Blogs

Quality Slackers Talking Points - The 4 Myths

Quality Slackers have almost NO quality control or service control system implemented. There’s a remedy!

Four Reasons Why Customer Loyalty Is Shortening

Building high value customer relationships is the primary basis of a healthy organization. Here are four reasons customers might leave.

Direct Mail: Create USPS Informed Delivery Ads

USPS Informed Delivery allows customers to receive emails with grey-scale images of the address side of letter-sized mail pieces.

Other Staff Bloggers
Business Management

Quality Slackers have almost NO quality control or service control system implemented. There’s a remedy!

Building high value customer relationships is the primary basis of a healthy organization. Here are four reasons customers might leave.

Printers talk about their ability to offer quality services. Few take it beyond those words in the marketplace.

Mailing/Fulfillment

USPS Informed Delivery allows customers to receive emails with grey-scale images of the address side of letter-sized mail pieces.

Many times, one key aspect of direct mail marketing is overlooked and that is the structure of your database. Data really matters.

Because direct mail is the little engine that could for your marketing funnel, it can sustain you through troubled times. Direct mail

Finishing

The Inkjet Summit kicked off last week in Florida and I was lucky enough to attend for the second time. What a difference a year makes!

Digital cutters have revolutionized the wide-format print sector, capable of producing almost any shape you can imagine from a flat sheet. But, it turns out that about half of all wide-format work involves simple squares and rectangles, meaning complex cutters may not be the ideal solution.

A few weeks ago, I reported on Muller Martini assuming much of Kolbus' perfect binding and hard-cover systems portfolio. So, I thought I would provide an update. Both firms are giants in the postpress field, with many, many years of history of providing continuous bindery innovation. When you think about it, this was inevitable.

Color/Quality Control

Color differentiation is often measured in terms of “Delta E.” But what exactly is Delta E?

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.

Digital Printing - Production Inkjet

On March 20, the Book Industry Guild of New York (BIGNY) got straight talk on the state of printing technologies from three printers.

Companies watching for installations of single-pass printers for corrugated, learned of another customer for the EFI Nozomi this month.

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.

Training and Education

I get to visit a lot of bindery operations and there is one “common” denominator that arises in conversation.

In a small business, at the beginning stage of documenting processes, the person wearing the hat of process manager, at first, should be the owner. The owner needs to lead the charge in documenting how the business will operate and look and implementing a production management checklist can be crucial in keeping things running smoothly.

What a dazzling showcase the 2017 SGIA Expo was.

Software

Most successful small manufacturing companies use MIS software. Unfortunately, there’s a failure to launch about 80% of the features.

EFI recently released a significant rewrite and enhancement to the Direct Smile platform and has named it MarketDirect Cross Media.

When you properly plan a personalized variable data workflow, you will have integrated software, press, and finishing in a workflow where there is accountability and verification at every step in the process. Which is surely what you will need for success.

Consumables - Paper

Understanding your carbon footprint can decrease your consumption of energy and materials, reducing your carbon emissions.

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.

Digital Printing - Toner

The grapevine has been ripe the past weeks, but now the news is finally out. Fujifilm has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase the majority holding of Xerox Corporation and will merge Fuji Xerox with Xerox.

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…

Binding

So, I was doing some weekend planning on Friday when an email arrived in my inbox with the simple subject line “WOW!” Who could resist opening such a message? The announcement was that Muller Martini was effectively taking over the perfect binding and bookline business of Kolbus.

The education segment has been the subject of a push by various test producing firms to ditch the printed test booklet and go digital.

As we approach Christmas, Don Piontek is feeling more optimistic than ever about print and print finishing.

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…

With the new generation of finishing systems, connectivity has become a big selling point. Given the shift to shorter runs, machine availability, makeready time, and productivity are all critical to profits. So, accurate metrics have become more important than ever.

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.

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.

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 - Ink

Slowing down and following a "Best Practices" method to paper trials and qualification will save you time and ink costs by focusing on ink and paper surface compatibility. As your cost for a better inkjet paper and print quality go up, your ink usage should go down. But only if there are best practices in place.

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

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.