Blogs

A Review of 2016 Corporate Greeting Cards

This is the seventh time that I have recorded a video blog review of all the corporate greeting cards I received during the holidays.

Strategy's Important Work: MarketCues National Research Results (Part One)

Senior executives often tell us they have a strategy in place, and executives generally believe the issue is increasingly important to their organization's success. But as their strategic programs become challenged in the marketplace by multiple competitive sources, many of whom are using innovation to drive their brand awareness and become better known, challenges to continue to retain key clients become increasingly more difficult.

How Automated Is Your Workflow Automation?

There are still a few more items in the Workflow Quiz to work through before we can say that every stone has been turned over in the quest for optimization and documentation. In this segment it’s time to look at what processes you have that might qualify as islands of automation that should be linked together.

Other Staff Bloggers
Business Management

This is the seventh time that I have recorded a video blog review of all the corporate greeting cards I received during the holidays.

Senior executives often tell us they have a strategy in place, and executives generally believe the issue is increasingly important to their organization's success. But as their strategic programs become challenged in the marketplace by multiple competitive sources, many of whom are using innovation to drive their brand awareness and become better known, challenges to continue to retain key clients become increasingly more difficult.

Social Selling is to the sales profession what Content Marketing is to the marketing profession. It’s the one subject that sales experts are discussing in professional circles, both online and in sales meetings. Social Selling is a concept that develops the sales representatives' social networks.

Workflow/Web-to-Print

There are still a few more items in the Workflow Quiz to work through before we can say that every stone has been turned over in the quest for optimization and documentation. In this segment it’s time to look at what processes you have that might qualify as islands of automation that should be linked together.

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.

Sustainability

If we are to manage our forests wisely for the benefit of current and future generations, we need to understand the situation of the world’s forests and ongoing trends.

It’s that time of year when we’re all hearing lots of talk about New Year’s resolutions. Whether we keep these resolutions and fulfill our commitments or find them more challenging than expected, it is still a good idea to assess our habits, decisions and practices, and ask how we can bring about the most positive and widespread benefit to our world. We all want our legacy to tip the scales to the good.

"The light! The light is incredible!" Words uttered in awe by a senior printing company executive as we walked with him into the depths of the ancient temperate rainforest on Canada’s west coast. The subtle beauty of this natural forest cathedral generates a state of wonder.

Production Inkjet Printing

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.

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.

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.

Wide-format Digital Printing

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.

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.

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.

Binding and Finishing

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

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

We see tons of packaging in retail every day, but luxury packaging is a different breed.

Productivity/Process Improvement

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.

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.

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.

Consumables

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.

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?

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.