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EVP, Marketing at Specialty Print Communications

Against the Grain

By Dustin LeFebvre

About Dustin

A third-generation printer, Dustin LeFebvre delivers his vision for Specialty Print Communications as EVP, Marketing through strategy, planning and new product development. With a rich background ranging from sales and marketing to operations, quality control and procurement, Dustin takes a wide-angle approach to SPC

 

New Year’s Card an Object Lesson for Procrastination

Business is a race. We’re all given the same 24 hours and the same 52 weeks. What we do with them determines whether we’ll eat someone’s lunch or vice versa. We just sent a New Year’s card to our customers.
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Industry Centers:

Laboring Under a Misconception About Outsourcing

Engineering and manufacturing are hands-on and iterative processes. When the two are separated, the other competency fades quickly and engineers can forget how to design for efficient, high-quality and productive manufacturing. Innovation declines, and good ideas are left on the table.  Read More >>

Industry Centers:

A Printing Industry Without Postal Reform?

The stakes are high for our industry, with 65 percent of all print distributed through the USPS system. What would happen if the system shuts down? Within the next year, that is a real possibility and we must not continue to ignore it. Postal reform means different things to different people, and the ticking we hear is either the countdown of the clock…or the countdown of a bomb that could explode our industry.  Read More >>

Industry Centers:

Being a Printer Means Always Saying You’re Sorry

Last week, I was interviewing a candidate for an enterprise QC management position. His response to one of my questions struck me as profoundly disturbing: “Never in my career have I been called with good news.”  Read More >>

Industry Centers:

Escape from the Office to Get Work Done

This morning, I watched Jason Freid’s talk, titled “Why work doesn’t happen at work.” Everyone knows about the constant interruptions at work, and the lunacy of running from meeting to meeting without ever getting a chance to accomplish anything.  Read More >>

Industry Centers:

Manage Constraints to Realize ‘The Goal’

Without sufficient sales at the top of the funnel, you’ll never cover your fixed costs to see black at the bottom. Most people in the industry would say their tightest bottlenecks are their sales organizations, except this time of year when the source shifts to production.
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Industry Centers:

What a Week of Trade Show Madness!

My week started with the annual pilgrimage to McCormick Place for GRAPH EXPO 2012, then it was off to the always-glowing lights of Las Vegas to exhibit at the Direct Marketing Assn. meeting. On my way home, I had time to reflect on these events. I wondered what happened to decorum.  Read More >>

Industry Centers:

Stop the Re-Org Merry-go-round

The industry has seen a lot of reorganizations in the past decade, with Quad’s just-announced acquisition of Vertis’ assets a particularly pointed example. When your liabilities are cleaned from your balance sheet, it shouldn’t be difficult to avoid catastrophe for the next two years.  Read More >>

Industry Centers:

MSP: Path to the Future or Rotten to the Core?

Is your business becoming a marketing service provider (MSP), or is it in the process of dying? The thinking behind the MSP evolution is this: if you’re an expert in direct mail, you might be capable of providing expertise in email or social media execution.  Read More >>

Industry Centers:

Holding Mill Accountable for Lack of Consistency in Stock

After the first batch of stock yielded 1.5 million kits, we reordered the same stock and undertook exactly the same production process. But when the shells arrived at the lasers for imaging, they started twisting and misfeeding. Production plummeted by 40 percent.  Read More >>

Industry Centers:

Papers that Deserve a Passing Grade

“Faster, better, stronger” will also describe the supply chain if the overall paper market rationalizes SKUs in a similarly thoughtful, customer-focused way. For many categories of paper, the total days of inventory within the system can be mind-blowing.  Read More >>

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Industry Centers:

Printers Haven’t Grown Up. At Least not a Lot of Us

I contend that VDP was commoditized before it was widely adopted. In much the same way the stock market succumbed to what Greenspan famously described as “irrational exuberance,” so too did our appetite for shiny new digital objects.  Read More >>

Industry Centers:

Phoning in Press Okays - Literally

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?  Read More >>

Industry Centers:

Are We Drinking Our Own Bathwater?

The printing industry is very much a closed network, an insular community dominated by those who have worked in it for decades. The longstanding relationships that form within it provide lots of benefits, but this type of network encourages groupthink.
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Industry Centers:

It’s a Holi-DAY, not Week

It seems as though American holidays, like our American waistlines, have become super-sized. I’m all for a little R&R from time to time, but I do find it peculiar that during a time when many across the world question America’s ability to maintain its global dominance, we’ve become accepting of something less than our founding Protestant work ethic.  Read More >>

Industry Centers:

Directed-to-Buy Paper Rolls Over Printers

I was asked to share the printer’s perspective in my “Against the Grain” blogs. So here’s my opinion on directed-to-buy paper programs: I hate them. Given the options of directed-to-buy, customer-furnished stock, and supplying stock from your own vendor, would any printer ever choose the directed-to buy option?  Read More >>

Industry Centers:

Socks, Six-Sigma and Salvation (Army)

I likely blocked out all memories of past household moves, since I wasn’t particularly anxious about this one. My house was an operations disaster! I wondered how in the world I had accumulated so much, and how I had failed to realize it.  Read More >>

Industry Centers:

Retailers Building with Data, not Brick and Mortar

Last week, I attended a customer relationship marketing conference for retailers, by retailers. I have to say that I barely made it through the conference without spontaneously combusting from the speed of change in the retail marketing sector.  Read More >>

Industry Centers:

What a Week! Chicago Shines, Facebook Fades

General Motors pulled its ads from Facebook just days before the technology company floated its shares on the NASDAQ. The automaker cited a lack of results from the advertising platform. That’s music to the ears of a direct mail printer.
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Industry Centers:

Auction Marks End of Major Printer, Offers Bargains

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.  Read More >>

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