The number of transaction statement in-plant printers has been in decline for some time, due mainly to a decline in print volumes caused by suppression and more recently the effect of electronic bill presentment, which has become a default option for many who open a new financial or insurance account.
Those who have been around the packaging industry can tell you that no one can predict its future. From experiments gone awry – like Jacques E. Brandenberger’s failed attempts at transparent tablecloths that ultimately resulted in the invention of cellophane in 1908.
My first exposure to digital printing for Corrugated Packaging occurred when I joined Inland Container. This occurred in late 2000, and Inland was in the process of developing a prototype digital press to evaluate the potential for digital printing in Packaging.
From so simple a beginning. Avondale, Ariz.’s AZ Pro Signs and Graphics, based just outside Phoenix, started nine years ago with a 21-inch plotter—and has seen no less than double-digit growth every year, even during the recession years.
Companies are always looking for ways to save money or reduce costs. The more you do the harder it is to find ways to improve the bottom line. Looking at your trash may not be the first area you investigate but it does offer the opportunity to reduce costs. The concept is to recycle/reuse/repurpose and reprocess all materials which had been “thrown into the dumpster”. This takes some time and effort as well as the cooperation of your employees. Done properly not only can it reduce your costs and lessen your environmental impact, it can increase your sales as well.
Commercial printers are increasingly examining the label and packaging market—and they like what they see. As digital technology lowers both the cost of entry and the learning curve for excellent execution, particularly in the area of special effects, the business benefits can be substantial.
Technological advances have drastically changed the way people consume information. Today’s businesses must facilitate the movement between print and mobile formats to add value to communication. This article highlights how Roberts Communications is supporting consumers in the move toward mobile channels while still supporting print.
Consolidation looks like the obvious play in a shrinking industry space: put two friendly competitors together, eliminate redundant / duplicative activities, pocket the savings and move along happily. Sounds simple and neat. Uh oh.
Recent data published by Adobe sheds light on what’s happening with digital magazine publications. Since the launch of Adobe DPS less than three years ago, more than 150 million Adobe-DPS powered digital publications have been downloaded and read on mobile devices. (Adobe DPS has 80% market share in digital magazine publishing). And more time is being spent with publications in digital form than in print. This is a trend our readers should be watching and looking for ways to capitalize on.
Ricoh commissioned an I.T. Strategies study titled The Evolution of the Book Industry: Implications for U.S. Book Manufacturers and Printers. The study looks at the impact of ebooks on printed book volumes, reader preferences for print versus electronic formats and more. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with I.T. Strategies VP Marco Boer and Ricoh’s Worldwide Manager Inkjet Technologies, Mike Herold, to learn more.
The potential of digital print is broadening, and packaging companies are only just beginning to realise the benefits on offer in terms of personalisation, customer engagement and integration with online campaigns.
Since the highly-successful SGIA Expo, which took place a little more than a month ago, I’ve been putting some new thought into wide-format digital printing, trying to come up with a new way to describe the industry to those who are new to it, or have simply put a toe in our wide-format pool.
B2B customers are more connected than ever, and this brings increased opportunities to reach prospective buyers with relevant, targeted information when they need it. This article discusses three areas of focus for service providers that are striving to make a good first impression.
While the commercial printing industry has seen an overall decline in demand for print over the last 15 years, the demand for wide-format printed graphics is actually increasing. As a result, more and more commercial printers are looking at adding wide-format to their offerings.
Technology promises great potential to create leverage in our business. Leverage isn’t created in the purchase of technology; real leverage comes from how the use of the technology changes the behavior of the people who use it.
Last month, I had the opportunity to visit HP’s Boise offices along with other members of the media. While the session focused on print solutions for small to mid-sized businesses, many of the solutions we saw have implications for commercial printers.
Traditional print sales professionals continue to struggle with the business development process and companies of all sizes are trying to figure out their next moves. Building a next generation sales team doesn’t have to be that difficult if you design an effective work flow process.
Pinpointing the characteristics that make some printing companies more economically attractive than others is the short version of the mission of New Direction Partners (NDP), a consultancy specializing in mergers and acquisitions in the graphic communications industry. Some of these earmarks are classic indicators of the health of a business: cash flow, accounts receivable, EBITDA, and so on. Others, however, stem from emerging trends that NDP monitors as M&A influencers for the industry as a whole.
Last week, with no public announcement, the Printing Industries of America dismissed 15 employees with little or no notice, according to sources. Some had over 30 years of service to GATF, with whom PIA merged in the late 1990s.
Elli Cloots, formerly Director of Product Marketing at Enfocus, recently joined EFI as Senior Product Marketing Manager in EPS, the company’s software group. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne talks with her about her new role and the importance of workflow and automation in the graphic arts industry.
Industries worldwide are moving rapidly toward “green” operations, seeking to reduce environmental emissions, hazardous materials and waste streams, while at the same time striving to conserve energy and materials. In line with this trend, printing industry leaders have focused on improving the environmental aspects of their supply chain and operations to reduce waste and improve efficiency.
In today’s printing industry, uncertainty is the rule rather than the exception. Citing Eric Ries’ New York Times Bestseller entitled The Lean Startup, this article explores how print service providers can leverage the advice in this book.
At the SGIA Expo in Orlando several weeks ago, EFI garnered a Product of the Year award for its GS Pro-TF thermoforming system. Interstate Graphics Inc. (IGI), based in Machesney Park, Ill.—just outside Rockford—was the first company to install the GS Pro-TF.
Graphics Canada is held every two years and celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. To mark this milestone, says Dan Mustata, show manager for Graphics Canada, “we’ve brought together more features, more conferences, and more colocated events than ever.”
Minneapolis-based John Roberts has installed the first 7-color HP Indigo 10000 digital press in North America. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with CEO Michael Keene to delve into why the company made this decision and what they expect to achieve going forward.
Embracing a vertical market approach offers a number of benefits to the marketing and operations sides of a business. This article outlines the benefits of vertical marketing and explores how MSP Digital is profiting from this approach.
It’s less about belts and gears and more about software,” says Ron Diaz, press operator at Secaucus, N.J.’s Strategic Content Imaging (SCI), summing up what he sees as one of the primary differences between digital production inkjet and traditional offset printing. “We have to move four gigabytes of data in a very short period of time.
Web-to-Print is a concept that has grown rapidly, right along with the internet and e-commerce in general, and represents an efficient and effective way for printers to interact with customers and partners as they plan and execute print jobs. From submission, to online prepress previews and reviews, all the way to production, web-to-print enables customers and printers to use a variety of tools and rich user interfaces to produce impressive results.
When Walter Payne entered the printing business from another career, he knew he’d want to do more than printing. Today, his company is so multi-functional that Kodak is using part of the plant as a demo facility for some of its most advanced digital production technologies.
A recent Scanbuy report indicates that mobile barcode marketing continues to attract a global crowd of consumers as well as leading brands. This article provides key takeaways from Scanbuy’s study and discusses the ways in which QR codes are being used to make a difference.
At the beginning of day one of the SGIA Expo, SGIA President Michael Robertson had announced a pre-registered attendee count of around 21,000. By Friday morning, the third and final day of the Expo, the count had topped 22,400.
Postal rates in the United States are going up again. I think it’s pretty safe to assume that wherever you are, they have done the same or will in the near future. That is a bigger deal for some than for others.
For those in the direct mail business, for companies that mail transactional statements, and for print providers that serve those industries, it is a really big deal.
The announcement of the intent on the part of RR Donnelley to acquire Consolidated Graphics sent a few shock waves through the industry. What will it mean for the 70+ CGX locations and its more than 5,000 employees?
Last Friday, Landa announced a strategic relationship with Komori for the manufacture of the transport systems for all of Landa’s sheetfed systems, the first being the S10FC. Kevin spoke with Benny to get a bit more information on this topic.
I recently joined about 30 of my press and analyst colleagues at a media event held at Screen USA headquarters in Rolling Meadows, Illinois. Parent company Dainippon Screen celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. Screen USA used the event as an opportunity to bring the press and analyst community up to date on its latest product offerings with a peek into its strategic future. Is there a new trend here among Japanese companies in our industry?
Eighteen months is a long time in the world of politics, consumer electronics, the growth of an infant and the gain or decline of a 401K but in the development of digital printing solutions for folding cartons that time is not so long at all.
Newspapers and the companies that publish them are facing a fundamental business transformation. The ways people choose to get their news have changed a lot in the last four centuries, so publishers have had to adapt to those changes and embrace new opportunities in news delivery to uncover different opportunities for revenue sources.
Seismic shifts have left marketing executives in a very different landscape from what they faced just a few years ago. Savvy print service providers must assess how they can fit in the continuum of today’s more lucrative marketing value chain.
Over the last few days, I've been asked more than a dozen times for my take on RR Donnelley’s pending acquisition of Consolidated Graphics (CGX). Frankly, I have been surprised by the number of people who found the announcement puzzling. And most of the speculation has suggested that it’s purely a defensive move on RRD’s part in the face of declining industry sales volume.
Dainippon Screen wants to be a major part of the conversation about the rise of inkjet and the fall of old assumptions about print production. But, as inkjet comes to the fore, the conversation could get uncomfortably blunt for some.
Digital textile printing began in earnest in the 1990s, but technology, market, and supply chain challenges have kept it from going truly mainstream. However, all of these challenges—technology, market, and even supply chain—are gradually being overcome, and digital textile printing.
Companies of all types are increasing their budgets for blogs, whitepapers, videos, Webinars, and other types of content marketing campaigns. This article examines how service providers are using social media across a number of platforms to effectively share content and differentiate their businesses in the eyes of their customers.
In Esquire's October issue, I read a quote from Arthur Miller that reminded me of the publishing industry in general, and of my experience at PRIMEX last week. "Fear, like love, is difficult to explain after it has subsided, probably because it draws away the veils of illusion as it disappears."
David looks at Marketing Campaign process automation. This is a new and interesting area that can help support a Print Service Provider transformation into a Marketing Services Provider business model, and potentially integrate into an automated print production workflow.
Social networks, communities, blogs, forums, and friends/followers are useful from a brand-building and marketing perspective. This article explores some of the ways that print service providers are building out their business-to-business social strategies.
When I interview print sales representatives and ask them why their customers do business with them, they almost always say because we have a great relationship, our service is great, and our people are great. Relationship selling is a very common way to sell.
New York City-based RICG recently rebuilt its Website, and the company is clearly optimized to appeal to B2B marketing executives. This article covers the key areas that RICG addressed during its quest to make a good B2B Web presence a reality.
Half of the printing companies that were in business in 1995 are gone. We are losing 1,000 to 1,500 more per year. And…since those firms are gone, i.e., they didn’t survive; it seems likely that they failed to change in some way that might have led to their survival.
A first sales call is a make-or-break situation that only happens once. Prospects expect sales people to show up PREPARED and understand their unique needs. This article offers practical steps to harness Internet resources to learn a prospect’s business, marketplace, and key pain points.
At PRINT 13, Neopost USA unveiled an interesting cloud-based Delivery Preference Manager (DPM) solution designed to help companies manage customer delivery preferences. A little over a year after Neopost S.A.’S acquisition of GMC Software Technology, we checked in with Dennis P. LeStrange President & CEO of Neopost USA to find out more about DPM, what else is new at Neopost and look into the impact of the GMC acquisition.
Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend a major printing trade show in Chicago—you may have been there as well. A quick take on the show is that it was well-executed and well-attended, but smaller than we’ve come to think the quadrennial Print event should be.
This article includes tips for saving money and improving your operational excellence by using all your resources – especially your vendors. Areas covered include: consumables, freight, paper, and recycled waste. By picking one or two of these ideas you can improve your operation and lower your costs.
There is a lot of talk in the printing industry about transforming and changing business models based on new technologies. Luke Williams’s book Disrupt: Think the Unthinkable to Spark Transformation in Your Business offers a five-stage process for practicing the disruptive thinking needed to facilitate change. This article highlights key points in the book and real-world examples of printing firms disrupting the status quo.
With run sizes per print job going down and the variety of labels going up, new solutions are needed to supply label printers an affordable, efficient option. The concept of using the Internet as a custom printing-enablement tool is based on a high degree of automation coupled with the benefits of digital color printing
The default for decades has been, when you want to communicate something (a marketing message, information, education, compliance message, etc.) you contacted your printer and discussed the timeframe, manufacturing specifications, and quantities. Printers could be passive
In this article, David looks at many new production workflows solutions that were introduced at Print13 in Chicago. Due to the sheer volume of new announcements, this is Part One of two articles covering this new product review.
Apple unveiled its new flagship device, the iPhone 5S, along with a cheaper model. To the disappointment of many, the devices do not support NFC (near field communications). This article highlights NFC and the alternative Apple is pursing, wireless transmitters called beacons.
No, that title isn’t a typo. Mergers and acquisitions are getting lots of attention again. That means mine will probably be the most contrarian voice on the subject. Over the past 14 years, I’ve watched 8 different deals up close. So let me apologize in advance: I’m not a fan of mergers or acquisitions. Here’s why..
Adobe, MPA, 4As and a group of publishers collaborated to develop a set of metrics to standardize the measurement of engagement for digital publications. Previously there were a variety of inconsistent measurement methodologies with no standard reports and varying metrics. Hear what MPA’s Ethan Grey and Adobe’s Lynly Schambers-Lenox have to say about these new standardized audience metrics for digital publications.
PRINT 13 was held September 6-10 at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL. This article provides a brief overview of just some of the hardware and software announcements that greeted visitors on the show floor.
The centerpiece of digital production at AGS Print & Marketing Communications is an inkjet web press with a combination of capabilities that the president of the company calls “marketing’s Holy Grail” for print.
On Kodak’s first full day in business after emerging from bankruptcy, Antonio Perez, its chairman and CEO, detailed the company’s plans to rebuild its stature as a supplier of technology solutions in a narrower cross-section of markets than it once served.
Capturing consumers’ attention while they are in a store is critical, and this often involves blending signage with mobile technology. This article discusses some of the ways that today’s retailers are accomplishing this goal.
On September 5th, Adobe announced the Adobe PDF Print Engine 3 (APPE3), bringing significant enhancements to its RIP architecture that enable its OEM partners to stay current with digital printing market demands. WhatTheyThink Senior Editor Cary Sherburne and WhatTheyThink Contributor David Zwang collaborated on this analysis of the anticipated impact of APPE3’s market entry.
The information included in this article is a short summary of the data presented in SGIA’s soon-to-be-released 2013 Market Trends & Product Specialties Benchmarking Report. The data presented is culled from the responses of 136 U.S. sign and graphics producers, and provides an excellent snapshot of the graphics and sign segment today. A full report will be available on SGIA.org later this year.
Workflows have been around since the start of computer to plate, when the printing industry looked much different than today. The convergence of offset and digital as well as the other cross media applications has made a streamlined workflow more important than ever. Fujifilm has recently developed a whole new workflow called XMF. This has allowed them to build their software based on today’s needs.
Resilience and perseverance are crucial behavioral competencies when individuals and organizations must overcome significant obstacles. The capacity to be flexible as well as demonstrate the range of responses to adversity will dramatically impact our level of future success. One of senior management’s responsibilities is to ensure that during these transitional times we surround ourselves with the people that approach these challenges with the most appropriate behavioral competencies.
A number of tools and resources are emerging that help maximize social Web presence, including techniques for rewarding social influencers to promote products and services. This article discusses industry players that are driving customers to become powerful marketing assets.
Stakeholders in the sign and display market can look back on the past 18 months and note solid growth attributed to the steady and measured ascent of digital printing. Globally, we witnessed the continued adoption and embrace of digital as innovative new technologies helped print providers convert analog pages to generate new business and increase opportunities with existing clients.
Outbound marketing is promotion-based; spread the message about my company, my products, and my services to as many people as I can interrupt in the hope that some will find the message relevant. Print examples of this are blasting out huge direct mail campaigns to strangers, newspaper advertisements, and billboards.
Following a recent experience with a personalized video bill from AT&T, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne interviewed SundaySky President and chief revenue officer Jim Dicso to learn more about the company’s operations. SundaySky provides the infrastructure for high volume personalized videos from AT&T, Lenovo, Office Depot and more.
Senior Editor Cary Sherburne recently joined 36 other industry analysts and journalists at a special event at Canon USA’s brand-new Melville NY headquarters located at One Canon Park. Also attending the event were WhatTheyThink’s Frank Romano, Richard Romano, David Zwang and Patrick Henry. Sherburne shares her thoughts about the visit.
Within the last few years we have seen the introduction of two high-speed inkjet technologies aimed at the direct mail space. One is the new high-speed color inkjet presses and the other is high-speed color inkjet heads that can be mounted on existing offset presses.
A number of savvy marketers have transformed large format signage in public locations into virtual shopping centers that are accessible to on-the-go travelers. This article discusses how retailers are leveraging QR codes to bring consumers the ultimate in shopping convenience.
A 2002 Standish Group study of software projects found that 45% of features were never used and only 20% features were used often or always. We base our software investment decisions on the number of features a product has and then we fail to utilize 80% of those features. Does that make sense to anyone?
As the first HP Indigo 30000 units begin to come to market, we are checking in with new owners to see how these B2 sheetfed presses, optimized for folding carton work, will be affecting their converting businesses.
In this article, David looks at cloud-based production management systems, a relatively new concept and product category, what they look like and how they compare to the more conventional workflow management offerings.
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.