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HR Corner: More Expert Advice Exclusively 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 & 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.

Q: An employee who has worked for us for nine months just quit and she says she’s entitled to a payout of her sick leave. We pay out unused vacation but have never paid out for sick leave. Do we have to? We are a small company and have no employee policy manual.

A: Unfortunately, this is why it is important to have an employee handbook, no matter your size. Without one, your employee is free to state that she was told she would get the payout when she was hired. It will be your word against hers. That said, it is uncommon for employers to pay out sick leave upon employee termination unless it is part of a bundled Paid-Time-Off program, which it doesn’t sound like you have. Some states vary in what they require for payout of leave, but mandatory pay out of sick leave is rare. If there is no precedence for paying out sick leave at your company, you’re probably on solid ground denying the request. With that behind you, now’s a great time to get an employee handbook!

Q: Do I have to pay employees if the office is closed due to poor weather? What if they work from home?

A: For your hourly, non-exempt employees, it depends on what your policy states. In most instances, employers will pay their employees when they close the office, similar to if it were a paid holiday. For exempt, salaried employees, if you close the office, you MUST pay them for the day (daily salaries cannot be docked when an office is closed).

If the office remains open and the employee cannot make it in, most policies require that the employee take paid time off, such as a vacation or personal day. If they have no leave remaining, it is usually considered leave without pay, provided they perform zero work during the day.

For partial closures, salaried employees generally must be paid for the entire day (federal law does not allow exempt employees to receive partial pay except in instances of FMLA leave). Non-exempt employees may be paid only for time worked.

If you have requested employees to check email and to work from home when the office closes, you must pay them. If it is a non-exempt (hourly) employee, you must pay them for every minute worked. For exempt (salaried) employees, they must be paid the entire day.

Look for the next edition of "HR Corner" in the March 15 edition of the Print Solutions e-Newsletter, and don’t miss St. John's HR-related articles in the forthcoming February and March 2012 issues of Print Solutions magazine.



Enter the 2012 PEAK Awards Now

The call for entries for the 2012 PEAK Awards is now open. The Print Excellence and Knowledge (PEAK) Awards highlight unique and successful print applications. Hosted in partnership with the Print Education & Research Foundation (PERF), this competition honors the work of print professionals who have met their customers' printing needs by providing outstanding value-added products and services through creativity in design, production, fulfillment and other services while solving problems or improving business functions.

The deadline for submissions is March 30. Winners will be announced at the 2012 Print Solutions Conference & Expo in June.

Learn more about this program and submit your best work for consideration today.
PSDA Webinar: Paper Works for You — Know the Facts and Your Resources

Join us for a complimentary webinar on Tuesday, Feb. 28, as Courtney Enser of Glatfelter presents "Paper Works for You — Know the Facts and Your Resources."

Every decision to communicate has some impact on the environment, and those of us in the paper and print industries should be proud of the business we are in each and every day. We will discuss the facts about the industry and some of the myths that are out there regarding our practices. We will also help you to combat some of the negative media and provide answers when your customers ask those difficult questions. We know that paper and electronic communication go hand in hand, but this seminar will arm you with industry facts, free resources and knowledge to share with your customers to help you continue to grow in our ever changing print environment.

Learn more and register today.
Save the Date: Print Solutions Conference & Expo

Save the Date for PSDA’s signature annual event, the 2012 Print Solutions Conference and Expo, taking place June 4–6 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore. This three-day event, designed for distributors and channel partners, is packed with education sessions, solutions-oriented discussions, networking and direct access to industry-leading innovations. Learn more on the PSDA website.
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Member News

Ward/Kraft Forms Division Expands Imaging Department

PSDA member Ward/Kraft Inc. recently expanded its imaging department by adding additional equipment along with camera verification. This will increase efficiency when using barcoding and numbering. The addition of this new equipment will allow the Ward/Kraft forms division to offer quicker turnaround times and increased capacity to its distributors. Camera verification ensures more accurate numbering on variable imaged forms while reducing errors.

New Member Spotlight: Bradford & Bigelow

Q: How did you hear about PSDA?

A: Interestingly, we heard about PSDA from some of our existing clients. They are always looking for the most cost-effective solution for their customers, and B&B can improve their cash flow and profitability with our targeted and low cost 48 Page Timson Press Platform.

Q: What are your primary reasons for joining PSDA?

A: B&B looks at PSDA members as an extension to our own sales force geographically. PSDA gives B&B access to customers and markets where we do not currently have a presence. There is no other vendor in the PSDA vendor base that can match our ability to provide a complete supply chain — digital and conventional — within our product lines.

Q: What services/products does your company provide?

A: Bradford & Bigelow is a low-cost producer for 8.5 x 11, 1/c & 2/c text printing, and 4c covers for health care directories, college and industrial catalogs, financial reports and instructional manuals. On the digital side, B&B can do one to four color, saddle, perfect coil and case bound up to 1M copies.

Here are some highlights:
  • Scalable production from 25 to 100M copies
  • Supply chain of analog and digital print platforms allowing tighter quantities
  • No lightweight paper restrictions throughout our supply chain — same look and feel of digital or conventional offset
  • Infrastructure: one plant, one CSR, one file
  • FSC & SFI approved
  • ISO9001:2008 certified
Visit Bradford & Bigelow website
Flottman Company Receives 7 Print Excellence Awards

Flottman Company, a PSDA member, recently received seven Print Excellence Awards in the annual competition hosted by the Printing Industries of Ohio & Northern Kentucky (PIANKO). The 2012 awards included more than 500 entries competing in 34 categories. The entries were critically judged by three out-of-state officials. According to PIANKO President Jim Cunningham, “This year’s judging panel collectively spans more than 100 years of printing experience, and they were extremely impressed with the number of entries and the association’s incredible variety of work.” Flottman’s award-winning entries featured pieces highlighting its client partners: Angstrom Tech, Bakery Craft, Timet – Cipco Solutions, and Seraphim Ranch. Flottman Company also received two awards for self-promotional materials designed, targeted and printed in-house.
Wise Welcomes 1 New Director, 2 New Managers

PSDA member Wise recently named Jerry Phillips (below, left) as director of sales, strategic accounts and Fred Bucher (below, center) as Southeast regional sales manager. Phillips joined Wise in 2005 through the acquisition of Woodbury Business Forms in LaGrange, Ga. Prior to joining Wise, he was the vice president and general manager of Woodbury Business Forms. He has more than 40 years of experience in various capacities of manufacturing and sales management in the business forms industry.

Bucher has been with Wise since 1999 as the Midwest regional sales manager. He has more than 34 years in the business forms industry, including the position of major accounts representative with Reynolds & Reynolds. Bucher is a certified forms consultant and holds an MBA from the University of Dayton.

Wise also recently announce the addition of Randy Albertson (below, right) to its sales team as Midwest regional sales manager. Albertson comes to Wise with extensive printing industry knowledge. He is a seasoned sales veteran with more than 20 years of experience in the printing industry, including time with PrintXcel and Wisco. Most recently, he was an account executive for Comcast Business Services.

WebbMason Makes Staffing Changes, Announces New Marketing Group

PSDA member and on-demand marketing solutions and services company WebbMason recently brought about a number of changes, including naming a new vice president of marketing, naming a vice president of strategic partnerships, appointing a vice president of interactive services and establishing WebbMason Interactive.

The company named Carol Wolicki (below, left) vice president of marketing with responsibility for brand development, marketing communications, demand generation, sales enablement and influencer relations. Wolicki has extensive experience developing and implementing marketing technologies. Prior to joining the company, she was director of marketing at Ennect, a marketing software and services company, and senior director of marketing communications at Unica Corporation, a marketing software developer which was acquired by IBM. The company also named Dennis Fay (below, center) to its executive management team in the newly-created role of vice president of strategic partnerships. Fay, who has more than 20 years of print production, procurement and marketing supply chain management experience, is responsible for enhancing WebbMason's global supplier network and product assortment.

WebbMason recently announced WebbMason Interactive, an online marketing services group that consolidates the company's web and microsite development, search, social media, email and other online offerings. Enam Noor (below, right) was named vice president of interactive services within the WebbMason Interactive group. He is responsible for the design, delivery and management of digital marketing, web design consulting and services. Noor joined WebbMason through the 2011 acquisition of Desme, an interactive marketing and web design firm he founded in 2001.

Two Sides Research Shows Americans Still Prefer Print and Paper Communications

According to a recent survey commissioned by Two Sides, the nonprofit organization created to promote the responsible production, use and sustainability of print and paper, 70 percent of Americans, including 69 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds say they prefer to read print and paper communications rather than read off a screen. Most of those surveyed also believe that paper records are more sustainable than electronic record storage (68 percent) and that paper is more pleasant to handle and touch than other media (67 percent). But survey results also show that many Americans still have misconceptions about the environmental impacts of print and paper.

“Even though most Americans still prefer print over electronic communications, they also have misconceptions about the effects of paper-based communications on the environment,” said Two Sides President Phil Riebel. “In fact, print and paper have a great environmental story to tell, and Two Sides is committed to setting the record straight using factual information from well-known, credible sources.” The Two Sides survey indicates a majority of respondents are concerned about the effect of print and paper production on forests and believe that there is a connection between the loss of tropical rainforests and the manufacture of paper, but data from a variety of sources show these beliefs to be unfounded.

Industry News

QR Codes Find Their Place
My Print Resource (02/01/12) Vruno, Mark

Research performed by Archrival in December revealed that nearly 80 percent of about 500 surveyed college students have no idea how to use a quick response (QR) code, while three-quarters reported that they were unlikely to scan a QR code in the future. "Some didn't know a third-party app was needed [to scan the QR code]," observed Archrival brand manager Don Aguirre. He cautioned, "Unless QR codes become easier, more nimble and can provide content that engenders a more meaningful connection to the brand or product, students will continue to shower them with apathy."

Nevertheless, QR codes are being adopted by numerous design and graphics shops for integration with their existing projects to bridge the gap between the web and print and are creating new opportunities for growth. Print has benefited somewhat from QR codes throughout the past several years, and last autumn's GRAPH EXPO trade show featured a host of seminars and presenters attempting to educate printers about QR code marketing and utilization.

North Carolina-based NC Printing recently wrapped up a 60-piece poster run for a client that manages a chain of medical offices in multiple U.S. regions. The posters were mounted on foam board with easel backs and printed with QR codes specific for each site, said NC Printing owner Neil Roberts. "There were four codes on the bottom of each poster, one each for the website, Facebook page, Twitter and blog," he noted. PDF soft-proofing and safety-checking of each online link was required in the coordination of 68 distinct QR codes, and the job was run on a 44-inch image PROGRAF iPF8300 color inkjet printer from Canon/Oce.

Some wide-format print firm owners have adopted QR codes for their own promotional purposes. "We use our QR code on the stickers that we put on the back of all of our signs," said Signs By Tomorrow franchise owner Mary Lou Goehrung. "Our signs go nationwide, so it will be easy for new and old customers to just shoot the code and bring them to our website. We also have a large code on the entrance doors of our sign center for when customers come and we are not open. Again, it allows them to go to our website and obtain information about us, even though we are not open."

A Dec. 16 post titled "Are QR Codes Accessible?" on the PSDA Blog discussed the Archrival study mentioned in this news item. Read that post and join the discussion in the comments section.

Print Managers Face up to the Cross-Media Challenge
Print Week (02/03/12) Roper, Jenny

Printers have seen success in delivering communications in a range of media, which begs the question whether print managers also should branch out. Print volumes have declined, and cross-media work is becoming more popular in marketing; many printers recognize the profit-making potential of branching into email campaigns, data management and SMS offerings. In the changing industry, what function does a cross-media manager best serve?

Lance Hill, group sales and marketing director at print and cross-media solutions provider 4DM, said that print managers should source and delegate digital work as they do for print. A good print manager will reach out to clients, win longer contracts than the printer might otherwise have gained and positively impact the business' efficiency with knowledge and expertise. However, print managers are knowledgeable about print, while fewer know much about electronic media. Print managers who branch into this area must gain thorough knowledge of handling data and the quality of data.

Sustainability Dominates Paper Debate
Labels & Labeling (01/30/12)

Brigl and Bergmeister hosted its ninth Label Conference in Bad Hofgastein, Austria, in October, bringing together 180 printers and industry suppliers from 27 countries. Sustainability was one of the primary topics. Brigl and Bergmeister CEO Michael Sabltanig said that sustainability requires an economic base, so the converting industry must improve its cost base needs and its management of raw materials, energy and transport costs in the supply chain. Sabltanig also said the industry should better communicate the benefits of paper over oil-based materials.

Other speakers discussed the development of "smart" printed features, such as biosensors and interactive labels, and how sustainable manufacturing can give printers operational, economic and ecological benefits. Additional topics included technical trends in post-press, wet glue label production, the promotion of metalized papers as a sustainable alternative to aluminum foil and the environmental factors considered in the development of adhesives. Localization is expected to become a key trend in labeling, with increasing oil prices prompting consumers to shop closer to home. Many industry participants cannot reach a consensus on what defines "green" when discussing sustainability. Printers and suppliers also must consider how much end users will pay for sustainability.

Nontraditional Marketing Campaigns Engage Consumers (02/13/2012) Morrison, Chloé

In an attempt to capture consumers' attention, marketing professionals in the industry are using unconventional, nontraditional means to send their messages. Print and radio advertisements are considered traditional marketing, while nontraditional marketing involves unique promotions and the use of online social media. Several years ago, Chattanooga advertising agency Maycreate conducted an advertising campaign for Allied Arts for Greater Chattanooga called "What is art to me?" The campaign included traditional print ads as well as interactive options. The company's team created large, empty frames for individuals to hold up to any scenery or item they considered "art."

Marketers also created window clings for business customers to use to envision their idea of art. Some of these promotions included a URL that directed consumers to the Allied Arts website. While nontraditional campaigns can successfully engage consumers, they may include elements unfamiliar to the masses, and so they should have flexible tactics or incorporate some more traditional methods.

Billing Services Continue to Evolve
Government Technology (01/30/12)

The merger of two major public- and private-sector billing services providers — Billtrust and Mark Altman and Associates (MA&A) — should entail significant expansion for billing services offerings, and an announcement from Billtrust indicates that MA&A clients already have started migrating to the Billtrust infrastructure. Billtrust mainly specializes in online billing services, while MA&A is primarily reputed for providing printing and paper mailing for an entity's billing requirements.

The merger will involve the consolidation of print, e-billing and archiving into one platform that will support automated services, promote online payment channel utilization and monitor quality. The town of Walpole, Mass., has been an MA&A partner for seven years, and Walpole Treasurer Mark Good said, "We're certainly going to be interested in any expanded resources that they bring to the table, be it an online payment capability."

Although the town already outsources its e-billing to Invoice Cloud, it is keeping Invoice Cloud on as an e-billing supplier even though Billtrust also will offer such a service, according to Good. Billtrust group President and MA&A Founder Mark Altman cautioned, "It's going to be cumbersome to use multiple vendors."

The Variables of VDP
My Print Resource (01/30/12) Hall, Bob

The profit potential of variable data printing (VDP) can only be realized by surmounting the challenges of selling and marketing the concept, pricing the campaigns and supporting an accurate and up-to-date database. "Solution selling is a learned behavior and not as straightforward as simply schlepping production," said TEC Mailing Solutions' Scott Eaganhouse. "If the client doesn't understand the true value VDP offers, you'll never get them to part with their limited resources."

A crucial component of marketing VDP is demonstrating the technology's potential advantages to clients. "VDP and personalization are marketing tools and most printers don't know anything about marketing," said consultant John Giles. "Printers should be using VDP to market their own services. They should have personalization in their monthly newsletters and on the postcards they send out to their customers."

Pricing is another obstructing factor surrounding VDP, with Buckland Media Group's Martin Johncock pointing out that "the work involved in compiling a data file and the creativity to use it often pushes the budgets of any mailing. Print is too often bought on a price per unit as opposed to return per unit."

XMPie's Judy Berlin contended that the data quality is critical to the success of VDP jobs, "and whatever is variable and associated with each recipient must be clean, de-duped and accurate." She said the optimal strategy is to enlist someone familiarized with database work to oversee this segment of the task, taking to time to check, update and purge the data.

MindFire's Joseph Manos said a major challenge is inherent in the fact that not all VDP jobs are the same, as each job has unique customer requirements and calls for varying solutions. He cited training as the biggest challenge in the field.
PSDA On-Demand Training

In March, PSDA will launch a new on-demand training program featuring an extensive overview on how to approach variable data projects from start to finish. This multicourse program was developed by PSDA members who are experts in VDP. Look for further information on the variable data printing courses and the entire on-demand training library next month. Visit PSDA's education page for updates.

Printing Business is Going 'Social'
Livingston Daily (02/13/12) Behnan, Christopher

With the increasing availability of affordable printers and scanners, the slow economy and digital information, the printing industry has been forced to evolve to stay competitive. In 2008, First Impression Print & Marketing, based in Howell, Mich., turned to email marketing and then social media. The company now combines traditional printing services with email marketing and social media sites to create one product that owner Don Cortez calls "reputation management services." There, the printed product is one of the business' multiple components. Printed materials — which the business produces on rapid-print, color and black-and-white printers — are now intended to make first impressions and drive people to clients' websites. First Impression also includes QR, or quick-response label, on its printed materials.

Managed Print Services Under Pressure From Market Trends
TechBiz (02/14/12)

As service providers have developed managed print services throughout the past few years, market influences have recently begun to impact their further development. Network-enabled print and imaging devices are increasingly coming under the purview of the information technology (IT) department. Multifunction devices (MFDs) have been targeted for attack because they not only have network interfaces, but browsers that can be leveraged to gain information on the rest of the network as well as the jobs that have been put through the machine. These incidents have prompted IT departments to extend the usual network security measures for these devices.

With many MFDs deployed as part of document and information management strategies — which makes these devices entry points as well as outputs for information — they have been brought further within the IT fold. Meanwhile, collaboration trends have resulted in print and imaging moving beyond a single function to being part of a wider array of actions within business processes. Service providers will need to guide users through the journey of adoption as managed print services evolve and change under these market forces.
January Issue of Print Solutions

Read the January 2012 issue of Print Solutions magazine themed "State of the Market" for additional insight on where the print industry is headed.

Walgreens Advertising Circular Goes Mobile
Black Friday Magazine (02/11/2012) Gitlin, Matt

Walgreens' advertising circular, which accompanies Sunday newspapers in the United States, has undergone a makeover. Digital offerings of extra items are now available on the store’s website and mobile applications. The print version has a neater, more colorful look, with coupons grouped into categories. On Black Friday, Walgreens offered mobile coupons through a program that generated more than 500,000 downloads of the Walgreens mobile application during the following month. The online and mobile circular has exclusive pages and "bonus buys." The online ads also allow sharing through Twitter and Facebook. A recent Nielsen study found that more than 70 percent of shoppers wanted basic digital delivery of advertising inserts in the future. Online views of the circular on have increased more than 50 percent each year.

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February 16, 2012
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