WhatTheyThink's Eric Vessels made a short trip from his home in Ohio down to the xpedx headquarters in Cincinnati for one of fourteen Wide Format Summits being put on by the company in 2013. This piece gives his impressions as well as thoughts from those who attended the event.
The DLR (Docklands Light Rail) train wended its way through London’s East End and the Docklands and pulled into the station for London’s ExCel Centre. The conductor announced, “Customs House for the ExCel Centre. If you’re going to FESPA 2013, please alight here.”
There’s no denying how much the inkjet market has changed in the last few years. It has come so far, so fast that it’s probably an appropriate time to step back and ask: Is it a cost effective printing solution? Does it deliver ROI?
Recently I had the chance to attend HP’s Print Your Future event, held near the HP inkjet labs in San Diego. The event was hosted by HP’s IHPS division which makes the high speed continuous feed inkjet presses (T2xx, T3xx, T4xx series). I was able to tour the labs and see each of the three press models in operation.
In a world where content is king, service providers must assess how they are differentiating their businesses by offering valuable insight to clients and prospects. Service providers have a number of options for delivering content to clients, and this article discusses just a few.
I had the privilege last week of attending the Smithers Pira Conference in Atlanta on the topic of Digital Printing for Packaging. Having been on the advisory board for the conference it was rewarding to see the fruits of our labor being so well received by those in attendance.
Signage is becoming an increasingly important marketing component for attracting on-the-go consumers. Wide format graphics represent a major opportunity for print service providers. This article explores how retailers can use wide format graphics to increase their marketing presence in today’s cross-media world.
Neenah Paper is “running towards new media,” not running from it, with its The Beauty of Engraving and The Beauty of Letterpress sites. They are also leveraging this presence to financially support two worthy causes: preservation of the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum and support for victims of the Moore OK tornado tragedy. Read more.
The number one best answer to any question posed by a prospect during the sales process is a clarifying question (hopefully several of them). The two best clarifying questions are, “what business challenge are you trying to solve?” and “how would you define wild success?”
David looks at some of the packaged workflow systems that are now being offered, either with hardware products or as standalone solutions. He will look at them as primary support for a device as well as how they work in the context of a broader plant workflow.
With today’s challenging economy and technological advances, graphic communications service providers continually need to reassess what they are doing and how they are doing it. This article provides recommendations on how to set up a “self university” for yourself, while simultaneously building the right infrastructure for your employees.
Following Ricoh’s announcement that it would not be participating in Ipex 2014, WhatTheyThink Senior Editor Cary Sherburne reached out to Ricoh Europe’s Graham Moore to learn more about this decision and Ricoh’s overall customer engagement strategy.
It is universally accepted that one’s interpersonal skills will have a direct effect on their ability to interact and get along with others, build critical relationships and function as a productive member of a team. Whether we consider their communication effectiveness or the way they approach and solve problems the soft skills they possess will either inhibit or contribute to their success.
Successfully integrating digital printing into your manufacturing process requires more than a digital press. Prepress and post press workflow changes and equipment are often required. Most printers have inline coating on their offset presses. Offline coating may be a new area with the addition of digital presses. What is right for you depends on your customer’s needs.
Everyone with a printing company to sell dreams of making a deal with full payment in cash at closing. That’s an achievable outcome for some sellers, but not for others. Two case studies provide a helpful dose of realism.
Today’s in-plants are continually re-inventing themselves to remain competitive. This article provides examples of a variety of organizations that are stepping up to today’s challenges by evaluating their offerings and making changes based on customers’ demands and market shifts.
Greater revenue utilization and lower labor costs will drive the slow but steady growth of electronic billboards—despite public and government opposition—but print billboards will still account for more than 96% of all billboards by 2015.
Although a number of the initial AR marketing techniques have been a bit gimmicky, practical applications are beginning to emerge. This article provides some examples of how the technology is being effectively used today.
In part I of this feature, we took a broad look at the different categories of inks available for wide-format inks. This week, we’ll take a closer look at how inks handle different applications (or perhaps vice versa) and, more importantly, how to think about ink in the context of choosing wide-format equipment, and how to measure and evaluate estimates of things like “cost per square foot.”
The High-Velocity Edge, a reissued edition of five-time Shingo Prize winner Steven J. Spear’s book entitled Chasing the Rabbit, describes the things that set market-dominating companies apart. This article provides examples of companies that are leveraging critical success factors to set themselves apart from the competition.
Dan provides a summary and his take on some of the results from a recently conducted SGIA Survey. The full survey results will be published in the SGIA report " Equipment & Financial Outlook Benchmarking Report".
A commitment to real change requires real risk because you have to be all-in for it to work. Too many technology projects fail because nobody was committed to bring forth the change necessary for success.
This series of articles by David L. Zwang focuses on the processes and products that can lead to the transformation of your current workflows and business, to prepare you for the new challenges ahead. In this article, David moves the discussion forward, now focusing on ‘workflow systems,’ what that encompasses, and some of the things you need to pay attention to as you review them. All of this done with an eye toward building a flexible platform upon which to grow.
I am naturally curious. I have always enjoyed learning and early in my career made a point of immersing myself in the work of some of the best thinkers in the business world. First, it was Peter Drucker whose writings are the foundation of what I know about management.
JoAnn is a syndicated packaging writer who is arguably the most prolific “packaging person” on social media. I have been following her for years and thought it extremely appropriate to have her featured here for the WhatTheyThink Labels & Packaging audience. Following are the highlights from an interview with “The Packaging Diva”.
Bruce H. Rogers and Russ Alan Prince co-authored a book entitled Profitable Brilliance: How Professional Service Firms Become Thought Leaders. This book identifies three key criteria for success in becoming a thought leader. This article provides examples of industry players that are already following this advice.
There is, in some ways, a fundamental paradox when it comes to wide-format inks. There are more ink choices than ever, and yet for any given piece of equipment, you are generally stuck in a “one-cartridge-fits-all” situation.
I frequently hear that incumbent sales people are inhibiting a company’s ability to introduce new products and services and are increasingly resistant to prospecting for new business opportunities. As the role of the sales professional continues to evolve we need to rethink our pre-conceived paradigms regarding what top performing sales professionals look like. A carefully designed strategy for attracting, recruiting and selecting sales talent is an essential component to building a sustainable business.
In this guest article, Xerox’s Dustin Graupman talks about why choice is good, sheds some light on the Xerox acquisition of Impika, and expands the discussion of the value of choice beyond simply choosing among technologies to a discussion about why choice is important for the business as a whole.
There are many ways to structure a deal. One way is to bundle other services, equipment or consumables together to alleviate upfront costs. This type of deal can be very beneficial for the printer and the vendor. It does make it harder to do comparison shopping and evaluate true costs. Make sure you make an informed decision before agreeing to this type of deal.
A combination of media types==online, mobile, social, and print—is critical to today’s overall communication process. Industry firms are playing a significant role in serving customers across all forms of communication. This article explores how print is being used in conjunction with other channels to improve communications with customers.
The profitability gap between the best-performing and the weakest printing firms is wider than ever. It reflects the difference between the “haves”—firms with effective strategies for competitive differentiation—and the “have nots,” which lack them.
German Sacristan is ROMI (Return on Marketing Investment) Developer for Kodak and the author of The Digital and Direct Marketing Goose: 16 Tips and Real-life Examples That Will Help You Lay More Golden Eggs. His work is focused on helping marketers gain increased ROI through the use of data and effective marketing techniques. We spoke to him recently to learn more.
Technology and consumer expectations related to communications will continue to force marketing experiences to evolve. This article explores how successful service providers are re-evaluating their services to help clients succeed in today’s “on demand” marketing era.
Perched on the northern quay of the Royal Victoria Dock in the Docklands of London is the ExCel Centre, an exhibit space constructed in 2000 but retooled and overhauled for the 2012 Olympic Games, where weightlifters, fencers, boxers, and wrestlers grappled for the gold. Next month, the Centre will host competitors of a different sort.
To help us introduce the various packaging sectors to the growing WhatTheyThink Labels & Packaging readership we asked PRIMIR if we could pull excerpts from their 2012 study that Karstedt Partners was commissioned to write titled Packaging: Evaluation of Vertical Markets & Key Applications.
Although it may be difficult for traditionalists to imagine, “printing” can be done in more dimensions than two. The Inside Printing 3D Conference and Expo made clear why this high-touch manufacturing process is gaining increased attention both as an emerging technology and as an investment opportunity.
I recently had the chance to attend PIA’s annual Continuous Improvement Conference, and among the many kernels of information I left Indianapolis with was the concept that innovation and efficiency go hand-in-hand.
To keep their products and services top-of-mind, marketers must offer highly personalized communications that are relevant to each recipient and communicated via the right channel. Personalization has finally gone mainstream, and marketers must consider individual needs and preferences to drive consumers to take action.
Last month, Blurb announced a global partnership with Samsung for auto-creating photo books and magazines on the company’s new GALAXY S 4 smartphone, available today from T-Mobile and later this week from other carriers. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Blurb SVP Bruce Watermann who shared details about the app and his thoughts about mobile and print in general.
The challenges that we face when transforming a business are substantial and require the involvement of the entire organization. Each member of the team plays a different role but without the involvement of the CEO the chances of success are drastically reduced. In many situations there are multiple strategies in play; while the legacy business must be maintained and expanded the transition team must define and create the future. Under these circumstances, the CEO’s role must be carefully examined and defined.
In this article, David continues the infrastructure discussion, now focusing on the current state of the DFE (Digital Front End, aka RIPs) in the market, covering Digital Print DFEs as well as CTP DFEs, and the beginning of the plant production workflow. All of this done with an eye toward building a flexible platform upon which to grow.
For the past 84 years, the Paperboard Packaging Council (PPC) has been the leading industry association serving suppliers and converters of all forms of paperboard packaging. We spoke with Ben Markens, President of PPC, about the current state of the folding carton industry and the opportunities and challenges faced by its members.
Graphic communications service providers of all sizes need to “future-proof” their businesses in terms of services, solutions, and data capabilities to deliver relevant information and optimize customer service. This article discusses how First Edge Solutions has expanded its multi-channel communications to stay ahead of the competition.
WhatTheyThink was saddened to learn of the passing of innovator and entrepreneur Efi Arazi on Sunday. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with EFI CEO Guy Gecht and Landa Nanographics CEO Benny Landa who share their thoughts about Arazi’s contributions to the industry and the world, and she invites our readers to chime in with their own remembrances and thoughts about this great man.
At Graph Expo, we reported on some interesting software additions to the Konica Minolta family of products. WhatTheyThink’s Senior Editor Cary Sherburne followed up with Gavin Jordan-Smith, Vice President for Solutions and Production Planning, to see what else is new at the company.
On March 19th Océ (part of the Canon Group) hosted an International Inkjet Days event at its site in Poing Germany (just east of Munich). Océ invited a group of industry analysts to see the latest enhancements to its impressive inkjet product portfolio and it offered educational sessions on inkjet technology, document security and color perception.
Following the acquisition of GMC Software Technology by Neopost last summer, long-time Chairman and CEO Dr. René Müller has ceded the CEO position to Henri Dura, retaining the position of President of the Board for the time being. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Dura to learn more about his background, the status of the integration process post-acquisition, and his strategic view of the future.
SMBs have a wide range of communication needs, including corporate identity, marketing collateral, direct marketing, point-of-sales materials, transactional documents, and publications. This article cites recent InfoTrends research to uncover the priorities and challenges for SMBs, and also discusses how QuantumDigital can make a difference for small businesses.
I caught up with Jay Willie, Executive Director of the Independent Carton Group (ICG) just before he struck out for one of the groups quarterly meetings. The ICG has an interesting business model and long history.
In October of 2012, Presstek announced the completion of its sale to American Industrial Partners Capital Fund, taking the company private. WhatTheyThink has learned that the company is in the process of undergoing a significant restructuring. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with David Savage, Presstek’s new CEO, to get the details.
Senior Editor has been having ongoing conversations with Adobe’s Lynly Schambers-Lenox, Group Product Marketing Manager, Digital Publishing, about the impact adoption of digital publishing is having on magazinepublishers, especially for users of Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite. In this article, Schambers-Lenox shares new data that is beginning to show real results in revenue, advertising and subscribership for publishers.
Business-to-business commerce may not be getting the headlines in the print industry, yet across all industries in the US it’s nearly twice the size of the business-to-consumer market. It’s vital that printers understand the B2B opportunity and not confuse it with jumping into a price war with retailers online.
Last month, WhatTheyThink’s Senior Editor Cary Sherburne joined a group of journalists, industry analysts and customers for a visit to Canon’s Poing Customer Experience Center located on the outskirts of Munich, Germany.
The role of the Sales Leader is to manage your system and coach your people. They must provide Structure, Support and Accountability for your sales program and as you continue your journey towards re-inventing your business, this function will take on much greater significance. Adhering to unsuccessful, past practices will only hold back your efforts as you continue to recruit, hire and develop your next generation sales team.
Recent technological investments suggests that technology leaders are expecting augmented reality (AR) to play a much larger role in how consumers access various types of content. This article provides just a few AR examples that have recently hit the headlines.
IT Strategies has just completed its 19th wide-format graphics inkjet forecast, wrapping up nearly two decades’ worth of experience into a single large Excel spreadsheet. The trends year-over-year aren’t surprising. Growth continues.
David continues the discussion, now focusing on the production infrastructure by looking at the role of the DFE (Digital Front End, aka RIP), and how that has changed as a result of digital press technology and the changing demands of the marketplace. In keeping with the series theme, he looks at it with an eye toward building a flexible platform upon which to grow.
In one of his first official acts since his election as pontiff, Pope Francis has unveiled a radically new strategy for proselytizing to the world: he’ll carry on the work of St. Peter through an international network of printing companies he intends the Church to acquire.
There has been much chaos and confusion in our industry in the past two decades. According to every credible source, collective industry sales are declining. Offset printing, which rode a 60 year wave of process dominance, has been declining since 2007. Digital print sales, as well as a variety of ancillary services, are growing but not fast enough to stem the tide of total industry revenue decline.
All customers are not alike; they have different demographic profiles, income levels, business requirements, and lifestyle choices. Marketers understand that they cannot ignore these differences, and they are creating customer communications that position their products and services to cater to individual preferences and characteristics. This article leverages recent research that highlights the importance of personalized messaging.
We have been previewing ISA’s International Sign Expo 2013. A fortnight ago, we looked at the educational opportunities to be had, and this week we will look at but the merest handful of the offerings on the show floor.
Although the ink is barely dry on the deal that has made Impika a unit of Xerox, the acquirer believes that bringing its target into the fold will give it the major-player status in inkjet that it has been seeking.
To help us introduce the various packaging sectors we asked PRIMIR if we could pull excerpts from their 2012 study that Karstedt Partners was commissioned to write titled Packaging: Evaluation of Vertical Markets & Key Applications.
Billions of dollars a year are on the line for companies as they seek ways to ensure that the products sold with their logos and branding are authorized and authentic. The proliferation of counterfeiting requires brand owners and their converter/printer partners to work together to create a multi-layered protection plan so that their packaging and labels protect their brands and deter those trying to profit at their (and their reputation’s) expense.
In a move that is likely to cause a few ripples, Eric Hawkinson, who has been Executive Director of Dscoop, HP Indigo’s user group, will be departing to join Canon Solutions America, working for VP of Marketing Francis McMahon as Director of Marketing. Cary Sherburne speaks with several of the principals about this surprising move.
Loyalty programs have always been about treating your best customers better, but today’s marketers want to court their customers, engage them, and track their behaviors. This article discusses some of today’s techniques for connecting with customers and keeping them engaged.
Wide-format inkjet technology has become the “go to” technology for a number of traditional and non-traditional printing segments The purpose of this article is to define the differences between these segments, in general terms.
We recently had the opportunity to catch up with Steve Young, President of AICC, and asked him to share his thoughts around the mission of AICC, the role of AICC, and the opportunities and challenges facing their members.
The behavioral competencies and skills that we must look for in the next generation sales professional are quite different from what we have focused on in the past. The ability to engage clients in dialogue to uncover and define challenges is of utmost importance. It is also important that sales professionals be great listeners; listening 80% of the time. However, as buyers we usually don’t experience that behavior. So what can we do to change that dynamic? I believe we can dramatically improve our success in selecting the right people as well as coaching those with the necessary behavioral competencies to become great engagers.
Following Tom Vacchiano’s departure as President of X-Rite Pantone, WhatTheyThink’s Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with his successor, long-time Danaher veteran Ron Voigt, in this exclusive interview to learn more about Danaher business strategies and the future prospects of X-Rite Pantone under the Danaher banner.
There are many relationships in business today. One that is often not given enough weight is your vendor relationship. In the past, this relationship could be adversarial. Today, cooperation is needed more than ever. Looking at how you can get more out of your vendor relations can have a large positive effect on your bottom line.
Think Patented has embarked on a transition strategy to improve its competitive edge in today’s turbulent market. The company is broadening the set of production tools that it uses, embracing value-added services, and refocusing itself on becoming a marketing services provider. This article provides an overview of Think Patented’s growth strategy, which includes a shift to value-added services as well as strategic acquisitions.
The International Sign Expo, coming up April 3–6 will feature more than 500 exhibitors, more than 40 educational sessions, and ample networking opportunities, all related to the “on-premise” signage industry.
After What They Think published my article Survival of the Small and Mid-sized Printing Company in Today’s Chaotic Environment, Scott Johnson commented with some nice words and the question: Had I read the book The Rule of Three: Surviving and Thriving in Competitive Markets? I had not read it but out of curiosity I found it, bought it and read it.
With pieces of Kodak being lopped off as it works to emerge from bankruptcy proceedings, some are taking root as new businesses. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne interviewed one of the founders of Three Leaf Insights, born out of the ashes of Kodak’s MarketMover Managed Campaign Services, as well as a print service provider and an end customer, to offer a view of how these services are likely to evolve after being shed by Kodak.
Having just returned from Beijing where I attended the International Media Week, patterned after the drupa format, I can tell you that the Chinese are no longer the student and could be considered the teacher.
If silence is golden in most of the affairs of life, in M&A transactions, it’s pure platinum. Nothing assures a better outcome for a deal—or yields a worse one if it’s violated—than maintaining a policy of tight information control while negotiations are under way.
Selling a product or service requires a vision. A vision is a picture of the future that we seek to create, described in the present tense, as if it were happening now. It shows where we want to go, and what we will be like when we get there. This article provides a brief profile of Universal Wilde, which has developed a vision for its business and is using this vision to power its growth.
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.