PEAK Awards Judging Commences at PSDA Headquarters
Judges recently gathered at PSDA Headquarters in Chicago to sift through many PEAK Awards entries. Hosted in partnership with the Print Education & Research Foundation (PERF), the PEAK Awards honor the work of print and marketing professionals who have met their customers' needs by providing outstanding value-added products and services through creativity in design, production, fulfillment while solving problems or improving business functions.
PEAK Award winners will be announced May 9 at the Distributor Solutions Expo. Read more about the PEAK Awards.
(Judges pictured, from left: John Leininger, Bill English, Darin Painter, Ivars Sarkans and Charlie Roberts)
PSDA’s HR Corner: Expert Advice on Unused Vacation Time and Performance Reviews
By Claudia St. John, president, Affinity HR Group LLC
Q: Do I have to pay out my employees' unused vacation time or severance pay upon termination?
A: You want to verify with your state law, as some states may vary. Generally, vacation pay, holiday pay, bonuses, sick leave and severance pay are examples of wage agreements, which may be made between employers and employees as a part of the employee's total compensation package. There is no requirement to offer these benefits, but you are required to honor any already established policy or agreement relating to the payment of benefits, such as accrued vacation or severance pay, upon termination. If the employee qualifies and is eligible for benefits, you should pay those upon termination as well.
Q: Am I required by law to do employee performance reviews?
A: No. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require that employers conduct performance evaluations. Performance evaluations are generally a matter of agreement between an employer and employee. While law does not require them, they are highly recommended to establish expectations, manage performance and increase employee engagement.
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.
Have You Registered for the 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.”
Thursday, May 9: Distributor Solutions Expo access, a small distributor-only afternoon session at Navy Pier and dinner
Friday, May 10: Full-day facilitated networking program at PSDA Headquarters in downtown Chicago
Past attendees agree this is the most valuable event they participate in and come back year after year for the peer-to-peer networking, education and motivation it provides.
Registration for SDS is handled through the registration process for the Distributor Solutions Expo. Simply go to the registration link, select either the two-day All Access Full Conference Pass (Wednesday/Thursday) or the Expo Only Pass (Thursday), then add SDS on as an "add on" during registration.
Graphic Dimensions to Hold Open House, Distributor Sales Seminar
PSDA member Graphic Dimensions is holding an open house and distributor sales seminar in Austell, Ga., March 22. The seminar is free, and the company promises “attendees will walk away with new ideas on how to grow [their] print sales and profits.”
The open house will include a tour of the company's 65,000-square-foot facility from 8-10 a.m. and again from 1-4 p.m. The sales seminar will be held from 10 a.m. to noon and will include an overview of the company's facility/capabilities. The seminar will also teach attendees how to sell digital label technology to increase sales, including unique capabilities of digital label printing and products and markets you can target with digital. Also included will be an overview of Graphic Dimensions' new Technology Services Division. The seminar will conclude with a catered lunch.
PSDA Executive Vice President Matt Sanderson will be attending this event.
To RSVP for this event, click here.
Penn State Receives Donation from The Flesh Company
PSDA member The Flesh Company recently donated two Xerox Nuvera digital presses to Penn State University for its in-house print center. “We were exploring ways to move some excess equipment, and, through some industry contacts, learned that Penn State might be able to use them,” said Roger Buck, director of marketing. Working with Xerox and Abbas Badani, director of the Multimedia and Print Center at Penn State University, The Flesh Company was able to arrange the donation and ownership transfer.
“Due to the generous donation of the Nuveras, we have been able to secure the necessary redundancy to keep our operational functional 24 hours as well as provide additional capacity during our peak production cycles,” Badani said. The second Nuvera is currently stored with plans to install it in Penn State's student union location.
Navitor Launches New Online Print Ordering Site
PSDA member Navitor recently released a major upgrade to its online print ordering website, Navitor.com, that simplifies the site's product merchandising and enhances the experience for users. Since the site's launch in 2009, Navitor's focus has been adding new products to the site to enable print resellers and wholesale print buyers wider options in what they can order online. With the addition of stamps, signs and badges categories late last year, effectively doubling the products available for ordering, the company has shifted its focus to improving site usability and functionality for the print reseller.
Navitor conducted customer interviews and surveys over the period of 14 months to gather feedback on the existing website as well as to assess the unmet needs of print resellers overall. In a blog post released at launch, Scott DeToffol, Navitor's e-business director, wrote: “The site features a cleaner and more intuitive layout and streamlined navigation that makes it easier to find, customize and order custom print products and services you want and expect from Navitor.”
This release is the first in a series of major enhancements to the website slated for 2013, all focused on providing greater value to the large community of print resellers who work with Navitor to fill their personalized print and custom business identity orders.
Flottman Company’s Ed McMasters to Receive Spirit of Cincinnati USA Award
Ed McMasters of PSDA member the Flottman Company recently was honored with a coveted Spirit of Cincinnati USA Award at the 2013 Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau's Annual Meeting on March 6. The award is designed to recognize “individuals and organizations which effectively capture and communicate what makes Cincinnati great.” Ed (pictured) and his wife, Eva Schott McMasters, a German teacher in the Oak Hills Local School System, will be part of the 2012 World Choir Games volunteers being honored for going above and beyond during the games and serving as fantastic representatives of Cincinnati USA.
The McMasters worked diligently for two weeks this summer with the 2012 World Choir Game — titled the largest international event ever to grace the Cincinnati USA region. Eva served as a German translator and choir host. Ed contributed to social media, media relations and photography. “The Spirit of Cincinnati USA Award is the highest honor one can receive from the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau,” said Tom Flottman, CEO of the Flottman Company.
“We are excited for Ed and his wife and proud to have Ed as an employee. He is such a big advocate of Cincinnati, and this is a very fitting tribute to his efforts, not just with the World Choir Games but day in and day out in promoting Cincinnati.”
Quick Tab II Adds New Equipment
PSDA member Quick Tab II recently enhanced its commercial print division by adding three pieces of equipment. Distributor demand gave the company an opportunity to complement its envelope imprinting by purchasing a digital device for those very short-run jobs. Wide-format printing of banners, posters and signage was added to QT2's product line in late 2012. The addition of a four-color sheet-fed, with in-line aqueous coating, enhances the company's capacity and enables it to produce longer run commercial print jobs.
Profile of Print Buyers Is Changing
MyPrintResource (03/11/13) Vruno, Mark
A key issue for print sellers is how tomorrow's procurer will shop his or her print jobs, said Print Buyers International founder Margie Dana. She also said print volumes have undergone contraction concurrently with the U.S. printing industry. This means that print sales reps can no longer profile buyers because they can be so diverse. “The profile of customers, especially corporate customers, is changing,” Dana said. “There certainly were not big, significant changes 10 years ago, and even five years ago it wasn’t as obvious [as it is now]. Technology is driving changes in business.” Dana also said print’s audience and customers are experiencing changes, noting that “the days of the print buying ‘specialist’ are numbered.”
Leo Burnett USA's Joe Duncan said that today “the best suppliers work across verticals and/or enhance the value of print. They also take control of [functions], such as online support and e-commerce.” Dana said during the past several years there has been a downgrade in the value that corporate decision makers filling procurement positions place on refined printing knowledge. “PSPs and sales reps need to be aware of this [trend], accept it and work with it,” she said. Dana also said other procurers have migrated into marketing departments, which presents an opportunity for print as a medium to make a good impression on marketers.
“The days of sitting around taking orders and milking huge accounts are long gone," said Aspire For Inc. principal Bill Farquharson. "Many veteran reps who lose major accounts have not been working to replace them all along.” Farquharson also said diligence remains the one constant "that can substitute for a lack of sales ability.” Meanwhile, Duncan said metrics represent “the holy grail of CPG [consumer packaged goods] companies,” although no one has as yet been able to truly quantify print's efficacy. “There are bits and pieces, especially in publishing," he said. "We’ve seen some clever uses of QR [Quick Response] Codes, too, but also some really bad ones that have backfired. A bad brand experience is the worst possible world because there is no data [generated] if people walk away.”
How Do We Label the Future?
Packaging Europe (03/14/13) Lejeune, Jules
FINAT managing director Jules Lejeune said the label industry is actively addressing a variety of impactful issues and that FINAT's mission is to help members "define, and then activate, their future routes to success." He observes exponential growth of packaging print as commercial print diminishes. "It is the key area where the consumer relies on a product’s physical brand image to confirm its quality, reliability and desirability," Lejeune said. "Narrow-web label converters, working with innovative new print substrates, inks and varnishes, are today able to deliver a much broader spectrum of solutions to their brand-owning and retailer clients than just self-adhesive labels. Shrink and stretch sleeves and flexible paper and film pouches are good examples."
Lejeune also said the expansion applies to the companies' offered print processes as well. "Today’s modular presses make it possible to use multiple ‘traditional’ print processes ... as well as digital print for personalization, barcoding, etc.," he said. "What is more, the new-generation digital label presses deliver high-quality print results, too." Lejeune said lean manufacturing and sustainable practices also must be a core element of the label converter’s operations. "This is an arena where our industry has already seen much real achievement, and ... self-adhesive solutions can really offer a lean solution," he said.
Lejeune said: "The nature of the basic label stock construction — a sandwich of printable face material backed by an adhesive layer and a release liner — has made it probably the most flexible and versatile labeling medium available. Not only are the constituents of the label stock all variable, but its stability allows labels to be automatically applied accurately, quickly and cleanly on simple label dispensing equipment." Lejeune also said specialization is one path that label companies can follow to reap success. "Alternatively, companies can look to extend their reach from being a ‘local’ supply base, to cross-border trading and, then, an international presence — achieved either independently or as a result of establishing partnerships and alliances with like-minded companies in other countries," he said. "Finally, of course, there are mergers and acquisitions."
Managed Print: An Aggregated Approach That Drives Channel Revenue
CRN.com (03/05/13) Presti, Ken
Relatively new developments in the world of printing have led to profitable opportunities for MSPs and traditional value added resellers. Managed print services emerged five or six years ago as a way to consolidate print and aggregate spend under a common platform for managing print related assets, said Sam Errigo, senior vice president of business intelligence services for San Francisco-based Konica Minolta Business Solutions USA. By collecting data from every printer on a network, Konica Minolta can tell a specific customer organization their overall cost and utilization and drive intelligent business decisions and processes. Konica Minolta works with about 385 channel partners that can leverage its print management capabilities toward the effective management of printer "fleets." Lexmark believes MPS is mostly about right sizing. Technology Integration Group entered the space several years ago. The San Diego-based early adopter works in part with Hewlett-Packard, which provides capabilities around remote management, billing, administration, monitoring and service deployment. Under the agent model, partners can get a percentage of toner revenues, software provisioning revenues, break/fix, a finder's fee and discounts for the corresponding sale of hardware.
Greenwashing: Sustainability’s Dirty Little Secret
MyPrintResource (03/18/13) Whitcher, Joann
Greenwashing is the use of unsubstantiated, nonscientific environmental claims to advertise a product or service, and it is a particularly inflammatory subject for the graphics arts community. Paper and its alleged environmental costs are being used to promote a paperless agenda by Internet-based firms and other organizations that stand to make immense financial gains from the elimination of paper, while graphics arts companies whose business depends on paper are taking issue. There is growing conventional wisdom that digital technologies and paper each affect the environment, and each can be potentially as bad or as good as the other, according to how individual companies and industries in general respond to those effects. "In large part we don't readily understand the life cycle of the products and services that we are talking about," said Don Carli with the nonprofit Institute for Sustainable Communication.
Although greenwashing is a strategy that companies advancing a vision for a paperless world are being cited for, printers also should recognize that there must be solid, credible research behind their environmental arguments. "If I were a printer, I would be aware of environmental marketing guidelines," said Two Sides U.S. president Phil Riebel. "I would make sure that I have proof coming from responsible sources, to back up any claims. If the paper you are using is labeled as eco-friendly, make sure that its attributes are well-certified and based on a third-party proof. Deal with responsible companies that have a solid environmental performance."
Promotion of paper products that are tree-free, fashioned from recycled fiber or agricultural waste, is a marketing misstep that Riebel sees. "Companies making these products are suggesting that they are better for the environment than paper made with trees," he said. "But much of the paper in use today is made from trees that are coming from managed forests, and that are responsibly sourced." Riebel also said, "If you get your paper from a responsible source, from a company that is using a well-managed, sustainable forest, if you get paper with the highest level of certification, then you are helping to promote the longevity of the forest and of trees."
Carli said the printing industry must put an end to its timidity in resolving systemic fraud in practices that are incendiary. "Print has enough of a challenge to compete on its merits; it makes matters worse if it allows media competitors to step out of the line that the law provides to assure the greater good," he said. "Consumers don't win if there is misleading advertising." The Federal Trade Commission's Green Guides outline rules for marketers with respect to advertising, promotional material and all other forms of marketing. The Guides call to task firms that make general, broad and unspecific claims regarding the environmental attributes of a package, product or service. Fines and other penalties can be applied by the FTC to companies that make non-credible arguments.
Quick Printing (03/13) Ireland, David
The use of color in business communications and the level of image quality that can be realized continues to evolve. Businesses weighing investments in color print need to fully understand the capabilities and potential of the latest continuous forms and web production inkjet printing technology so they can enjoy a maximum return on investment. Advancements in web production inkjet printing technology are driving down the cost of color print.
The newest inkjet devices are equipped with improved print heads, faster print controllers, better inks and faster and more productive print engines that translates to 1200x600 nozzles per inch at 600 feet per minute with full color gamut. Still, existing use of color remains rigid in many businesses. Generic offset shell stationery is frequently time-consuming to design and create, and legacy operational procedures make employment of multiple shell designs slow and expensive.
More advanced offset shells may feature generic marketing images or text, but the conventional perception of inkjet color is that the method is good for transactional highlighting but insufficient for more demanding marketing-based applications where coated substrates and high ink density have traditionally challenged high speed inkjet. This subsequently restricts personalization to basic content and text instead of graphics and images.
Forward-thinking organizations understand that investment in modern continuous inkjet goes beyond cost-per-print. Rather, the latest technology is boosting a communication production strategy that liberates businesses to better engage customers through personalization and fuel business growth. The old approach to color printing is outdated, and color printing is increasingly considered a business requirement, one that helps cultivate enduring customer loyalty and business expansion produced through more engaging and dynamic communications.
Forget 3-D Printers — The Early 3-D Printing Action Is All About the Services
Forbes (03/05/13) Wolf, Michael
The initial business for 3-D printing will be oriented around services, said Forbes columnist Michael Wolf. "I'd suggest the 3-D printing market today is a lot like the traditional printing market of the 80s and early 90s, when printers were too costly for most consumers and most would go to Kinkos to print their projects, portfolios or resumes," he said. "However, unlike then, widespread adoption of the Internet means that accessing emerging and expensive technology no longer means a trip to the corner Kinkos. Today, anyone wanting access to 3-D printing services can get it from companies like Shapeways, Sculpteo or Materialise, each of which can put the type of high-end 3-D printing technology into the hands of creative types required to make anything from toys and puzzles to jewelry and clothing."
Wolf also said an opportunity exists for artists, makers and entrepreneurs to sell their own creations to others using online marketplaces through the combination of 3-D printing and the Internet. Shapeways CEO Peter Weijmarshausen said there are startups that have used 3-D printing from his company to build their businesses. "I would hope that [next year] we will have the first 'Shapeways millionaire' that sold more than a million dollars worth of merchandise," he said.
Although it is unlikely that 3-D printers will be in millions of homes during the next several years, "3-D printed creations from entrepreneurial makers and creators — some of which may be newly minted millionaires — just might be, enabled by a new class of online 3-D printing service companies," Wolf said.
US Congressmen Lodge Bill to Abolish Paperless Policies
PrintWeek (03/07/13) Ward, David
U.S. Reps. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., and Mike Michaud, D-Maine, have introduced a resolution targeting the government's efforts to go paperless. The resolution would bring the paperless initiatives of federal agencies under Congressional review, and direct the government to continue to use paper to provide information and services, unless Americans choose the electronic option. Advocacy groups and individual consumer printing companies have been involved in an extensive education campaign, and they view the resolution as a sign of progress. "This is not mandating any sort of statutory change, but it starts the dialogue and will pave the way for future efforts," said John Runyan, executive director of advocacy group Consumers for Paper Options. The group has stressed that many Americans do not have access to the Internet at home and work, and that certain information needs to remain in paper form for the government to do its job. The U.K. lobby Two Sides has expressed support for the campaign and hopes to launch a similar initiative.
Markets for Printing Tech: The Sky’s the Limit
ProPrint (02/11/13) Romano, Frank
The applications of print technology are growing beyond the confines of paper printing. There is electronic printing based on conductive or optical inks deposited on a substrate, producing active or passive devices. The sector will manufacture cheap electronics for flexible displays, smart labels and packaging, animated posters, active clothing and components in other products. Electronics printing can employ traditional printing methods for depositing special inks on material, using screen printing, flexography, gravure, offset litho and inkjet.
Meanwhile, functional printing fabricates products that possess a unique form and function to sense or control conductivity, resistivity, thermo-chromic reactions, fluid dynamics or chemical processes. Industrial printing covers a broad range of components that are part of other products. Ink or other materials are deposited on various paper and non-paper substrates with differing thickness, using virtually every printing technology for virtually every consumer, business and manufacturing need.
Other unique markets for printing include the decorative market, thanks to inkjet printing that employs a wide spectrum of substrates such as ceramics, glass, metal, special paper, plastic, textiles, wood and even food. Textiles and apparel and home decor and office products also can be printed out. The coding and marking sectors are additional lucrative markets for printing, as are the medical, security and 3-D product sectors. Among printing's medical applications are drug delivery in the form of edible wafers or food printed or coated with medical or other formulations, and cell printing involving human cells deposited on mesh to form living tissue.
Cross-Media Is a Gamble: Will You Lose Your Shirt?
PrintWeek (03/08/13) Francis, Jo
Cross-media has not exactly lived up to its promise for print providers, and its nebulous nature has made its prospects more daunting than other services. The term cross-media means different things to different people, not least because of the fast-changing digital media and marketing landscape. Some print providers will view anything that is not print as a threat. For those who see an opportunity in approaching cross-media in a strategic way, reinventing a printing business as a "marketing communications services provider" is no mean feat.
Inc Direct, winner of the 2012 PrintWeek Award for Cross-Media Company of the Year, said the key to success is understanding the customer journey and then relating it to the marketer. "For us, it's the right use of the right media on the right person at the right time to provoke the right response," said Andy Bailey, sales director for Inc Direct. Print services providers will need to implement data correctly and have people who are on the same wavelength as marketers. Ultimately, they should have an informed view of cross-media. The decision to embrace cross-media will depend on what their aspirations are, said Mark Stephenson, digital solutions sales manager at Fujifilm.
Augmented Reality: Layar and QR Codes
Wired (03/13) Sterling, Bruce
Layar — a simplified way to add digital content to print media — is bringing interactive print and QR Codes together in an updated version of the Layar App. The upgrade was undertaken because many users were attempting to scan QR Codes. With the new Layar App v7.2 for iOS and Android, users no longer need to switch to one app to view interactive print and then another to view QR Code content. As a single app, the technology brings the power and engagement of augmented reality to QR Codes. When users attempt to scan QR Codes, the app first analyzes the content and determines what it is. "Then, instead of suddenly whisking users away or abruptly performing an action on their device, Layar displays the content in AR just as it does with interactive print," said Layar. "You're then just one tap from viewing a web link, watching video, listening to audio, sending an email or SMS, adding an event to your calendar and more."
Hey, B2B: Grow Up and Get a Social Media Strategy, Will You?
MarketingProfs.com (03/12/13) Paranicas, Philip
Social media gives B2B marketers another chance to dialogue with peers and potential buyers and hold conversations similar to those they engage in at industry events. Many B2B marketers are holding out on social media because they want to know whether it works, but they should make room for it in their B2B marketing plan, considering social media provides an ongoing opportunity to attract “e-attendees.” Social media can help build brand awareness and reputation, but its effectiveness depends on having a strategy that addresses needs like any other marketing channel. An effective social media program takes a commitment to contributing to conversations with specific, knowledgeable information. The social media representative should be someone who is deep into the industry and its products. And the company should have a social media calendar to address the issue of frequency. Outside resources are available for companies that may not have an in-house social media expert.
Marketing & Technology 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.