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As Goes the Industry, so Goes the Trade Associations—January 2021 M&A Activity

Printing United Alliance Sets the Standard, H.I.G. Bags Action, BluEdge Expands, and more…

Around the Web: Spamming Spinach. Novel Novel. Glorious Graphene. Sleeping Sacks. Gargoyles Galore. Sawing Celebration. Calculating Carsey. Weird Waking. Amish Auto. Disappearing Doll.

Spinach can now send emails. A novel only uses the words spoken by Ophelia in Hamlet. More graphene news! Recycling potato chip bags into sleeping bags for the homeless. Colgate introduces new aluminum toothbrush with replaceable heads. The origin of gargoyles. 100 years of the “sawing a woman in half” trick. “A Lego white noise” playlist. A “smart toilet seat” for measuring vital signs. A teen, in a coma since March 1, 2020, is about to wake up to a strange new world. Attaching buggy wheels to a Dodge Challenger, for some reason. Texas issues an Amber Alert for Chucky from “Child’s Play.” All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s emailing vegetable miscellany.

Q3 2020 Profits—Back on Track…Sort Of

Annualized printing industry profits for Q3 2020 rose from -$1.92 billion to -$1.19 billion. That’s still really low, but at least it’s headed back toward positive territory.

Using Data to Improve the Power of Personalization

Print’s days of channel dominance are most certainly over, but it remains a powerful means of communication. Digital is here to stay, so it is more important than ever for printed communications to be fresh and innovative. This article explores how data can be leveraged to create personalized print campaigns that encourage engagement and increase revenues.

Exploring the Possibilities of Interior Décor Printing with HP—Live from Barcelona with Leading Industry Experts

Textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan recently attended a very interesting session on the possibilities digital print offers for home décor. Presenters included a variety of industry experts with excellent insight. The piece also includes links to replays in case the reader wants to hear directly from the experts.

HP Introduces New Latex and PageWide XL Portfolios

HP updates its Latex roll-to-roll portfolio with four new units that bring white ink printing, new inks and printheads, and a renewed commitment to sustainability. Additionally, HP has launched a new Latex Print and Cut line and refreshed its PageWide XL units for the technical printing markets.

Easy Workflow Automation for Printing Companies of All Sizes: Getting Started Today!

Print businesses large and small need to start automating processes to save time and money and increase throughput. But for many smaller print businesses, automating their printing workflow can seem like a daunting—and expensive—challenge. This article, sponsored by EFI, show how that’s a misconception that is holding businesses back from greater profitability, and that getting started with workflow automation is much easier than you might think.

Direct Mail Retargeting Goes Mainstream

Direct mail retargeting is starting to go mainstream. In this post, we look at some key supporting data for growth in the direct mail retargeting market and the approaches used by three printers offering these services.

Print Software and 2021’s Business Trends

Working from home, data as an asset, and automation: three business trends and their specific impact on print businesses.

Serious Questions Around the USPS and Rates

If you’re a commercial mailer of flats and periodicals, brace yourself. Customers are facing an unexpected and steep increase in USPS mailing rates sometime this summer — even while service standards remain miserably low.

Are You Ready for Compliance?

Since the emergence of the original European Data Protection Act and the follow-on General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), building a privacy protocol has been a topic in companies around the world. The codification of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), however, changed the trajectory of the conversation. It is far-reaching and touches all of us. Pat McGrew interviews University of Colorado Professor Linda Fried to provide background and guidance.

Taking Color Management to the Next Dimension

Color Management is the critical part of any reproduction process, especially as it relates to brand identity. We have good tools today, but as print applications expand beyond conventional media—for example, to packaging and industrial applications—we are starting to outgrow them.

European Print Industry Snapshot: Lithuania

In this bimonthly series, WhatTheyThink is presenting the state of the printing industry in different European countries based on the latest monthly production numbers. This week, we take a look at the printing industry in Lithuania and the Baltic states.

Virtual Events: The Pros and Cons

2020 and a good part of 2021 will be seen as the time of virtual events. It was either that or put everything on hold, which clearly was not an option. There was great hope that we would be back to in-person events by spring of 2021, but one by one, scheduled events such as drupa and Interpack, FESPA, TechTextil/TexProcess, and more were either cancelled, converted to virtual events, or postponed until late summer or fall. We spoke to a number of folks—organizers, sponsors and attendees—to get their views about the value of these events. We also included some virtual event questions in a broader survey.

Behind the Scenes with HP PageWide

HP has spent the past four decades not simply investing in inkjet research and development but perfecting it. Hear from subject matter experts on timely topics, including a customer spotlight on the new HP PageWide Web Press T250 HD.

Around the Web: Color Quest. STEM Stamps. Cool Codes. Retro Railroad. Clothing Computations. Tea Tints. Sleepless Science. Blade Becalming. Missing Monarchy. Disgusting Dessert. Pasta Passion.

In search of the original “Apple Beige.” The USPS launches Star Wars stamps to promote STEM learning. How COVID made QR codes cool. A Chinese railroad was derailed when Adobe killed Flash. A man quantifies his wardrobe. Beautiful tea bag art. First Night Effect: why it’s hard to sleep in a strange place. “Chinese Knife Massage.” Gender-neural playing cards. “Everything bagel-flavored ice cream.” Perfect for Valentine’s day: pink, candy-flavored mac and cheese. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s stock shorting miscellany.

Commercial Printing Employees—2010–2018

In 2010, there were 499,622 employees working in US establishments in NAICS 323. By 2018, that number had declined -12.2% to 438,516. In macro news, real GDP increased at an annual rate of 4.0% in Q4 2020.

Sustainability and Eco-Friendly Textiles: Developments That Will Define the Next Decade for the Textile and Printing Industry

Sustainability is moving to the top of the to-do list in textiles and apparel as we as we enter a new decade and beyond. Sometimes it seems like not much has changed, but in this informative article, textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan lists many of the sustainability achievements we saw in 2020.

Identifying New Business Opportunities in a Challenging Environment

Even with vaccines being distributed, it will likely be quite some time before the coronavirus becomes part of our history rather than our daily reality. Much like the virus, though, PSPs are proving themselves to be quite resilient. This article explores the actions that various printing companies are exploring so they can maintain—or even accelerate—growth as we emerge from the pandemic.

Customer Segmentation in Your Print Business

Understanding your customer segmentation and even more importantly the “jobs” the printed products do for your customers can help you better target your sales efforts. Diversity is a hedge against catastrophic market segment collapse (another lesson of COVID-19).

Marketing Metrics Are Changing — And That’s a Good Thing

Gone are the days of evaluating campaigns largely in terms of response rate, conversion rate, and dollars per sale. When we read case studies, listen to webinars, and browse industry coverage, we see a wider range of marketing metrics being used than ever before. It’s no wonder that 90% marketers now see measurable results from their personalization efforts.

drupa 2021 Essentials of Print—Convergence of Print Markets: Is It Inevitable?

Digital printing has transformed the print world. For a long time, it was restricted to printed documents and photocopying, then inkjet went after the label market first, followed by the narrow-width packaging market or "small" format. At the same time, in the world of large and very large format, inkjet pushed the screen printing and even the offset process out of the most common jobs. This article looks at the potential for diversifying into a wide variety of print applications.

How Will the Print Industry Change in 2021—and Beyond?

Smithers latest analysis shows that 2020, and the global coronavirus pandemic, have profoundly disrupted the global printing industry. Total value fell from $814.7 billion in 2019, to reach a projected $743.4 billion in 2020. This article explores the major industry trends to emerge in the wake of the pandemic. 

European Printing Outlook 2021

2020 showed that we can’t prepare for everything. But still it pays to try. This article covers five trends that will be important for the printing industry in Europe (and beyond) in 2021.

Graphic Arts Employment—December 2020

In December 2020, all printing employment was up +0.7% from November, production employment up +0.1%, and non-production printing employment up +1.9%. So, basically, a holding pattern—although it’s nice that there are no negative numbers…for almost everyone.

Around the Web: Foodie Franklin. Typo Typography. Monospaced Menace. Dense Darkness. Velcro Volume. Visible Vermeer. Tech Toys.

Ben Franklin introduced tofu to the US. A new font designed to facilitate proofreading. Comic Sans…Monospaced! Inside the blackest room. Inventors develop a quieter Velcro. Journey inside an amazingly high-res scan of a classic painting. Fisher Price’s “new” retro gadget toys. A van-based office pod for the work-from-anywhere crowd. Holographic chocolate. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s winter miscellany.

What Will Be the Role of the Creative Designer in Industry 4.0? Paintbrush to Pixel and Beyond—The Strategic Creative

As Industry 4.0 takes greater hold on the textiles and apparel industry, it is estimated that more than 25% of all work activities will be displaced by automation by 2030. But what does this mean for textile designers? Surely a robot can’t replace a designer! Designers have already moved from paintbrush to pixel, and while they won’t be replaced by robots, their roles will surely change. Read what textiles expert and WhatTheyThink Contributor Debbie McKeegan has to say on the topic!

Leveraging Finishing to Maximize the Effectiveness of Print

Finishing is an important step for nearly every printed document. Ongoing advancements in digital printing capabilities have the potential to elevate finishing to a value-added service. This article explores how print service providers can maximize the effectiveness and profitability of print with today’s finishing capabilities.

Survey: Changing B2B Buyer Expectations You Need to Know

The way B2B buyers make purchases is changing, and PSPs and their customers must change along with them. But it provides opportunity, as well. Results from the latest DemandGen “B2B Buyer Behavior Study.”

Print Software Feature Requests: You’re a Priority, Just Not the Only Priority

Feature requests are popular. The default response to new software to ask for it to be changed to fit the way you specifically think it should fit into your specific environment. “Change your processes to optimize your use of the software” is the one statement that would save the print industry millions of dollars.

Fast Moving Consumer Shifts—Drilling Down to Find the Opportunities

Consumer trends have been shifting for a while. However, the rate of shift is increasing, opening up opportunities for new product innovation and a shift in packaging demands.

A Night at the Opera with Vancouver’s Still Creek Press

Founded more than 30 years ago as a business forms printer, Vancouver’s Still Creek Press has adapted and evolved over the years, adding wide-format printing capabilities and other products and services. A recent project saw the company come to the rescue when the University of British Columbia Opera decided to stage a virtual production.

Does Poshmark’s Overperforming Portend a Shift for the Apparel Industry?

Poshmark (ticker: POSH) shares entered the public market last week, with shares soaring nearly 142%, opening at $97.50 and hitting a high of $104.98, with a Thursday close at $101.50, making it up 141.7%. This kind of feels like the 90s dot-com boom. Will it lead to a bust? The Poshmark CEO thinks not.

European Print Industry Snapshot: Hungary

In this bimonthly series, WhatTheyThink is presenting the state of the printing industry in different European countries based on the latest monthly production numbers. This year kicks off with a look at the printing industry in Hungary.

US Copy Center Establishments—2010–2018

In 2010, there were 6,026 establishments in NAICS 561439 (Business Service Centers [Including Copy Shops]). By 2018, that number had declined to 5,305. In macro news, weekly initial unemployment claims were at 965,000, an increase of 181,000 from the previous week.

Around the Web: Fungal Fashion. Crustacean Craze. Plague Prescriptions. Can Conundrum. Pharmaceutical Favors. Pig Painting. Nacho Narrative. Mesmerized Mantises.

2020 was the “year of the mushroom,” apparently—and lobsters, too. A 16th-century doctor’s plague prevention manual is relevant to COVID. The company out to replace plastic packaging with metal. A collection of the weird swag pharmaceutical reps used to give to doctors. Researchers recently unearthed the oldest painting of an animal. Balloon-based pizza delivery. The history of nachos. Praying mantises watch TV. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s New Year’s miscellany.

Capturing a Clear “Before and After” Picture of Sales Metrics

A great many industries leverage before and after results because highlighting a contrast can be powerful, inspiring, and attention-grabbing. Savvy print sales organizations understand how to use sales metrics to capture a clear before and after picture. This article discusses the importance of sales metrics and explores how they can be used to make more informed business decisions.

Free Color Chart for Color Management in Digital Textile Printing

If you are a designer working in a larger organization, you probably have access to formal color standards. But there are a growing number of freelancers starting their own businesses, and creating color standards that ensure what gets printed carries out your design intent is not a trivial process. Textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie Mckeegan rides to the rescue with a free color chart to get you on your way.

What Types of B2B Content Win You Data?

B2B buyers are using more pieces of content in their research than in prior years. This means more things you can print and distribute digitally for your customers. But exactly what types of content do they see as valuable enough to register for and for which they are willing to provide information about themselves and their companies?

A Dynamic Print Business

The printing industry is becoming more dynamic—not just as it relates to COVID-19 but in general. Everything is moving and increasing in velocity. Our ability to thrive in this environment requires a dynamic business approach, one that is characterized by constant change. A business must adjust according to its current conditions. This is a path to systemizing a dynamic business, one that is characterized by constant change—but a constant change that doesn’t leave your people behind.

Leadership through the Lens of Paradox

It is often said that the level of thinking (and leadership) that got us to where we are today will not take us to the next level. In this article, Wayne Lynn talks about learning to manage paradox. It requires individual and organizational growth. It is sorely needed in a world beset with pandemics, civil unrest, and political polarization.

Fast Moving Consumer Shifts, or Where’s the Toilet Paper?—Part 1

Consumer behavior has changed at an alarming rate and will continue to change, opening up new opportunities for new product innovation—and packaging.

Flint Group Consolidation of Flexographic Prepress Adds Value for Flexo and Letterpress Customers

On January 7, the Flint Group kicked off the year with an organizational announcement that makes a great deal of sense for its business; in fact, many of us have wondered why it took so long. The company formed a new division, XSYS, which combines Flint Group Flexographic and Xeikon Prepress into a single Flint Group division, led by Dagmar Schmidt as President. Read more for all the details.

Sizing the European Printing Industry: The Netherlands

With €3.1 billion in revenues and more than 17,000 employees, the graphic arts industry in the Netherlands is among the largest in Europe. But there are additional print segments as well, adding to a total print market of close to €6 billion. This is the fifth part of a series of articles on the size of and trends in the printing industry in key countries in Europe.

Bags, Pouches, Trays & Bowls—December 2020 M&A Activity

ProAmpac Brown Bagging It, Alcom Spreads Out, Ebony & The Voice Rise From the Dead, and more…

Around the Web: Picky Preview. Green Gatsby? Correcting Coinage. Programmed Poetry. Programmed Pictures. Cultural Coupon. Satellite Solution. Priapic Programming. Barf Burger. “Chicken Chamber.”

An honest preview of the year to come. The Great Gatsby is now in the public domain—and there is already clamoring for a Muppets version. A new H.G. commemorative coin has a couple of errors. Google’s Verse By Verse uses AI to help us write a poem. DALL·E uses AI to generate images from text prompts. An oral history of Bed Bath and Beyond’s big blue coupon. The origin of the Pez dispenser. The AR version of the New York Times crossword. An often hysterical mashup of North By Northwest and Star Wars. Denmark’s…bizarre idea for a children’s cartoon. McDonald’s China launched a Spam and Oreo burger, for reasons passing understanding. KFC has a combination game console/chicken warmer. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s New Year’s miscellany.

November Printing Shipments—It Was Nice While It Lasted

In November 2020, after rising for five straight months, printing shipments plunged from $7.63 billion to $7.0 billion.

Strategies for Developing Data-Driven Communications

The customer communication process is becoming increasingly complex. Thanks to ongoing innovations in customer segmentation and data mining, businesses now know more about their customers than ever before. This article explores the latest strategies for delivering data-driven communications.

The Digital Sprint: Simplifying Printed Textile Production to Deliver Increased Sales and a Sustainable Future

A recent report from McKinsey stated that 58% of fashion executives expected that assortment planning was a key area for 2021. The direct result means “less is more,” holding less stock and replenishing at speed in-tune with data and sales analytics. But how do they get that done? It means overcoming decades of doing things a certain way, and we all know that change is difficult. Further driving the need to make these changes are increased focus on sustainability and the need to restructure supply chains. These can be accomplished by, among other things, simplifying fabric printing, and as textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan points out in this article, that requires increased use of digital technologies across the board.

Turning Pandemic Response into Long-Term Success: Lessons Learned from a Non-Profit

Many print companies have reinvented their business models and service offerings to overcome the challenges presented by the pandemic, but not every printer can develop a new proofing solution or create 100% automated, touchless production. But that doesn't mean that you can’t make changes that improve your ability to weather the pandemic and set yourself up for success. Heidi Tolliver-Walker offers some tips from an organization outside the printing industry.

IT Integrations with Your Customer’s ERP

Integrate with your customers’ systems so that your technologies have relationships just like your people have relationships. The more ties that bind you and your customers together, the less likely you will divorce!

Three Things to Start Doing in 2021

Pat McGrew offers her list of three recommendations for print businesses to start doing that will help them grow and thrive. The print business may continue on a roller coaster as we move through the first half of the year, but that makes it a great time to tune your workflows and ensure you are getting the most from each of your systems.

Frank Romano Remembers John Peterson

John Peterson, a major figure in the typesetting industry, passed away last year. Frank Romano offers a remembrance.  

Will the Humble Silkworm Soon Be Out of a Job?

If you are interested in textiles and how they are woven through human history (pun intended), The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World is a well-written and very informative history of how fabrics have been part of human history from the beginning. In this article, we take a look at silk—not it’s history so much, but at where it might go from here.

Wide-Format ’21: Reasons to Be Over-Optimistic

As we enter 2021, we have reasons to be optimistic, maybe even over-optimistic. So let’s put the old year behind us (to the extent that we can), jump feet-first into the new one, and resolve never to use terms like “the new normal” or “pivot” ever again. Instead, let’s look at some of the substantial new opportunities for wide-format graphics and signage. What can we be over-optimistic about?

Stationery Product Manufacturing Establishments—2012–2018

In 2010, there were 496 establishments in NAICS 32223 (Stationery Product Manufacturing). By 2018, that number had declined to 359. In macro news, retail sales for November took a dip.

Around the Web: Fashionable Fit. Glorious Graphene! Printed Pollen. Code Creator. Plastic Pets. Quantifying Quotes. Kitten Concert. Machinery Making Modern Music. Festive Fire.

Amazon launches made-to-measure T-shirts. 3D printing with graphene. 3D printing pollen grains. Checking in with the inventor of the QR code. Are robot pets a solution for COVID-induced loneliness? A “find the fake written language” visual test.” A European map of different forms of quotation marks. The dispute over Cap’n Crunch’s rank. Sax kittens. ELECTRONICOS FANTASTiCOS! Poems based on A Christmas Carol. Replace the Yule Log with this Dumpster fire video. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s blizzard of miscellaneous items.

K, Then: What’s In Store for Retail

“Retail” embodies vastly different kinds of businesses, all of which have fared differently during the pandemic. As a result, rather than V-shaped, perhaps we should think of it as a K-shaped recovery. But what does that mean for retail graphics?

Uncovering New Opportunities for Print During Unprecedented Times

Although the ongoing pandemic is certainly not the first hurdle that the printing industry has encountered, printers have proven themselves to be very resilient during challenging times. Past recessions have certainly impacted the print industry, but they didn’t happen seemingly overnight the way COVID did. This article explores how PSPs are leveraging their core competencies to uncover new opportunities that will carry them to the future.

Looking Back at 2020 in Europe

2020 was not the year we expected it to be. WhatTheyThink European section editor Ralf Schlözer reviews some of the key developments that shaped the printing and communication industry in 2020 in Europe—and most likely in the years to come.

Positive Fashion: The Future of On-Demand Apparel and the Print Technologies That Will Deliver Sustainable Textile Production

How do you switch an entire industry to sustainable technologies and increased profitability? It’s been done in the past, of course, but never on the scale of the multi-trillion-dollar textiles and apparel industry. While it may seem impossible to turn this large ship in a new direction, the past year has caused some significant shifts to happen. Here’s what textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan has to say about this shift and what it may mean for the future.

Print Is “Virtually” Everywhere: How 2020 Re-Shaped the Way the Print Industry Communicates and Engages

2020 has forced us to rethink every aspect of business, including where and how it’s conducted. Thankfully, we have the technology, skillset and expertise to create a better customer experience, share and engage with buyers, partners, and customers, and showcase our essential role as print professionals. Contributor Joanne Gore looks at the changes the year has wrought on the way we communicate.

Poll: Pandemic Is Fueling a Resurgence in QR Codes

Is the COVID-19 pandemic fueling a rise in the use of QR codes? Yes, and for a simple reason—they provide a safe, touchless way to communicate between businesses and their customers. We see this anecdotally, but data from a recent poll by MobileIron support this observation, as well.

AATCC Update and Industry Outlook: Q&A with Executive Vice President Diana Wyman

Cary Sherburne talks to Diana Wyman, Executive Vice President at the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC), about the state of the association, the occasion of its 100-year anniversary, and its upcoming plans.

COVID-19 Sales Strategy: Think of Your Customer’s Customer

Selling during the pandemic is like selling during a widespread economic downturn. You have to figure out the market segments who are least impacted or, in COVID-19’s case. find the companies who are positively impacted. Directing your sales efforts is critical to closing new business.

Marc Olin on Life After EFI

Marc Olin co-founded ProGraph in 1989 right out of college and has stayed with the same company through its many iterations since, through formation of PrintCafe and acquisition by EFI. Effective December 1, 2020, Olin has left EFI to explore his next chapter. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Olin to revisit history and get a look toward the future for this industry veteran who has contributed much to the industry over the years.

Textiles in 2020: A Year Like No Other

The COVID crisis laid bare the weaknesses and fragility of the textiles supply chain, and brought to the fore a renewed interest in and need for digital textile production and more environmentally sustainable practices. Cary Sherburne takes a look back at the year in textiles.

How It Started and How It’s Going: The Wide-Format Year in Review

A recap of the top wide-format and signage trends and new products that hit the market in 2020.

European Print Industry Snapshot: Turkey

In this bimonthly series, WhatTheyThink is presenting the state of the printing industry in different European countries based on the latest monthly production numbers. This last installment for 2020 features a look at the printing industry in Turkey.

The Year of Imposed Flexibility: A Look Back at Finishing in 2020

Trish Witkowski looks back at the major trends in binding and finishing—including a growing interest in embellishments, book-of-one, and robots/cobots/automation. She also looks at a large handful of new products and solutions that hit the market in 2020.

ISA Quarterly Economic Report Finds Improvement in Q3, but Recovery Is Still a Long Ways Off

According to the Q3 2020 ISA Quarterly Economic Report, it’s going to be a long, hard slog to full recovery, and not just domestically. 2021 will be an improvement, but don’t expect the “new normal” (whatever that is) until 2022.

Sizing the European Printing Industry: France

With €7.6 billion in revenue and more than 50,000 employees, the graphic arts industry in France is sizeable and the fourth biggest in Europe. But there are additional print segments as well adding to a total print market of close to €16.1 billion. This is the fourth installment of a series of articles on the size of and trends in the printing industry in key countries in Europe.

AATCC/PRINTING United Alliance Host Successful Digital Textile Printing Conference

As was the case with so many events this year, the Digital Textile Printing Conference, hosted by AATCC and the PRINTING United Alliance, was held virtually over two days. The inability to meet in person didn’t stop these organizations, their speakers, and attendees from spending quality time reviewing the latest trends and looking ahead to 2021 and beyond.

October Printing Shipments—The "Best" October in Five Years?

In October 2020, printing shipments rose to $7.63 billion—the fifth straight month of increasing shipments, as the industry rebound from the depths of the spring continues.  

Around the Web: Current Color. Word Weary. Jarring Jargon. Curtailed Catalog. Bicycling Bookseller. Expanding Everest.

Pantone announces its color(s) for 2021. Various dictionaries announce their “words of the year.” A lexicon of annoying marketing buzzwords. Sigh: IKEA discontinues its print catalog. The IOC adds breakdancing to the 2024 Olympic Games. Get books delivered the same day by bicycle (offer only available in Milan). Know your US states—or lack thereof. Mt. Everest gets bigger. The Immortal Bard gets vaccinated. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s continuing to get into the seasonal sprit miscellany.

How Screenworks Is Gearing up for (Even More) Customization by Blending Screen Printing with Investment in Kornit Digital DTG Technology

UK-based Screenworks is accelerating its growth by blending screen printing with digital printing, including investments in tools and solutions to enable production of a catalog of protective, antiviral, promotional, workwear, and day-to-day wear products and accessories. Read more from textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan.

How Enterprises Can Achieve CXM in the New Digital Reality

As we enter the third decade of the 21st century, the Customer Communications Management (CCM) market is undergoing radical changes on an evolutionary scale. In order to better understand the forces behind this evolution, late last year, Aspire CCS surveyed businesses across the globe, interviewed stakeholders in every facet of the market, and published an extensive report entitled, “The State of CCM-to-CXM Transformation.” The final entry in a four-part series focuses on how enterprises can leverage the unique forces currently disrupting the industry to transform their customer communications workflow into a vehicle that drives revenue by maximizing a consumer’s lifetime value.

Why E-Commerce Is More Important than Ever

E-commerce is likely having a significant impact on your processes and business prospects. This article explores the growing importance of e-commerce and highlights how printing companies can use it to their advantage during these changing times.

Ricoh Enters the Cutsheet Production Inkjet Press Market with a Game Changer

Ricoh is not a newcomer to production inkjet. But as a late-comer to cut-sheet production inkjet, how do you compete with both the existing B2+ and A3 presses in the market at the same time? Apparently, they figured it out!

Labels and Packaging 2020: The Year in Review

2020 was a transformative year, not so much for new and significant developments in label and packaging printing technologies—although there were some—but for triggering increased awareness of the value of digital packaging production. David Zwang looks back at the year’s label and packaging products and technologies.

Print Sales Calls: Who’s in Charge of the Conversation?

When a print buyer wants to know your sweet spot or equipment list of upfront, what is the right approach? Pivot the conversation to needs and solutions? Or answer the buyer’s questions?

Johnson’s World—Go Ahead, Judge Me: Christmas Cards and Politics Can Go Hand-in-Hand

In Johnson’s World, a Christmas card sent last Christmas allowed him to make an informed political choice in the last election. Read about how and judge for yourself.

The Future of Print Customer Service

The future of your customer service department still involves skilled labor. In fact, the labor is more skilled than it is today and it will be able to handle more volume because of the self-service tools your customers will have access to. Customer service will turn into customer success—a proactive element to drive more business and maintain loyalty thru convenience.

Executive Q&A with EFI: Chief Revenue Officer Frank Mallozzi Shares the Latest Updates

Cary Sherburne talks to EFI’s Frank Mallozzi about the launch of the second-generation Nozomi digital corrugated press, its trade event plans, and winning an InterTech Award for the EFI Reggiani BOLT digital textile printer.

A Good Year for Software: The New Infrastructure of Your Print Business

WhatTheyThink Print Software section editor Jennifer Matt looks back at the year 2020 in software, some of the trends that emerged from the pandemic, and how software has become an important element in helping print companies adapt and pivot.

The Transformation of a Classic: Duggal Visual Solutions

Duggal Visual Solutions is a company that has been growing and transforming itself since its inception in 1963, and through it all has maintained their core values of high quality and service to their customers. They have proved that they can, and will, continue to innovate and transform to meet the changing needs of visual communications.

Dystopia, Social Justice, and Steamy Romance—November 2020 M&A Activity

Bertelsmann buys Simon & Schuster and Quad’s Book Plant, I.D. Images acquires Pointil Systems, Graphic Village adds a tuck-in, and more…

How Much Sewing Automation is Enough?

Manufacturing automation in textiles and apparel is moving ahead apace, accelerated by advances in digital technology. But the remaining “last mile,” sewing, continues to be a barrier to reshoring of apparel manufacturing on a large scale. This article explores some of the efforts underway to automate sewing and what impact that could have on the future of apparel manufacturing in North America and Europe.

Inkjet, TikTok, and Happy New Year: The Year in Review

Inkjet Insight’s Elizabeth Gooding  rounds up the production inkjet press launches serving the document and publishing market in 2020, when they were announced, when they will be commercially available, and the related development trends.

Develop New Agility Phase Two: Plan from the Foundation

In part two of Preston Herrin’s ongoing series about building an agile business, he describes how to tap into the power source of organizational agility: employees.

Stand Out from the Crowd: Five Keys to an Effective Resume

With so many people out of work and many companies struggling due to the pandemic, competition for available jobs is fiercer than ever. it is ever more critical that resumes are structured to meet today’s very different needs in order to stand out and be considered in the job application process. PrintLink’s Arnold Kahn and Dino Scalia offer five ways to get your resume to rise to the top of the pile.

Other Paperboard Container Manufacturing Establishments—2012–2018

In 2012, there were 348 establishments in NAICS 322219 (Other Paperboard Container Manufacturing). By 2018, that number had declined to 290. In macro news, highlights (if you want to call them that) from the most recent Federal Reserve “Beige Book.”

Around the Web: Electronic Epidermis. Plunging Profits. Lovely Landscapes. Monolith Mystery. Ersatz Ebenezer. Festively Financial. Simulated Santa. Merry Mask.

Why get a smartwatch or some other wearable when you can get electronic skin? Global fashion industry profits are expected to plummet precipitously this year. Winners of this year’s International Landscape Photographer of the Year Awards. One word: monolith. Theaters get creative in staging “A Christmas Carol.” Gift ideas for designers and type lovers. A bank turns its building into an Advent calendar. Good grief: Zoom Santa. Get your Santa mask! All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s slowly getting into the seasonal sprit miscellany.

Print Marketing During COVID-19

Many months in, we’re still struggling to control the COVID-19 pandemic. The good news is that PSPs still have options to connect with their customers and prospects. This article highlights some data from Keypoint Intelligence that seeks to illuminate these possibilities.

The Digital Textile Industry Looks Forward to an On-Demand Future with Incredible Opportunities: Growing 230% By 2025

Looking for a growth opportunity? Look no further than the digital textile industry. A recent report from Allied Market Research predicts that digital textile printing will grow by over 230% by 2025. This is at least partly driven by a reduction in the cost of digital textile inks. Read what textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan has to say about this opportunity.

Lessons in Success During the COVID-19 Pandemic (Part 2)

As it has become clear that the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will be deeper and longer than many expected, printers have an important question to ask: What differentiates the companies that thrive during a recession and those that do not? In this Part 2 on this topic, we look at two additional examples of printing companies that have invested and innovated their way to success.

European Print Industry Snapshot: Portugal

In this bimonthly series, WhatTheyThink is presenting the state of the printing industry in different European countries based on the latest monthly production numbers. This week features a look at the printing industry in Portugal.

Our Customers Don’t Want to Order Online

Humans resist change, even when it provides them real value. If you need a group of humans to change, you have to think about your approach in order to optimize the outcomes. This applies to your existing customers and how they engage with your business.

European Print Imports and Exports

Billions of euros’ worth of printed products are exported and imported across borders in Europe, although the amounts traded and trade balance differ a lot from country to country. European section editor Ralf Schlözer takes a look at the five biggest print markets in Europe and their print trade numbers.

Epson Launches Its First UV Flatbed Printer Series

Epson fills out its wide-format portfolio with the SureColor V7000 Series, the company’s first UV flatbed. The debut unit is the 4 x 8-foot, 10-color SureColor V7000.