quarter. As reported in prior (“laughable and embarassing”) analysis, an inventory buildup in the last two quarters of 2013 distorted the underlying condition of the economy.
We think we know our customers, we think we know our market; we think we can predict the future, we can’t and we shouldn’t invest lots of money without building in the ability to test our assumptions with data rather than opinions and theories.
There is a hidden pitfall most of us in the position of purchasing print software are very susceptible to. We are all human, and while we have the best of intentions to do thorough evaluations while making a new print software purchase, we quickly fall victim to the ‘feature trap.’
There has long been speculation among business owners and their advisors over how to place a value on privately held companies. Now, newly developed business valuation models which replicate historical buyer experience sheds some light on the topic and provides some very interesting insights into value creation opportunities for current business owners and potential buyers.
The order of the traditional sales funnel has typically been to discover a new opportunity, initiate communication, conduct fact finding, develop a solution, propose that solution, evaluate the solution, negotiate the details, create a purchase order, and maintain the account. This article explores how today’s empowered prospects have rendered this systematic approach obsolete.
If you are currently functioning on a legacy Print MIS system, you know better than anyone that you are going to have to make a move ‘soon.’ Maybe soon is in the next 2 months or the next 2 years, but you know that your system isn’t going to lead you into the future.
The results are in from SGIA’s annual Specialty Graphics Industry Survey (the full report will be released in June), and the data we’ve received shows the wide-format graphics community going strong. The information included here covers some of the “high-points” of our findings, and provides a bit of analysis, from my viewpoint.
Next week, O’Neil Data Systems (ODS) will be hosting an HP-sponsored event at their Plano, Tex, facility, which will bring together vendors, customers, and printers from all corners of the digital printing ecosystem to see the company’s high-powered “data-driven publishing” in action, as well as showcase their own contributions to this expanding print market segment.
Today’s hyper connected consumers are truly in control of the media that they consume. Today’s marketers must pursue media strategies that deliver holistic integrated communications to drive results. This article explores how printed communications are being combined with augmented reality to increase revenues and response rates.
US employment data has many cross-currents: the unemployment rate is down, but the labor participation rate is at 35-year lows. Last week the Bureau of Labor Statistics published its JOLTS report, which shows they dynamic factors at play in the labor market. This chart shows the percentage of hires less the number of quits on a year-to-year basis. Note in the chart below the rapid rise in employment as the recession ended and the recovery began, and also how it has narrowed and turned negative in recent months. It's been mainly negative for about 18 months.
Web-to-Print is a sales and marketing project that happens to involve technology, yet most printers delegate the leadership of web-to-print projects to their technical resources. We are collectively as an industry putting too much emphasis on the technology and not enough emphasis on the sales and marketing aspects.
Although some companies only start looking at their brand image when things are not going well, successful firms are out in front of the market. This article discusses the importance of market dynamics and how they can be leveraged as key catalysts for change.
It was a Tale of Two Cities for sellers of printing companies in April. For some, it’s the best of times; they appear to have chosen wisely, believed in the power of the internet to transform the business of print, they saw the light and felt the hope of spring as they embarked on their journey. The market anoints these fortunate few with the ultimate reward – the high multiple.
In Part One of this two-part series, we discussed how printing companies are responding to changing market dynamics to future-proof their businesses, and offered some of the questions you may consider asking to stimulate new customer conversations. In Part Two, we look at people, processes and technology required to successfully and profitably change the conversation and deliver new services.
March 2013 US commercial printing shipments were down -$148 million (-2.2%) compared to 2012. The first quarter was down -$770 billion (-4%). On an inflation-adjusted basis, shipments were down -$270 million (-5.4%) and down -$1.05 billion (-5.4%) for the quarter.
Printing employment in April rose by 1,000 workers. It is always hard to determine if these were actual workers or if the changes were the result of issues with the estimation models of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Production workers were the greatest part of the increase (800).
There are several marriage mistakes that lead to divorce: cheating, dishonesty, addictions, and major changes in priorities. What does this have to do with your print management information system (Print MIS)? I am suggesting that your Print MIS is your most important business partner.
There is an assumption that as service provider there are very specific, almost predetermined ways that a workflow to support your business operations should be developed and deployed. However, sometimes, to use a somewhat overused term, you need to think out of the box.
While growing your client base is important, a strategic focus is essential for growing your business and setting yourself apart from the competition. This article describes how Sexton Printing is taking a strategic focus in the face of today’s changing industry.
The sales process sets up the critical transition period from lead to customer. Customers remember what was said in the sales process and they often use this to guide their approach to implementation. Don’t inadvertently focus your soon to be customers in the wrong direction.
Recently, WhatTheyThink joined more than 7,000 marketing professionals from more than 30 countries at the Adobe Summit in Salt Lake City. This is the world’s largest digital marketing conference, according to Adobe. It was a great place to network with marketers, benefit from great content and learn what marketers are thinking about the future of business communications and where their challenges lie.
We read a lot of articles and company profiles in the packaging trades that describe companies who are growing their businesses by focusing on a specific niche of the market and developing specialized offerings to serve that niche. I recently interviewed Preston Herrin and Patrick Green of trade printer 4over headquartered in Glendale California who described for me their new offering 4over Packaging.
David Zwang takes a look at today's announcement by Xerox of their new Versant 2100 press and provides some insight into how the press was developed and what impact it will have on the mid-entry-level production market.
The importance of a strategic business approach is becoming increasingly common as today’s technology-charged environment demands rapid change from us all. This article pulls ideas from Erika Andersen’s book entitled Being Strategic and describes how IMS, Inc. is serving as a role model to the industry by performing true strategic thinking.
Circulation revenue for U.S. newspapers recorded a second consecutive year of growth, rising 3.7% to $10.87 billion in 2013 according to figures released by the Newspaper Association of America. Total revenue was $37.59 billion in 2013, a loss of 2.6 percent over 2012.
Below is the latest set of multipliers based on the Consumer Price Index. Multiply your historical financial statements by the figures below to adjust data to the CPI for the first quarter of this year.
The traditional divide between commercial and packaging printers continues to blur as commercial printers seek opportunities in packaging where they can apply their talents, utilize their capital equipment investments, and transition to the packaging industry.
Any company can say they are environmentally responsible. But what does it really mean? Print buyers who have a mandate from their management to use environmentally responsible suppliers have a tough task sorting through the claims. The Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP) is an independent, non-profit organization providing a certification label for sustainability in the graphic communications industry. Here is what certification means to four printers.
For the year, profits were $4.34 billion. On an inflation-adjusted basis, that was the highest level of industry profits since 2007. This is despite there being $28 billion less printing shipments, 8,000 fewer printing establishments, and 73,000 fewer employees. It was the best profits per establishment ($173,000) since 2000.
The concept of re-evaluating your strategic business plan often gets pushed to the wayside as you get caught up in the day-to-day operations of your business. Erika Andersen’s book entitled Being Strategic provides a step-by-step model that business owners can use to build out their strategies. This article provides an overview of the book’s key points of advice.
Profits per employee increased to higher levels since 2000. Industry consolidation is a big factor in this report. It is not just mergers and acquisitions, but also plant closures and bankruptcies, and the opening of new businesses that absorb the best and most appropriate resources of the closed plants, and also the strategic changes that surviving companies make as they respond and anticipate marketplace changes, absorbing the sales volume of departed competitors.
On a recent visit to Salt Lake City, I had the pleasure of spending time at Hudson Printing. The company’s tagline is Reinvent Print, and it boasts a Director of Innovation. Read more about my visit and the great things happening at Hudson Printing.
All members of the packaging supply chain are under pressure to better address the needs of their customers and offer more efficient products and services. This has led to the development of systems that are classified as “disruptive” to address “areas of need” or “pain points” in the process.
Results are determined by our words as well as our actions. This article explores Bill McGowan’s book entitled Pitch Perfect: How to Say It Right the First Time, Every Time can help you achieve the results that you want. It also highlights the key principles for effective communication that are highlighted in the book.
Three weeks into his new job as Kodak’s Chief Executive Officer and a member of its Board of Directors, Jeffrey L. Clarke conducted a briefing with the printing trade media. WhatTheyThink’s Senior Editor Cary Sherburne was on the line and shares some of the thoughts and insights from the call.
One of the measures of the health of the labor market is the comparison of the total population to civilian employment. This measure has yet to approach levels achieved prior to the recession. This measure is important because it follows the growth in population. The number of workers is now nearly what it was at the start of the recession, but population has grown about 6% since that time. In rough terms, this means that the economy is short about 5.6 million jobs.
Industrial printing is a massive industry, serving vertical markets from aerospace to electronics, and from medical to interior design. What makes industrial printing (for the most part) unique (and mostly hidden from view) is that most industrial printing companies are not “print for pay” enterprises.
Reaching target audiences typically means connecting with these consumers on their desktops, laptops, tablets, and/or smartphones. This article explores how GTxcel is working with its customers to turn a printed document into a browser-based digital edition that can be enjoyed by readers on a desktop/laptop, tablet, smartphone, or any web-enabled device.
In preparation for this article, David spoke with a wide format print service provider with a portfolio of disparate equipment that implemented the first phase of a production workflow system to automate and optimize some of his processes. The results were quite impressive.
Andy Tribute reviews the nanography printing process and where Landa is with commercial availability of its Nanographic presses. How the claimed advantages of Nanographic presses compare to modern sheetfed offset and liquid toner technology and inkjet systems from Canon/Océ, Xeikon and Konica Minolta.
The Ipex 2014 event in London was not one for major product introductions. The size of the event was much smaller than originally planned due to the withdrawal of many of the major suppliers. Highlights include Konica Minolta, FFEI, LumeJet, Scodix, Riso and others.
At Dscoop9, the organization debuted Dscoop University, a member educational initiative announced last year that has come to fruition in a big way. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne provides insight for our readers into the competitive advantage that this offering provides for Dscoop members.
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.