Education and Solution Zones Spotlighted at the Distributor Solutions Expo
At the 2013 Distributor Solutions Expo, learning opportunities are completely integrated into all areas of the expo experience. You decide what topics and what timing works best for you and other members of your team.
Workshops and Sessions: Focusing on new solutions to help grow your business, workshops will be held throughout the day on Wednesday, May 8, and sessions will be held on the morning of Thursday, May 9. Workshops and sessions are included with the two-day All Access Full Conference Pass and the Conference Education Only pass.
Solution Zones: Networking, discussion and demonstrations of specific solutions will take place all day Thursday. Be sure to visit all four solution zones (Marketing & Technology, Signage, Display & Wide Format, Promotional Solutions, and Packaging & Direct Mail), to network with peers and learn from experts. Solution Zone education is entirely focused on what's working and how these solutions can be used to penetrate, maintain and extend your company's relationships with its customers.
Expo Theatre: During Exhibit Hall hours on Thursday, May 9, the expo theatre will host short presentations and expert panels. The expo theatre is located in the center of the show floor, inside the PSDA booth.
Distributors: Registration is now open for you to experience this year's best business-building opportunity.
Plan to join PSDA and stay at the official conference hotel, Hyatt Regency Chicago (pictured, left), for a discounted rate. Expo participants (attendees and exhibitors) staying at the Hyatt Regency Chicago will enjoy free shuttle service to and from Navy Pier throughout the event and the opportunity to network easily with their peers after show hours. Book your room today.
Visit the Distribution Solutions Expo page on the PSDA website for more information.
Register for PSDA’s Small Distributor Summit
PSDA has a vibrant community of small distributors (traditionally defined as annual sales of less than $2.5 million). Those distributors have access to a tailored experience — the Small Distributor Summit (SDS) — which will take place May 9-10 in Chicago in conjunction with, and immediately following, PSDA's Distributor Solutions Expo as an "event within an event."
The SDS will begin on Thursday, May 9, and will include Distributor Solutions Expo access and a small distributor-only afternoon session at Navy Pier plus Thursday evening dinner and a full-day, peer-to-peer networking program on Friday, May 10, to be held at PSDA Headquarters in downtown Chicago. Wednesday, May 8, will be an intense day of education with top-notch workshops and sessions, and an expo preview reception.
View the rest of the agenda on the Small Distributor Summit page of the PSDA website.
PSDA’s HR Corner: Expert Advice on At-Will Employment and Holidays
By Claudia St. John, president, Affinity HR Group LLC
Q: What is meant by “employment at will”?
A: Some states are considered “at-will” states, which refers to the common law rule regarding the employer-employee relationship and allowing for the termination of the relationship by either party without notice and without cause. Many employers make clear their right to employ at-will with specific language in their personnel policies and employee handbooks. To support its at-will status, it is advisable that an employer clearly state in the handbook that the company's personnel policies are not to be construed as a contract of employment.
While declaring and retaining at-will status provides an employer greater flexibility in the workplace, in all states the burden of proof is on the employer to ensure that a termination is not the result of wrongful discrimination (for reasons such as age, sex, race, color, national origin, religion, disability, veteran status, family status, genetic information or sexual orientation). Accordingly, being an at-will employer is not a cure-all or a substitute for establishing clear policies, keeping thorough documentation and applying consistent administrative practices in all facets of the employer-employee relationship.
Q: Are there required holidays I have to give my employees?
A: No. Private employers are not obligated to provide employees any specific days off during the year for holidays. There is also no special rate of pay mandated when an employee works on a holiday. An employer could, for example, legally schedule employees to work on New Year's Day or Christmas Day at their regular rate of pay.
Affinity HR Group LLC is a consulting firm and PSDA partner that specializes in providing human resources assistance to associations and their member companies.
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.
Suncoast Marketing Hires POP Specialist
Michael Smith, inventor and designer, recently joined the Suncoast Marketing team as a creative POP specialist. Smith brings to Suncoast 30 years of POP experience in his own business and holds 20 patents for unique, cost-effective, innovative designs in the industry. Suncoast now offers this new service to its clients who are in the market for creative, results-driven, point-of-purchase displays to showcase their products and services. Suncoast Marketing is a distributor for promotional products, apparel and printing in the Fort Lauderdale area and is a PSDA member.
Datatel Sees Growth in FSC/SFI Certified Paper Usage
PSDA member Datatel Resources Corporation recently reported that during the 2012 calendar year, more than 4.5 million pounds of FSC and SFI certified paper were converted in its Monaca, Pa., production facility. The company continues to see continued growth in high volume print opportunities and will work closely with distributor partners to implement the market advantages of providing chain-of-custody certification to end users.
Jubilee Brands Adds Four Color Fans
PSDA member Jubilee Brands (formerly known as Thanks A Dozen® and Brandelope™) is proud to announce the addition of Four Color Fans™ to its family of brands. “Many of our customers have shared a frustration they experience when ordering handheld fans,” said Jim Kerber, Jubilee Brands general manager. “While the published pricing looks good at first glance, the price often escalates as you add color. It sometimes takes a degree in mathematics to figure out the final price. Our goal with adding Four Color Fans to our line of products is SIMPLE: make ordering SIMPLY beautiful fans SIMPLY SIMPLE for our distributors and end users.”
Jubilee Brands offers six shapes in two sizes (large and small). All pricing includes four-color. The goal is to ultimately be less expensive and easier to order from than the competition. Custom shape inquiries are always welcome.
Strata-Tac Hires Account Representative
PSDA member Strata-Tac, a manufacturer of adhesive label stock and coated films, recently hired Rich Basso, a veteran of the label industry for 30 years, as an account representative. Based in New York City, Basso will handle sales in the Northeastern part of the United States.
All Barcode Systems Hires Account Manager
PSDA member All Barcode Systems, a label convertor and automated data collection equipment distributor/integrator located in Westminster, Calif., recently hired Barry Petenbrink as the company's Eastern U.S. account manager.
“Barry brings over 20 years of industry experience to our sales team,” said Scott Steiner, president of All Barcode Systems. “Barry is experienced in providing products and services for supply chain, security and document management customers. As our Eastern U.S. manager, he will provide the direct face-to-face contact for our expanding base of clientele, which is paramount to our customers. Barry also possesses ERP knowledge that has allowed him to lead a mobile computing manufacturer and a software provider to certify their products in SAP and Oracle applications.”
High-Performance Packaging on the Upswing
MyPrintResource (02/11/13) Whitcher, Joann
High-performance, or smart, packaging is on the cusp of tremendous growth, creating opportunities for packagers to boost revenues. A new IDTechEx study said that during a 10-year period, the total market for e-packaging devices will soar from $0.03 billion to $1.7 billion. The bulk of the growth will stay in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) market, and, by 2023, 35 billion units for CPGs will have electronic functionality of some kind. Approximately 3,000 organizations worldwide are seeking to develop technologies to meet the potential demand of this thriving market, IDTechEx said.
High-performance packaging is a fusion of packaging’s basic functions — security/protection, utilization and graphic communication — with wireless/mobile media technology that offers the end user information or an experience that engages the senses. “Smart or intelligent packaging allows the CPG to engage in conversations with the consumer either at the point of purchase or beyond,” said Polytechnic State University Professor Colleen Twomey. “It allows the consumer to interact with the brand, get coupons, play games, enter contents. CPGs are looking to have the consumer establish brand loyalty through packaging, all taking place through the consumer’s mobile device.”
Smart packaging also is conferring upon printed electronics a new security function. For example, sensors that track storage temperature or alert consumers to expiration dates are being developed in the food and beverage industry. There is virtually no limit to opportunities for consumer engagement thanks to smart packaging, partly as a result of new developments in conductive substrates and printed electronics technologies. Twomey said the graphic reproduction of the markers for mobile is essential, regardless of what type of high-performance printing is deployed. For instance, she said shrinking Quick Response (QR) Codes can make reproduction problematic.
Also gaining ground is augmented reality technology. “This might be the ultimate in consumer engagement,” Twomey said. “Augmented reality engages the consumer at the point of sale, it has the unique and viral factor and it enables content to be delivered without sacrificing package real estate.”
Packaging & Direct Mail at the Distributor Solutions Expo Packaging & Direct Mail is one of the four Solution Zones at PSDA's Distributor Solutions Expo. These Solution Zones — a new feature at the expo — will be located on the expo floor and will spotlight exhibitors with unique, high-impact offerings.
Sign up now to become an exhibitor.
New Data on Print Buyers Shines Light on Top Trends, Sourcing Preferences
Based on a survey conducted in December 2012 by Margie Dana of Print Buyers International, nearly 60 percent of print buyers say color management is "Extremely Important" to them — but 61 percent report that they do not select printers based on certification in color management. This is among the key findings in a new research report written by Dana, which outlines several notable print buying trends. The 40-page report, "View from 30,000 Feet: Key Trends & Sourcing Practices," is available for $99 at www.printbuyersinternational.com. "Uncovering and identifying current trends among print buyers has always been a major goal of mine," Dana said. "I think some of the results will surprise printers. I want to conduct more surveys this year. Information about critical sourcing trends gets more important as the industry evolves."
Industry Trends: Factors Impacting Profitability
Quick Printing (02/13) Margolis, Stuart
The Printing Industries of America’s Ratio Survey Results outlines factors affecting the profitability of the printing industry and their relation to the widening gap between industry profit leaders and all firms. While firms with annual sales in excess of $10 million outperformed smaller firms, this trend was not observed in profit leaders.
Printers with sales in the $6 million to $10 million range generated the lowest profitability percentages in both the All Firms and Profit Leader categories, strongly implying that competitiveness is highest in this spectrum. In the Profit Leader category, printers with less than $3 million in sales were in a vanguard position, showing annual profit as a percentage of sales of 11.6 percent. Profit leading companies with sales in excess of $18 million showed profit as a percentage of sales of 10.4 percent.
Of the 10 printing product specialties covered in the survey, Forms/Document Printers was the leading profit-generating segment, with average profit as a percentage of sales of 5.30 percent. Profits of 5.15 percent in the Packaging segment topped Book Manufacturing at 4.52 percent for the first time in more than five years, while Label Printers and Direct Mail Firms exhibited average profit above the general industry average of 1.8 percent.
The biggest profit jump was observed in the largest segment, Commercial Print/Advertising, which climbed from 0.63 percent to 1.34 percent. A profit boost also was seen in the Magazine/Periodicals segment, rising to 0.54 percent from 0.03 percent. The Quick Print segment experienced the most drastic reduction in average profit, with a decline from 3.46 percent to 0.95 percent in one year. Experience demonstrates that strong managerial oversight, viable forecasting and solid day-to-day planning contributes to the maintenance of high profitability, no matter the firm's specialty or size.
Obama's Speech Highlights Rise of 3-D Printing
CNN.com (02/13/13) Gross, Doug
The burgeoning field of 3-D printing received a big endorsement from President Barack Obama during his recent State of the Union address. Obama said 3-D printing, also known as “additive manufacturing,” could fuel new high-tech jobs in the United States. He spoke about the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute in Youngstown, Ohio, which is researching how to move the cutting-edge technology from the research phase to day-to-day use. There are plans for three more manufacturing hubs to bring together businesses and the departments of Defense and Energy "to turn regions left behind by globalization into global centers of high-tech jobs," Obama said. "And I ask this Congress to help create a network of 15 of these hubs and guarantee that the next revolution in manufacturing is made in America." He spoke mostly about the industrial potential of 3-D printing, but some consumers are interested in the technology. Cost has been a big obstacle, but MakerBot's Replicator 2 desktop printer is now available for $2,200.
Pernod Ricard Designs Wine Label to Appeal to Men
Labels & Labeling (01/30/13) Jerschefske, Danielle
Pernod Ricard USA has introduced its first California still premium red wine brand, a 2010 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Syrah, and the naming of the brand and the design of its label were critical to its success. The wine company worked with Landor Associates, a brand consulting firm, and chose the name Deadbolt because it was looking for an aggressive name that would appear more masculine and appeal to male consumers.
"The name, the tattoo-inspired design of the label and the production techniques employed to bring Deadbolt to market all combine to express the brand's essence," said Chris Lehmann, executive creative director and general manager of Landor's Chicago office. The idea was to speak to making your own rules and daring to be different. Collotype Labels in Napa, Calif., a division of Multi-Color Corp., manufactured the Deadbolt label with silver foil, which helps catch the eye of consumers standing in aisles and adds a touch of sophistication. "Deadbolt's packaging and branding, from the cork to the carton, tell a strong story, which we feel will really resonate with an adventure seeking consumer who is looking for something different," said Lauren Simkin, general manager, Pernod Ricard USA, Wines and Champagnes.
Specialty Inkjet Inks Gain Popularity
Wide-Format Imaging (02/13) Mortimer, Pam
Specialty inks can improve printers' offerings, and some PSPs are exploring and adopting popular products such as white, clear, neon and metallic inks. “With the recently announced Epson SureColor S50670 and S70670, we are offering metallic silver [S70670] and high density white ink [S70670/S50670] options,” said Epson America's Reed Hecht. “These new inks are different in their formulation from the standard color inks and provide signage and fine art customers with new options for printing on clear materials with the white ink or creating unique signs and fine art with the metallic silver ink."
Seiko Instruments' Patrick Ryan said his company's ColorPainter printers use neon yellow and neon pink specialty inks, which are inks that can be used under black light. Ryan said designing for the use of specialty ink requires changes in how prepress must prepare for printing with such products. “There’s a slight modification so you can print the neon inks with the CMYK inks," he said. "It’s easy and automatic to configure. Designers simply have to create separate channels or spot colors that will be sent to the printer.”
Color-Logic's Mark Greeves said specialty inks differ from standard inks in several ways. "White inks must be very opaque, since they are often used to obscure a colored substrate or to provide an underlying layer on which an image can be printed when a clear substrate is to be used," he said. "Metallic inks, because they have a fairly high concentration of aluminum or other metallic material, can cause problems in some inkjet printer mechanisms.”
PSPs can expect the use of specialty inks to affect their bottom lines. "Customers can choose at the time of installation to install these inks or to run the printer without these inks for a color-only configuration," Hecht said. "Whether the printer is installed with or without the specialty inks, the cost of the unit is the same to customers." Greeves said specialty inks will likely be more costly in the foreseeable future, while another factor that is often missed "is that graphic designers are not trained in school to use metallic inks. This often leads to expensive press trials and prepress rework in production.”
Epson said specialty inks are particularly popular with commercial sign shops and commercial proofing businesses. Meanwhile, Ryan thinks that although the market for specialty inks is smaller and more specialized, it offers PSPs the chance to grow their client base. He said, for example, that neon inks can widen a PSP portfolio to include casinos, amusement parks and night clubs.
“When it comes to trends, we’re all developing healthier, greener inks," Ryan said. "Each year, the next generation inks are healthier without sacrificing what the customer wants, such as color and durability. People also want cleaner, greener inks and, of course, cheaper.”
Digital Color Presses Continue to Gain Ground
Quick Printing (02/13) Hall, Bob
Digital color presses have made significant strides in the last few years. The overwhelming majority of printing output is color, but color presses' tremendous improvements in speed, quality, reliability, features and duty cycle also have accelerated their obsolescence. "One change which has affected the printing industry is the need for more frequent upgrades of capital equipment,” said Dirck Holscher, publisher of Larry Hunt's Color Copy News. “Where a few years ago you could buy a new press and expect it to last for 10 or 15 years, printers are finding that they need to replace their digital printers every four or five years to keep up with changes in technology."
Demand for shorter runs and faster turnaround times also is contributing to the growing proliferation of digital color presses. “We are seeing more and more commercial printers looking to expand their services and improve efficiencies,” said Dino Pagliarello with Konica Minolta Business Solutions USA. “They are finding it harder to turn a profit on traditional offset work — especially on short-run jobs. Color digital presses are great for shorter job runs and variable data printing. [With digital,] commercial printers can offer their customers high quality, short-run printing with fast turnaround times and do so profitably.”
Buying a digital color press should be preceded by careful consideration of budget, quality needs, average monthly volume, speed and service and support, said Artie Moskowitz, author of “How to Buy Copiers.” “There are many good presses on the market, but nobody can choose the right one for you without asking the right questions,” he said. “A knowledgeable salesperson who has experience in print-for-pay can help you make a good decision, but each will be biased toward their line.”
In terms of predictions about the future of digital color press technology, Holscher said, "Inkjet printers will continue to improve in quality and become a more competitive technology, compared to the toner based units we are using now. Also, there are several new technologies that will probably loom larger [during] the next few years. One is the nanography process that was introduced by Benny Landa at the drupa show this year. The Memjet process is another technology that is beginning to come to market after a long period of development. There have been some successful Memjet-powered products in the mailing and wide-format areas, and I would predict that others will follow.”
Sculpteo's 3-D Printing Service Brings Designs to Life
SmartPlanet (02/13/13) Silbey, Mari
Sculpteo is building a global-scale manufacturing operation for 3-D printing services. Companies and individuals can send in the 3-D renderings of their creations, and Sculpteo will print those designs using 3-D printers. Rather than make 3-D printers, Sculpteo buys commercially available machines and innovates on the technology to improve their quality and versatility. The company has, for example, added full-color printing to the process, creating new options for customization. Sculpteo has high-quality machines, globally distributed operations and the ability to innovate, and is now looking to ramp up its 3-D printing business. Customized iPhone cases, individual pottery designs and personalized 3-D maps are among the products Sculpteo is currently delivering to clients. Print manufacturer Stratasys, startup Shapeways and Belgium-based i.materialize also are building businesses around 3-D printing, and Staples plans to offer services through a partnership with Mcor Technologies. Wohlers Associates predicts 3-D printing will be a $3.7 billion global industry by 2015.
Solve Business Challenges With an Enterprise Labeling Solution
Manufacturing Business Technology (02/13)
Freelin-Wade has replaced its custom-built legacy labeling system with TEKLYNX CENTRAL, an integrated enterprise labeling software solution. TEKLYNX CENTRAL combines the technology of the TEKLYNX barcode label design, printing, label tracking and approval software into a single solution. "We needed a system that we could count on, that was easier to use and that supported our company's goals," said Calvin Hansen, IT manager at Freelin-Wade, a large independent manufacturer of plastic tubing in North America that has more than 4,000 stock items and infinite custom products that require proper labeling. The previous system was based on Scanco's Label Xpert program tied to MAS 500, and Freelin-Wade was not able to customize the interface and faced stability and maintenance issues. With TEKLYNX CENTRAL, each department only sees the labels that are specific to them, and the label previews have helped reduce costly customer returns by 50 percent. Built on a common database (SQL), the system's structure also offers simplified disaster recovery. Moreover, TEKLYNX CENTRAL's capabilities could allow Freelin-Wade to automate the label printing process.
Don't Underestimate 'Old School' Direct Mail
LifeHealthPro (02/01/13) Gianfagna, Jean M.
Marketers are focusing more on social media and web marketing, but they should not forget about direct-mail marketing. The tactics and techniques of direct-mail marketing have been used for generations and can offer a high-impact strategy for delivering compelling messages to individual consumers or prospects. Old school direct mail can still work because copy focused on the interests of the reader and the benefits of the product remains the most effective message to produce sales. People will still say yes to a great offer that is well stated and repeatedly promoted. And creative approaches and engagement techniques have stood the test of time. A classic direct-mail package typically contains a carrier envelope with teaser copy or design that engages the reader, a letter that uses techniques to help the reader grasp key points at a glance and a shorter letter with a second call to action. Also, the package tends to include a descriptive brochure or insert, a personalized response form and a business reply envelope.
Top 5 Reasons Why Digital Marketing Is Essential in 2013
Chief Marketer (02/13/13) Tatar, Tekin
Digital marketing is expected to increase significantly in 2013 because the digital world has become ingrained in the lives of so many people and they genuinely enjoy the platform. People are attracted to the digital world because it has become more empowering, friendly, social and happens in real time, and companies can embrace these characteristics and reach a large number of people in a way that is more personable than ever before. For example, digital marketing is empowering because the digital world is the ideal place for brands to communicate what makes them valuable, considering people use the platform to search for information and answers. The digital world empowers companies that put their energy into interactions with people and offer quality products and services. And digital marketing is essential because it is to the point, enabling companies to send individuals direct messages that reflect their interests and needs in a more efficient and valuable way. The web enables companies to learn more information about people and tailor messages to individuals, rather than create one generic message for a large audience. The companies that value and invest in digital marketing will become the brands that people love.
How the USPS Decision to Stop Saturday Mail Delivery Will Affect Marketers
Forbes (02/07/13) Olenski, Steve
Marketers who include direct mail as part of their integrated marketing strategy should be making plans in response to the United States Postal Service's decision to stop delivering first class mail on Saturdays starting this August. The switch could mean marketers will focus more on email marketing and mobile marketing, but it could also lead to an increase in direct mail marketing. "If they are trying to time mail delivery in conjunction with a specific offer, then some alterations to their schedules will have to be made," said Lisa Formica, president of FMI, a direct mail marketing and advertising firm. She also said having one less day in customers' and prospects' mailboxes could lead marketers to pack mailboxes with more pieces of mail, especially on Mondays. Wacarra Yeomans, the director of creative services at Responsys, a global provider of cross-channel marketing solutions, said marketing continues to move to more digital platforms. "Print pieces will never entirely go away; however, companies and government agencies are struggling to keep up with where the market is going and figuring out where they fit into this constantly evolving communication market," Yeomans said. Marketers should use this time to track their mail and use the data to inform their response to a longer delivery cycle, Formica said.
Email Marketing: Wireless Provider Increases Open Rate by 537 Percent, Clickthrough by 92 Percent with Personalized Daily Newsletter
MarketingSherpa (02/12/13) Eckerle, Courtney
A personalization campaign has helped boost the open rate and click-through rate of C Spire Wireless' email service by 537 percent and 92 percent, respectively. The wireless carrier embarked on the initiative to provide subscribers with news stories that matched their interests because its marketing team wanted to give customers a reason to interact with the company and see its name on a daily basis. Before the campaign, C Spire had an open rate of 8 percent and a click-through rate of 25 percent. The company launched a nonpersonalized version of its NEWSLINK service in May 2012 and created a website component to support email. However, in order to receive a greater level of engagement from subscribers, C Spire spent another three months working to personalize content based on behavioral data and also built personalization into its loyalty program, PERCS. The open and click-through rates are now at 51 percent and 48 percent, respectively. "The more relevant we can make any message on any platform, but especially email … the more engagement it drives," said Justin Croft, manager of campaigns and promotions. "The more eyeballs that we have, the more brand awareness."
Marketing & Technology at the Distributor Solutions Expo Marketing & Technology is one of the four Solution Zones at PSDA's Distributor Solutions Expo. These Solution Zones — a new feature at the expo — will be located on the expo floor and will spotlight exhibitors with unique, high-impact offerings.
Sign up now to become an exhibitor.