Dr. Joe Webb Economic Update, Sponsored by KPG Draws International Audience
Press release from the issuing company
Lexington, KY October 4, 2004 -- In a free Webinar hosted by WhatTheyThink.com, the printing industry’s leading source of news and information, Dr. Joe Webb, one of the industry's best-known consultants and a 26-year veteran of the graphic arts industries, shared his insight on the state of the industry as the 4th Quarter of 2004 approaches, and his views about how 2005 will shape up. Nearly 400 senior printing executives from around the world registered for this event, which was sponsored by Kodak Polychrome Graphics (KPG). While most of the attendees were from North America, viewers also tuned in from New Zealand, Russia, Argentina, Colombia, Germany, England, and Mexico. The audio of the Webinar and PDF of the presentation are available online:
Among the non-economic topics covered by Dr. Webb were:
The print business owner’s “to do” list (sustainable print profitability basics),
What to expect at Graph Expo
Dr. Joe’s Autumn Reading List
“Print shipments have begun to pick up,” said Dr. Webb, “and printers’ profits are improving. This is a good sign for the months ahead. But a ‘digital divide’ does seem to be occurring, with advertisers preferring new media over print for the under-35 crowd. This could create long-term demand issues in the printing industry.”
Employment is picking up with seven quarters of increased household wealth. Dr. Webb also forecasted GDP to remain on a +3.75% to +4.25% growth path, slightly lower than last quarter’s forecast. Dr. Webb also projected that the Fed would raise rates again later this year-after the election at its regularly scheduled meeting. And he pointed out that CEO enthusiasm is still somewhat constrained, benefiting small businesses and outsourcers- including printers- as companies outsource rather than hire employees.
While recovery in the printing industry in terms of print shipments is not as strong as much of the rest of the economy, Dr. Webb indicated that printing profits are on the rise, which is good news for the industry. Printing profits in the 2nd Quarter of 2004 were up by +48.5% over the same quarter in 2003. “The key to maintaining this increased profitability,” according to Dr. Webb, “is to aggressively manage capacity utilization inside the plant. It is also important to offer the right product mix and to maintain control of the sales process. Focusing on building relationships and solving customer business problems is a much different approach than simply selling print.”
Dr. Webb continued, “Management matters. It almost doesn’t make a difference what the industry is doing. Individual companiescompanies that are well-managed can do well even in tough economic times.”
Other advice Dr. Webb shared with the graphic arts community included:
•Look for business among the fastest growing industry segments. Government data and your local Chamber of Commerce can put you on the right path.
•Eat your own cooking! If you believe in print as an effective communications medium, employ it in your own marketing efforts.
•Understand why buyers are loyal; good management, rapid turnaround and value-added services will augment customer retention.
The presentation, including audio, can be accessed at no charge by visiting
Dr. Webb will be presenting his next quarterly update on December 8th, hosted by WhatTheyThink.com and sponsored by Kodak Polychrome Graphics. He also provides commentary in his weekly WhatTheyThink columns, available to Premium Access members.
About Kodak Polychrome Graphics:
Kodak Polychrome Graphics provides one of the broadest portfolios of digital, conventional and business solutions available in the graphic arts industry today. Products and services include a wide range of computer-to-plate and conventional lithographic and flexographic plate products, digital halftone, virtual, inkjet, and analog proofing products, digital printing applications, color workflow tools, storage solutions, business solutions and Kodak branded graphic arts films. With headquarters in Norwalk, Connecticut, USA, KPG serves customers around the globe with regional offices in the United States, Europe, Japan, Asia Pacific and Latin America. Additional information regarding Kodak Polychrome Graphics may be found on the company's website: www.kpgraphics.com
WhatTheyThink.com is the print and publishing industry's leading online community. The company offers a mixture of free and subscription-based content for industry executives. Additionally, WhatTheyThink.com provides a robust content syndication program serving related web sites.
About Dr. Joe Webb
Industry commentator and forecaster Dr. Joe Webb is a 26+ year veteran of the graphic arts industry. He has served the industry as a consultant, executive, and the founder of the TrendWatch surveys. His academic background is a combination of business, computer technologies, and graphic arts. His doctoral work was completed at the NYU Center for Graphic Arts Management and Technology. Dr. Webb has worked with industry suppliers of all types, including those marketing capital equipment such as presses, software developers, computer and peripheral manufacturers and developers, national and multinational organizations, associations, and others. A frequent speaker at industry events, Dr. Webb's weekly column “Fridays with Dr. Joe” appears at www.WhatTheyThink.com where it has become a must-read feature for the entire printing industry.
Dr. Webb is the author of “Renewing the Print Industry: A Contrarian’s Constructive Perspective.” A sample of that report can be downloaded from http://www.prweb.com/prfiles/2004/05/04/123740/renew_ind_toc&chap1.pdf
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.