March was a pre-drupa whirlwind for many of us journalist/industry analyst types. No one can attend all of the events, but it seemed like I had more than my share. I will be breaking my report up into three parts … the first will focus on the softer side—color management, workflow, etc. Stay tuned for additional information on new digital presses, finishing and more. Companies covered here: Chili Publisher, Enfocus, Esko, HP, Kodak, Xeikon and X-Rite Pantone
In just in the past few months, the print service operations at the University of North Carolina and Johns Hopkins University made headlines by shutting their doors. Printing is declining, so the volume of work has dropped. More and more of work is being done electronically. The small-run printing that most universities need is being completed with digital equipment, basically high-end digital copiers. In-plants need to change with the times if they hope to survive.
One of the key trends we are seeing today is the rise of the hybrid printing system. This is where a mix of printing technologies are used on a press or finishing system to allow for adding variable data to offset or flexo printed content.
A “perfect storm” of change has transformed the printing industry, and every traditional printing operation caught in it faces the same decision: either issue a Mayday and sell the boat, or do nothing and watch the ship sink.
In February, Delphax Technologies announced it would be bringing to market a digital color print system powered by Memjet at drupa 2012. Industry watchers have been waiting to get more details on this sheet-fed device and the news is finally out. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne gets the details from Delphax’ Dieter Schilling.
A presence in the virtual world is essential to any successful marketing plan, but organizations of all sizes are getting lost in social media. Service providers must decide how they plan to participate in this market. This article discusses how SourceLink’s TAG solution is harnessing the power of social media sharing.
Be a part of history. Frank is seeking some of the font masters and paraphernalia of the old phototypesetting era. He knows there are a few oldtimers who read WhatTheyThink while drooling in their oatmeal. Film, glass, and plastic fonts are requested.
We are coping with unprecedented industry consolidation and declining print volumes. As the overall volume of print declines, printing companies are scrambling to find strategies to not only survive, but to grow revenue and margins.
Small and medium-sized businesses want the ability to extend their marketing efforts across two or more channels, but they don’t have the time or money to do it effectively by themselves. This article leverages recent survey results to describe the challenges that today’s SMBs are facing and discusses how companies like PULP are helping to address these issues.
We finally have got through the series of pre-drupa events and announcement press releases. So we now know a lot of what will be seen at the event. The following is a summary of some key products that will be shown in a few market segments.
Why has marketing been given such a long leash for so long or, in most cases, the only leash is the budget? Spend as you wish, hope it has a positive impact, and stop when the budget is gone. Marketers are good at pointing out their impact but when pressed, they typically can’t identify which part of their spend had the desired impact.
intomedia GmbH recognized an opportunity to harness the Web to drive online print ordering, improve communication workflows, and streamline production processes. This article discusses intomedia’s offerings and also offers examples of companies that are leveraging them.
In this exclusive WhatTheyThink interview, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne speaks with Roland Ortbach, just named as CEO of manroland web systems Inc. North America. Ortbach discusses the new organization, its relationship with the manroland sheetfed division and more.
Almost all the recent announcements, and certainly all the hype, in the digital printing market have involved high-speed inkjet printing. Little has been heard about the established form of digital printing, namely digital printing using electrophotographic (toner based) technology.
Dr. Joe tiptoes through the economic data, discusses the nature of efficiency and expansion, and then pontificates about channels that are not of the TV kind. Then he explains why a new high in a stock index is not what it seems. Did we really say tiptoe? Where are the tulips?
Print service providers can effectively position or re-position themselves for differentiation in today’s market. They can make their businesses stand out and effectively reach their target markets. This article explores how Philadelphia-based TGI has become a national leader in print and cross-media communications.
The past few weeks have seen many of the pieces of the drupa jigsaw drop into place as vendors define some of what they will introduce and offer in May. There are still a few announcements to come with HP and Xerox making their announcements soon.
We had a unique opportunity recently to get a look at the entire printing industry’s value chain by attending two separate events at O’Neil Data Systems new plant in Plano, Texas. First was HP’s First Look event, which previewed for their customers technology they will be officially in the next few weeks. Second was O’Neil Data Systems’ grand opening of their Plano facility, which gave us an opportunity to meet their customers as well.
Ever since he founded Geographics in 1976, Norvin Hagan hasn’t tried to purchase another company—until now. Read why he’s ready to complement organic growth with the kind that comes from a well planned and executed acquisition.
Developing an understanding of industry dynamics can help service providers identify the right vertical market. Once the vertical market has been identified, the service provider must develop the right document and marketing solutions to meet clients’ needs. This article outlines the steps involved in taking a vertical market approach and also provides a relevant success story from the One to One Group.
Last week fourteen companies gave a preview of what they will bring to drupa 2012 during a series of media briefings at a conference center on the trade fair grounds of Messe Düsseldorf in Düsseldorf, Germany.
I had the opportunity to participate in an analyst briefing at Pantone in late February, and X-Rite President & CEO Tom Vacchiano took the time to speak with Senior Editor Cary Sherburne one-on-one with an update on X-Rite/Pantone strategy—where the company’s been and where it is going. Read more.
Printers are facing an increasing number of challenges due to rapid changes in the economy, technology and the marketplace. It is easy to get mired in viewing these changes as negative and the demise of an industry. However, for this article I will focus on the positive side of these changes.
FedEx Office recently announced that it would be accelerating investment in grand format printing services in selected centralized production centers to supplement its service offerings. The same release also reported that Boeing had selected FedEx Office as its print service provider of choice. WhatTheyThink Senior Editor Cary Sherburne talked to the company to learn more.
On February 2nd, Presstek announced the appointment of Stanley E. Freimuth as Chairman, President & CEO. Mr. Freimuth, who stepped into the role on February 13th, spent nearly 25 years with Fujifilm where he ultimately had responsibility for all Fujifilm U.S.A businesses. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Freimuth about his reasons for taking on the role and his expectations for the firm and the market.
In 2003, Clay Christensen and Mike Raynor published a bestselling book entitled The Innovator's Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth. The authors discuss how established companies need to create disruptions rather than being destroyed by them. Businesses must turn innovative ideas into disruptive products and services that will lead to long-term profitable growth. This article outlines key strategies from the book and provides an example of a retailer that has taken action to generate growth.
By exhibiting as a group at drupa 2012, the members of the PrintCity Alliance hope to present a continuum of solutions that visitors will find well adapted to the new realities of the print marketplace. Previews of some of their show offerings are here.
This series by David L. Zwang focuses on current production inkjet products and their application in the market today. This series will run every 3 weeks leading up to drupa 2012. In this seventh article of the series, David looks at Screen, its production inkjet offerings and applications.
IDEAlliance® recently announced that attendee registration is strong for TechWeek, its week-long event series featuring the G7 Forum 2012, TechConference 2012 and XTech 2012 Seminars. Slated for March 12-16, 2012 in Rosemont, IL, the conference offers a mix of educational sessions, hands-on computer labs, and networking opportunities for media production professionals.
Good customer testimonials can help your business stand out in a crowd and enable more meaningful marketing. This article discusses the characteristics associated with good testimonials and explains how you can use them to differentiate your business.
The announcement that Jeff Jacobson, President & CEO of Presstek, was departing the company to take on a senior role at Xerox caught many industry watchers by surprise. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Jacobson to get the story behind the story.
At drupa 2012, the PrintCity Alliance will emphasize and promote the future of print from its usual location on the Messe Düsseldorf fairgrounds. Last week, some of its members gave a preview of what awaits visitors to Hall 6.
At the recent PODi AppForum conference, keynote speaker Ken Schmidt spoke passionately about the need to create a compelling message for your business – a message that connects emotionally with prospects and stands out from the crowd. Too often, Ken says that companies say what makes them great is quality, service and reliability when these items are merely givens - table stakes. And what’s worse, it’s a boring message that causes prospect’s eyes to glaze over. It eventually leads to competition based solely on price – and there go your profit margins.
Procter & Gamble, tablet computing, and the S&P 499... Dr. Joe ties them all together and comes up with urgency and entrepreneurship and something about backbones. He even includes one of those really cluttered charts that he's famous for. It's just another Dr. Joe column, but this one might rattle the common wisdom when it doesn't want to be rattled... again.
Technology on its own cannot solve your business challenges. It can play a part, it can enable your strategy, it can free up your labor but the real benefits of technology come from the people and the processes around it.
The SMB market provides an enticing, yet challenging, sales opportunity for print service providers. Today's small businesses are seeking partners to help them sell in the cross-media world. They want the solutions that integrate and automate marketing across print, online, mobile, and social media channels. This article cites survey findings and highlights industry examples of service providers and software solutions providers that are beginning to approach automated marketing via cloud-based solutions for small businesses.
An environmentally responsible approach to print production not only helps the energy intensive industry minimize its impact, it is also an essential business tool as will be widely demonstrated at drupa 2012.
Dscoop, the wildly successful HP digital printing users group, has added a new conference to its repertoire. Co-located with Dscoop7 being held in Washington D.C. March 22-24, the event, DSee, takes place on March 22, 2012, and has already sold out. Hear more from Dscoop board members and HP about this novel event.
e-Readers are definitely here to stay, so the printing and publishing worlds must change with the times. There will always be a place for hardcover and paperback books, but recent developments will demand a huge transition for book printers and publishers alike. How businesses adapt will determine who is left standing five years from now. This article provides an overview of the publishing landscape and provides examples of service providers who are changing with the times.
Now that the dust has settled a little on the acquisition of AlphaGraphics (AGI) by Blackstreet Capital and CEO Kevin Cushing’s unexpected departure, Art Coley, AlphaGraphics’ Interim President, talks to WhatTheyThink Senior Editor Cary Sherburne about the AGI perspective, future prospects and franchisee reaction.
In today’s market, data-driven personalized marketing has never been more important. Every buyer has his or her individual needs, preferences, resources, and behaviors. Since it is virtually impossible to cater to each customer’s individual characteristics, marketers attempt to group customers into market segments by variables they have in common. This article provides a discussion of service providers that are using market segmentation to improve their business results.
There’s a notable gap between consumers’ understanding of QR codes and their willingness to use them. A company called SpyderLynk has a solution aimed at helping image-based mobile marketing to fulfill the potential that has eluded QR codes.
“Printing using movable type” has turned into “printing using movable data”. It has been almost eight years since Bernhard Schreier, CEO of Heidelberg, paraphrased Gutenberg’s invention to describe the transformation of the industry. And data has been moving ever faster, in ever more directions, ever since.
In December, WhatTheyThink’s Senior Editor, Cary Sherburne, joined a number of her press and analyst peers on a visit to Fenske Media in Rapid City, South Dakota. In this article, she shares details about the event and includes an exclusive interview with Tom Fenske, one of the four brothers that own and operate the business.
Rumors that AlphaGraphics was on the blocks proved to be true when the company announced it had a new owner. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke to CEO Kevin Cushing to get the story behind the story for our readers.
In December 2011, John M. Bernard published a book entitled Business at the Speed of Now: Fire up Your People, Thrill Your Customers, and Crush Your Competitors. The book states that the ability to understand emergent issues and act upon them with appropriate speed will mark the difference between the winners and losers. This article provides examples from the book and explains how they can be applied to the printing industry.
Océ Business Services introduced Océ PrintExpress, an online print and distribution service that augments its Managed Print Services offerings. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne speaks with Océ Business Services and its partner, Mimeo, to get the scoop.
The digital printing industry looks to Caslon and PODi for insights into what’s next and what will be profitable in the future. Here are a few of the exciting opportunities we see emerging plus some red flags to watch out for.
The big news of the past few days has been that Kodak has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the USA. The announcement from Kodak was not unexpected as the company has been having financial problems for some time, and had appointed a specialist consultancy company late last year to evaluate bankruptcy protection options.
Dr. Joe is back and he admits he was wrong. There's a season for everything, it turns out, but not the same ones there used to be. He explains how to be a hit at cocktail parties, and then wonders why we should care about economic forecasting, if at all. Sounds like he's been away from the WhatTheyThink pages a little too long...
Kodak will continue to advance its graphic communications business as it tries to emerge from bankruptcy, treating its digital printing, plate, and workflow operations as keys to survival and future success.
Across all industry segments, marketers are challenged with understanding how to effectively leverage cross-media communications and build out effective campaigns. This article explains how Darwill has transformed its products and services into real customer value in the non-profit and association markets.
Web-to-print provider Aleyant profiled one of its customers in a recent press release that caught my attention. Thinking this was an innovative print service provider who had launched a niche holiday application, I contacted them to see what they do the rest of the year. Not a print service provider!
One of the areas where major future business growth is seen is in newspapers adopting high-speed inkjet printing as an alternative or replacement for offset printing. The various press vendors all specify newspapers as a key business area for them for the future. Yet when one looks at the market newspapers have just not moved in any way to adopt the technology.
Technical innovation and customer care are the main ingredients in the recipe for growth at Cathedral Corporation, which now aims to accelerate its expansion with the well-planned acquisition of another printing firm. President and CEO Marianne Gaige describes her objectives in this interview.
Latex ink jet ink technology was introduced by Hewlett-Packard in 2008 for wide format graphics printing applications, and after an extended period of beta-testing and an economic recession it went mainstream in 2010. During the last 18 months in particular unit placements have continued to gain strength, now totaling over 10,000 placements wordwide at the end of 2011.
It’s a brand new year and a great time for predictions about what the future holds for the production printing market. This article outlines InfoTrends’ top seven predictions for 2012 related to digital technologies within the printing industry.
As printing companies move towards environmentally friendly processes and products they must sort through the misinformation in the marketplace. This article helps to educate the printer on what to look for in pressroom chemistry.
This series by David L. Zwang focuses on current production inkjet products and their application in the market today. In this fifth article of the series, David looks at Ricoh, its production inkjet offerings and applications.
On December 7th, HP announced the acquisition of print MIS provider HiFlex. WhatTheyThink Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with HP to understand more about this acquisition and how it fits into the HP portfolio. You may be surprised to learn where the acquisition is reporting within the HP organization.
On April 15, 2010, President Obama announced his intent to nominate William J. Boarman as the 26th Public Printer of the United States. Following that announcement, WhatTheyThink covered the long, and ultimately unsuccessful confirmation process, revealing a number of problems with the nominee. Apparently more problems have arisen and his nomination was returned to the President. Read more.
Fujifilm first announced the J Press 720 in 2008, with much press and fanfare for the new sheet-fed, digital inkjet press. In 2010, at GRAPH EXPO, it was shown in action. Now, the first machine has been installed in Michigan. What does the J Press 720 mean for Fujifilm?
NewPage was the first paper manufacturer to bring to market a coated stock optimized for production inkjet. Availability of an affordable coated stock solution is at the top of the wish list for many production inkjet press owners. We expect to see much more activity in this space between now and drupa. In the interim, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with the folks at NewPage to get the full story.
With an estimated 75% of all retail products purchased on impulse and over 40,000 different lines in a supermarket outlet from which to choose, attention-grabbing packaging print is the crucial differentiator on-shelf and ways to achieve this will be emphasized at drupa 2012, reports Des King
Wild Apple Graphics recently added a new digital press that allows the company to offer short runs of certain popular print sizes. Cary Sherburne spoke with Jim Chadwick, Director of Technical Services, to understand how digital printing is streamlining the company’s art print business and why they chose the digital press they purchased.
As the possibilities and the range of applications in the world of printing, including digital, continue to expand, the manufacturers of finishing machines are having to keep pace by delivering continual innovations.
In November 2011, InfoTrends published a multi-client study entitled Mobile Technology: Making Print Interactive. This research was conducted to determine the importance of combining technologies to activate, cultivate, and engage customers. While marketers and service providers often get enamored with technology the fundamentals of good marketing still apply today. This article discusses the basic elements of quality marketing campaigns and provides some real-world examples.
This sixth annual InterQuest continued the theme of most all printing conferences for the last decade: digital printing and electronic workflows must be in your future. This DC gathering featured successful case studies by the general managers that led their transition.
If you’re walking around trying to push your products and services on potential customers, you’re asking them to give you a slice of their pie (their business). This is a hard sale because you’re dipping into a limited resource.
The sixth annual InterQuest conference targeting government and higher education in-plant printers was held November 30. Digital printing, electronic workflows, and in-plant case studies of successful technology and management transitions often involving newly hired, experienced private sector employees were the reenforced themes of the forum.
SGIA was flooded with small ink, roller, blade, and other screen consumable suppliers: How do so many analog screen suppliers hang on? The simple reason: screen output remains cheap-and turnaround is fast enough.
To promote sales of their products, manufacturers need to effectively provide their network of dealers with marketing materials that support the purchase process, and continue the post-purchase conversation.
Today it is becoming much more common to find printers using more than one printing technology. In most cases this is adding sheet fed digital printing to complement a predominantly offset printing operation.
Mobile technology is playing an increasingly important to today’s society. Despite the growing importance of mobile, all channels (print, mobile, social, online, mass media) must be a part of the marketing mix. This article provides a brief overview of how mobile can be integrated with other media types to become more effective, citing research from a recently completed study from InfoTrends
German firm Printechnologics has developed another way for print to be interactive utilizing the increasing number of touch screens—tablets, smartphones and more—now in the marketplace. What is a Touchcode, how can it be used and when might we start seeing them in the market? Cary Sherburne speaks with Printechnologics CEO Sascha Voight.
As we approach drupa 2012, what are the technologies we can expect to see that will drive change in the printing and publishing markets? Once again, we can expect to see a significant position for inkjet in the array of new technologies exhibitors have on display. This time, however, while there will still be a large presence in the production sector.
The Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, PA just discontinued their Graphic Communication Technology major. The decline in enrollment began in 2001 and only four new students entered the major in the more recent term.
In October 2011, IBM published a C-suite study report entitled From Stretched to Strengthened. In this article, Barb Pellow highlights some of the key findings from this study and also discusses best strategies for next-generation service providers.
As printing companies move towards environmentally friendly processes and products they must sort through the misinformation in the marketplace. This article helps to educate the printer on what to look for in printing ink.
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.