Mailing giant Pitney Bowes has announced a new secure online mailbox initiative. Volly is a secure repository for bills, promotional mail and even household documents that attempts to solve many of the issues that have been barriers to more rapid adoption of online billing. Read more...
As the WhatTheyThink team prepares to head for Lucerne, Switzerland in February to attend the Hunkeler Innovationdays, we talked with Hunkeler CEO Stefan Hunkeler to gain insight into what to expect at this unique event. We also asked Hunkeler to share his thoughts about the current state of the industry.
What better way to end the year than by having a conversation with Joe Davis, CEO of Consolidated Graphics and WhatTheyThink’s Print CEO of the Year. Davis tells us what’s new at Consolidated Graphics, talks about acquisition strategy, and shares valuable insight into the strategies that have delivered business success for the company.
In the time-honored tradition of ending the present year with resolutions for improvement in the year to come, New Direction Partners offers guidance for print company owners who may find themselves on one side or the other of an M&A transaction in 2011.
Press headlines and reported hiring trends in both the U.S. and Canada indicate a modest increase over the past few months. PrintLink believed employment would start to moderately improve at the end of Q3/beginning of Q4 2010... and our stats demonstrate this is indeed the case. See how this should impact the way your thinking about hiring.
In the twelfth and last article of this series, industry expert and WhatTheyThink contributor David Zwang finishes his discussion about cross-media communications and production basics, this time with a review of what you should be doing and why you should be doing it.
Retailers are working to combine the power of mobile and print as they attempt to convince consumers to shop with them. They can get the word out about holiday sales via print, SMS, the mobile Web, and branded applications, while brands can use various forms of mobile advertising to achieve their holiday-specific goals. This article provides examples of several retailers that are using mobile marketing to increase their reach.
In the minds of media professionals whose the icon is the iPad, how much attention can print and other traditional channels expect to command? Speakers at this high-level event indicated that no matter what media are used, the quality of the content is what spells the difference between virality and oblivion for the brand message.
In a recent article titled “How Well Is Your Business Positioned for the Future”, we posed a series of six strategic questions designed to prompt some reflection. In this article we elaborate on the question: What Business Are You In?
This past year several publishers realized they could increase their print runs for digital books beyond what was previously thought profitable. The key was high-speed, continuous inkjet printing. WhatTheyThink caught up with Pearson Publishing to explore their thoughts on this new format.
Set to open February 24th, FESPA Americas 2011 is the best opportunity the print industry gets to bring its international community together. We’ve highlighted six special features of the show that promise to entertain and enlighten.
The third quarter of 2010 continued a welcome continuation of profitability for the industry. It has had seven consecutive months of increased sales, but it's clear that the profits trend is increasing, but the long term sales trend is flat.
Even if you know the price of new equipment, do you really know the total cost? We show you the questions you should be asking to get a comprehensive picture of what your total cost of ownership looks like.
The formerly manageable world of marketing that primarily used print and mass media has exploded into countless choices related to cross-media communications. Marketers can now successfully engage their customers to achieve higher brand awareness and consumer ownership of their brands.
New Direction Partners has taken its M&A consulting on the road in a series of presentations. In these briefings, NDP offers an overview of the business climate for mergers and acquisitions, along with practical advice for owners pondering the next step in the life cycles of their companies.
Recovered paper is currently one of the most important raw materials in paper and paperboard production. To keep products other than cardboard and packing paper lightweight, the ink must be removed during recycling. As such, most recovered paper undergoes the deinking process. In October 2010, INGEDE News reported issues with HP’s deinking processes. WTT Contributor, Barb Pellow, had the opportunity to interview Nils Miller of HP. This article discusses the specifics of the interview and provides HP’s perspective on the INGEDE piece.
Believing that there’s room in the 40" market for an addition to its Speedmaster line, Heidelberg rolled out the Speedmaster CX 102 in a customer event at its U.S. headquarters earlier this month. This newly engineered machine is said to transfer the best features of Heidelberg’s XL-series presses to the 102 format, its most successful product category.
X-Rite has long been a leading supplier of color measurement tools, and with their recent acquisition Pantone they’re in the business ink color specifications. Now X-Rite is looking to move beyond the print world to become “The Color Company” for all your color needs.
Dr. Joe must have a time machine, because all he wants to talk about is 1994. He wonders why the planning process used by companies large and small always seems to miss critical market shifts and reinforce the status quo, actually constraining the ability to change. What can make the planning process more effective and our companies more adept when the marketplace takes an unexpected turn?
By bringing just one offset press to Graph Expo 2010, it accounted for one-sixth of all offset presses at the show and one-third of the conventional (non-DI) printing machines on the floor of McCormick Place. That would be an unusual distinction for any exhibitor of press equipment, but it seems to have worked out well for Gronhi Graphics International, the U.S. arm of a Chinese vendor seeking a reputation and a toehold in the American market.
The concept of personalized communications – in the way we all think of it today – has been around for well over thirty years. And, acquiring the capability to create and produce personalized communications is still a hot topic in our industry. Yet, for each communication you’re involved in, can you answer the question: Am I contributing to “communications pollution” or am I compelling enough to survive in our world that has become an electronic messaging free-for-all?
In the tenth article of this series, industry expert and WhatTheyThink contributor David Zwang continues his discussion about cross-media communications and production, this time with a discussion of you need to do to get audience attention, and what tools and services you need to prove you are succeeding.
For the first time ever FESPA Americas will be held in the United States. FESPA has existed for almost 50 years, and this years’ event promises not to disappoint. Richard Romano has laid out all the details you need to learn more about the organization, the event and its history.
Google is arguably one of the most fascinating companies of our times. Founded in 1998, the typical Silicon Valley “two guys in a garage,” the company quickly skyrocketed to prominence as the preferred search engine for many as well as a premier advertising platform. In his book, Ken Auletta does an outstanding job of documenting the company’s history and accomplishments to date.
This article discusses how Apple’s iPad has created a scalable technology platform for growth where the end customer becomes loyal and continues to invest in new applications. It also strikes a comparison to Mail Print’s Web services platform, which has created new ways of doing business and a growth platform for new offerings, applications, and services.
Océ is already the leader in continuous feed inkjet presses. If things are working so well, it seems unlikely they would make a drastic change. At the recent Canon Expo though, they made an announcement that Andy Tribute claims will dramatically shift their strategy.
Even something that sounds bad, like the number of printing industry layoffs due to bankruptcy, can be good if they're declining. Dr. Joe explains the sharp decline in the last four quarters and why it's very good news.
The Graphic Arts Show Company (GASC) events were due to reach an inflection point, and it seems clear that at Graph Expo 2010, they reached one from which there will be no turning back. The break in the connection between showing heavy printing equipment and selling it made Graph Expo 2010 a watershed event. No longer do press manufacturers makers need elaborate displays of machinery at the GASC shows in order to achieve the marketing impact they desire.
Irongate Digital of Derby, U.K. has used its Web-to-print and digital color printing expertise to develop personalized chocolate boxes to catapult its clients’ candy sales. Irongate leveraged its existing technologies to enhance the value of print for its customers. WhatTheyThink.com caught up with them and assembled some recommendations for print service providers that are hoping to expand their Web-to-print offerings into packaging applications.
Why are so many companies in the print industry choosing three-initial names that prove completely indistinguishable from the next three-initial name. Whether it’s ABC or XYZ, Andy Tribute tries to sort out the confusion.
Sometimes you actually have to read past the first paragraph to find out what's going on, and looking at the tables of statistical reports with the real data leads to conclusions that are quite different than the headlines. Dr. Joe does the statistical equivalent of going into the kitchen to see how clean it is before believing a restaurant's reviews. You may have heard that there were elections last week, and that they might have been important. Keep it all in perspective, and don't get ahead of things. There's political chaos ahead that may only increase the uncertainty.
In the ninth article of this series, industry expert and WhatTheyThink contributor David Zwang continues his discussion about cross-media communications and production, this time with a discussion of what tools you need for your new workflows. It will cover the options you have for Design and Workflow tools to help you determine what will work most effectively for you.
How do you wring more out of the sponge? How do you provide your clients with greater benefit? How do you match your services to your clients needs? Mike Philie of the NAPL has some advice on how to “hear” what your customer is really asking for.
To send timely messages, marketers must have a clear understanding of the customer’s situation so they can generate the best event-based marketing activity. This is where something called trigger-based marketing comes into play. Trigger-based marketing works on the premise that you communicate with your customers at the precise time when they have a high propensity to purchase. This article provides information on two companies (RT Associates and Associates International) that are stepping up to the challenge of trigger-based marketing.
September 2010 commercial printing shipments were $7.58 billion, up $248 million (+3.4%) compared to 2009. Adjusting for inflation, shipments were up +2.2%. “This continues the consecutive gain in current dollar shipments for six months, a welcome change for commercial printers,” explained Dr. Joe Webb, director of WhatTheyThink's Economics and Research Center.
In a world where text messages outnumber mobile phone calls...and social network usage eclipses email…and customer service has turned into self service… the nature of conversation is being revolutionized. Specifically, this means “the commercial conversation”.
How do you know that business you just bought is going to keep earning what you’ve been promised? What questions should you be asking, what contingency plans should you be building, and what hang-ups should you be looking out for? The partners at New Direction Partners have some answers for us.
Memjet may be a new name to many of our readers. The company was founded in 2002 and designs and manufactures low-cost high quality inkjet printheads, print controllers and inks designed for use in printers for packaging and mailing applications. Although OEMs have only had product components for 60 days, Memjet has been busy—five shows in the last six months in North America and Europe. Read more about this potentially disruptive technology.
Bill McGlynn was well-known to many of our readers during his 25 years with HP, where he helped accelerate the company’s printing business from $150 million to $24 billion in annual sales, including his role in the Indigo acquisition which led HP’s entry into the commercial printing space. Now McGlynn is building Memjet’s Home & Office Business as its President. Read more…
Planning for paper is one of the most important factors when running a print shop. Getting a read on the current state of the printing industry though, can feel like firing at a moving target. John Braceland tries to simplify your paper planning process and point your team in the right direction.
While marketers are doing a better job at getting the right message to the right person, it is becoming increasingly important to send that message at the right time. Sending timely messages requires marketers to have a clear understanding of the customer’s situation so they can generate the best event-based marketing activity. This article discusses the concept of trigger-based marketing and also provides some examples of common triggers.
EFI released positive quarterly earnings last week with 28% revenue growth. CEO Guy Gecht indicated that EFI’s transformation is complete. EFI has gone from a single family of products (Fiery) to a broad portfolio of products, including VUTEk, Rastek, and Jetrion inkjet printers as well as APPS. They’ve aimed their efforts at key growth areas of the print industry: short run digital printing for documents, signage, packaging and software that automates business processes, with multiple channel strategies. WhatTheyThink spoke with Gecht following the earnings call to learn more.
Digital book printing is one of the hottest areas in the print industry today. Andy Tribute went to visit King Printing – a medium sized printer of modest origins - that may have been the first to provide digitally printed books. He discovered a ridiculously innovative family–run shop that has kept itself on the edge of new print technologies.
In the eighth article of this series, industry expert and WhatTheyThink contributor David Zwang continues his discussion about cross-media communications and production, this time with a discussion of what you need to build a good infrastructure for your new workflows. It will cover Content Management as well as other options you have to determine what will work most effectively for you.
Dr. Joe has quite the capacity to cause an argument about most anything economic, especially capacity utilization. Perhaps the state of employment in our industry is showing an unexpected shift from the big printing enclaves to new areas of growth. This unusual finding deserves some further scrutiny. Magazines get a boost from the auto industry, which was a clunker until recently. The sideways movement of the economy is obvious again, but Dr. Joe was flying high on WiFi and gives it the thumbs up.
For the majority of us lay people print buying seems like a trick for the anointed few who can piece together a much larger puzzle of production parts. Frank Romano looks at the new world of the print buyer, how it has changed, how they do their jobs, and where congregate to share their secrets.
A visionary leader anticipates challenges and growth opportunities before they happen, positioning people to produce extraordinary business results. Real visions can lift organizations into the higher realm of new possibilities. In some ways, true visionaries spread the seeds of their visions so that those possibilities might take root in their organizations. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to interview DME Founder Mike Panaggio. This article outlines Mike’s predictions about the future of the communications industry.
The print industry lost a legend last month. Charlie Ying, and his company Atex, revolutionized prepress and changed the industry forever. Andy Tribute offers these memories of one of the great innovators of our industry.
As Graph Expo made abundantly clear, there’s no longer any segment of the industry that can’t be addressed by digital solutions that will work as least as well as conventional lithography, at least in shorter runs. The industry’s embrace of digital production is now complete, and all that’s left to debate is how long it will take the pockets of resistance to get on board or go away.
Peter Drucker, the father of business consulting, stated that the business enterprise has only two basic functions—marketing and innovation. This article discusses how print service providers can leverage Drucker’s advice to improve their businesses. It also provides real-world examples from DME, Sandy Alexander, and the University of Iowa.
The commoditization of our product is a risk we face every day. This essay by Joseph Truncale of the NAPL highlights the difference between just selling print and making the shift to being a strategic partner who can deliver unique value to his customers.
There have been mixed reviews about Graph Expo. A slow start on Sunday. Not much offset. Andy Tribute, as always, was right in the thick of things. In this article he wraps up his thoughts on the event, and looks forward to Graph Expo 2011.
Looking for a good read? Check out this review of I Live in the Future and Here’s How It Works: Why Your World, Work and Brain are Being Creatively Disrupted, by Nick Bilton. Bilton calls it “a unique reading experience,” and it is. Each chapter begins with a QR Code! (And this from a “Gray Lady” reporter.) It even includes some history about how print was one of the original disruptive technologies. Read on!
In the seventh article of this series, industry expert and WhatTheyThink contributor David Zwang continues his discussion about cross-media communications and production, this time with a discussion of what new skills are required and obstacles likely to be encountered for printers to bring cross-media services into their businesses. It focuses on how to grow the talent, or where to find the talent, that is required to be successful.
Dr. Joe explains what the numbers 30, 60, and 100 have to do with 2020 and our industry. Somehow, it all adds up. The unemployment report shows an “L” shaped recession, even though we are now in an extended recovery. See what 30, 60, and 100 have in store for us.
The last couple of years have been difficult for both printers and suppliers to our industry. While there are positive signs that indicate a path to recovery, and many companies are investing to better position themselves for a brighter future, many suppliers to the industry believe that we have too many trade shows and too many of them are too siloed for today’s diverse environment. Hear what they—and GASC—have to say.
Over the past several years, trade show attendance has declined due to economic downturns. Organizations are trying to do more with fewer people, which makes it all the more difficult to get away from the office to attend an event. Much of the product information that we used to get from trade shows is now available at your fingertips via the Internet. Barb Pellow took the opportunity to ask a number of people why they were at Graph Expo 2010 and to determine their specific areas of interest. The message was that attendees came to learn, listen, and network.
We’ll be happy to stand corrected if our count is wrong, but, after prowling the show floor of Graph Expo 2010 in search of lithographic printing equipment, we came up with only four fully assembled offset presses. Where did the heavy iron go? That’s not all that makes this year’s event seem a bit eerie when contrasted with the Graph Expo and Print shows of years past.
Bo Jackson (yes, THAT Bo Jackson) was a keynote speaker. Offset presses seemed completely absent. Throngs of passionate spectators showed up at a time when some experts say the industry is perched for the second half of the double dip. Richard Romano reports on a Graph Expo that, so far, is full of pleasant surprises.
These days software companies are building products that they know will get used in larger “mashup” solutions. The trend in software has moved towards simpler, interchangeable apps with fewer features but better functionality. The recent Mimeo-FSI partnership highlights a great example of an existing company getting dragged into the present to make the adjustments necessary to be competitive.
Dr. Joe explains the latest Institute for Supply Management manufacturing report in terms of its key components of new orders, prices paid, employment, and imports. The manufacturing side of the economy is still growing, but it looks like it's slowing down, and inflation is starting to creep into the system.
In this interview with Senior Editor Cary Sherburne, Ricoh Europe Executive Vice President Peter Williams talks about the company’s IPEX experience, European distribution strategies, and the progress being made with integration of IKON and InfoPrint Solutions into the customer experience. Read the full interview.
The most successful print supplier into the book printing market has been HP with their T300 press. Andy Tribute looks at the success of HP in this market. He also visits the first installation of the new HP T200 "entry-level" continuous feed color press at O'Neil Data Systems where it will operate alongside the O'Neil's T300 press.
Graph Expo 2010 (October 3-6 at McCormick Place South in Chicago, IL) represents an opportunity for print service providers to re-evaluate and re-assess their businesses. While this year’s event will certainly feature exciting equipment upgrades, enhancements, and new digital and traditional devices, savvy service providers will focus on solutions. This article provides an overview of just a few of the announcements that are designed to help service providers reduce their costs or grow their businesses.
You'll find the phrase "business model" mentioned in magazine articles, obsessed over by venture capitalists and overheard in thousands of conference rooms daily. Yet, it is a concept that is often ill-defined, misunderstood, or completely ignored. Research shows that a good business model is the best predictor of a company's success. This resource and link-filled article is your guide to definitions, tools, examples and out-of-the-box, business model ideas.
What is your printing company worth? Emotionally speaking, everything. But, owners contemplating the sale of their companies have to answer this tough question in an objective and a financially realistic way. Here are three common approaches to business valuation.
Consultants in the print industry keep talking about the need for print companies to reinvent themselves. Andy Tribute takes a look at how Xerox has come back from the brink of bankruptcy to reposition themselves, and remain a power in the industry.
The educational aspects of the show floor at Graph Expo are an under-utilized opportunity that companies can use to better educate their staff. The Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research certainly has taken its time in informing us when the recession ended and might soon be telling us the recovery is over. Dr. Joe explains it all, and even offers a review of Warren Werbitt's latest opus.
In the sixth article of this series, industry expert and WhatTheyThink contributor David Zwang continues his discussion about cross-media communications and production, this time with a discussion of file formats and standards, two crucial components in cross-media production workflows. It will focus on what the important ones are, and how to keep up with them.
HP is convinced that locked inside smart phones, tablets, and other web-connected devices are billions of pages yearning to be printed. On September 20, HP’s Imaging and Printing Group (IPG) showcased its latest solutions for liberating personal and business printing at an “innovation summit” in New York City.
The number one challenge that today’s marketers face is reaching consumers. Seismic shifts have dramatically altered the landscape, and marketing executives are entrenched in an industry that is markedly different from what it was just a few years ago. Shifts have occurred in how, where, and even if customers are receiving specific messages. This article considers how communication has evolved and discusses the cross-media marketing opportunity.
Colombia's printing industry association, Andigraf, held its annual meeting in Santa Marta, Colombia, in early September. WhatTheyThink's Senior Editor Cary Sherburne participated in the event as an attendee and speaker, joined via video by WhatTheyThink's Dr. Joe Webb, Director of the Economics and Research Center. Sherburne shares her thoughts about the Colombian experience.
In a recent WhatTheyThink webinar, both listeners and industry experts commented on the potential offered by the new Presstek 75DI digital offset press, which was debuted at IPEX and will be on display at Graph Expo 2010. WhatTheyThink checked in with Presstek Chairman, CEO & President, Jeff Jacobson, to get his take on what the 75DI means to Presstek and its customers, as well as his opinion on the state of the industry, and more.
Working from “The Cloud” is changing the way we use software applications. HP and Google are leading the charge, and it promises major changes in the print and publishing industry. Andy Tribute examines the trend and discusses how the industry can get ahead of it.
The process of managing a printing sales staff has become much more complicated than comparing compensation with business brought in. Matching the right rep with the client has become more important than ever. Mike Philie of the NAPL offers some insights on giving your team the best chance to succeed.
As Quad/Graphics has begun to integrate its recent mammoth acquisition of Worldcolor, WhatTheyThink checked in with Joel Quadracci, the company's Chairman, President & CEO to get the latest update and his view of the state of the industry.
Few management philosophies have influenced the business world as widely as quality management. Quality management is designed to tap the potential, abilities, skills, and knowledge of the workforce. The quality revolution claimed many names in its heyday, including Total Quality Management (TQM) and Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI). The most widely known quality expert at the time was Dr. W. Edwards Deming. This article discusses how Mid-York press evolved by embracing Dr. Deming’s quality management philosophy.
The second quarter of 2010 continued a welcome continuation of mild profitability for the industry. Much of the industry is still recovering from a very difficult 2009, and two quarters of profits can't really make up for that. But we're on the right track, even though there are still challenges ahead.
Canon Expo was the first opportunity since their recent merger for Canon and Océ to show their new team face. Patrick Henry was there to report back on just how well the two companies are working together and leveraging each other's strengths.
AAA, the premier association of regional auto clubs, produces 160,000 statements annually at its headquarters location. Its TransPromo implementation with DocPath has saved the organization more than $110,000 annually, streamlined the invoice-to-cash process and resulted in a more attractive statement design. This story demonstrates that TransPromo is not just for the big guys! Find out more.
In his 5th article on cross-media communications, David Zwang discusses metadata and its role in cross-media production workflows. He looks at the basics of metadata and examines what you need need to know to work in an integrated environment.
The only thing certain is confusion. If business is so bad, why does our recent survey of commercial printers show they are planning to invest? Newspapers announce plans to keep their print edition - but we learned of it in non-print media! Things are certainly confusing, and this column might raise the confusion to an even higher level of sophistication.
Our increasingly ravenous hunger for new technology, ie. smart phones, flat screens, iPads, grows by the day. Frank Romano looks at the environmental cost of all this new stuff and considers how it compares to technologies of the past and the effect on the environment
Although there has been a lot of buzz about devices like the Kindle and the iPad displacing printed books, savvy publishers have identified opportunities for making printed books more interactive. This article discusses the concept of incorporating QR (quick response) codes in books, provides examples of publishers that have already begun doing so, and highlights the market opportunity.
July 2010 commercial printing shipments were $6.87 billion, up $18 million (+0.3%) compared to 2009. Adjusting for inflation, shipments were down -1%. This continues the consecutive gain in current dollar shipments for four months, the first time we have had a period of that extent since November 2007.
We hear a lot about cloud computing being the next big thing. WhatTheyThink’s Jennifer Matt explores how this new platform is impacting printing, and how three major players are planning to use it to change how you get your printing done.
Standard Register recently made the decision to establish a focus on the healthcare industry. Cary Sherburne recently sat down with President of the company’s Healthcare Business, Brad Cates, and Business Director of Document and Information Management Ann B. Scales, to learn about the transition to all healthcare, EMR reform and the future of printing in the health care space.
Thanks to the internet and smart phones, as well as tools like QR codes and text messaging, one of the oldest ad media is becoming interactive. In her current article, Barb Pellow explores the interactive features that many companies are using to enhance their billboards and outdoor signage. She provides many real world examples that range from educational to purely promotional.
We keep hearing that the future for print shops is to become “integrated communications providers”, but making the transition can seem like a daunting task to printers who are still stuck in the old print world. This week, Andy Tribute examines the adjustments printers need to make to survive.
In the fourth article of the series, industry expert and WhatTheyThink contributor David Zwang continues his discussion about cross-media communications and production, this time with a high level look at what you need to know to begin implementing eMedia production workflows. This overview will act as an executive summary for future articles that will delve into the specific issues and requirements.
Due to the growing significance of electronic media, packaging is being integrated with mobile technology to drive sales. Consumer Product Goods manufacturers are beginning to incorporate mobile messaging into their packaging graphics and print advertisements to engage consumers. This article discusses why it makes sense for marketers to incorporate mobile messaging into packages. It also provides examples of companies that are currently engaging in this practice.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. By now, the economy should have picked up, printers’ prospects should have improved, and the banks should have responded by letting some sunlight into their vaults when borrowers from the industry came calling. What happened?
Although the nation’s general banking crisis may be over, says Tom Williams, partner, New Direction Partners, there’s been little improvement in the availability of credit for business and equipment financing.
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.