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HR Corner: Exclusive Insights for PSDA Members


Claudia St. John is president of Affinity HR Group, LLC, a consulting firm and PSDA partner that specializes in providing human resources assistance to associations and their member companies. St. John has been a featured speaker at several PSDA events, including the annual Print Solutions Conference and Expo, and writes many of the "Final Thoughts" columns on the back page of Print Solutions magazine.

In this new section of the Print Solutions e-Newsletter, St. John responds to recent human resources-related questions that may impact you and your business. Have a question for Claudia? Send your query via email and your question may be answered in a future edition of "HR Corner."

All PSDA member companies receive discounted pricing on Affinity HR Group's wide variety of services. For more information, visit the group’s website.

Question: Are customer service representatives considered exempt or non-exempt employees under U.S. employment laws?
Answer: As with all questions of exempt vs. non-exempt status, you really have to look at the responsibilities of the individual and position. However, in most instances, customer service representative (CSR) positions are non-exempt, or hourly. The U.S. Department of Labor issues fact sheets on compensation rules for CSRs and other positions. Based on materials in these fact sheets, your CSR should be considered non-exempt unless he or she is doing something out of the ordinary in that role.
Question: My customer service representative checks her work email and often wraps up "loose ends" from home. She hasn’t asked, but should I be paying her for that time?
Answer: In a word, yes. Presuming she is non-exempt, as most CSRs are, she is entitled to pay for every hour worked, whether from home or elsewhere. Moreover, if this work totals more than 40 hours in a work week, she is entitled to overtime pay as well. She may not be asking for pay, but legally you are required to pay her. Given the difficulties of tracking off-premises work, many employers do not allow their non-exempt employees to work from home.

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PSDA News

Dr. Joe Webb's Webinar Now Available

If you missed Dr. Joe Webb's webinar last week, you can now download the session slides and view a recording of the session. During the webinar, "Dr. Joe" offered his ideas about what's ahead for 2012 and the years beyond for the economy, business, print, promotions, communications and management. He addressed critical decisions that small- and mid-sized businesses need to make about their daily and long-term operations in staffing and operations to ensure that they stay relevant to their clients and their marketplaces.

Login to view the webinar recording today.
Register Now for 2012 CEO Summit

PSDA's 16th annual CEO Summit will be held March 5–7 at the Arizona Grand Resort in Phoenix. This event is designed specifically for owners and c-level executives and features presentations on securing big sales and high performance leadership by Wil Davis of Hunt Big Sales. Visit the PSDA website to view current program highlights and to register for PSDA’s premier conference for company principals.

Interested in sponsoring the CEO Summit? Read more about available opportunities.
"Inside Print Solutions Magazine" Webinar Recording Available

In November 2011, Print Solutions Editor-in-Chief John Delavan hosted a webinar during which he reviewed the enhancements that PSDA has made to the publication during the past year, discussed plans for the magazine in 2012, and identified ways that you can maximize exposure for you and your company in Print Solutions. View the webinar to ascertain how you can include Print Solutions as a part of your marketing plans for 2012. There’s no better time to learn more and to get involved with PSDA’s flagship monthly publication. Learn more.

Member News

Appleton Introduces NCR PAPER Brand Carbonless Roll Product

Appleton, a PSDA member and specialty paper producer, recently introduced a new product that gives carbonless roll printers a way to compete in a forms market that is relying more and more on digital printers and copiers for end-use applications. NCR PAPER brand Digital Sheet Quality (SQ) gives roll printers a cost-effective option to offer carbonless forms for the small quantity, variable data print forms their customers often run on digital equipment. “Our Digital SQ product helps roll printers stay competitive and relevant in an increasingly digital marketplace,” said Keith Smith, director and general manager for carbonless rolls. “With Digital SQ we have made sheet-quality performance, convenience and flexibility affordable in a carbonless roll product.”
Two Sides U.S. Launches New Website

Two Sides, a nonprofit organization established to promote the responsible production, use and sustainability of print and paper — of which PSDA is an allied member — recently launched its U.S. website, www.twosides.us. The site, filled with facts from well-known, credible sources, provides an easily accessible resource for anyone who wants trustworthy information about the environmental impacts of paper-based communication. “Print and paper have a great environmental story to tell, but that story often gets lost among misleading claims, misconceptions and one-sided communications,” said Two Sides President Phil Riebel. “On the Two Sides website, we present information from a wide range of authoritative sources — organizations like the World Resources Institute, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the U.S. Forest Service and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development — to dispel the myths and help people better understand the true sustainability of print and paper.”
AccuLink Deploys First Scodix1200 Digital Press

Print service provider and PSDA member AccuLink recently added the Scodix SENSE printing experience to its offering of services with the Scodix1200 Digital Press (pictured left with AccuLink Vice President Lindsay Gray). Financing for the digital press was made available by Hewlett-Packard Financial Services Company (HPFS), the leasing and life cycle asset management subsidiary of HP. “We are pleased that Scodix was able to partner with HPFS to help AccuLink acquire a Scodix1200 and expand its business value through new technology,” said Dror Danai, Scodix's vice president of global sales and business development. The Scodix1200 produces Scodix SENSE, a new digital printing experience that touches the senses with a high-quality look and tangible dimension, bringing true differentiation to the print service provider, clients and products.
Superior Business Associates Approved as Rx Pad Manufacturer in Georgia

PSDA member Superior Business Associates, a trade manufacturer providing business forms, labels, envelopes and laminated cards, recently was approved to produce secure prescription pads with the Georgia State Board of Pharmacy. Superior's standard material for secure prescription pads exceeds the minimum requirements set by the Georgia Board of Pharmacy. In addition to various security measures that are printed on the pads, Superior now includes the required Georgia seal of approval on these secure prescription pads.
Formax 7200 Series Inserters Take Flexibility, Productivity to New Heights

PSDA member Formax recently introduced the 7200 Series Inserters, which replaced the 6900 Series Inserters. The system is capable of inserting a 50-page document, a booklet up to 6mm thick and anything in between. Its modular design offers up to 11 feed stations, high-capacity feeders and a standard capacity of up to 2,000 sheets. The top-loading envelope hopper holds up to 800 #10 envelopes or 500 landscape flats. Inserting into landscape flats offers higher processing speeds, fewer jams and lower envelope costs.

A 15” color touchscreen PC interface guides operators through job programming and functions, and with unlimited programmable jobs, it's even easier to run recurring or frequently processed applications. The 7200 Series provides document security in various ways, including double document detectors and the ability to read one and two-track OMR, 1-D barcodes and 2-D data matrix, which can be printed anywhere on the document. These features allow for the automatic insertion of multiple-page documents, eliminating the tedious task of manually collating and inserting.

Industry News

New NAPL Report: 'Printing Industry Is Being Consolidated and Redefined'
WhatTheyThink (01/09/12)

The graphic communications industry is undergoing consolidation and redefinition due to structural shifts and the economic recession, according to the recently issued NAPL Printing Industry Profile. "This consolidation is not a byproduct solely of the recession," said NAPL chief economist Andrew Paparozzi. "Clearly, the recession accelerated consolidation, but we were consolidating long before the steep downturn, and we will continue to consolidate even after recovery more firmly takes hold. Why? Because structural change is redefining our industry." The NAPL report estimated that the number of printing outfits has contracted by more than 25 percent — nearly 10,400 altogether — between 1998 and the end of last year.

Despite the shrinkage, NAPL thinks industry growth in the coming years is still possible, "but that growth isn't going to be found in the same old places or by doing the same old things," Paparozzi said. The study observed that prior to the late 1990s, the number of commercial establishments would bounce back at the end of a recession — but a rebound failed to materialize after the 2001-2003 downturn, nor is one likely to happen following the latest recession. Still, Paparozzi maintained that structural change, led by the Internet and digitization, is the primary reason underlying the widening gulf in the commercial printing sector. "When we look beneath the surface of industry demographics, the structural changes that continue to redefine print are increasingly apparent," he said.

Wide-Format's Newest Trend
My Print Resource (01/01/12) Steele, Jeffrey

One recent trend in the print business is the use of eye-catching metallic inks. Eric Zimmerman, product manager with Roland DGA Corp., said that metallic inks impact the market in two ways: their use is expanding exponentially because they stand out from the crowd and they have opened up a huge market for metallic printers in proofing and prototyping. A digital wide-format inkjet printer allows for accurate, cost-effective proofs in final production pieces.

Print service providers must consider how to sell the metallics. Because metallic ink is a relatively new choice, most clients will not ask for it, but they usually pick it when given the choice. Print service providers need the tools to use metallics effectively, such as color management and spot color libraries, and training for providers in producing and selling these inks. Prepress and production must change when metallics are involved; files in prepress must allow the printer to recognize the metallic elements and machines must be able to circulate metallic inks. Roland has developed an ink circulation system, Metallic Silver Eco-SOL MAX, specifically for metallic inks that reduces waste and maintenance. Providers also must consider cost-effectiveness: very little metallic ink is required to make an impact on a print. The technology company ColorLogic develops software for designers who do not have a great deal of knowledge about metallic inks. The software teaches them how to design with metallics and provides tool sets for creating metallic effects.

Collaboration and Creativity Are Key for Proactive Printers
PrintWeek (12/01/11) Creasey, Simon

A new era of collaboration between designers and printers is being driven by one-stop shop printers, with help from financial market volatility and growing budget austerity. The result of this shift is higher levels of creativity and printed products with greater efficiency and effectiveness. For example, Reflex Printed Plastics was tasked with producing a lenticular cover for a DVD boxset of the "Time Tunnel" TV show, and Reflex's Simon Joy reported that the supplied artwork "was retro and basic in form, which was not entirely suitable for us to achieve the desired effect."

Consultation with the client led to Reflex's studio having a free hand to work with the artwork and generate its own rendition as well as something that was more in keeping with the client's brief. "Our client was delighted with the modified version, which was exactly what they had hoped for, as it perfectly captured the essence of the tunnel and movement of the main characters being sucked into it," Joy said. "Our involvement from the outset presented a well-executed, efficient and cost-saving production to the extent that this piece now features on their promotional website." IOS's Fraser Church said clients are seeking such characteristics in a time when greater cost efficiency is of paramount importance. "We spend a lot of time talking to our clients about optimum formats and about the various different finishing options to make sure that they are making the best use of their money and designing something that is in the most economical format," he said. "We're increasingly finding that clients want us to be involved at an early stage, and on a number of occasions they've virtually invited us to design the piece."

Meanwhile, AGI's Chris Donnelly said printers also can "propose new ideas based on print-manufacturing techniques that a standard design agency won't necessarily be aware of." Printers are facing increased pressure to cease their reliance on traditional processes and adopt a revision or expansion of their offerings in order to stay relevant, with Communisis' Phil Dean observing that "printers who broaden their service to include a design capability are able to produce an impactful job, as they are able to better address a brief by drawing upon in-depth knowledge of print processes, products and capabilities and to define and inform design production."

Package Prototyping: When Mockery Is Acceptable
My Print Resource (01/01/12) Vruno, Mark

Every print firm that hopes to increase sales in 2012 is looking toward two growing revenue streams: wide-format and packaging. Using wide-format digital output devices to prototype and print packaging on demand could be an ideal combination. Affordable print technology and market need could lead to double-digit growth in digital packaging. Digital packaging can be expected to experience a compound annual growth rate of more than 15 percent between 2009 and 2014, according to InfoTrends. One example of recent trends is the Epson Stylus Pro WT7900 inkjet printer, which has the world's first aqueous-based white printing technology. Roland DGA VersaUV wide-format UV-LED inkjet printer/cutters can be used for package prototyping, color proofing and short-run labeling applications.

Andreas Hanbuch, managing director of Germany-based Hanbuch Packaging, said, "It is extremely important to the customer to test display stands, displays and packaging beforehand." More companies are having samples produced that are true to the original and can also be presented at meetings. Offset printing can be costly, but, when required, systems like the Océ Arizona 250 GT printer may be a cost-effective choice. For package prototypes, finishing can be the most time consuming component. Stevenson Color in Cincinnati, Ohio, uses the EskoArtwork Kongsberg i-XL24 digital cutting table and the many options it offers.

Direct Mail Shapes Boost Response Rates
123Print (01/04/12) Cavanaugh, Edward

Due to low response rates from email promotions, marketers have begun to reinvest in direct mail campaigns to reach new and existing consumers. Investment in unique, dyed direct mail pieces can be expected to increase in 2012. Direct mail expert Karen O'Brien said that orders for unique direct mail pieces tripled in 2011, with more companies choosing such materials as shaped letters and brochures. Shaped and unique direct mail attracts consumers' attention and yields greater, more measurable returns on investment. Partner Jim O'Brien said, "Shaped mail is a creative, fresh idea that can be personalized, it can target and reach customers with specific messages and today it can incorporate QR codes and coupons that can drive both e-commerce and traditional retail traffic."

Sanofi Pasteur U.S. Leads Industry Project to Put 2-D Codes on Vaccine Packaging
Packaging Digest (01/05/12) Pierce, Lisa McTigue

A new vaccine packaging technology that will capture more product data in a two-dimensional (2-D) scan will be made available to pediatric offices throughout the United States, according to an announcement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and Sanofi Pasteur. The packaging solution is designed to lower medical errors and assist health care providers with making documentation of vaccine information in patient records more accurate. "The 2-D barcode technology is available because of the work by a collaborative group of stakeholders and the forward thinking of many AAP members," said AAP Vaccine Barcoding project co-chair Edward Zissman. "Through the use of this technology, health care professionals can enhance the level of care they provide, increase office efficiency and better manage product inventory."

The rollout of the technology will initially focus on Sanofi Pasteur's pediatric Diphtheria and Tetanus Toxoid Adsorbed (DT) and Menactra Meningococcal (Groups A, C, Y and W-135) Polysaccharide Diphtheria Toxoid Conjugate vaccines. "There is a clear need for a system to record product information with a higher level of speed and accuracy, and we aim to address this need with the 2-D barcode technology on our vaccines," said Sanofi Pasteur U.S.' Chad Hoover. "As an industry leader and healthcare partner, Sanofi Pasteur is pleased to be the first vaccine manufacturer to bring this innovative technology to providers offices." A clinical guidance for doctors to help practices employ 2-D barcoding with their electronic medical record or state immunization information system has been developed by the AAP. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will launch in September of this year an eight-month trial to evaluate the challenges and determine best practices for labeling and tracking vaccines using 2-D barcodes.

Bridging the Technology Divide
Labels & Labeling (01/05/12)

A recent FTA Great Lakes Fall technical meeting focused on the challenge of integrating new production technologies to make a greater impact in package printing. Packaging design features have changed to meet higher levels of quality. Flexible magnetic dies have replaced die tooling, added precision, reduced costs, increased die life and reduced machine downtime. The use of digital computing in the imaging process has created flatbed inkjet imaging technology that made previous versions obsolete. Durst has developed printing and imaging technologies for many specialty markets, including format systems for printing onto ceramic tiles and custom ink sets for printing traffic signs.

To help printers/converters plan for future business needs, Label and Labeling Magazine conducted its annual North American Label Converter survey. Of the survey's respondents, 57 percent said they were looking to invest in capital equipment in the next 12 months to increase efficiencies, reduce waste and incorporate desired boutique design elements. Other trends found in the survey include packaging reduction, reduced run lengths, environmental sustainability, reduced time-to-market and more mergers and acquisitions. Digital also will likely continue as a growth market, while brands will seek to engage the consumer at the point of purchase through such technology as iPhone apps and codes.

USPS Allows Direct Mail Companies to Pay Postage After Dispatch
123Print (01/10/12) Parker, Sonia

The Postal Regulatory Commission recently said it is now allowing the U.S. Postal Service to accept postage payments from direct mail customers online after the mail pieces have been delivered. Customers previously were required to pay for their direct mail pieces before they were distributed. Marketers who have a Negotiated Service Agreement with the USPS can pay for their direct mail pieces to be delivered later.
PSDA Blog

Does this change affect your and your business? Do you think it is a necessary regulation? Sound off in the comments section on the PSDA Blog.

Channel Essential to Managed Print Development
Channelnomics (12/27/11) Lingblom, Marie

A report by IDC on global managed print services (MPS) in 2011 indicates positive developments for MPS vendors and solution providers. IDC predicts that the market for outsourced printing and imaging services will increase to $29.4 billion in the United States in 2014, up from $23.4 in 2009, and to $42 billion worldwide, up from $31.7 billion in 2009. IDC’s analysis ranked Xerox at the top, with high scores for technology partnerships and consistent worldwide delivery. Xerox’s support for small and mid-sized businesses was highlighted by the firm's Partner Print Services, which features training and mentoring along with business development, marketing, services and support.

Other MPS vendors cited as market leaders in the report include Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Lexmark, with HP commended for its "consultative approach to optimizing customers’ printing and document infrastructure and a particularly strong focus on vertical-specific, document-intensive workflows." In early 2011, HP acquired MPS provider Printelligent that targets the SMB market. Xerox, meanwhile, acquired NewField IT in 2011 to streamline the MPS assessment and implementation process. It also partnered with Cisco to integrate Xerox’s MPS and mobile print offerings with Cisco routers/switches, thereby linking with Cisco’s channel partners.

5 Ways to Use QR Codes to Inspire Opportunities
Business 2 Community (12/28/11)

QR codes provide marketers with opportunities to reach more of their target audience through mobile devices, which provides access to their offers and messaging. With such an extended reach, businesses are eager to add these codes to their marketing mix, but many do not understand how to get started. Here are five excellent ways businesses and organizations have put QR codes to use in their marketing mix:

• First, giving a discount, which rewards clients or a prospective client with special offers from time to time. Examples might include free consulting sessions, markdowns on professional services with a purchase of a product or even discounts if the prospect or customer shares the QR code with a friend.

• Next, adding an inside look at your offer can provide more detail, and QR codes can direct prospects to demos or instructional videos.

• A third option is special incentives.

• A fourth is virtual tickets, like those used by airlines employing QR codes in boarding passes.

• Finally, marketers can use QR codes to evolve their résumé, bringing attention to their own cause.

Culture Helps Printing Firm Survive
Star Tribune (Minn.) (12/25/11) Nelson, Todd

Although employees and owners at Ideal Printers in St. Paul, Minn., were stretched a bit financially when in 2008 they accepted a 10 percent pay cut as the Great Recession and a continued drop in demand for conventional offset printing services squeezed the company, there were no job cuts and no complaints. The company's handling of the tough times and its folksy, familial culture also contributed to its recognition as one of the small businesses among this year's Star Tribune's Top 100 Workplaces.

Today, Ideal Printers is enjoying moderate growth and profitability, with 2011 revenue topping $10 million for the first time since the company was founded in 1979. Pay was restored to pre-cut levels a year ago, President Lana Siewert-Olson said, and Ideal Printers' 79 employees received a modest bonus this Thanksgiving. The company has rebounded with an improving economy and with the acquisition two years ago of a smaller printing company that added key new services, including digital printing, mailing and online stores that clients can use to order and customize printed materials. These new additions brought increased business with existing clients and helped attract new customers.

Siewert-Olson said investment appears to be on the horizon, as printers and other equipment need to be replaced or updated to improve efficiency. Siewert-Olson and her sister and company vice president Joan Siewert-Cardona credit their parents with establishing a respectful company culture where family and non-family members alike are comfortable and where turnover is low. Employee longevity encourages loyalty from customers who know the company understands their printing needs and deadlines, they said. Running the company transparently has contributed to the favorable culture. The company's wellness program, which Siewert-Olson said appears to be on the cutting edge for a company the size of Ideal Printers, includes daily stretching routines and periodic visits from instructors. According to Dileep Rao, president of InterFinance Corp. in Golden Valley and professor of entrepreneurship at Florida International University, Ideal Printers highlights the importance of having a great business culture. Ideal's open-book culture, where employees know how well the company is doing and share in the rewards when times are good, can make them more willing to share the pain in tough times, Rao said.
PSDA Blog

Head to the PSDA Blog and share the some unique aspects of your company's culture in the comments section. How have you tackled this Great Recession and come out on top?

3-D Printing: A Technology Awaits its iPad Moment
PC World (12/22/11) Mitchell, Robert L.

There are two things keeping 3-D printers from going mainstream: technical challenges and a lack of imagination. 3-D printing technology is awaiting the moment when everything comes together. 3-D printers can build virtually any object by printing it using molten plastic ink or other materials, one layer at a time. The prices for these devices, which at one time cost $100,000 or more, are now available to hobbyists for under $1,500 — and $500 models are not far off. Today, operating costs can be as low as $2.50 per cubic inch of material used, but that is expensive when compared to a mass-produced, injection molded plastic action figure.

There also are more practical uses for the technology, such as creating missing replacement parts for household tools. Today, however, 3-D printers remain very much a niche market. In 2010, just 5,978 units were sold, compared to tens of millions of 2-D printers. Support for full color, better tools and a more user-friendly design and editing process could take the technology into the mainstream. Still, some analysts doubt that the at-home 3-D printer market will ever emerge. Still, the consumerization of 3-D could fuel growth in the business market for the use of 3-D printers by marketing people and others who are not trained industrial designers with expertise in using advanced 3-D modeling tools.


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January 19, 2012
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