Blogs

A Not-Forgotten Hero of Printing

It's an honor to remember and thank those who came before us in this industry, and to share here, a memory I have of one of these sometimes-forgotten heroes of the printing industry, Carl Williamson, owner of Kennedy Print Shop, Baton Rouge, La.

Survey Shows Some Positive Consumer Trends in Favor of Print

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.

How to Compensate My Salesforce

One of the most critical plans in any organization and a very common question we receive is: "How should I craft a compensation plan for my salesforce?" The salesforce represents your brand in the marketplace, makes or breaks your revenue and margin expectations and serves to advance your company mission and vision.

Other Staff Bloggers
Consumables

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.

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?

Business Management

One of the most critical plans in any organization and a very common question we receive is: "How should I craft a compensation plan for my salesforce?" The salesforce represents your brand in the marketplace, makes or breaks your revenue and margin expectations and serves to advance your company mission and vision.

Businesses with beautiful showrooms, great quality and service, with a recognizable logo and brand colors are usually well-known, successful franchises. These type businesses have an X-factor, those unseen investments that are actually invisible to their customers. However, if you are a professional observer, like myself, it's only natural that you’ve developed a kind of X-ray Vision, to see these invisible investments.

"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...

Sales and Marketing

Make today the last day that you are frustrated with the lack of productivity.

In a world full of social selling clutter, I’m going to try to cut through the muck and share how I would train my sales force today.

The personality of any company is generally a connect-the-dots link to the top brass. This holds true right down to work ethic.

Binding and Finishing

Any trade bindery owner looking to keep his business going must look at other opportunities outside of traditional print finishing.

Hardcover book production seemed to be under serious threat not too many years ago.

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

Mergers and Acquisitions

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

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.

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.

Workflow/Web-to-Print

Touch points are the discrete processes required to move a job through the workflow.

In this series we are looking at the world of workflow. Based on your feedback it is a hot topic, especially during the budgeting season. One thing that emerged from the conversations is that we are all using the word workflow, but we don’t all mean the same thing.

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!

Sustainability

Choose collaborative ENGOs (environmental non-governmental organizations) versus getting bullied into difficult situations.

Out of the 50 largest print buyers in North America, 48 have set goals or commitments around paper use.

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

Production Inkjet Printing

No one predicted that wide-format inkjet would open a new market for printers for signage, vehicle wraps, building wraps, back drops, and more. Go back and look. The first wide-format printers were introduced as proofers for color printing. As Benny Landa has said: anything that can go digital will go digital. That is why the growth markets are packaging and new media — and by media I mean new substrates.

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.

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.

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.

Mailing/Postal

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.