The month of October brings a brace of major trade shows for the printing industry; October 7–10 brings Graph Expo, as it always does, to McCormick Place in Chicago, while October 18–20 brings the annual SGIA Expo to the Las Vegas Convention Center. WhatTheyThink will be on the prowl at both shows with video, actual written reports, and more.
Repositioning a printing company involves making hard decisions about how the printing market is shifting to new and different media, developing the right product and services, and effectively communicating this transformation to customers and prospects. This article describes how Illinois-based Segerdahl group repositioned itself as SG360° to evolve with the market.
Heidelberg recently hosted a customer event at its North American Print & Packaging Technology Center in Atlanta for nearly 100 printing professionals and WhatTheyThink's Senior Editor Cary Sherburne was there. We spent an extra day with Heidelberg executives and product managers to gain more insight into what we saw at the event and at drupa as well as to discuss future strategies for Heidelberg in North America. Read more.
The process of assessing people for specific jobs is one of the most important tasks within an organization. Winning the talent war can impact all aspects of your business from sales, management effectiveness, client retention as well as product/service innovation.
In 1978, Gregory Muzzillo and a college friend founded Proforma because they saw an opportunity to start a business with no capital investment. Print distributors are independent agents that sell the services of printing firms. This article discusses how Proforma expanded its business and those of its customers by moving to a visionary franchise model.
Given present trends, the industry could be dominated by a relative handful of firms in a few years. Some companies can grow profitably into this new landscape. Others can make a safe exit before it fully unfolds. Each outcome demands a strategy-now.
The Fed took a look at the economy last week and panicked. In printing industry terms, they increased their run lengths and their page counts, and there's more money printing on the way. It's not much, just $1.4 trillion. What's a few billion dollars amongst friends?
Web-to-print has to become the set of tools that enable printers to be competitive on the web. This is a whole lot more than a B2B business card site. It requires us to rethink the way we shop for solutions and partners.
For the majority of its 65-year history, Bridgeport National Bindery (Agawam, MA) established its name by providing bookbinding. In 2003, Bridgeport began printing to satisfy the demand for single-run production. This article outlines how BNB has evolved its services to meet customers' changing needs.
In last week's feature, guest writer Dan Marx outlined five "essential truths" about wide-format printing, and in his introduction he mentioned that he's witnessed "a full-blown revolution: a complete movement away from old-school analog technology." Over the past several months, as I have spoken to equipment manufacturers and suppliers for these weekly features, as well as other analysts, one thing that always comes up is the fact that more and more traditional printing companies are expanding into wide-format printing
This white paper deals with some of the most immediately beneficial strategies that leaders can pursue in increasing their opportunities to survive and thrive. We show how to make an immediate impact and how to improve your long-term business fundamentals.
Dr. Joe explains last Friday's employment report, takes a look at employment in our industry, and explains why ad agency revenues are going up when everything else seems to be going down. Speaking of down, sit down before you read his comments about the latest recovery indicators. Yes, Dr. Doom seems to have infiltrated this column, again.
Optimizing the performance of your sales organization can be accomplished by great strategy and superior execution but if you don't begin with the best talent available, successfully executing your strategy will be comprised. And you won't be able to identify, recruit and select the best talent if you don't have a structured, effective set of processes in place.
Like many other local companies, Pel Hughes was affected by Hurricane Katrina. In the aftermath of the hurricane, the company transformed itself from a traditional commercial printer into a marketing service provider. This article outlines the services that Pel Hughes offers its customers and also explores its success with "Drip Marketing" campaigns.
Dan Marx, Vice President Markets & Technologies, SGIA, draws out some "essential truths"-real kernels of wisdom-that can benefit any company looking to enter wide-format or grow their existing efforts in this area.
Food packaging safety is become a more prominent area in the United States. Insuring that chemicals and odors do not penetrate the package is of great importance to the end customer. Sun Chemical has designed a system of products and procedures to do this.
Caslon, the management company of PODi, the digital printing initiative, recently analyzed PODi case studies in the financial services industry to determine if there are common challenges and interesting solutions for those challenges.
Senior Editor Cary Sherburne recently had the opportunity to visit two X-Rite and PANTONE locations, in Grand Rapids MI and Tewksbury MA, respectively, including hands-on with X-Rite instrumentation, a tour of the manufacturing floor, discussions with software engineers, and time with the company’s CEO Tom Vacchiano.
In last week’s feature, we spoke about flatbed wide-format printers, and remarked that one of their big selling points was that they could print on a bewildering variety of materials—increasing the number of applications that creative shops could develop, the more niches shops could carve out for themselves, and the better they could serve their clients.
The effectiveness of your recruiting, hiring and promoting strategies has a definitive impact on revenue and profit streams. In a time of industry transformation, when high performing employees are required, it is even more critical that you examine and re-engineer the processes you use to hire talented sales professionals.
With price pressure and volume reductions being forecast for print, the industry it is on the lookout for new opportunities. Adding electronic capability has been on the horizon for many years. After a hiatus instigated by the global slowdown, there are encouraging examples of how print might evolve to create new high-value print products.
In approaching integration, businesses must consider scope and scale, choose between internal versus external execution, and address the associated technical issues to ensure an effective end-result. Given the complexity of the systems integration process and the systems that need to work together, printers may need to seek systems partners rather than walking away from opportunities. This article covers strategies for success when utilizing external systems integration resources.
Since the advent of the wide-format printing market in the late 1980s/early 1990s, the vast majority of the output devices on the market have been rollfed devices, printing on flexible substrates like paper or canvas that unfurled into the device, rather like a web press. The finished graphic was then often mounted onto a rigid material for display, installation, or other end use.
Don't be uncertain about the risks of reading Dr. Joe's column about risk and uncertainty. It's not often he gets to use the word “actuarial” in a column about printing. Everyone thinks they know what ROI means, but just one little letter makes a big difference.
With this fifteenth article of the series, David begins to look at companies and their ‘future’ production inkjet offerings and applications. In this article he looks at Komori, its products and apparently new role in the sheetfed inkjet space.
Although awareness and adoption of QR Codes and other mobile response technologies is growing, there are a number of challenges associated with driving audience interaction and adoption. Best practices are coming to light as companies continue to utilize QR Codes more effectively, leaving little room for excuses when delivering a poor experience to the target audience. Conducting rigorous testing before launching a campaign will help create a great experience that generates results.
This week, we’re going to take a step back from our look at the nuts and bolts of wide-format printing technology and look at the industry and the economy from “20,000 feet”—and hopefully not have a William Shatner-esque experience.
A pent-up eagerness for deals makes it all the more important for those venturing back into the M&A marketplace as sellers to be clear about why they should sell—and why buyers should want to acquire them.
Dr. Joe's glad he didn't buy Facebook stock, and explains why the company's stock price matters little to media decision-makers. And then there's the magazine circulation thing. Why is everyone so surprised that it's down? Yet again he rails about inflation, but at least he has some fresh new inflation multipliers to annoy company controllers and CFOs
Savvy businesses know that they can build a loyal customer base by providing extraordinary value-added customer service. This article references recent industry research to describe how print service providers can improve loyalty by becoming strategically important to their customers.
The role of the sales person has dramatically changed and companies are struggling with how they recruit, hire, compensate, train and manage these essential employees. In order to address this challenge a systematic approach should be designed and implemented. In this series of articles we will address this challenge.
Digital postal mail system provider Zumbox recently announced that it had secured $10 million in Series C capital, bringing total capital raised to $28 million. What’s driving the interest on the part of investors? Senior Editor Cary Sherburne speaks with Zumbox to learn more.
ORION Holdings and Pitney Bowes have launched a strategic partnership enabling ORION Holdings to create a new unit, ORION Printing. Through its partnership with Pitney Bowes, ORION Printing will focus on supplying print management solutions to IPG companies globally. This article discusses the actions that marketers can take to increase the efficiency of their processes for ordering, storing, and delivering marketing materials.
Selling print is a commodity business. In search of higher margins, the mantra is to become a Solutions Provider, aka Marketing Services Provider. Unfortunately the terminology seems to take on many meanings and the message gets diluted.
Those new to wide-format printing—and even some veterans—often give short shrift to what happens to a print once it comes off press. In wide-format printing, however, the real added value is often in the finishing.
It may be possible to run a printing company without a formal plan, but buying or selling a printing company will be very difficult to bring off successfully without the help of a written roadmap. An acquisition plan is a vital navigation aid that guides the process and certifies the desirability of the deal.
Using advanced data management and cloud-based marketing tools, marketers can send trigger-based communications and create individual campaigns specifically designed to be sent to members of a defined target audience at precisely the right time. This article provides an overview of trigger-based marketing techniques and describes how small and medium-sized businesses are leveraging trigger-based marketing to improve their bottom lines.
Those of us used to traditional offset and digital printing rarely give the concept of white ink a second thought. After all, “white” is typically synonymous with the color of paper, so when we want something to be white, we design it with the absence of any color. (Tellingly, in Adobe InDesign, we select the color swatch labeled “Paper.”) There are situations, however, when—oxymoronic as it may seem—we need to specify the color white.
Last week the following significant announcement was made about the future of Heidelberg. Bernhard Schreier, CEO of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg), will not be extending his management contract when it expires midyear 2013 and will be leaving the company at the end of 2012.
Steven Covey died recently. He helped people be more effective by helping them develop a set of Habits based on principles. Start with an end in mind and then create personal and interpersonal habits to help you get what you want effectively.
Senior Editor Cary Sherburne was recently the keynote speaker at ABIGRAF’s GEDIGI digital printing conference in São Paulo, Brazil, and spent time with Rodrigo Abreu, the holder of the International Master License for AlphaGraphics in Brazil. Read what Rodrigo has to say about printing in Brazil and some of the innovative actions he is taking to grow the business.
Author and businessman Stephen R. Covey recently passed away at the age of 79. This article highlights the key points from Covey’s 1989 bestseller entitled The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and explains how these concepts remain relevant for today’s businesses.
The past five years have seen an increased discussion of, and emphasis on, the idea of “sustainability.” Sustainability can refer to many things, but one of the oft-discussed components of it is environmental sustainability. That is, what is the impact of a product or process on the environment, and what are the ways of reducing that impact?
Here Dr. Joe goes again, on another capacity rant. It's about two years since his last one, so we guess we should cut him some slack. This time he takes a slightly different look, or at least he says he did. You decide.
WhatTheyThink Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Dennis Amorosano, Sr. Director, Solutions Marketing & Business Support at Canon USA, to learn what Canon is doing in the Cloud/Mobility space in a wide-ranging discussion from the office and production into the Cloud.
Ricoh Production Print Solutions LLC recently completed a large-scale implementation at First Data (Atlanta, GA). This article covers Barb Pellow’s interview with First Data executives as they discuss how the company is using print technology in a cross-media world.
The recovery continues to limp along, and then the Commerce Department says that May printing shipments were just incredibly good. Sure, they tease us a few weeks ago by yanking $600 million in shipments from the first quarter in their annual revision, and now it looks like someone may have snuck them back into May when they thought no one was looking. Dr. Joe explains it all, including a great way to get back to sleep when insomnia hits.
Digital Printing for Packaging is growing quickly; by 2016 it will be worth nearly $12.2 billion, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.6% during 2011–16. This equates to 37 billion A4 prints in 2011 and 75.9 billion in 2016. The growth is driven by the changing demands of packaging buyers – more varieties and pack sizes is fragmenting the market, leading to shorter runs that digital technology can produce economically
With its microprocessors, relays, sensors, and software, a modern printing press is a marvel at squeezing time and cost out of production runs. But, one maker of press cleaning accessories contends that these complex systems can still get a big helping hand in a key press function from a simple but strategically placed strip of durable plastic.
WhatTheyThink recently joined other editors and analysts on a media tour of Canon’s production facility in Suzhou, China. The visit was part of a second leg of a trip that included a visit to the company’s Tokyo headquarters. The plant tour in Suzhou was an opportunity to see the Canon production system up close.
Doug Albregts has been President of Sharp Imaging and Information Company of America (SIICA) since November 2012. He talks with Senior Editor Cary Sherburne about why he chose Sharp and the company’s prospects.
WhatTheyThink recently joined other editors and analysts on a media tour to Canon’s headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. There, we were given a unique opportunity to hear from Canon Chairman & CEO Fujio Mitarai on his “5 Year Plan” strategy that focuses on reforming production and a profitable position in the markets they serve.
Erika Andersen’s book entitled Being Strategic: Plan for Success, Out-think Your Competitors, Stay Ahead of Change explains how to approach business in a strategic manner. This article highlights tips from the book and provides a real-world example of how Symcor is re-tooling its business to become more strategic.
HP surprised the printing industry when the news came out last week that the company had decided not to exhibit at Ipex 2014, which is moving from its long-time location in Birmingham to new digs in London. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with HP’s Sumeer Chandra to get a better understanding of what was behind this decision, and also includes an official statement from IPEX.
Developing a business plan focused on the needs of your market is more critical now than ever to help you stay in business. Rapid advances in technology give you more options on how to grow and take your business forward. Equipment and service decisions need to be driven by your market needs – not your competition.
We’ve heard the vendor reports about drupa successes and seen the press releases rolling out. But there is nothing better than speaking directly to buyers. Think Patented bought big at drupa and Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Chairman and Managing Partner Niels Winther and CEO and Managing Partner, Ken McNerney to find out more.
Barb Pellow recently had the opportunity to interview Christa Carone, Chief Marketing Officer at Xerox. This article offers highlights from the interview, including key challenges that service providers face and how to address these challenges head-on.
While drupa isn’t technically a packaging show, there were many packaging solutions on display and a great deal of interest in the segment on the part of visitors. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne reviews a few of the new development she came across as she traversed the many halls in Messe Dusseldorf during her 12 days of drupa …
Software is the tool to remain relevant and integrated with the new communication methods. The print industry’s future will depend on embracing software like we did manufacturing – creating new reasons to print and optimizing and integrating existing applications.
The industry's hackles have been raised by Toshiba's No-Print Day, and it's ironic that the company picks a date with some historical importance for print to hold the event. Toshiba's thinking needs to be confronted, but engagement with their audiences is a more important action for our associations and our businesses.
The second Postal Vision conference drew 150 attendees to Washington DC’s L’Enfant Plaza Hotel. This was two Metro stops from the real decision makers, i.e., Congress and the United States Postal Service. No one from Congress could squeeze it in but USPS’ new Digital Solutions President and Strategic Planning Manager were in attendance as well as representatives of the two primary Postal Unions for the two-day duration.
We often get some rather stupid approaches by companies trying to put out marketing messages to enhance their position in the eyes of potential consumers. Sometimes these approaches show just how stupid marketing people can be and in fact show just how little they know of the real situation in the market.
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.
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.