Do You Have Clients or Customers?

There’s a big difference between a client and a customer.

Are You an 'A' Player?

When I ask people to define what constitutes an "A" Player, as you can probably imagine, the responses are all over the place. So as we researched the subject, we found a great little quiz by David DeWolf on what makes an "A" Player.

NFL Coach Bill Belichick Smashes Tablet and Goes Back to Paper

Back in 2014, Microsoft struck a deal to supply the NFL with Surface tablets as a coaching tool. I am sure it has many benefits …

Other Staff Bloggers
Sales and Marketing

There’s a big difference between a client and a customer.

When I ask people to define what constitutes an "A" Player, as you can probably imagine, the responses are all over the place. So as we researched the subject, we found a great little quiz by David DeWolf on what makes an "A" Player.

There are certain business principles that are timeless in nature. This week's post overviews a few of them with a short video. They help remind us of some key concepts to remember when we are trying to grow our business the right way.


Back in 2014, Microsoft struck a deal to supply the NFL with Surface tablets as a coaching tool. I am sure it has many benefits …

Ever thought about the link between forest fires and your printing choices?

New research highlights the importance of forests, and the future of straw can revolutionize the printing industry.

Market Watch

One of the worst and most painful selling situations occurs when you get caught with your hands in the cookie jar.

Graph Expo’s first visit to Orlando can be considered a qualified success.

Coming on the heels of drupa, Graph Expo will be a great opportunity to see some of the latest product announcements made at drupa.

Binding and Finishing

Polywrappers are quite complex machines that are used to provide a polyethylene “package” for lots of different printed media.

Way back in 2012, I wrote a blog about vision systems in the bindery. Well, it’s late 2016, and I’m feeling this needs a refresh. If I could name one technology that wasn’t around in finishing 30 years ago, but is now (in a big way), it would be machine vision.

The manufacture of hard-cover books has never been more advanced or accessible for the average printer.

Production Inkjet Printing

Last week I went to Boca Raton, Fla., for the 2016 thINK Conference. The sessions that I attended were well done and thought provoking.

I’d already been briefed on a lot of drupa 2016 news before I left home so I wasn’t really expecting much to surprise me. I was wrong.

The latest offering from thINK and Canon Solutions America is "The Inkjet Edge: How to Transition Your Business to Inkjet," a new book that will be a valuable tool for print service providers of all types. The book follows in the footsteps of "The Designer’s Guide to Inkjet," which was published last year. "The Inkjet Edge" takes a more business-oriented approach in an effort to help print service providers that are considering, or are in the midst of, an inkjet transition.

Mergers and Acquisitions

For many years, I had the privilege of serving in leadership positions with Printing Industries of New England (PINE), the largest printing trade association in the Northeast. Then as now, I was greatly impressed by the resiliency of our members and their ability to adapt to changing business circumstances.

we’ve seen a number of articles suggesting that last year’s boom in mergers and acquisitions may be running out of steam.

Who would have thought that we'd ever be talking about negative interest rates? Now we have to, because in many places, they’ve become a fact of life. While the likelihood of negative rates in the U.S. seems small, the Federal Reserve has said it doesn’t rule out using them for emergency stimulus in an economic crisis.

Productivity/Process Improvement

One of the great lessons I’ve learned from having three business careers, and years of watching the "Phantom" in action is, that with almost every pivot I made in business, the change paid a dividend.

A truly documented production workflow identifies all of the touch points.

Most companies that have a printing operation believe that they have a workflow process. In-plant departments, packaging converters, direct mail providers, commercial printers, sign shops and transaction producers all know that to keep the business running they must identify each job, break it down into components, and track it through their organization until it is delivered to the end client. However, what most organizations have is a series of processes that have grown over the years to mitigate bottlenecks as they arise.


When I walk into a coffee shop, I check the napkins for environmental claims. Today, I saw this claim at an Orlando Starbucks.

We often hear reports that there are more trees in North America today than there were 100 years ago.

In case you are not up to speed on the latest iPhone apps — here is one that really piqued my interest! It’s called "Recently" and it automatically creates a high-quality printed magazine with the most recent photos taken with an iPhone ... and mails it to you! In today's blog, I feature an interview with Scott Valins, young entrepreneur and founder of "Recently."

Business Management

"Leaders are born, not made," some say. In some cases, that may be true. But, in my three careers, what I have witnessed is: Leadership is learned and developed. It's a DECISION to step up in a lead position! There's hope...

This may be a shocker for most of you: I have a zero tolerance when it comes to hiring salespeople.

It happens all over the country in organizations every day. A top prospect suddenly emails a salesperson a Request for Proposal and they immediately forward it to their manager with a note, "We need to throw everything we have at this. This is a real opportunity for us!" Is it, really?


Clearly, the idea of documenting your workflow architecture and environment resonated with those who read the last installment. It is not surprising! We all know that every business process should be backed up with documentation, but it is easy to push it down the priority list. Perhaps raising the visibility will help raise the priority!

Companies really need help managing their collaterals and marketing assets. And they are willing to pay for this help.

Interview with Erica Derrington, graphic communications manager, Olathe Unified School District in-plant print shop.


In 2016, mailing list gaffes simply shouldn’t happen. But one might have cost the University of Michigan a prized football recruit.

Households with incomes above $100,000 receive three times as many periodicals as households earning less than $35,000.

Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting Japs-Olson of Minneapolis—a printer that can trace its roots all the way back to 1907! Japs-Olson embodies the lean manufacturing approach to today's direct mail. What I saw was a "holistic" integrated process. Japs-Olson is capable of sending more than four million pieces a day into the USPS mail stream. To do this efficiently, you need critical thinking to be applied at every stage of the process.

Digital Printing

You’ve no doubt heard this before, but I come from the offset finishing world, and specifically the long-run finishing universe.

After digesting a week of meetings at drupa 2016 along with plenty of good German food and beer, the InfoTrends analyst team believes the show can be characterized by five major themes. Those are Inkjet 3.0, Digital Printing of Packaging, B1 Digital, Special Effects and Industry 4.0.

Well, I've put another "drupa notch" on my belt, and it was quite an experience. The weather in Düsseldorf was good, and the crowds were there. For those who have never been, the sheer size of the show, and the enormous investment by the hundreds of firms exhibiting are truly mind-boggling. Deals were done, and many were for multiple high-priced systems, putting lots of smiles on vendor salespeople and management.

Wide-format Digital Printing

On July 1st, EFI made two announcements: One was the acquisition of the Israeli Matan Digital Printer, and the second was the acquisition of Reggiani Macchine. Both acquisitions are part of EFI’s stated strategy to invest and grow its product portfolio in adjacent markets and technologies.

Color/Quality Control

Sabine’s out-of-town client, a very sophisticated direct marketing agency, had examined the press okay process, jettisoned accepted assumptions, and along the way demolished the model entirely. Air travel, hotels, loupe, D50 lighting, heck, even dots. Who needs any of it?

The task that color management sets out to achieve is by no means easy. Recently at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), I completed a color management systems course and afterwards took on the challenge of color managing a weekly magazine.

Sheetfed Offset Printing

The 150 VIP attendees at Heidelberg’s recent President’s event witnessed a mix of high and low energy. The “high” was a kickoff tribute dinner for former president Jim Dunn; the “low” was an educational program focusing on low-energy UV printing.

UV Offset Printing

We were told upon the arrival of the sales and tech rep from the roller manufacturer that the $30,000 worth of rollers that were previously ordered and installed by my client were not compatible with full UV inks.

Starting out with the topic of LED UV, Steve Metcalf and Jon Graunke gave an update on where this new technology is currently and where it’s going. They noted that AMS successfully installed its first production unit in Japan on a four-over-four machine last fall, with more units to be installed here in the states this year.

With yet another sold-out conference last week, Print UV 2011 opened with a record audience count. The attendee list included almost 170 participants with representatives from more than 60 individual printing companies, along with some of the leading vendors.