June 2007 Issue


Accepting a Mail Dominant World —Cagle

BITS & PIECES RANT WARNING! Keep your hands, face and elbows away from the magazine. Please adhere; neither I nor the powers that be at North American Publishing can be held responsible for those either materially injured or vicariously insulted. Reader discretion is advised. I’m missing something extremely fundamental. Perhaps someone can help me put my finger on it. You know, one of those revelatory moments when you say, “Ah, now I see what you’re talking about.” I’m in need of revelation. It’s this whole “Do Not Mail” (DNM) nonsense. I really, really don’t get it. Why would people take up a cause to

ACROSS the nation

Prepress and Press Capabilities Are Enhanced THREE RIVERS, MI—DeGraaf’x Inc. has streamlined its workflow with a new five-color Heidelberg Printmaster PM 52 perfector and Prosetter P 52 platesetter, as well as several elements of Heidelberg’s Prinect workflow system, including Signa Station, Printready System and MetaDimension. Marek Dives Into Digital WAUKESHA, WI—Tamara Marek, president, and Fuzzy Marek, CEO, purchased a new Kodak Digimaster EX138 system, a NexPress 2500 press and NexGlosser glossing unit for their printing operation, The Marek Group. The digital technology was installed to help the company handle its expanding Web- to-print business. CALIFORNIA CARLSBAD—L + L Printers installed

Allegra Reno — Little Puppy, Big Kennel

Far from the bright lights of Las Vegas, just north of Nevada’s capital of Carson City, lies a testament to the power of four-color general commercial printing. . .and it’s a franchise establishment, no less. Allegra Print & Imaging has more heart than press firepower, but the Reno, NV-based facility remains undaunted in the face of heavy competition. Allegra Reno, as it is informally known, is a contradiction by nature. The franchise shops under the Allegra Network umbrella—Allegra Print & Imaging, American Speedy, Instant Copy, Insty-Prints, Signs Now, Speedy Printing and Zippy Print (in Canada)—are predominantly quick print shops offering one- and two-color offset

BINDERY matters

New Diecutter a Plus for Northern Ohio CLEVELAND—After spending upward of $10,000 a month to outsource its diecutting work, Northern Ohio Printing decided to pull those jobs back in-house with the acquisition of a KAMA TS 74-60HF diecutter with foil stamping and embossing features. Gary Chmielewski, president and owner of Northern Ohio Printing, notes the new gear has begun to create a profitable niche market for itself. Thus far, the company has logged more than 40 diecutting, foil stamping and embossing jobs on the KAMA. Northern Ohio specializes in short- to medium-run commercial printing, with runs between 100 and 5,000 pieces for foil stamping and

Breach Costs Printer Contract

BROOKLINE, MA—An Indiana printer saw its contract terminated by the state of Massachusetts after some residents of this village were mailed tax forms with their neighbors’ social security numbers on them. The state’s Department of Revenue canceled the pact after Indianapolis-based Allison Payment Systems—contracted for $235,000 to print and mail estimated income tax coupon books to 411,000 taxpayers statewide—erroneously sent 45 mailings that contained social security numbers to wrong addresses, the Boston Globe reported. The Revenue Department’s taxpayer advocate, Joseph McDermott, personally called each of the 45 mis-routed recipients and asked the people to mail them back. The books are sent to residents who make estimated

Canadian Trade Printers — Going North of the Border

Toronto is home to many wondrous icons, from the CN Tower on down to hockey’s Maple Leafs. But, to the printing industry, the greater Toronto area is a fertile feeding ground for farming out excess volume or special needs jobs to the scores of printers to the trade that thrive here. It is a curiosity that so many printers to the trade are based in and around Toronto, but there are advantages to taking this route. Many of the trade businesses are relatively young, thus, much of the equipment in these shops is new. For many, an outside sales force is unnecessary. And, now,

City Colors — Direct Imaging Devotees

FOCUS ON the basics—market opportunity, customer needs, streamlined workflow and the right equipment—is paying off for City Colors Digital Printing Center, Doral, FL. A family owned and operated business, City Colors was created in 1998 as a “to the trade only” printer, running a new Heidelberg QM DI with an imaging system from Presstek. As the company grew, it added two more of these direct imaging presses. Today, it employs 18 people and has recently added two Presstek 52DIs, replacing two of the QM DIs. “We’re confident and happy about our future and our opportunity for growth,” reports Maria Elena Infante, who handles the

Colorful Marketing Opportunities —Sherburne

In February, I talked a bit about how print service providers could use their color expertise as a marketing tool. Although I am not a color expert or a graphic designer, I do love the way colors work with each (or, hate it when they don’t). In my spare time, when I am not writing columns for Printing Impressions, I am also a fiber artist, weaving, spinning and doing needlework. So, because of my dual interest in the craft of printing and the craft of fiber arts, I like to keep my eye on the latest color trends. You would think that with all of

Colville Leaving CGX Again

HOUSTON—Chris Colville, executive vice president and CFO for Consolidated Graphics (CGX), but best known for orchestrating many of the company’s biggest deals, announced he is leaving the company at the end of June to pursue other interests. This was the second tenure at CGX for Colville, who departed the company in 2000 to become managing director of Murphy Noell Capital in Westlake Village, CA. He returned to CGX in 2002. “Although not a printer in the traditional sense, the printing industry has been very good to me,” Colville told Printing Impressions. “I’ve met many, many great people whom I respect and admire, including Joe Davis and

DIGITAL digest

When in Rome. . .Do as the Printers ROME—There’s been a marked increase in the number of vendor-specific industry events—mini trade shows, open houses and road shows—held in recent years. They provide stages (some even international) for new product introductions and briefings on how these companies see the state of affairs. HP recently brought hundreds of customers, press people and analysts from around the world to Rome during the run of its 2007 Graphic Arts Summit. Highlights included the introduction of two new seven-color HP Indigo press models (5500 and 3500), a near-line UV coater and a large-format printer targeted to print service providers

FedEx Kinko’s — Network of Resources

Business happens pretty quickly in the printing trade, and the same can be said for the shipping industry. Merge the two together, and you can expect the pace to get ratcheted up a level or two. Take the humble beginnings of FedEx Kinko’s Office and Print Services. Paul Orfalea, founder of Kinko’s, put a couple of copiers in a taco stand on the campus of the University of California-Santa Barbara in 1970 and sold a minority stake (tacos not included) for $200 million in 1996. Today, the printing and shipping hybrid does just north of $2 billion in annual revenues with a staggering 1,600

List Hygiene — ABCs of Improving Address Quality

There’s no escaping the fact that direct mail just doesn’t work with a bad address. The most compelling creative printed on the finest brochure is useless if it doesn’t get to the intended recipient. Why should that matter to you? The ultimate responsibility lies with your customer and their mailing list, after all. If they give you a bad address and you print and mail it correctly, it isn’t your fault if it doesn’t get delivered. That reaction will probably hold up in court but, in business, you need to do better. The more you work with your customers’ data, the more they will

Management Information Systems — A Hit with Printers

Advocating for the use of a computerized management information system can have the feel of preaching to the converted. The true believers have already invested the money and resources to implement a system, gotten staff buy-in, and they routinely act on the data collected. There are less ardent converts, though, who have only implemented select components of an integrated MIS or are so focused on day-to-day operations that they can’t capitalize on the business information being gathered. There are also those shops not actively using an MIS solution for various reasons, a key one being the investment involved. Today’s business demands are causing

MFSA/NAPL Conference — Survey Results Are Fulfilling

Results of the 2007 NAPL Fulfillment Practices Survey provided a valuable reflection of today’s Mailing and Fulfillment (M&F) market. Survey results suggest there are two views to the M&F story—one that reflects the efforts and actions of larger, more successful firms and another that provides a snapshot of the fulfillment industry as a whole. The practices and expectations of larger firms are a valuable reflection of this dynamic and evolving value-added service, both from the view of printers wanting to get into and improve their fulfillment offering, as well as the fulfillment buyers who want to compare their own service provider. Thumbnail summaries like

Name Game No Longer Applies to Small Shops —Michelson

What’s the difference between a successful quick printer vs. a small commercial printing establishment? In today’s graphic arts industry paradigm, little to nothing. Both types of businesses may have a storefront or retail location, albeit likely serving a shrinking base of walk-in retail traffic. Both segments, in turn, rely on senior management and/or outside sales reps to call on local corporate accounts, hoping to build ongoing business relationships. Both entities have adopted, or are at least investigating, Internet-based customer interfaces to drive sales. Each typically outputs a wide range of short-run, general commercial work on digital devices and/or small-format offset presses—and brokers out what

Offset Conference Looks Beyond

TORONTO—The recent Offset and Beyond 2007 Management and Technical Conference, which for the first time combined annual meetings targeted toward the web and sheetfed offset communities, capitalized on its Canadian venue to secure the Right Honorable Brian Mulroney and several prominent Canadian printers as featured keynote speakers. Inlaid with humor, Mulroney—who also serves as Quebecor World’s board chairman—spoke on a wide range of topics including free trade, health care, the role of government, leadership, the current global political condition and his eight-plus years as the prime minister of Canada. The 675 conference attendees also saluted Rémi Marcoux, executive chairman of Montreal-based Transcontinental Inc. and a

One on One — Ulrik Nygaard on Finishing

Ulrik Nygaard became CEO of Baumfolder Corporation in 2002, capping a graphic arts industry career that began at Danish East Asiatic Company, some three decades ago. In that time, he has had responsibilities in Asia, Germany, Britain and the United States for an evolving series of organizations, including Heidelberg Eastern, AM Graphics and Harris Graphics. During the NPES INDUSTRY SUMMIT in Chicago, he shared his insights on finishing today. What have been the most striking changes in finishing? How much has the automation revolution affected the postpress department? I think there has been a very significant change toward more operator friendly machines, in

Paper Tariffs — Will Commerce Be Swayed?

Rising postal rates. Ever-increasing energy prices. Add the cost of obtaining coated free sheet (CFS) paper to the list of runaway costs being experienced by the printing industry. After socking China and Indonesia with 20-plus percent countervailing duties (CVD) and assessing a smaller tariff (1.76 percent) on South Korea in late March, the U.S. Department of Commerce stood poised to release its final ruling this month, though the ultimate word on the CVDs could come later in 2007. Barring an 11th hour reversal by Commerce, the U.S. paper manufacturing sector’s gain will be the U.S. printer’s loss. Hardest hit will be West Coast printers,

Plane Wreck Claims Five Printers

FT. LAUDERDALE, FL—What started out as a weekend fishing trip to the Bahamas for employees of Identity Graphics and Printing, based here, turned to tragedy when one of two planes carrying the employees crashed shortly after takeoff, killing all five on board. The April 21 accident claimed the lives of pilot Glen Quackenbush and four fellow printers—Michael Gross, Troy Taylor, Michael Levofsky and Mark Santa—in what appeared to be a weather-related accident. Taylor was vice president of Crystal Image Graphics of Hallandale, FL; the rest were employed by Identity Graphics and Printing. Quackenbush’s Piper Aztec left the Ft. Lauderdale Executive Airport around 9 a.m., bound for

POSTPRESSRely on the rear guard

The rear table on POLAR high-speed cutters can be equipped with an optional movable safety guard that locks cutting and backgauge movement when the guard is open. The guard can be tilted up, providing quick and easy access for cleaning the knife from the rear. This is helpful when adhesive labels are cut, for example,…

Guilty as charged?

Every printer knows what happens when sheets of paper become electrostatically charged: they stick together as they're taken in from the stack, potentially stopping up the feeder. A static charge is especially likely to build up when paper that is too dry is printed in cold weather and other times of low atmospheric humidity. To control static, the moisture content of paper should range between 45% and 55%. Working spaces should be air-conditioned or humidified at a 50% to 55% level of relative humidity. Antistatic equipment such as discharge electrodes and ionic blowers reduce electrostatic charge by raising the surrounding air’s electronic conductivity,

Trapped but not hidden

Sometimes the color of small text elements changes after trapping. If the text element is smaller than the trap itself, it will be covered by the trap. Prinect Trap Editor offers a solution at Settings/black & text, where a width scaling can be set for small text. If the text elements have, for example, a…


Printers Flock to See Two-Sided Coating DALLAS—Neither heavy rains nor threatening tornadoes could dissuade roughly 75 printers and journalists from visiting Buchanan Visual Communications on April 24 and 25 for Mitsubishi Lithographic Presses’ 2007 National Open House. The violent weather wiped out a planned visit to a Texas Rangers-Seattle Mariners game at Ameriquest Field in Arlington, TX, but the guests were treated to some towering, long drives nonetheless during the “State of Perfection” demonstration. At the core of the open house was a display of the firepower behind Buchanan’s 12-color, 40˝ Mitsubishi Diamond 3000R convertible perfector equipped with tower coaters. The dual coaters

Promote and Prosper —Morgan

JUST LIKE the proverbial shoe-maker, whose son never has shoes, many printers (who are, in fact, in the communications business) are the worst at promoting their businesses. However, print buyers do expect their suppliers to competently market their services, and they judge them accordingly. Print Buyers Online.com surveyed 94 top print buyers and asked: “How important is a printer’s collateral material in identifying them as a prospective supplier?” Seventy-two percent of respondents said “very important” or “important.” Effective marketing is clearly worth the investment because print buyers judge the quality of the printer’s services and products by the quality of the printer’s marketing communications. As the

Special Editions — The Joy of Printing

You know that you’re a small-town printer when your customers stop by without an appointment, with their kids and pets in tow, just to say Hello. That’s what life—and business—is like in the small Midwestern town of Sussex, WI, and Brandon Esser, president and co-owner of Special Editions, wouldn’t have it any other way. He claims that he and his partner, Tom Peterman, are perfectly happy running their small, but-high tech printing business, which boasts only 13 employees (including the owners), 150 customers and revenues of about $1.5 million a year. According to Esser, living in a small town and doing business with people