PEAK Awards Entries Due March 30

Don't miss out! The deadline to submit entries for the PEAK Awards is Friday, March 30. 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.

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.


Save the Dates: Print Solutions Conference & Expo and Small Distributor Summit in Baltimore

Save the Date for PSDA's signature annual event, the 2012 Print Solutions Conference & 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.

PSDA small distributors are invited to attend the 2012 Small Distributor Summit taking place June 3–5 at the Baltimore Convention Center. Expand your learning beyond traditional educational sessions through hands-on demonstrations, interactive discussions, group idea-sharing and informal discussions at networking events. Education and discussion topics include a focus on business development, marketing planning, sales planning and financial planning. More information will be available soon.
PSDA Webinar: Recruiting for Top Sales Professionals

Join us for a complimentary webinar on Tuesday, March 20, as Claudia St. John of Affinity HR Group presents "Recruiting for Top Sales Professionals."

In this webinar, you'll receive tips and strategies for successful recruiting. Content will also include posting alternatives, screening tools, interview techniques and what to look for in your sales candidate.

Learn more and register today.
PSDA Job Board: Post Your Open Positions Today

PSDA's job board, offered through PrintWorkers is an online job board for printing, graphic and digital professionals. Employers can post jobs for full- and part-time positions, as well as search résumés of available job seekers. When you post your job on PSDA's job board, your ad will be posted on a total of four separate job boards dedicated to printing and graphics, as well as social media networks such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. The résumé database is comprised of job seekers for roles such as bindery, CSR, press operator, sales, admin and general managers. Whoever you are looking to hire, you’ll be sure to find them on Log in today to post your job, or start searching résumés of your next potential hires. For assistance, call 877.989.0949, ext. 1, or email

Member News

Northern Print Network, Clarity Corporation Announce Merger

PSDA members Northern Print Network and Clarity Corporation, both leading national providers of print management, marketing solutions and supply chain management, recently announced their merger. The newly combined business, operating under the Northern Print Network name and brand, began joint operations March 1, 2012. The intent of the merger is to provide a more robust product offering to both companies' client base as well as prospective customers throughout the United States. In addition, the merger brings expanded reach, increased financial strength and shared technologies that focus on better solutions for the customer. “This merger provides not only a unique opportunity for expansion in this highly competitive industry, but also will improve services and efficiencies for our customers and employees,” said John Fox, co-founder and president of NPN.
Victor Printing Reveals New Tagline

Victor Printing Inc., a PSDA member, recently changed its tagline to: “Since 1919, Great Service Never Gets Old.” The company held an internal contest where employees submitted their ideas for a new tagline. “We wanted to convey the service aspect of our business in our new tagline,” said Terry Richards, partner of Victor Printing. “With so much of print business going toward online service, people have forgotten what real customer service is really like.” The winning tagline was chosen from a medley of runners-ups. Richards cited that the company's primary purpose has been “customer service since the beginning” and that “the new tagline represents the company's reliability, quality, prompt service and our willingness to go the extra mile for a customer with a special project or tight deadline.”
Navitor Receives Prestigious G7 Master Printer Qualification

After substantial investment in training and technology, Navitor, a PSDA member, recently was awarded the G7® Master Printer Qualification following a rigorous quality review process through IDEAalliance®. Navitor's new color management system controls reproduction through printing to gray balance. This allows impeccable color alignment between proofs, offset, digital and other full-color devices across Navitor's manufacturing process. “Navitor is committed more than ever toward advancing our technology to provide our resellers the quality they expect and demand for their customers,” said Dave Spangenberg, Navitor process manager. “G7 qualification raises the bar to the next level for our partners to ensure their continuing competitive advantage in the marketplace.”
Strata-Tac Hires 1, Promotes 2

PSDA member Strata-Tac Inc. recently announced that Jeff Graham will be the new international accounts manager. The company also promoted Louise Raffanti to pre-production and purchasing manager and hired Kevin Springer as domestic accounts manager. Graham, a 17-year veteran of Strata-Tac, will help the company focus on growing exports in his new role. Raffanti, a 12-year veteran, will bring her experience in customer service to the purchasing department to help make sure Strata-Tac can continue to offer the most competitive and high-quality products as possible. Springer, a 20-year veteran of the label and integral products industry, brings a background that includes the knowledge of web finishing, offset, digital printing and flexo printing.

(Pictured, from left: Jeff Graham, Louise Raffanti and Kevin Spinger)
AccuLink Launches New InteliMailer Website, Video and Storefront Self-Promotion Ordering Site

PSDA member AccuLink recently launched its new InteliMailer website, video and storefront self-promotion ordering site, which was driven by customer feedback and the company's distributor's quest for more information about the product. The InteliMailer is designed to provide distributors and their clients with a product that can easily be adapted to almost any direct marketing campaign. It easily supports cross-channel marketing and its primary benefit is that it gets opened, read and acted upon. The website is intended for use by AccuLink's distributors to enhance their sales efforts. The site includes the company's new white labeled video, case studies, tools, tips and blogs that will help distributors in the challenging direct marketing arena.

Industry News

Electronic Tagging System Could Replace Barcodes
The Engineer (United Kingdom) (02/27/12) Shead, Sam

Researchers from Imec's Holst Center in Eindhoven, Netherlands, have developed a cheap electronic tagging system that stores more information than barcodes. This new, high-performance radio frequency identification (RFID) tag can be cheaply mass produced and contains a unique identification code that is transmitted after contact with an electromagnetic field from a reader device. Rigid RFID tags are usually made with costly, high-performance silicon technology.

In 2006, the researchers began to explore the idea of replacing silicon RFID tags with thin-film RFID tags, which could be cheaply mass produced and allow for item-level tagging. "Item-level tagging could allow vendors to implement automatic billing and inventory management," Kris Myny, an organic circuitry researcher at Imec, said. "On top of these applications, such RFID tags could be integrated with sensors for smart RFID tags." Thin-film RFID tags can also receive data from the reader first, which avoids data-transfer problems. The research has been published in a paper at the International Solid States Circuits Conference in San Francisco.

Scientists Find Cheaper Way to Print RFID Tags on Paper
Tech2 (02/13/2012) Fernandes, Rossi

RFID and NFC technology is increasing in popularity with their vast number of uses. RFID is being used to tag both cattle and shopping-mart products. Mobile phone manufacturers are building RFID and NFC readers into their devices. Scientists at University of Montpellier in France have developed a technology that allows users to print RFID tags on paper using very thin layers of aluminum. This will allow more RFIDs to be installed on even more objects at a fraction of the usual cost.

Traditional ways of printing these antennas have involved processes such as etching, electroplating, screen printing and flexography. Now, a processor thermal evaporation can deposit a small quantity of aluminum on paper to be used as a RFID tag that can be stuck easily to products. The current demonstration used a prototype and showed that the RFID tags are usable with readers. The research team will work on optimizations to the system to improve performance. Eventually, the same process could be repeated for NFC tags.

Is CTP Still in the Digital Mix?
MyPrintResource (02/01/2012) Hall, Bob

Digital presses are increasingly controlling print volume that previously was run on offset presses. However, new advances in computer-to-plate (CTP) technology are expected to keep CTP relevant, such as CTP equipment that is more environmentally friendly. A recent State Street Consulting survey found that roughly 83 percent of printers with staffs between one and 19 said process-less or chemical-free plates are a very important factor when making metal CTP purchasing decisions. Presstek’s CTP group director Thomas Krumm said: "The overall volume for CTP plate growth in the established markets is flat. However, the no-process/chemistry-free plate volumes are growing at about 25 percent in these markets, mainly due to environmental concerns and legislation."

While some franchise and other shops are opting for all-digital models, they are also adding CTP and offset to accommodate customer job demands. Other shops are outsourcing offset work, particularly four-color jobs that can be efficiently "gang-run," but most shops prefer having a dual arrangement. Suzanne Bostick, senior product manager at Mitsubishi Imaging, said, "When substrate, quality and job length could be executed well from either technology, how quickly a printer can get a plate to press is a big factor in establishing the tipping point at which our customers prefer CTP over digital printing."

FedEx Steps Up Investment in Commercial Print Services
Post & Parcel (02/15/12)

FedEx announced on Feb. 15 that it is stepping up investment in new printing technology for its business services branch, FedEx Office. The company said it is setting up new grand-format inkjet printing equipment within its centralized production centers throughout the United States, where it makes products that include rigid signs, oversized prints and retail sales materials.

FedEx Office has already implemented nearly 8,000 new printing machines in North America since May 2010 and recently added new automated finishing systems at its offset printing facility. It was suggested by regulatory filings that FedEx has invested $943 million in its FedEx Services division during the past three years, which includes FedEx Office, FedEx Services and FedEx TechConnect.

Some of FedEx's latest investments will witness high-speed print machines installed in the spring, in the form of Agfa Graphics' Jeti 3020 Titan inkjet printers and Zund G3 M-2500 digital table cutters. FedEx said this technology was "critical" for high quality grand-format production print runs.

The new systems will be capable of generating signage and oversize prints for clients that include national wholesale retail chains, other large corporations and small businesses. "FedEx Office offers a broad range of print solutions that meet the needs of customers of all sizes, and we're continuously enhancing both our production and retail network as well as our support structure to make that happen," said FedEx Office's Aimee DiCicco.

Future Bright for Growth in Packaging
Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (NY) (02/17/12) Daneman, Matthew

This year, Flower City Printing invested more than $4 million on new equipment to broaden its flexographic printing capabilities as well as paper volume capacity. Flower City President William Oliveri said that learning and investigating clients' needs is critical to the business, with emphasis on "how can we make that more profitable for them, whether it's printing folding cartons, display work or whatever, and see what we can do there."

Oliveri said that in addition to labels, Flower City produces display work, point of sale and point of purchase. "People say 'what's your niche,' I say 'ink on substrate,'" he said. "I can't even say ink on paper. We print on a lot of plastics." Oliveri described this diversification as both optional and necessary, depending on what customers want.

"Right now we're researching the possibility of getting into a different kind of printing," Oliveri said. "A commitment from [a customer], we will research the equipment, purchase the equipment and hopefully make some money from it." Oliveri said the average turnaround time is three to five days from when the file comes in, and a reliance on new technology is essential to meeting that schedule. "If we don't do it, we won't be around long," he said.

Meanwhile, Flower City chief financial officer George Scharr said the commercial print market is practicing caution because of the European debt crisis and the fact that it is an election year, although the outlook is generally positive. "If we had to see where our growth is, a lot of it is in packaging — food packaging, folding cartons, anything that goes into a box," Oliveri said. "In a tight economy, you probably won't go to the movies at $8, $9, $10, but you'll buy a box of Redenbacher's popcorn and stay home and watch TV. The other is flexible packaging — there's tremendous growth in that."

How to Make Direct Marketing Work for Your Business
The Next Women (02/27/2012) Evans, Sarah

Offline marketing tends to cost more than online promotion, but you can ensure your investment is well spent by focusing on specific campaigns for a clearly defined target audience. Direct mail can be used as a way to contact clients you are not currently reaching online, but the key is to see your direct mail as a campaign. You will need to be as specific as possible when considering why you are sending a direct mail campaign and who you are sending it to, which will leave you with a manageable number of businesses to contact.

Postal cost is the main reason direct mail is expensive, so you will need to factor this cost in alongside the design and printing. Printers will often offer discounts for bulk buying. Your direct marketing will need to stand out from the rest of the mail your prospects receive and strike a cord with them. The copywriting should have a clear message that highlights the benefits of what you are offering, and it should show the advantages of working with you, not just tell how your product or services can meet their needs. Also, the direct mail copywriting should close with a call-to-action to visit your website or social media page or to give you a call to keep your prospective client from quickly losing interest.
Five Ideas to Boost Your Direct Mail Effectiveness

For more ideas on how to make direct marketing work for your business, check out the January issue of Print Solutions magazine and the article by Robin Marchetti called "Five Ideas to Boost Your Direct Mail Effectiveness."

Retailers Turn to Large-Format Print and QR Codes to Replace in-Store Shopping
ProPrint (02/23/12) Kiernan, Steven

Australian clothing chain Sportsgirl has merged inkjet decals with QR codes to form unique "window shops," said point-of-sale supplier Active Display Group. Sportsgirl turned to Active Display Group to print and install the decals that display images of its clothing products. The first window shop was installed at the chain's Chapel Street site in Melbourne, and a second pop-up was recently installed in Sydney.

Each image is accompanied with a unique QR code to enable shoppers to scan the code with their smartphone to make an online purchase. The decals were produced at Active Display Group's Melbourne site and were made using a new super-wide Seiko V74 eco-solvent inkjet machine. The decals were printed onto self-adhesive, removable block-out vinyl with a matte laminate. In September, Wellcom Group produced a similar campaign for online fashion brand Net-A-Porter in London and New York. Wellcom used an "augmented reality" approach for that campaign where, instead of a QR code, it added a digital watermark to the images that had to be scanned by downloading the Net-A-Porter app to a smartphone or iPad.

More Design Hobbyists, Entrepreneurs Use 3-D Printing
USA Today (02/21/12) Yu, Roger

Falling hardware costs and the Internet are helping make the use of 3-D printing more common among entrepreneurs and design hobbyists. In 2010, sales for all 3-D printing products and services worldwide expanded 24 percent to $1.33 billion, partly through a fast-growing market of do-it-yourselfers, according to Wohlers Associates.

Following a product's design on software, the file is sent to a 3-D printer containing a spool or cartridge of a material — usually plastic, metal or ceramics — in a fine powder or gel-like texture. The printer deposits successive layers of the material and builds up until an object emerges to be cleaned, painted or cooled. Supporters of 3-D printing said the technology facilitates on-demand parts production, makes assembly lines unnecessary, lowers inventory and is a faster process for fabricating objects or parts that do not require precise detailing.

3-D printing has given rise to a cottage industry of entrepreneurs who see opportunities in making products for customers to whom customized, small-scale manufacturing is otherwise inaccessible. Printer makers also can avail themselves of new sales opportunities thanks to the advent of design hobbyists. 3-D printers and raw materials are generally bought online or through resellers, but printer prices are declining as makers watch the casual-user market with growing interest.

Also stoking 3-D printing's popularity among hobbyists is the increasing ease of use and falling prices of software, while the diversity of software and printer plans available online for individuals to use and tweak as they see fit is another catalyst encouraging do-it-yourselfers.

USPS to Again Offer QR Code Discount Offer
BtoB (02/02/12)

The U.S. Postal Service will reprise its 2-D barcode promotion first launched last summer. The 2012 Mobile [Bar Code] Promotion will offer a 3 percent discount on first-class and standard mail pieces, as well as flats and cards, during July and August if they include a QR code, Microsoft Tag or other 2-D barcode that enables users to link to online content by "shooting" the code with their smartphones. Admitting that the 2011 edition of the promotion was hampered by too many qualification strictures, Paul Vogel — USPS president-chief marketing and sales officer — said this year's version will be more streamlined. The Postal Regulatory Commission must approve the promotion for it to take affect.

Legislation Introduced to Protect Papermakers in Trade Dispute
Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel (02/17/2012) Schmid, John

Two members of Congress from Wisconsin have responded to concerns that the expiration of trade sanctions on some Chinese imports will hurt the U.S. paper industry by introducing legislation to keep the penalties. Without a new law, the United States will lose trade leverage that benefits paper makers with mills in Wisconsin, including Appleton Coated LLC, Appleton Inc. and Ohio-based NewPage Corp. U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Madison) introduced the bill with U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Appleton).

Chinese imports have pressured Wisconsin's paper industry, especially in glossy coated paper used in magazines. “Failure to enact this legislation would remove an important tool the United States has to fight unfair Chinese trade practices affecting 230 U.S. companies in the steel, aluminum, paper, chemicals and tire industries,” they said in a joint statement. The sanctions target imported goods that the U.S. government said are subsidized by governments of non-market economies. According to a study by the Economic Policy Institute, China provided more than $33.1 billion in subsidies in the paper sector from 2002 to 2009, when China surpassed the United States in producing the world's paper and paper products.

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March 1, 2012
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