Blogs

Digital Printers Invest in Finishing

Now more than ever, printers are investing in technology to automate their shops. Order entry and prepress is being automated with Web-to-print software, new digital presses continue to get more productive, and job information is flowing effortlessly through the system. That drive for automation is now being directed at finishing.

Struggling to Make Contact with a Prospect? Try This Simple Tactic

Are you trying to get hold of anyone who just won’t return calls or e-mails? It’s a common problem. It happens to me all the time! Many prospects and customers are just overloaded with phone messages. So what’s the solution?

Selling and Marketing With a Human2Human Focus (Video)

In this short video, PI blogger Ryan Sauers explains that it is always key to review your B2B and B2C efforts in sales and marketing. However, an H2H (Human2Human) emphasis/focus in your sales and marketing approach is vital in 2018 and beyond.

Other Staff Bloggers
Finishing

Now more than ever, printers are investing in technology to automate their shops. Order entry and prepress is being automated with Web-to-print software, new digital presses continue to get more productive, and job information is flowing effortlessly through the system. That drive for automation is now being directed at finishing.

Although some areas of traditional finishing may be experiencing some bumps, there are LOTS of other opportunities open to the creative engineers who build finishing systems. One area is E-Commerce. Although e-commerce is Web-based, fulfilling the actual order requires someone to physically pick, pack, and ship the items.

Printers and trade finishers are always looking for new opportunities and business. One of the most interesting might be the luxury packaging segment. This is a segment that was basically created by Apple with the introduction of the iPhone in 2007.

Business Management

Are you trying to get hold of anyone who just won’t return calls or e-mails? It’s a common problem. It happens to me all the time! Many prospects and customers are just overloaded with phone messages. So what’s the solution?

In this short video, PI blogger Ryan Sauers explains that it is always key to review your B2B and B2C efforts in sales and marketing. However, an H2H (Human2Human) emphasis/focus in your sales and marketing approach is vital in 2018 and beyond.

Is it even worth it to leave a voicemail message? If you believe it is, read Bill's blog this week and learn five ways to make yours better.

Software

As we approach the end of the calendar year, it is a good time to take a look at your workflow.

EFI announced an exclusive partnership for Jetrion label presses with Xeikon, a Flint Group company. The greatest initial benefactor to the agreement will be existing Jetrion customers who will see expanded service and support from Xeikon, which has been at the forefront of digital label production for many years.

In the world of print production software there is no better example of a love/hate relationship than between print service providers and their print MIS solution. Print MIS solutions are, or should be, the one record of truth for the business which means the solution touches every function and every employee within the shop. Therein lies the problem. Print MIS solutions take a long time to setup and implement in the shop, assuming internal resistance does not derail the entire project.

Mailing/Fulfillment

The Postal Regulatory Commission is proposing that publishers’ postal rates increase by an estimated average of 34% to 41%.

Direct mail pieces that are personalized are somewhat rare, but personalized direct mail pieces offer higher response rates.

With social media as an integral part of people’s daily lives, integrating it with your direct mail can really help drive response.

Digital Printing - Wide Format

In a short period of time, Ricoh has built an impressive portfolio of high-speed rollfed inkjet presses and cut-sheet toner presses, software, plus a line of services that include color management and workflow analysis. Ricoh continues to invest in this market.

During the One Canon press/analyst event (March 7-9) in Boca Raton, Fla., Canon unveiled worldwide the Colorado 1640 and Mal Baboyian, Senior VP of Canon U.S.A.’s Business Imaging Solutions Group for Océ Product Marketing and Support, thinks it is Océ’s most important wide-format graphic arts product introduction in 25 years.

It’s no surprise to see wide-format shops attracting their fair share of attention in the M&A marketplace. We’ve represented a number of them as sellers in transactions this year, and they make an interesting contrast with our commercial printing and packaging clients.

Data Management

Last week I went to a NAPCO conference in New York City called DigiPub. Its advertised mission…

Smart Data brings you the specific information you need using benchmarked and correlated analytics compared against your company’s specific business strategy. The result is a curated set of smarter data that can be used in every day strategy executions.

How important is data in digital finishing? It’s critical. You’re probably relating this to the fact that digital is (by its file-based nature) all about variable data. But beyond creating personalized documents and books, there is the larger question of integrating production data into the plant workflow and MIS systems.

Binding

We have seen lots of advances in adhesives for bookbinding over the years, with PUR (polyurethane reactive) adhesive being the last major game changer. But there is now a revived interest in protein-based adhesives.

The overall shrinkage of the print market has challenged dealers like never before. A smaller potential customer base forces them to diversify their product lines further, and to try to enter new potential markets. This is far from easy, as (successfully) entering a new market — especially against existing competitors — takes lots of time and money. And this also works against new suppliers trying to enter the U.S. market.

You can produce short-run, hardcover orders in-house, and with great quality.

Training and Education

What a dazzling showcase the 2017 SGIA Expo was.

So, why did I title this small piece “bragging rights?” Well, when we (IBIS) attended the awards dinner on Wednesday at our first Inkjet Summit, it turned out that we had been nominated for the best case study in the publishing segment. We didn’t WIN, mind you, but we got a nomination, in company with some of the biggest industry vendors. It was a great way to end our first Inkjet Summit.

Dscoop is part tradeshow and part education event, with an agenda that included A-List keynotes and mentalist Lior Suchard as emcee. The sessions were the expected array of customer success stories, successful selling solutions and product reviews, but there were also a variety of sessions covering finishing, packaging and 3D printing.

Offset Printing

OK, I digress from my usual finishing tech. discussion this week. Although I’m on the digital finishing side, I spent enough time in the high-volume offset world to become quite familiar with publication, periodical and catalog production.

We were in Japan last month, and as luck would have it, we were there at the same time that Komori held an open house to showcase its newest digital print solutions. This international event took place at Komori’s facility in Tsukuba, Japan, and drew hundreds of attendees from all over the Asia Pacific region. It also provided the opportunity to showcase its Impremia IS29, a B2-format, sheetfed, UV inkjet printer.

In a sense, Berlin Industries was once the king of Chicago. Last week, the remaining assets were auctioned off. If you were there, you could have purchased a Heidelberg Sunday M3000 five-unit web press for a mere $47,000.

Digital Printing - Toner

With Canon’s announcement of the Océ VarioPrint 6000 Titan, it’s a good time to revisit the cut-sheet monochrome digital market.

A financial analyst who specializes in the printing industry recently speculated that “the…

I attended the recent Dscoop Americas event in San Antonio and was struck by a few trends, such as value-added special effects, digital laser cutting, PrintBeat (which will be the heart of PrintOS for HP Indigo users), the overlap of inkjet and electrophotography, and Print in 8 (the idea that print could be delivered anywhere in the world in eight hours).

Consumables - Paper

Designers are visual people and the best way to teach a visual person is to show them. What follows are 10 ways you can use your smartphone to reach out to your designer clients, add value to your company website and make life easier for yourself.

Concerned about all of that paper we’re writing and printing on, the Yadong Yin research group at University California Riverside decided to come up with a substrate that could be “written" on, and subsequently erased, through a variety of methods. This piqued my interest.

A multi-country survey on "The Attractiveness and Sustainability of Print and Paper" was conducted in June 2016 by global polling firm Toluna Inc. and showed some positive results on how people perceive and use print and paper. In general, there was a preference for print on paper across all age groups, likely indicating a more fundamental and more human way that people react to the physicality of print on paper.

Digital Printing - Production Inkjet

HP Inc. held its Power of Print analyst briefing on June 15th at its headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., to update the printing industry on its strategy and key initiatives. While there was essentially no new news, what was clear is that HP is building momentum as a leaner and more focused company nearly a year after its separation.

I was fortunate to be invited by Pitney Bowes to attend their annual Innovation Summit, at which over 100 of their clients attend to share experiences, discuss best practices, and get to see and experience new technologies and products and services all in one day. I always jump at the chance to participate in events like this for several reasons.

The fifth annual installment of the Inkjet Summit recently took place in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. I have been lucky enough to attend all five Summits, and once again, it did not disappoint. Each year, approximately 100 printing company owners and senior-level operations and sales executives attend this invitation-only event.

Interactive Print

On Thursday May 11, around 150 Konica Minolta production print users gathered in Vienna for a day of presentations at the inaugural meeting of PROKOM, the Konica Minolta user community. With the focus, at least at first, on users of cut-sheet light to mid-production color and black-and-white digital print, the opportunity for PROKOM is unlike many other user groups, which tend to focus on higher levels of production.

Advertising media, interactive displays, product labeling and packaging, security—all are perfect playgrounds for NFC technology. Yes, some of the marketing applications are similar to QR codes, but without the ugly square that has been driving design-minded folks crazy for years.

Some marketers want to use technology whether it makes sense—and thus provides a good user experience—or not. A good user experience takes work. Lots of work. It has to be planned and executed well.

Digital Printing - Digital Offset

What follows is an interview with Rosemarie Breske Garvey, VP at Blooming Color in Lombard, Ill. Blooming Color is doing some pretty spectacular work beyond traditional four-color printing and I wanted to learn more.

A young designer I spoke to the other day was very frank about the fact that she did not like digital printing because you could only print on white paper. Granted there are some print providers that prefer to print on white coated stock all day long (digital or offset, it does not matter to them). And these few give our whole industry a bad reputation.

Mergers and Acquisitions

It looked like a good fit. The seller, unfortunately, didn’t see it that way.

As a trade association president, I knew that one of my most important jobs was to offer our members a friendly, well informed, third-party perspective on strategic business issues. Today, our New Direction Partners clients want the same thing: not just information about the mechanics of M&As, but also a genuine understanding of the industry and the mindsets of the people who own those companies.

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.

Consumables - General

Quick! Name two consumables that are indispensable to operation in the bindery. If you named adhesives as one, you'd be on the mark. But...if you included knives, (yes, they are a consumable), you would be quite savvy. Cutting and trimming are part of almost every finishing operation. And the quality of those cuts are essential to the quality of the finished product.

Adhesives are widely used in finishing, this includes perfect binding, folding, mailing, and folding carton applications. And coatings and various chemical solutions are used in the digital print process to both enhance image quality and make the paper more "finishing-friendly." Both chemistry and environmental control have a lot to do with systems performance.

Digital printing has thrown a curve at both coating and film systems manufacturers due to the surface properties of many toner printed pieces. These make it difficult for many films and coatings to properly adhere to the substrate.

Consumables - Ink

The fifth housing station in the upgraded Xerox 800i/1000i series can now also deliver metallic inks: gold and silver.

Color/Quality Control

Whether it's uncoated, coated, gloss or matte, every sheet reacts differently on-press. That’s the reason why our industry has developed sets of guidelines and recommendations to help print buyers, designers, and specifiers work more effectively with their print suppliers.

A new Pantone book is not only there in case your issue has faded or to update you on the new colors Pantone has added...Pantone reserves the right to adjust some of your tried-and-true colors from year to year. I learned this the hard way on a press check a few years ago when my printer’s PMS 362 did not match mine.

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?