September 2006 Issue


… IN-PLANTS: Tomorrow’s Knowledge Managers?

DESPITE HAVING made the change to digital printing technologies, in-plants may continue to be at risk of being outsourced. As organizations seeking to remain competitive in the new economy of the 21st century become increasingly knowledge based, in-plants must develop competencies that support Knowledge Management. Given the in-plant’s exposure to organizational knowledge via the documents it reproduces, it is uniquely placed to play a vital role and better support the strategic objectives and goals of the organization. Look Beyond Traditional Views By seeking to integrate the in-plant’s capabilities into the organization’s core business processes, in-plant managers are challenged to think in terms of

ACROSS the nation

ARKANSAS HOT SPRINGS—Wheeler Printing recently installed a two-color Heidelberg Printmaster PM 46 press. The shop uses the PM 46 to produce an assortment of materials, including business cards, four-color envelopes and letterhead. The new press complements its four-color Speedmaster SM 74 press. CALIFORNIA City of Industry—House of Packaging has increased capacity with a six-color Heidelberg Speedmaster CD 102 press with two in-line anilox coaters. The press was installed to increase shop capabilities to include specialty flexographic coatings for skin and personal care product packaging. The press is outfitted with UV interdecks and an end-of-press UV coater. IRVINE—OCB Reprographics, which is celebrating its 80th year

Adding New Elements to Card Printing —Cagle

STRINE PRINTING had always been something of a mystery. For years, the company had avoided publicity, preferring to keep a low profile. So when the assignment to profile the pride of York, PA, came along, I fought to hide a smile. All I knew about Strine was that it prints Topps trading cards. Since a majority of my own 30-year collection was likely pressed at Strine, I knew a tour was in order. Dave Kornbau, vice president of operations, provided an extended stayover in the card division and related his own role in some of the most ballyhooed, valuable and highly desirable cards printed


LIKE MANY commercial printers, Anstadt Printing of York, PA, has faced—and continues to encounter—new challenges. The fourth- and fifth- generation family owned and operated independent printer has been in business for 128 years. But, to keep pace with today’s customer demands, Anstadt needed to change with the times. Anstadt Printing was founded in 1878 as The Anstadt Co. by the Reverend Peter Anstadt. He started the company by printing and publishing a Sunday School Teachers’ Guide. Since then, the establishment has continued to offer more services and add new capabilities. Now entering its fifth generation of family ownership, the company’s management includes its chairman,

BINDERY matters

Direct Mail House Adds Binding Gear ESSEX, VT—The Offset House, a growing direct mail printer that specializes in catalogs, reports making improvements in speed and operational efficiency since the installation of two new saddlestitching machines from Muller Martini: a Prima SB and a BravoPlus. Goss Holds Forum on Print Finishing DURHAM, NH—Twenty eight representatives from printing companies throughout the United States and Canada attended a forum on print finishing technology at the Goss International facility here in July. “This was part of our ongoing commitment to exchanging information about technology and market requirements, and incorporating customer input directly into our product design process,” notes Toby Clarke, vice

Consolidated Goes North Of the Border

HOUSTON—The Canadian province of Ontario can be added to the roster of 26 states that currently play home to Consolidated Graphics (CGX) facilities. CGX broke new ground with the announcement it had signed a letter of intent to acquire Annan & Bird Lithographers, a general commercial printer based in the Toronto suburb of Mississauga, Ontario. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of CGX’s third quarter. Annan & Bird Lithographers specializes in large-format offset printing for the point-of-purchase (P-O-P) and packaging markets. The company was founded in 1987 by Jack Bird and his sons, John and David. “Annan & Bird is a highly creative,

Coping Strategies — Rising Cost Of Commodities

OVER THE last couple of years, there has been much media attention given to price increases in commodities, particularly oil and other energy- related expenses, even as the economy has continued to strengthen. These increases have had an impact on the cost of doing business for just about everyone, and manufacturers, including those in the graphic communications industry, have certainly not been immune.


SHOW ME an organization with great customer service and I’ll show you an organization with better than average customer retention, and whose revenues and margins can be leveraged up. On the other hand, show me an organization with mediocre-to-poor customer service and I’ll show you an organization with disgruntled sales reps, higher than normal customer attrition, and suffering productivity and bottom line margins. There are no substitutes for great customer service. It’s the “heartbeat” that every client evaluates from a supplier. From changing customers’ needs and expectations, customer service’s influence is expanded beyond anything most of us ever imagined. In today’s dynamic market

DIGITAL digest

Next Set of M4D Reports Published SEWICKLEY, PA—PIA/GATF’s Digital Printing Council (DPC) has released the second set of eight reports from its Marketing 4 Digital (M4D) research project. The goal of the project is to provide digital and conventional printers the information and insight they need to sell their services to 24 vertical market segments. Markets covered in this set of reports include gas and electric (utilities), hotel (hospitality and tourism), office supplies/home improvement (retail trade), banks (financial services), investment companies (financial services), travel agencies (hospitality and tourism), telecom (utilities) and professional services (legal, accounting, etc.). The reports are available for purchase through the PIA/GATF bookstore at


THOSE DETRACTORS who claim that computer-to-plate (CTP) technology has not completely delivered on its promise might be lacking in big picture perspective. Like complaining that a cellular phone service provider doesn’t always generate “enough bars,” or the phone itself is now obsolete because it doesn’t take pictures, people often fall into the trap of wanting the next great technology. After all, does anyone miss the early days of composition? Have fond memories of pasting up boards, shooting them, developing film and burning/punching plates? Looking at it from the perspective of traditional prepress, there is a little room for forgiveness in noting that not

Digital Print Industry Leaders Agree to AFP Open Standards Initiative

Industry Consortium to Join in Unparalleled Collaboration Effort for Printing of Customer Communications BOULDER, CO—August 30, 2006—IBM announced that a key open standards initiative for the digital print industry has reached a major milestone. A majority of the AFP Color Consortium, a 28-company standards body, has approved IBM’s proposal to fully open the development of the Advanced Function Presentation (AFP) architecture. With this agreement, the members of the consortium will collaboratively develop all extensions to the AFP architecture, which is used by clients worldwide for the high speed printing of bills, statements and other customer communications. The consortium has already jointly published key

Donnelley Losing LBO Suitors?

CHICAGO—RR Donnelley may have priced itself too high to suit several firms that had been vying to acquire North America’s largest printer. Reuters cited a source familiar with the situation as saying talks between the printer and several private equity firms broke down over a disagreement on price. The source told Reuters that the printer and its suitors “were far enough apart on price that it made it clear that nothing would happen now.” Donnelley had reportedly garnered the interests of two groups, one of which included Madison Dearborn Partners, Thomas H. Lee Partners and Carlyle Group. A second consisted of Blackstone Group and Texas Pacific

Expansion Slated for Phoenix Color

HAGERSTOWN, MD—Book manufacturer and component producer Phoenix Color is embarking on a $5 million expansion project that will create 52 new jobs, according to The Associated Press.The new, standalone facility will be used for paper converting. The project is expected to be completed sometime in September, according to the AP.

Fiorenze on HR management

Reenergize Hiring Practices MOST MANAGERS have come to realize that their most troublesome personnel problems are almost always rooted in poor hiring decisions. Poor performance, employee conflict and countless other workplace problems too often confirm a manager’s “gut feeling” that something was not right, even before the employee was hired. And with so many experts offering conflicting advice on how to “hire smart,” it’s no wonder that the number one complaint of commercial printing industry managers is the inability to “find the right people.” Recently, these managers have been swamped by ads and direct mail touting scientific—or scientific-sounding—approaches to the hiring


JUST AS Major League Baseball fans look forward to October for the culmination of a long season with the World Series, printers move into autumn with thoughts of the industry’s largest trade show in the Americas for 2006, Graph Expo & Converting Expo, fittingly held in Chicago, home of the reining world champion White Sox. This year’s Graph Expo & Converting Expo, taking place October 15-18 at the McCormick Place South complex, should provide plenty of action for attendees. Exhibit space has topped 400,000 square feet, with nearly 600 exhibiting companies in attendance. It will be the largest Graph Expo show held since 2000.

GRAPH EXPO and CONVERTING EXPO 2006 — Pre-show Preview

Gämmerler will launch the BL 408 bindery stacker for use behind saddlestitchers, perfect binders, folders and inserters. Features wide format range, two-stage stacking system and a low copy drop height. The infeed is equipped with four top belts and eight bottom belts. Visit and enter number 381 Goss International will unveil its Pacesetter 2200 and 2500 saddlestitchers. The systems feature servo-driven hoppers and excel at quick makereadies. The Pacesetter 2200 system completes up to 22,000 books per hour. The Pacesetter 2500 model features a dual stitcher and a 25,000 books per hour capacity. Visit and enter number


STANDARDS ARE not the sexist topic. The need for exactness can make even their names a tough read. Take, for example, ISO 12647-2, the standard for “Graphic technology - Process control for the production of halftone color separations, proof and production prints - Part 2: Offset lithographic processes.” That is instantly memorable. The payoff from implementing common languages and practices is a more efficient and consistent printing process. Efforts to that end continue on a number of fronts, but two have been particularly active of late. Users of print that operate on a global basis want their materials to have a consistent appearance regardless

Lucas Unveils Transformation Plan

MONTREAL—Quebecor World posted a net loss of $6.5 million from continuing operations for the second quarter, compared to net income of $9.5 million for the second quarter last year, as President and CEO Wes Lucas announced a five point transformation plan to bolster its lackluster performance. The results include more than $31 million in restructuring charges for shuttering plants and reducing its workforce. The company has targeted roughly 1,700 positions to be eliminated in 2006. During the quarter, the company announced facility closures in Tennessee, Ohio and Wisconsin. “Quebecor World’s second quarter and year-to-date results are disappointing for a company of our leadership position and underlying


THE CHALLENGES a printing company owner faces today can, at times, seem daunting, overwhelming and downright discouraging. I should know; as an owner I shared those same challenges. Advances in technology have had a significant impact on our industry on many fronts. Our clients now have the ability to design many of the materials they use today, and a significant portion of these materials that used to be printed are now loaded onto Websites where they can be downloaded on-demand or are simply distributed electronically. This has led to increased competition for the work that still exists and has caused increased pricing pressures,

New Plant for Advanced Communications

HARRISBURG, PA—Advanced Communications is building a 215,000-square-foot facility that will create at least 86 new jobs here over the next three years.The new facility will have space available for other tenants to lease, according to Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell’s office. The total cost of the project is $28 million, $3 million of which will be…


Printers in the Driver’s Seat As digital printing technology has matured—becoming more reliable, easier to use and available at a range of price points—the advancements seem to have made it more practical for end users to bring the capability in-house. Lines of distinction continue to blur between graphic arts, transactional and corporate printing solutions. When it comes to implementing variable data and/or a Web-to-print solution to support a dispersed user base, though, the reverse can actually happen. Even a corporation with an extensive in-plant operation may look to an outside supplier for the required expertise. Digital can open doors that are locked to offset


Salt Lake City-based AlphaGraphics reports it is planning to reach 500 locations over the next five years. Ingrid Wilmet has joined Impressions Inc. of St. Paul, MN, as an account manager. Kim Hawley has joined Dallas-based Taylor Publishing as vice president of sales and marketing for the Taylor Specialty Book division. He most recently held the position of sales manager for the Commercial Book division of Walsworth Publishing. Richard Eade, formerly of Butler Color Press, has joined Inserts East in Pennsauken, NJ, as director of operations. Des Plaines Publishing, Des Plaines, IL, announced that Michael Ford has joined the company as president and CEO.

Promotional Products — Broadening Portfolios

LOOK AROUND your desk and you can see them everywhere. In your drawer, in your pencil holder, adorning your calendar. Promotional products and advertising specialties have become such a large part of our lives, we barely notice them. You go to the bank and get a pen with its name on it, or maybe it’s a free tote from the library or a stress ball from your doctor’s favorite pharmaceutical company.

Publicly Held Printers Caught in Stormy Seas —Michelson

CONVENTIONAL INDUSTRY wisdom seemed to favor large, publicly traded commercial printing enterprises. They operated with lower cost structures than their often smaller, privately held competitors, in part due to their ability to negotiate better prices for consumables like paper and ink, along with company healthcare and operating insurance premiums. They maintained deep pockets to fund continuous capital improvement expenditures for the most automated machinery and workflow platforms available, enabling higher job productivity and better employee utilization company-wide. They leveraged their ability to cross-sell products and services to a diverse customer base within a bevy of markets. They attracted the best talent; people sought them

RR Donnelley Likely Exploring an LBO

CHICAGO—Several media outlets are reporting that RR Donnelley has held talks with various leveraged buyout (LBO) firms. The Wall Street Journal reported that one group consists of Carlyle Group, Madison Dearborn Partners and Thomas H. Lee Partners. Blackstone Group and Texas Pacific Group comprise the other, the WSJ said. Taking Donnelley private could have a starting price of around $11 billion, an anonymous source told the Chicago Tribune. Doug Fitzgerald, senior vice president of marketing for RR Donnelley, said the company had no comment on the LBO rumors. Gimme Credit analyst Dave Novosel, in a recent report, believes the company lacks the kind of free-flow cash