Register Today: PSDA's 2014 CEO Summit
The 2014 CEO Summit will take place Feb. 10-12, 2014, at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point in Bonita Springs, Fla. This annual event brings together member company owners and executives for two days of learning, networking and idea sharing. Please mark your calendar and prepare to join us.
Registration is live and program details are available now.
“The CEO Summit is a place where optimism, ideas and potential all converge. As our company and industry continue to evolve, the opportunity to share thoughts and discuss challenges with other like-minded principals is invaluable.” — Artie Collins, NPN360
"The opportunity to collaborate with some of the most successful people in our industry keeps me coming back. The topics discussed and materials presented all focused on how the challenges in our business can be turned into real opportunity. Attendance at this conference is more important now than ever."
— Karl Heerdegen, The Northstar Group Inc.
"The CEO Summit is characterized by great thinking about our collective businesses. Whether it is informal encounters during ample networking breaks or very high-quality presentations from people we might not otherwise access, the program is top-shelf. All the speakers and attendees were happy to share their perspectives. Our 'takeaways' from the conference are extremely valuable and are being implemented. The personnel insights alone from our PSDA service partner were worth the price of admission."
— Greg Board, DocuMedia Group
Webinar Replay: How to Add New Customers Through Powerful Marketing
On July 23, Alex Goldfayn, CEO of Evangelist Marketing Institute, presented the third webinar in the "How to Grow Sales with Marketing" series. He shared with the attendees a collection of powerful tools, tips and techniques you can use to grow your business through effective, affordable marketing.
View a complimentary webinar replay.
In January, Goldfayn will present Creating and Nurturing Customer Evangelists. Register now!
Watch for the 2014 Sourcing Guide
PSDA's 2014 Sourcing Guide is on its way to your mailbox! Each year, PSDA provides a printed directory of independent manufacturers and suppliers in the printed business products and graphic arts industries.
Of course, you can always check out the Online Sourcing Guide.
The Flesh Company’s Randy Lewis Promoted to Vice President of Manufacturing
PSDA member The Flesh Company recently promoted Randy Lewis to vice president of manufacturing. Lewis has been with the company for more than 10 years as plant manager of its Parsons, Kan., production facility. He has 40 years of experience in the printing industry. “Randy's commitment to lean manufacturing and superior customer service has been a valuable part of our company's survival and growth over the last 10 years,” said Bob Berardino, The Flesh Company's president and COO.
“My work allows me to do what I like best: teaching and helping people to excel and improve their skill levels as part of a team that contributes to the success of the operation,” Lewis said. Visit The Flesh Company's YouTube channel to hear comments by Lewis on the manufacturing management process.
The Flesh Company provides top quality, affordable print services in areas such as variable barcode image printing, integrated cards and labels, label/form combinations, custom label products, full-service bindery and a variety of promotional printing applications, including 100 percent green printing.
RR Donnelley to Acquire Consolidated Graphics for $620M
R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company and Consolidated Graphics jointly announced that they have signed a definitive agreement by which PSDA member RR Donnelley will acquire Consolidated Graphics. The agreement has been unanimously approved by each company's board of directors. “Consolidated Graphics is an exceptional fit with RR Donnelley, and we are delighted to welcome them to our organization,” said Thomas J. Quinlan III, RR Donnelley's president and CEO. “This strategic combination will complement the RR Donnelley platform and further enhance our ability to provide integrated communications solutions for our valued clients across all industry verticals.”
Cooley Group Acquires Proforma I.F. Print Services
PSDA member Cooley Group recently announced that it is acquiring Proforma I.F. Print Services, its largest competitor in Rochester, N.Y. Proforma I.F. is part of the national company Proforma, based in Cleveland, Ohio. Owner David Kolko, who has been with the company for 21 years, and the company's three other employees, will become brand consultants for Cooley effective immediately. Terms of the purchase were not disclosed.
With this acquisition, Cooley, which has been employee-owned since the 1950s, now has a staff of 32. In addition to its headquarters in Rochester, Cooley maintains offices in Albany, Hudson Valley, Syracuse and Utica.
“This is a perfect fit for both companies,” said Stuart Boyar, Cooley's chairman and CEO. “We've been friendly competitors for 35 years, and I've always had the utmost respect for David. Proforma I.F. does a significant amount of business in Buffalo, so this acquisition will complete Cooley's geographic footprint in New York state. Our companies also offer almost identical services and products, with the exception that Cooley also sells office furniture, but we have very little customer overlap. And with the addition of Proforma I.F.'s four employees, we will now have the largest sales and support force in the region for a company in our industry.”
“My entire organization is thrilled to be joining the Cooley Group and creating a formidable presence in the Rochester market,” said David Kolko. “We have always respected Cooley as a competitor and look forward to combining resources and offering our customers the finest services and products in the area.”
Meridian Expands, Hires Three New Employees
PSDA member Meridian recently expanded into Janesville, Wis., hiring three new employees to serve existing and new customers in the Rock County region. Meridian's new hires are Mark Terry and Mary Terry, formerly with Terry Print Solutions, and Jake Chanson, formerly with Sonoma Graphic Products in Portland, Ore.
“Meridian recently integrated three manufacturing facilities, five warehouse and distribution centers, and five customer support locations to help deliver flexibility, innovation and superior service to our customers,” said Meridian President CEO Bob Chanson. “Our newest expansion into Janesville, Wis., and the recent hiring of Mark and Mary Terry and Jake Chanson will enable Meridian to better serve existing and new customers in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.”
“Mark and Mary Terry are well-known in the Janesville area business community, and they have a solid reputation in the graphic design and printing industry,” said Meridian Vice President Bruce Vorel. “Previously providing design, print, and mail services to customers, they now offer comprehensive branding, marketing, advertising and printing solutions through Meridian.”
With the recent hiring of Jake Chanson, Meridian has also expanded its offerings to include wide-format printing. “I'm delighted to join the team at Meridian, bringing wide-format printing expertise to the table for our customers,” he said.
Apex Color Expands Business Through High-End Digital Color
PSDA member Apex Color recently added a second G7 Certified, Konica Minolta C8000 bizhub to increase both redundancy and capacity to better serve its customers.
“In response to customer requests for shorter runs with accurate color, two years ago we installed our first Konica C8000 color press, and 1200 press for black and white,” said Richard Ghelerter, president of Apex Color. “Customer enthusiasm was so overwhelming it became clear that our new digital offerings would play a vital and strategic role for future growth, and today, we find ourselves with a second C8000 color press.”
Eric Adloff, vice president of sales and marketing, also added that Apex began looking into a digital solution about four years ago, recognizing the trends for shorter runs, marketing from a one-to-one perspective, and relevant solutions for today's cross-media applications. “We did our homework, looking at everything from a Xerox iGen and HP Indigo to lower end solutions and everything in between. We ended up partnering with Konica Minolta because we felt we could maintain the highest quality standard we are known for, while still being able to offer the most competitive pricing possible. By adding another C8000 press on the floor after just two years indicates our decision was the right fit.”
Apex Color has found that its remarkable growth was not only due to being able to simply run short-run static and variable high-end color, but adding digital has given the company the ability to expand in a plethora of vertical markets including direct mail and promotional products as well.
Wide-Format Trends: A Wide-Open Opportunity
Printing Impressions (10/01/13) Greene, Tim
InfoTrends anticipates a 7.9 percent compound annual growth rate in wide-format printing from 2012 to 2017, and this growth is attracting interest from various printing shops for whom wide-format printing is not a traditional core offering. Growth in this sector is concentrated in the conversion of analog to digital printing and the organic growth of certain applications facilitated by new ink and media products. An InfoTrends/NAPCO poll of print service providers determined that while initial investment price was not a major consideration, return on investment (ROI) is an essential element of the wide-format digital printing business for these shops.
Printers that are only planning on spending a few thousand dollars on a low-end, wide-format printing system will likely not have to make any major changes or implement any large marketing pushes to break even. Many low-end systems can create high-margin applications in small amounts to easily cover a minimal investment. Meanwhile, print service providers expecting to break even within a year are planning a major investment. It also is highly probable that a company that purchases robust, UV-curable printers will require additional finishing gear, as well as staff trained to operate it and enough space to accommodate the equipment and materials. Delivering a six- to 12-month ROI with such a high capital expenditure requires a well thought-out plan for wide-format digital printing services.
It is crucial for planners to bear in mind that their clients are not in the printing business and do not care which technologies are used to produce their signage and graphics. Their chief concerns are quality, price and whether or not that piece communicates the messages they need to relay. More and more buyers of wide-format signage and graphics are using interactive media elements to highlight the messaging and try to develop measurability on their marketing expenditures. The most profitable firms in wide-format are the ones that do not sell transactions but rather services showing how they can help clients do more.
InfoTrends thinks it is critical for print service providers to consider every growth opportunity open to them, and these opportunities come in four basic varieties: securing market share in the markets in which they already participate, possibly via an acquisition or capturing some of their competitors' customers; exploiting the shift from analog to digital printing; cultivating new markets and producing new applications; and finding new clients by accessing new channels. Components of all four of these opportunities exist within the wide-format business.
A Guide to the Changing World of Inkjet Papers
Quick Printing (11/13) Steele, Jeffrey
The versatility of inkjet printers has grown in the past few years, and Cascades Fine Papers Group's Normand Champagne said new entries to inkjet production must know ink technology and select an appropriate paper. "There are dye and pigmented inks and, in most cases, they will perform differently with different papers," he said. "Our paper has been designed to be compatible with both technologies, and work equally well." Printers also must realize that untreated paper will affect print quality, since treated paper controls ink absorption, ensures the desired color intensity will persist and does not totally penetrate the sheet, Champagne said.
He also said printers should familiarize themselves with recycled product. "Our product at Cascades is made from 100 percent recycled product, and it will not have a lower performance on the machine than virgin product," Champagne said. "It actually looks like virgin product, because the surface treatment hides the contaminants from the recycled fibers." Xpedx's Garth Geist said printers should optimize the entire system, including paper and ink. "Manufacturers of the equipment and the paper mills are working more closely together to find that balance of the right papers for the right inkjet system, to provide end users with acceptable quality," he said.
Geist also said the process of depositing ink on paper has always been challenging, "but these production inkjet systems are really pushing the limit and driving technological advancement between the paper and printing system like nothing before." The paper's porosity, basis weight and surface chemistry all play a role in determining how quickly the sheet will dry and the level of quality achieved. Champagne said improvement in the quality of the presses and inks, and not just paper, is responsible for the advancement of inkjet printing quality in recent years.
Although inkjet papers are employable in toner and offset output devices, Geist said it is not recommended for many specialized treated inkjet papers for production web systems, given the significant difference in surface characteristics. "Inkjet production systems, by their nature, require a more open, porous surface to absorb water," he said. Geist also said inkjet paper is pricier because of the specialized nature of the coatings and the fact that its formulation is more technical, while Champagne said the added cost is due to the surface treatment. Meanwhile, storing the papers does not entail additional expense.
Geist said different inkjet papers can be used for different applications. High-quality coated inkjet papers are well suited for photos and other high-resolution images, but there also are economical coated inkjet papers that offer a "good enough" quality, Geist said. "Then you get into surface treated uncoated papers," he said. "Again, they are not to the level of coated, but there are high-quality uncoated papers and more moderately priced uncoated papers for these systems, all designed for production inkjet printing."
Sustainable Challenges, Opportunities in Wide Format
Wide-Format Imaging (11/13) Vruno, Mark
The wide-format print sector is implementing a number of options for meeting challenges for sustainable operations. TerraCycle, for example, recycles and upcycles a broad spectrum of materials, while the Stella Color print firm has established a profit center by selling products created from its waste. Materials vary and can run the gamut from printed vinyl, mesh, canvas or fabrics. Stella Color set up the first Hewlett-Packard L65500 latex printer in the Pacific Northwest, featuring a 100-inch print width at 1,200-dpi resolution. The company maintains its commitment to the environment with the region's first low-VOC ink supply system and also delivers continuous-tone printing at 2,880 dpi with a 64-inch Epson 11880. The device employs a nine-color ink system featuring proprietary UltraChrome K3 inks.
"There is a trend toward latex, UV and aqueous — and away from solvents — as [environmental] regulatory pressures increase with regard to indoor air quality," said Visual Marking Systems' (VMS) Dave Sunderman. "Limiting employee exposure [to hazardous substances] may mean adding a new shift, improving ventilation systems or adding other safety equipment. At VMS, we've gone completely solvent-less unless a customer requires it, which is less than 2 percent of our business. We've also consolidated our supply base for wide-format [print], vehicle graphics and tradeshow displays ... and try to choose new equipment that uses less energy," such as its latex and two electrostatic inkjet devices.
Sunderman said materials recycling can be handled in two ways: by incineration or by pulping, grinding and repurposing the materials. ProGraphix's Nicki Macfarlane said pinpointing economic sustainability can be difficult. "For sustainable media that is currently available, it is frequently higher in price than traditional media," she said. "It can be difficult to pass this increase in cost on to the customer, so due to the decrease in our margins, we don't use it. I would definitely prefer to use these products and would if they were closer in price." Macfarlane said that "finding a recyclable and/or non-PVC banner material that is comparable in price and outdoor durability as 13-oz. vinyl" and finding media rolls fashioned from recycled content are her most formidable challenges.
Although people may be more conscious about green products, most clients are still unwilling to pay more for them, said Great Big Pictures' Michael Haeger. "And finding alternatives is challenging," he said. Haeger also said his company retired its solvent machines in October. The technology had been "shut down for quite a while," he said. "The market [for it] is smaller, and much of it is moving to fabric."
Greenpeace Cautiously Optimistic on APP Forestry Policy Headway
A Greenpeace report endorses Asia Pulp & Paper's (APP) efforts to halt the practice of deforestation in its supply chain through its recently implemented forest conservation policy (FCP), although challenges remain. As a result of the moratorium on natural forest clearance enacted by the FCP, Greenpeace has suspended action against the paper maker. The report said companies should continue for watch APP closely and engage with the company over its FCP deployment and look for assurances that there would be no further breaches of forest clearance and peatland development moratoriums as outlined in the policy.
"APP is moving quite swiftly in some areas and not so in others, partly because they have to hire people to help them deliver," said Greenpeace International's Phil Aikman. "They are being very transparent, but I think they will always have to be monitored and bring in third-party auditors." APP's Aida Greenbury said the Greenpeace report's recognition of the company's progress to date is an encouraging sign. "This report has given us additional confidence that we are on the right path as we aim to put a permanent end to deforestation in our supply chain," she said.
How to Calculate Prepress Pricing
Quick Printing (11/13) Giles, John
There is a formula for calculating prepress pricing, and by estimating how much you billed this month and how much you paid in wages and benefits to the designer/typesetter, you can determine the level of profitability. If sales are at least twice the wages and benefits, you are just breaking even, and you should make sure you are not inflating the figures with non-design production costs such as plate charges. Turning a profit requires the owner and production manager to manage and monitor the typesetting and design work, and not allow sales staff to give it away just to get the print job. Sales rise when management concentrates on typesetting and design selling prices.
There is an easy way for a print shop to establish practical pricing for common typesetting and design work. There is no need to use an hourly rate if the shop is not going to monitor and collect the time on each individual job. Printers should establish prices for standard types of work, and once the common prices and time estimates are set, the production manager and designer must collaborate to ensure the work is completed on time and with a profit. This requires them to review each job before it is entered into production and to communicate throughout the day about the work.
Customer alterations should be charged by printers, and the designer ought to report all author alterations to the production manager on a daily basis so they can be added to the customer's invoice. Profitability also will be improved by charging to deal with customer-generated files and charging more when they require major corrections.
Landa Forecasts Market Growth in White Paper
PrintWeek (10/28/13) Nias, Simon
As Landa Corporation gears up for launch of its first nanographic printing press — the S10FC — in the fourth quarter of 2014, it has forecast 4.5 percent annual market growth through 2016 for the folding carton market. Landa has issued a white paper profiling the $82 billion market, which is the target audience for the B1 format S10FC. The report estimates worldwide consumption of carton board currently at 43 million tonnes a year, which is anticipated to grow at 4.5 percent annually for the next three years, in part due to technological advancements "unique to packaging and folding carton converting."
Landa also predicts that the trend towards more versioned, private label goods; co-branded products; and increased frequency of packaging design changes are resulting in shorter runs and time-to-market for new product introductions. The white paper said, "New market dynamics are forcing a significant push toward short-run package production. For example, if a personal care product line had 100,000 boxes produced in a single run, today, due to versioning and segmentation (more fragrances, hair types, etc.), that run amount would be split into eight versions of 12,000 boxes. As the short-run phenomenon unfolds, we will undoubtedly see a steady increase in digital packaging production." Landa's report said, "Even current digital technology, inkjet included, struggles to meet the minimum standards of quality and total cost of ownership." The company also said that even with the reductions in make-ready time on the latest generation of sheetfed offset presses, "productivity slows down drastically with changes of ink. Plus, the current expense of hardware and hands-on operation leads to a prohibitively high total cost of ownership, or TCO."
Soft Signage: Ready for the Mainstream?
WhatTheyThink (10/25/13) Romano, Richard
The various challenges facing digital textile printing are gradually being surmounted, and digital textile printing may well be on the cusp of dethroning traditional textile printing methods. Soft signage is defined as "display graphics printed on a textile- or fabric-based substrate," and SGIA said the leading product areas for companies in this category are banners, indoor wall graphics and window displays, with indoor wall graphics exhibiting the strongest growth. There also is large growth in flags and banners, as well as wayfinding signage at events.
Different kinds of fabrics have required different kinds of inks, with printing on some types of natural fibers such as cotton or linen requiring a reactive dye ink, while printing on synthetic fibers or natural fibers such as wool necessitate an acid dye ink. A major challenge for textile printing has been getting inks to adhere to fabrics and then being able to endure whatever end use is intended for the printed materials. New ink developments such as ultraviolet curing and latex address many of these challenges, and it could be construed that it is chiefly the new inksets that have permitted direct digital textile printing to be poised for mainstream penetration.
Wide-format printing generally uses a spectrum of diverse ink technologies, not all of which are suitable for textile/soft signage. The traditional preferred substrate for soft signage and other applications in the visual communication category has been some form of polyester. The term "polyester" is in fact relevant to a broad class of polymers, but the typical reference is to polyethylene terephthalate. Another common synthetic fabric is nylon, which remains one of the most widely used synthetic textiles. Also commonly used for textiles and textile printing are natural fibers such as cotton, silk, wool and yarns, but printing on synthetics has tended to be easier.
In textile printing, finishing processes can be as diverse as in other types of wide-format or specialty printing. The need for displaying the signage in a frame must be accounted for. A common textile finishing process is calendering, which squeezes the printed fabric through metal rollers under high temperature and pressure. The method fixes the ink onto the fibers, accords a high smoothness to and dewrinkles the printed fabric and/or adds some kind of texture or effect to the print by using rollers that have a pattern on them.
4-D Printing Technology Creates Composite Materials
Laboratory Equipment (10/13)
Researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder have advanced the 4-D printing concept by developing composite materials that can morph into different, complicated shapes based on a different physical mechanism. The 4-D printing concept would allow materials to "self-assemble" into 3-D structures. The team incorporated "shape memory" polymer fibers into the composite materials used in traditional 3-D printing. As a result, an object can be produced in one fixed shape, but it can be changed later to take on a new shape. "The secret of using shape memory polymer fibers to generate desired shape changes of the composite material is how the architecture of the fibers is designed, including their location, orientation and other factors," said collaborator Martin Dunn, a former CU-Boulder mechanical engineering faculty member who is now with the Singapore University of Technology and Design. The technology could have manufacturing, packaging and biomedical applications. For packaging, a product could be produced in a flat configuration, onto which functional devices can be easily installed. The product could be changed to a compact shape when ready for packing and shipping, and when it reaches its destination, it could be activated to form the shape that optimizes its function.
The Changing World of Label Printing
Canadian Manufacturing (10/08/13) Fairley, Mike
The leading label printing technology has changed significantly in the last three decades to meet shifting requirements, with UV flexo emerging as the dominant technology for new label press sales in the early part of the current century. Also showing rapid evolution since the mid-2000s is digital printing, most recently with new generations of UV and water-based inkjet. The Landa nanographic printing process slated for rollout next year is an offset inkjet process that already has attracted market interest among label, folding carton and flexible packaging printers. Employing inkjet to print directly onto glass or plastic bottles or onto various can configurations is the focus of development as well.
Label printers must make a choice as to what press technology to invest in is complicated by ever-increasing factors to consider, such as environmental footprint, color gamut, number of available print stations, value-added finishing options, energy consumption and so on. In terms of digital printing investment, there are other factors to weigh besides simple press investment, including what throughput of different jobs can be managed daily without getting swamped by administration and paperwork. This and other factors will likely demand more refined Management Information Systems, while the dpi resolution to opt for with digital and the variance of press running between all the digital label press technologies are additional variables.
Opting for digital means the converter must choose whether to invest in in-line or off-line finishing, and in-line means every job change may require a press stop to change cutting dies. Off-line finishing can entail that one finishing line can accommodate the output of several digital presses, maximizing press production time. Laser die-cutting may be another finishing investment option for the converter, yielding benefits where multiple short runs are required every day.
Ikea Is Doing Augmented Reality Right
Business2Community (10/09/13) Cameron, Mark
Ikea's 2014 catalog stands apart from other marketing investments in augmented reality by virtue of its success, which is borne out of consideration of the digital customer experience from end to end. Viewing the print catalog with Ikea's augmented reality app enlivens the content and makes it engaging for consumers. Among the insights to be gleaned from Ikea's milestone is the need to create integrated media experiences, especially with rapid smartphone adoption by consumers. The value that customers place on utility and changing consumer perceptions of value also are worth considering. Exploiting this trend involves thinking outside of traditional customer value propositions of offers and discounts, and digital experiences create an opportunity to generate something that is genuinely useful. Careful thought should be committed to mobile app development investments, as apps are more likely to be used repeatedly if they have utility. Finally, the company should seek opportunities to surprise and amaze customers, a strategy that can revitalize even the most routine of marketing touch-points.