Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, NBS started out as a data entry service provider. This article explores how the company transformed itself into a digital printing and mailing services expert by positioning for future growth.
Economic conditions are being twisted and distorted by the long-held biases of the business press. The charged political climate of an election year fans passions that magnify momentary small and nearly meaningless changes in economic data into cataclysms or triumphs. You have to step back to see what's really happening, or not happening. Small businesses can't choose economic conditions, but they can choose their means of navigation.
This time, instead of a long-form review of product announcements at drupa 2012, here are the highlights in a format that many of us are getting accustomed to: Tweetable bursts of 140 characters or less.
We hear a lot about companies transforming themselves into marketing services organizations, but IWCO Direct provides a great model for success. This article provides a brief overview of IWCO Direct’s history and explains how the company is taking an integrated approach to truly transform itself.
Coming off of a press conference extravaganza at drupa, WhatTheyThink’s Senior Editor Cary Sherburne challenges Graph Expo exhibitors to change the press conference game. (And feature more customers in their booths!)
Earlier in 2012, Mike Moniteiro published a book entitled Design is a Job. Although this book is targeted toward the design community, its lessons also resonate with organizations that are attempting to add marketing services to their offerings. In this article, Barb Pellow describes how service-oriented businesses can leverage the principles in this book to become marketing service providers.
Inkjet printing will grow from a $33.4 billion market in 2011 to $67.3 billion in 2017, according to new research from Smithers Pira. Dr. Sean Smyth, consultant at Smithers Pira, provides an overview of the latest trends in inkjet printing, including developments from drupa.
Organizations have reduced staff due to a drop in sales and the recession. How is purchasing structured in your organization? Now is the time to review your structure, personnel and process for purchasing in your organization and set your objectives.
With the technologies now available, book manufacturers can respond to critical market trends and support the increased need for digital book manufacturing. This article provides a brief overview of the changes that are occurring in the book printing/publishing market and explores how companies like Webcom are facilitating these changes.
“We need to be in the outcome business, not the output business,” said a printing executive at drupa. “They trust you,” said a senior spokesman for a vendor about the underlying strength of printer-customer relationships. Both presentations were rich in insights about the state of print markets and the prospects that printers will discover in them.
Dr. Joe is frequently asked questions at conferences, webinars, and by e-mail from around the world that sometimes turn into columns. This week, as a result of some of those questions, he explains why confusion is good, misconceptions start with ourselves, not others; how digital natives affect the workforce; and other matters. And then, there are those seemingly innocent news items that he puts into a different context. That Dr. Joe... he makes your head hurt sometimes.
Back home from drupa 2012 and preparing to write some insightful articles about the show, the announcements and what it means for our industry over the next four years, so watch for those. Hint of what’s to come: for me, this was the Hybrid drupa. But first I wanted to offer some special recognition from a journalist’s perspective.
In 1985, Peter Drucker published a book entitled Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Although Drucker’s book is nearly 30 years old, its lessons remain relevant. In this article, Barb Pellow discusses how Tukaiz, a supplier of quality marketing communication products and services, is putting Drucker’s principles of Innovation and Entrepreneurship into practice.
Inking the merger of two printing companies is the formality that signals the beginning of the hard part: implementation. Methodical planning and careful communication can go a long way toward smoothing the transition.
You've heard it many times from many quarters: “Half of all workers don't pay taxes.” Dr. Joe has gotten tired of hearing this and offers a different perspective. He explores who actually pays taxes, why what you commonly hear about taxes is always out of context, and how the benefits of tax avoidance are immediate, predictable, and risk-free. That's exactly what the economy does not need. Everyone will find something to dislike in this column.
Chicago-based InnerWorkings, a print procurement and management company, reported on May 3 record first quarter 2012 financial results. CEO Eric Belcher briefly talked with WhatTheyThink about his company, waste and duplication in printing, and offered some business advice.
The cutting and creasing of carton board to create the physical form of a package has historically been a bottleneck. While the graphical elements of a package can be created, approved, and printed in hours or days, cutting and creasing can add weeks to the process. Highcon addressed this issue head-on with the introduction of its Euclid production-speed digital cutting and creasing machine at drupa 2012.
What were the principal take-aways from drupa 2012? What was new and exciting in the exhibit halls? Where is the industry headed? We’re sifting our notebooks for the answers. In the meantime, here are some broad observations about the character and “feel” of the show.
While most of the attention at drupa has been concentrated on the subject of B2 sheet fed inkjet presses, and also on the impact of Benny Landa’s new Nanographic Printing Process, there has been another major development that has stayed somewhat under the radar.
UV curing technology is seeing increased use in the printing industry, primarily for inks and coatings. UV lamps are a high performance component of the drying system. Proper maintenance as well as shopping around for sources can help you get the most from these systems.
Originally founded as a traditional offset printer, Prime Group has evolved into a provider of value-added items such as personalized products and cross-media marketing services. This article provides an overview of how Prime Group transformed itself into one of the U.K.’s leading providers of customized and personalized specialty items.
Much of the activity at KBA’s stand in Hall 16 at drupa will center upon packaging, an application in which the company has always claimed a competitive edge. At drupa, KBA will reassert the claim with systems it describes as engineered to meet today’s highest-priority requirements in packaging production.
As we rapidly approach drupa 2012, WhatTheyThink Senior Editor Cary Sherburne talked with Jeff Jacobson, president, Xerox Global Graphic Communications, to find out what Xerox is up to and what we can expect to see at drupa and beyond.
Pricing for standard printing jobs is typically a cost plus scenario, however when you are selling solutions you have the option to price based on value and then get your fair share of the value you create. You just need a way to figure out what the value is to your client we'll show you a simple tool for making that calculation.
As drupa prepares to open its doors to the public, I am wondering if two announcements in the past week may indicate a major change in the printing industry, and also a new lease of life for two of the leading offset press vendors.
There is no question that drupa 2012 will be an inkjet drupa, where inkjet technologies really begin to come into their own. But it will also be a “cloud computing” drupa. We have already seen a major announcement from Adobe, and many more companies are moving in that direction, including Xerox. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne talks with Xerox’s Deb Cantabene to find out more about the company’s cloud strategy.
We were invited as the guest of Océ to participate in their recent Direct Mail Summit in Boca Raton, Florida. The agenda was focused on understanding how to generate more direct mail business and included both Océ executives and industry experts.
In today’s economy, getting the most out of your marketing dollars requires a smarter and more creative approach. With a little bit of creativity, wide format providers can leverage public relations, innovative Websites, networking, customer education, and social media to reach customers and grow their businesses. This analysis provides five key strategies for promoting your business.
These days when print is so competitive, printers need to be able to utilize technology to make them stand out from their competition. Andy looks at a new screening technology that may save money, improve productivity and enhance quality.
Dr. Joe tells us what drupa and other trade shows mean to the new capital investment patterns of our industry. He thinks capital investments are becoming more tactical than strategic, more continuous than discrete. This is a problem, because “capex” often locks in a vision of media markets, making it harder to adjust to market changes. Just what we need: Dr. Joe having visions again.
When Xerox exhibits at drupa, its presence won’t be limited to stand A62 in hall 8b. Throughout the show, the company intends to maintain an equally high profile in the realm of social media as it attempts to viralize not just its own drupa experience but the pulse and the intelligence of the event as a whole.
Commercial printers and in-plants are adding large format capabilities, and many report that this move has enabled them to capture additional marketing dollars from new and existing customers. Large format is increasing in importance because it has become a key customer touchpoint for marketers of all sizes. This article takes a closer look at the wide format market opportunity.
In this Part Two of her pre-drupa overview, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne reviews some of the new digital presses visitors to drupa will be able to see. It is not, by any means, an exhaustive list … while this is being called the inkjet drupa redux, there are also very interesting announcements in the toner space as well.
WhatTheyThink profiled Vistaprint in January 2011and the company has made some notable acquisitions since then, so we are taking an updated look at what has been in development. Conclusion? Vistaprint is still charging ahead.
Every four years, the international printing community gathers at drupa and asks itself a question: How are we doing? The Koenig & Bauer Group (KBA) believes that if every vendor’s experience over the last few years had been as positive as its own, the collective answer would have to be: Never better.
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.
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.