WhatTheyThink

Commentary & Analysis

Displaying 3801-3900 of thousands of articles

Protect Intangibles to Preserve Company Value

A company's general intangibles have a very tangible impact on a company's valuation. Intangibles that are perceived as attractive can greatly enhance a company's value while negative or negligible intangibles can drag it down. To safeguard the worth of their businesses, NAPL Senior Vice President and Consultant John Hyde believes that graphic communications company owners should take proactive steps to protect their intangibles.

How Valuable Are You in the Marketing Supply Chain?

I recently read two reports issued by the CMO Council that are definitely a must-read for anyone in our industry. Taken together, the two will arm innovative print service providers (dare I say marketing services providers??) with much of the ammunition they need to start a conversation at the highest levels in customer marketing organizations. Here are a few highlights, and some of them are pretty scary!

Look to 2010—Because You Really Have No Choice

This week, WhatTheyThink published our latest graphic communications industry forecast report, cleverly titled Print and Creative Forecast 2010, a look back at the year that was and, naturally, a look ahead at the year that will be. I worked on it with Dr. Joe Webb, whose Economic and Research Center data provided good chart-fodder for our quantitative analysis and forecast.

Tuck In, Luck Out: A Guide to an M&A Opportunity Built for Two

There’s strength in numbers, goes the old adage, but there’s also strength in the power of one—a cumulative strength that printing companies can achieve by undertaking the kind of merger known as a “tuck-in.”

Print Service Providers: Making the Connection

In today’s economy, print service providers face the same challenges as any other marketers. They must be creative and challenge themselves to push beyond the boundaries of their minds—they must think outside the box for innovative ways of reaching customers and prospects. This requires an effective communications strategy that builds awareness while educating prospects and clients about the capabilities you offer.

Behind the Agfa Acquisition of Gandinnovations

We may call this “the week that was” when looking back at the stories for 2009 in our year-end review! The Monday news opened a few eyes over morning coffee. While the Canon acquisition of Océ grabbed the day’s headlines; the second story – Agfa’s acquisiton of Gandinnovations – was just as interesting.

Canon and Océ, Can They Become Number One?

Yesterday’s announcement that Canon is to acquire all the shares of Océ is obviously of great interest. Canon and Océ aim to create the overall No. 1 presence in the printing industry building on an enhanced scale and a combined history of innovation and excellent client servicing. The combination of the two companies is designed to capitalize on excellent complementary fit in the product range, channel mix, R&D and business lines.

Canon's Acquisition of Océ: The Details

Following Canon’s announcement that it would acquire Océ, WhatTheyThink spoke with a number of sources to get more detail on this significant acquisition and continued sign of industry consolidation. While Canon proposes to purchase Océ at a 70% premium on the stock value, it works out to about 50% of Océ’s annual revenues. The press release is fairly detailed about the terms and conditions.

Following the Prinergy Saga

There was quite a firestorm of online activity following a post at Prepress Pilgrim indicating that Kodak was moving its Prinergy development efforts to Israel and laying off everyone at the Willingdon Avenue plant in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. This started rumors that Kodak was shutting down development of Prinergy.  PrintCEO blog posted a Kodak statement with the company’s assurances that Prinergy is alive and well, and fully supported by Kodak.  WhatTheyThink contacted Jon Bracken, Kodak’s General Manager, Unified Workflow Solutions, in the Burnaby location to get more details on the company’s move.

Let's Be Strategically Social

Where did Dr. Joe go when he was stumped about social media? Amazingly, he used social media. Social media is not one big online cocktail party or teenagers arranging to meet up at the mall. It's real business that requires a strategy, and it's more like broadcasting than it is a one-time project. The rules for social media are still being written through trial and error every day, and it's brought new focus to public relations professionals. Dr. Joe recommends some resources to take a decisive step into this critical new area of business and social communications.

1995 and all that

Events converged in 1995 to change the printing world. Before that, it was the old printing industry. After that it would be the new printing industry. That year, paper, the Internet, the portable document format, the CD, and the PC converged to create a new paradigm. The number of printing companies would reach 62,000 in 1995 and it would be the highest number of printers ever.

Speaking of Networking...

Last Saturday was the twice-yearly Toastmasters District 53 Conference. I had been one of the two “co-chairs”—i.e., organizers—of the event, which was a long, nine-month process that was not unlike giving birth. The planning process generated seemingly terabytes of e-mails, an endless stream of phone calls (curse you, cellular technology!), and several reams of notes and other hard-copy documents.

Lessons From the Field I: Take Appropriate Action

Commercial printers often turn to consultants to help them learn how to tackle tough challenges, but many of the industry’s most experienced consultants know that they can learn quite a bit from their printer clients as well.

Moving Inkjet Technology into the Future

I have just attended the IMI European Ink Jet Printing conference in Barcelona. One tends to think that inkjet printing is something new but this was the 17th annual conference on this subject. One tends to forget just how long the inkjet technology has been around and also just how long it has been used in the graphic arts markets.

That Was the Economic Week That Was

The talking heads were shocked that unemployment hit 10.2%, but had they read the news all week, it would have been no surprise. There was news that almost seemed good in the report, but despite—or perhaps because of—their shock, the talking heads missed it. The Federal Reserve is doing its best Nero imitation as the dollar weakens, and they keep mistaking credit for capital. Don't tell the paper companies, but instead of wasting time complaining about China, they should be focusing on helping their customers deal with competition from digital media. Are they taking Nero lessons from Ben Bernanke?

Chaos in Control

There is no shortage of books on the market about the sea change in media, as the world continues its inexorable march from offline to online, a topic that, bookwise, is perhaps rivaled only by the supposedly imminent destruction of the world on December 21, 2012. (I wouldn’t expect that to be a particularly brisk Christmas shopping season.) But while 2012 will not be the end of the world as we know it (however fine we may feel), the changing media landscape is the end of the world—the end of the old world of mass media and mass marketing, and of a time when marketers could dictate the message.

Talking to the CMO… A New Language in 2010

Today’s marketers are operating under a new set of rules. They must respond to a range of new challenges related to new media, changes in consumer behavior, a difficult market environment, and global expansion. With the rules changing, businesses are seeking new ways to market to, communicate with, and reach consumers. The implications of the fundamental shifts in consumer behavior are having a profound impact on marketing organizations and how they are spending their budgets.

A New Role for the Magazine Publisher

The traditional role for the magazine publisher in the graphic arts market has been to publish news and articles about the industry, provide a medium for advertisers to get their messages across to readers, and in some cases provide seminars and tutorials, and for some publishers to run prestigious printing award events. What we are now seeing that some of these publishers are successfully extending their role to providing this information via the web as well as by printed means, and in certain cases this can be on a daily basis.

Duoyuan Printing, Printing Equipment Manufacturer Goes Public

How long has it been since an equipment manufacturer filed for a public offering – an initial public offering (IPO) – in the printing industry? Fiscal year 2008, regardless of where it begins and ends on the calendar, was a particularly tough time for vendors, and income/loss over revenue ranged from -20.2% (EFI) to 9.7% (Punch Graphix).

An Action-Packed Week Ahead, If You Love Economic Data

Economy geeks just love weeks like this. The beginning of the month has some of the most incredible data from the Institute for Supply Management, the Commerce Department, and especially, the Bureau of Labor Statistics. All of the data are highly charged politically, and it's hard to see through the fog to assess what's right. But these macroeconomic data don't really matter when you're running a business. It's important to keep them in the right perspective.

Use of Social Media Services by Commercial Printers by employee size

Use of Social Media Services by Commercial Printers by employee size

At Next Week’s Print Buyers Conference, Necessity is the Mother of Reinvention

Last year, I had the pleasure of attending the 3rd Annual Print Buyers Conference, which I found a compelling and enlightening mix of educational sessions, exhibitors representing printers across all markets and categories, and networking opportunities. Today’s installment of the Creative Corner will provide a preview of the 4th Annual Print Buyers Conference, and feature a chat with Margie Dana, guru (guress?) of print buyers, head of Print Buyers International, and the tireless organizer of the show.

Smart Public Relations Drives Business!

When a satisfied customer tells a friend or business acquaintance about your products and services, you have an immediate “in” with those prospects. The same is true when a publication prints a story about how your business communications services have delivered a return on a customer’s marketing investment or reduced a client’s costs through improved supply chain management. The major difference between the two is that the readership of the publication is likely in the thousands or hundreds of thousands, and this number is hard to achieve through word of mouth.

Donnelley Says “You’re Fired!”

In real life “do overs” can get expensive. In late September, R.R. Donnelley (NasdaqGS: RRD) filed an SEC form 8-K announcing that the company had terminated a contract with a “critical customer” and it would incur charges between $123 million to $130 million under the agreement. The termination would “end their contractual relationship allowing [Donnelley] to exit from certain unprofitable operations.”

Lessons from the Field II: Explore Your Options

One thing was clear from the experiences of several National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL) business consultants and other experts during their front-line field work over the past year or so: Harsh business conditions demand looking beyond business as usual, crafting solutions that might not ever have been considered in the past. The following are among the lessons learned from those who were keeping every option open.

Felt and Wire: Mohawk Creates Buzz in the Designer Community

Mohawk Paper Mills Create Buzz in the Designer Community Do a Google search for “felt and wire” and most of the hits on the first two pages refer to Mohawk’s recently launched Felt and Wire blog, and even more recently launched Felt and Wire Shop.

A Flood of E-Books?

E-books are not books, they're e-commerce sites that let you read books. Small businesses are cutting their ad budgets but increasing their digital spending. What the government statisticians giveth one week, they taketh away the next week. The Road Warrior thinks you shouldn't buy Windows 7, but buy a new computer instead, unless you're a Linux geek like he is. You know you're getting old when Patty Duke is making Social Security commercials and you can remember a time when the price of a color scanner had a comma, and there were five zeroes in the price.

From ampersands to interrobangs

In the 3rd century B.C. Aristophanes of Byzantium invented a system of single dots that separated verses and indicated the amount of breath needed to read each fragment of text aloud. The different lengths were signified by a dot at the bottom, middle, or top of the line. For a short passage (a komma), a dot was placed mid-level. The name came to be used for the mark itself instead of the clause it separated.

Graphic Design Goes Mobile? iPhone Apps for Creatives

Whilst a primary component of the Creative Corner will be hardware and software reviews, I need to say a word or two at the outset about star ratings. It’s common in just about any review you read to see a product’s quality expressed as some number of stars, computer mice, or some other appropriate icon—or perhaps even an upward- or downward-pointing thumb, for those who like their ratings decidedly binary. (I always liked the San Francisco Chronicle’s movie review ratings which feature a cartoon viewer either falling out of his chair agog with enthusiasm, falling asleep bored, or something in between.)

Implementing Lean Manufacturing into Newspaper Production Operations - Part B

Newspapers are a dynamic medium, and the development of newspaper products is continuously changing. The paper has been around for centuries, but today there are a myriad of alternatives for reading the news. In addition to changes in circulation, demand for quality, volume, price, and distribution has changed considerably. The newspaper as a medium must change to meet these demands.

“Recession, Schmecession,” says EFI’s Guy Gecht

At the EFI press conference at Print 09, CEO Guy Gecht took a very different approach, using the “Recession, Schmecession” theme and tying a top ten attributes for success into the value of various EFI products. While we won’t be talking about the products specifically here, we thought his top ten attributes for success were worth delving into and took the opportunity to speak to Guy directly, hoping he would share his thoughts with our readers. Herewith the results!

Not Every Day is Easy When You're in Recovery

The bumpy bottom is just that. When things improve, how do we know it's for real? If we just consult our lucky numbers, we may feel good. But we have to look past the attractiveness and take an objective look at what these lucky numbers really mean. If lucky numbers aren't lucky, then the real numbers should be better. Real numbers can be just as murky, especially when they deal with employment. Could Dr. Joe be wrong about stagflation? He takes a new look and explains it all.

Forget Doing "More With Less":  Older Workers Help Companies Accomplish "More with More"

Among the clichés that have been touted throughout our recent economic decline is the demand that people learn to “do more with less”. On the contrary, with the following article PrintLink would like to demonstrate the advantages of “doing more with more” when it comes to hiring older employees.

Introducing the Creative Corner

Welcome to the first installment of WhatTheyThink’s “Creative Corner,” a weekly feature/column targeted toward graphic designers (print, Web, and beyond) and other creative professionals. In this space each week, I’ll be presenting business tips, hardware and software reviews, sales and marketing strategies, emerging technologies, and graphic communications and media trends.

Mobile-to-Print: It’s Time for Print Service Providers to Figure it Out!

Mobile devices are the one electronic device that most of us carry at all times. These devices are with their owners for more hours of the day than personal computers, TV sets, magazines, or radios. A recent Synovate survey provided clear evidence of how much people depend on their phones. Three-quarters of total survey respondents—including 82% of Americans—never leave home without their phones, and 36% of people around the world (42% of Americans) go as far as to say that they can’t live without their cell phone.

The Rise and Fall of Mallard Press Part 2

The recent closure of Mallard Press caught our eye. While I don’t know Bob Gay or the company personally, a review of its web site revealed a company that appeared to be on the right track and making the right investments for the future. Bob Gay was kind enough to speak frankly with us about the factors that led to the demise of the company.

Xerox iGen4 Update: Advances made in Packaging and Photo Markets

Last year at drupa Xerox Corporation introduced a number of new products, two of which I want to cover in this article. The first is the Xerox iGen4 press and the second is the Xerox Automated Packaging Solution for the digital printing and production of folding cartons for packaging. Today, these two products make up the Xerox Automated Packaging Solution powered by Stora Enso Gallop. The automated digital system can print a variety of personalized packages in multiple languages. The packaging system can quickly switch from one job to the next, providing the flexibility needed in today's global and rapidly changing marketplace.  

The Rise and Fall of Mallard Press

The recent closure of Mallard Press caught our eye. While I don’t know Bob Gay or the company personally, a review of its web site revealed a company that appeared to be on the right track and making the right investments for the future. Bob Gay was kind enough to speak frankly with us about the factors that led to the demise of the company. Perhaps there are lessons here for others in the industry who may be teetering on the edge or worried about the future.

Planning Often Gets in the Way of Running Business Well

I finally got to one of those books in my “to read when I find some time” pile, Strategy Bites Back, published in early 2005. The principal author is Henry Mintzberg, whose Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning, published in 1994, skewered, barbecued, and devoured the strategic planning process quite mightily. This newer book does so in a far more entertaining manner. It is a collection of short articles and excerpts craftily assembled for one purpose only: to make one think. I recommend reading it, and here’s why.

The State of U.S. Printing Associations -- Part Deux

The reaction to the first article, both at Print CEO and personal communication, has been overwhelming. Editors, consultants, affiliate managers and staff, educators, and, most of all, printers support merging the two commercial printing associations. There has been no word from NAPL or PIA. Why am I expressing these opinions? Because no one else will.

It’s A Perfect Storm for Marketing Services…and the Boat is Rocking!

For the past 3-4 years, I have talked about the emergence of the Marketing Service Provider (MSP). This year, the market will see the convergence of three realities that have been building in strength over the past decade. First, today’s consumers are “always on”—they enjoy more connectivity and control than ever before. Second, the media environment has become more complex than any marketer could have imagined a mere 10 years ago. Third, these economic times have created an intense demand to demonstrate ROI. All three of these factors create a perfect storm for MSPs… and the boat is rocking!

Océ Home of Color

Océ has for a long-time been a company that had excellent communication with its clients. For many years it has run an annual event, the Océ OpenHouse. This was a multi-day event at which Océ’s customers and prospects were invited to attend, plus a large number of analysts and press also attended. It was claimed that this was the largest digital printing fair in Europe.

I Said the Bottom Would be Bumpy

Friday's unemployment report was very discouraging, but news reports weren't discouraging enough. That doesn't mean there isn't good news: recent manufacturing data have some signs of encouragement. The most encouraging thing would be the acknowledgment that businesspeople taking risks is what will ultimately grow the economy, and nothing else. Chaos is good... especially if there are 30 days of it.

Remember DAX and Sprockets?

I recently ran into Patrick White, an industry veteran I had not seen a long time. In the late 1990’s, Patrick was regarded as one of the industry’s leading prepress consultants and was the recipient of NAPL’s 1998 Technical Leadership Award. In 1995, he founded Digital Art Exchange, known as DAX, as an integrator of ISDN (remember that??) and related technologies for prepress connectivity applications.

Strategic Business Networking: The Key to Survival in a Challenging Economy

NETWORKING is the single most powerful marketing tactic that can be used to accelerate and sustain success for any individual or organization. Networking is about making connections and building enduring, mutually beneficial relationships. Effective business networking is the linking together of individuals who, through trust and relationship-building, become walking, talking advertisements for one another. Nielsen's Global Online Consumer Survey found that a recommendation was the most important form of advertising. In fact, 90% of the 25,000 consumers surveyed reported that they trusted recommendations from people that they knew. Networking is designed to create “fans” and “friends” that would recommend you to others.

The Real Solution for Highest Quality Color Printing?

It is not very often one comes across what could be termed industry changing or breakthrough products. I believe what I am writing about today could be such a product. One subject that has exercised the brains of many of the best technical experts in the industry is that of screening. It is also a subject that has generated a great degree of income for the patent lawyers who work with this industry’s suppliers.

From Here the Vista(Print) Keeps Going Up

VistaPrint (VRPT) provides print and marketing services to more than 20 million customers, who spend an average of $33 per order. The company, recently ranked number 16 on the Fortune 100 Fastest Growing Companies list, has manufacturing facilities in Windsor, Ontario, and Venlo, Netherlands.

What's Up with the Economy?

Expectations often shape the perception of what are supposedly good data, and sometimes good data just are not what they are cracked up to be. Bad selling from memorized scripts could be handled by automatons. In some cases, that might be an improvement. Up-selling, when poorly done, is probably one of the aspects of sales that undermines confidence of buyers, especially first-time customers, making them unlikely to become second-time clients.

NAPL and PIA - and the state of American trade associations

Theodore De Vinne and less than 20 large American printers formed the United Typothetae of America in the late 1800s to provide a united front against the Typographical Unions’ demand for an 8-hour work day. UTA was formally organized in 1887 at a convention in Chicago attended by 68 delegates representing 18 master printer’s associations and 22 cities. Its purpose was “to develop a community of interests and a fraternal spirit among the master printers of the United States and Dominion of Canada and for the purpose of exchanging information and assisting each other when necessary.” The United Typothetae of America would become Printing Industries of America.

Education and Integration the Name of the Game at Print 09

Last week, Barb Pellow wrote an article on WhatTheyThink about Print 09 emphasizing that people came to the event with a purpose, and much of that revolved around education. She highlighted Executive Outlook and the conference sessions, as well as WhatTheyThink’s first-ever in-person educational event, the Print CEO Forum, along with the significant networking opportunities attending a show like Print 09 offers. I wanted to add to that perspective. I think many of the exhibitors also did an excellent job of providing in-booth educational opportunities. Of course, they were there to sell products and services, but they also put forth extraordinary efforts to emphasize the educational element.

Augmented Reality: A New Reality for Print

Augmented Reality (AR) is a field of computer science that involves combining the physical world with an interactive, three-dimensional virtual world. This may be a new term to some of you, but augmented reality makes print the ultimate in interactive media. It is perhaps the coolest use of paper I’ve seen in my lifetime, linking print with the technology that most people have on their desks. This might sound like science fiction, but augmented reality is here today.

So, How Was it For You?

Print’09 has now taken place. Unfortunately I was unable to be there but I have followed the event and comments about the event on a wide range of media. From this I have come to a number of conclusions, however I’m sure many attendees will not agree with what I concluded about the event.

When It Comes to Technological Progress in Print, There's No Such Thing as A"Recession"

As it happens, and as reported below, both KBA and AccessGroup fared rather well as exhibitors at Print 09. But, like every other exhibitor, they have no illusions about the fact that because their customers are struggling, they too will continue to struggle against a recession from which printing could be one of the last industrial sectors to emerge. That lingering economic drag was evident throughout the show, even when interest in its many technological advancements was keenest.

The Media Matrix: Rampant Opportunities for Printers, But Not Necessarily for Print

The matrix, not of the movie kind, puts it all together. The New Printer has New Opportunities, but requires the insights of the entrepreneur to dive into this confusing, changing, and ultimately rewarding marketplace.

Progress in Prepress Was a Keynote of Print 09

"Unscientific" has to be the word for our selection of exhibitors to write about in the aftermath of Print 09. Some are on the follow-up list because of pre-booked editorial appointments; others because of what we heard at media briefings during the show; and, in a couple of cases, because we were buttonholed by pouncing p.r. people as we moved past the booths, never intending to stop. But, at a show like Print 09, any reason for spending time with a vendor usually turns out to be a good one in terms of knowledge gained.

Paper, Paper, Everywhere!

Almost every guide to “going green” starts with paper. Use the right paper, use recycled paper, use both sides – in printing, it almost always starts with the paper. Several paper manufacturers (Mohawk Fine Papers, Neenah Paper and NewPage) and a number of paper merchants (including xpedx, Pitman, Eagle Ridge Paper, and others) had stands at Print09, and a representative of Appleton Coated caught me in the aisles.

PRINT 09: People with a Purpose

Like many of you who are reading this column, I just returned home from PRINT 09. While there was discussion about less traffic and participation on the show floor, my perspective is that people came to this year’s PRINT 09 event with a purpose. Justifying attendance in a difficult economy is challenging. I interviewed several individuals that participated in this year’s show. Unlike past years, these individuals came to the show with very explicit objectives.

Print 09: Litho, Litho Everywhere

To state the more or less obvious: Print 09 is an offset litho show. The rise of digital presses and a decline in the number of offset presses seen at the last three Graph Expos may have lowered the profile of conventional printing at the Graphic Arts Show Company (GASC) events somewhat, but it’s plain to see that the traditional ink-on-paper process is back in full force this year.

At Print 09, the Search for A New Beginning Is On

Bernhard Schreier has seen five economic crises since he joined Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG in 1975, the first of them being the one brought on by the oil embargo that threw businesses around the world into a tailspin. He also recalls the stock market meltdown that the printing industry was only starting to recover from on September 11, 2001, before the awful events of that day threw it and the rest of the U.S. economy back into a state of shock.

It's almost time for PRINT 09

The last minute work is in effect. They are cleaning the booths and will roll the carpet along the aisles. Today a few thousand people will show us whether the recession is over -- at least for the printing industry. This is the first PRINT where the number of digital printers outnumbers the number of offset litho presses. It is the first print where inkjet is a dominant product being exhibited. It is the first PRINT where you can say that it is mostly digital in terms of workflow.

PRINT 09: What Tomorrow Brings

Tomorrow, PRINT 09 opens its doors at Chicago’s McCormick Place. An estimated 650 exhibitors and over 100,000 printers, publishers, typographers, converters, bindery and finishing specialists, prepress managers, desktop and electronic publishers, service bureaus, graphic designers, art directors, advertising professionals, publication designers, catalogue designers, and direct mail specialists are expected to come through the doors between September 11 and September 16. In an industry that is facing tremendous economic uncertainty, attendees are coming to PRINT 09 for more than participation in a tradeshow. They are seeking to discover what tomorrow will really bring.

A Message to Printers Attending Print 09

When we go to a major print show the major attraction for all of us is to spend time looking at the latest presses, whether these are conventional or digital. We love to see all the latest innovations on these presses to see just how efficient they are. Most printers yearn after the latest presses thinking how much they will improve their businesses with the productivity they can offer. I have to say that I too love looking at presses and there will be many new innovations in this area at Print’09 to attract the attention of visitors. There will be presses, some being shown for the first time in the US, in sizes from B3 through to VLF in the offset area. In digital many people will focus on the high-speed continuous feed presses, although two of the major suppliers, HP and Kodak, will not be showing these at the show.

A Few Hot Items to Check Out at Print 09

Print 09 is just around the corner, and exhibitors have been busy ensuring that they have the right mix of information, hardware, software, education and entertainment to make this an outstanding show.

Printing: where are we?

Draw a circle. Let us say that it represents all reproduction on paper and plastic substrates in the United States over one year. This includes printing on all devices, as well as copying. Now take a slice that represents about one quarter out. That is the volume of print that we lost to electronic alternatives: websites, PDF files, e-mail, etc. What is left is more or less the printing industry.

Implementing Lean Manufacturing into Newspaper Production Operations - Part A

Newspapers are a dynamic medium, and the development of newspaper products is continuously changing. The paper has been around for centuries, but today there are a myriad of alternatives for reading the news. In addition to changes in circulation, demand for quality, volume, price, and distribution has changed considerably. The newspaper as a medium must change to meet these demands.

The Workings of InnerWorkings: Still Positive in a Down Turn

We’re tracking on the ups and downs of public companies in the graphic arts industry to bring you regular profiles. Based on SEC filings, including quarterly and annual reports and proxy filings, as well as transcripts of earnings calls, we summarize key financial and business issues.

Equipment Leases: Beware of Possible Pitfalls

Equipment leasing offers many printing companies an affordable way to add today’s most requested capabilities to their service offerings, especially in today’s tight lending market. In addition to computers—far and away the equipment leased most frequently by businesses—printers are leasing such industry-specific equipment as presses, copiers, binders/cutters, colorimeters, and graphic cameras.

Print's New Entrepreneurial Opportunities

Last week, I discussed how the common wisdom benefits of print as enumerated as recently as 2006 and 2007, were crumbling because of several trends: l consumer Internet volume had passed business volume in 2008

A Sea Change in Printing Trade Shows?

Print 09 is shaping up to be an interesting show. The Graphic Arts Show Company has continued to shift the shape of the show based on changing industry dynamics. In case you haven’t visited the show site, it is being billed as myPRINT and has lots of great features to help attendees plan their show experience and navigate once they get there. The show company is even doing a cross-media campaign with mailings linked to personalized URLs. Visitors to the show site can customize their experience there as well, by specifying the type of visitor they are: commercial printer, in-plant printer, print buyer, etc., and being presented with the most relevant content.

Assessing job candidates beyond the technical skills

The goal of effective hiring is to maximize the return from your organization's human-capital investment and minimize the corresponding financial risks. And as a hiring manager, your task is to assess the potential of job candidates accordingly--in an astute, consistent, legal, fair, and humane manner. Of course, your first task is to determine how closely their technical (or “hard") skills relate to the technical requirements of the specific position you’re trying to fill. But the purpose of this article is to go beyond this initial assessment to discuss the more subtle aspects of candidate assessment and how to go about them.

A Focused Approach… It’s Essential to Growth!

In today’s challenging economy, a laser focus on the right target market is critical to success. These days, it takes more than leading-edge print and software technologies, products, or competitive prices to be successful. Companies need a focused business-to business-marketing strategy—a way to identify, segment, quantify, locate, and target their most important business-to-business customers and marketing prospects to reach their present and future goals.

In the Current and Emerging Era of Rampant Connectivity and Social Media, Where Do Print's Benefits Stand Now?

Back in 2006 I discussed the benefits of print as they stood at that time. Just think: last year, consumer Internet traffic surpassed business traffic; the iPhone was introduced in mid-2007 and the Kindle in 2008; social media did not exist for all practical purposes, and it now is 10 minutes of every hour consumers spend online. Add the downdraft of a worldwide recession, and you have listed every reason for every B2C, B2B, and all other organizations to re-cast their media plans and expectations. Here is where those some of those benefits now stand and the impact these forces have had on them; this is followed by some discussion about what this all means to our industry:

2009’s Top Ten Technologies for Survival

Each year for the last several years, I have taken the time to speak with Bill Lamparter, who coordinates Executive Outlook and the Must See ‘ems program for Graph Expo/Print, to learn more about what went into the Must See ‘ems panel decision about top technologies. This year was no exception.

Selling Mailing Services: Getting Started

A company's general intangibles have a very tangible impact on a company's valuation. Intangibles that are perceived as attractive can greatly enhance a company's value while negative or negligible intangibles can drag it down. To safeguard the worth of their businesses, NAPL Senior Vice President and Consultant John Hyde believes that graphic communications company owners should take proactive steps to protect their intangibles.

I Told You This Was Going to Happen

The news reports were so predictable. “The government's index of prices paid by consumers was unchanged in July from the previous month, but the closely watched inflation gauge recorded its largest over-the-year decline in 59 years.” That's the way CNN said it on Friday.

Printing Can be a Growth Market

Did you know that there is a company whose business is printing, that calls itself a printing company, but which is categorized as a high-growth organization by many organizations like Deloitte and Inc Magazine. The company is Mimeo.com and Deloitte identified it as the 25th fastest growing technology company in the New York region in 2007. Admittedly in 2006 it held the 10th spot on this list so its growth is slowing slightly. However since few companies that call themselves printers ever make it on any list for rapid growth there must be something special about Mimeo. Also very few printing companies have a list of investors including venture capital, private equity funds and innovate leaders in high technology.

Prologue to PRINT

The PRINT 09 event is only a few weeks away. A lot of printers are asking if it will be worth a trip. Yes, it will. They should publish Bill Lamparter’s Must-see’um and Worth-a-look lists in advance so youknow what to expect. I think there will also be a few surprises.

Books On Demand: The Book Publisher’s Dilemma, The Printer’s Dilemma and Opportunity

Not long ago, futurists believed that we would all be reading our books electronically by now—either on a computer screen or on a handheld electronic book. While I have yet to invest in a Kindle, quite a few of my favorite books are available in one electronic form or another. Even today, though, the reality is that I would rather curl up with the processed corpse of a tree than look at one more display screen.

TransPromo: A B2B Twist

Yesterday, InfoPrint Solutions and Sinclair Oil announced a TransPromo partnership that has a slightly different twist than the programs we normally hear about. Most of the TransPromo case studies tend to focus on business-to-consumer applications: Companies who place marketing or educational messages on statements, invoices, notifications and other consumer (customer) communications, reducing costs and often converting these mundane documents from a cost center into revenue generators.

Hyping a Recovery Doesn't Help Anyone, Until You Actually Have One

There is such a desire for good economic news that the press and others plant the good news at the top of the story and then hide the details in plain sight in paragraph 3, where they know no one will find it.

Ink Optimization Made Easy

At the recent IPA Technical Conference, Chromaticity introduced an ink optimization solution that, according to the company, reinvents the way color separations are produced, a process that has remained relatively unchanged for decades. WhatTheyThink spoke to Ian MacKenzie, Chromaticity’s Vice President of Marketing, to get more detail about this bold statement and what it might mean to the industry.