HR Corner: Expert Advice on Employee Loyalty and Unionization
Claudia St. John is president of Affinity HR Group LLC, a consulting firm and PSDA partner that specializes in providing human resources assistance to associations and their member companies. St. John has been a highly rated speaker at several PSDA events, including the annual Print Solutions Conference & Expo, and writes many of the "Final Thoughts" columns on the back page of Print Solutions magazine.
In this new section of the Print Solutions e-Newsletter, St. John responds to recent human resources-related questions that may impact you and your business. Have a question for Claudia? Send your query via email and your question may be answered in a future edition of HR Corner.
All PSDA member companies receive discounted pricing on Affinity HR Group's wide variety of services. For more information, visit the group's website.
Q: I have discovered that one of my best people is out looking for another job. How could she be so disloyal? Should I confront her?
A: Before you confront her, consider this: There is probably something in the current work environment that is unsatisfactory to her. It's perfectly normal for unhappy, high performers to seek opportunities that offer better status, growth, challenge or pay. Don't be hurt or angry; be concerned that your environment is unsatisfactory. Instead, listen to your employees. Schedule one-on-one check-ins to hear from them. “How are things going?” “How could we improve things around here?” “What are your development goals?” “What are your dreams?” Study after study show that employees want to be informed, challenged, supported by colleagues and supervisors that care for them, and given the resources to do the best job possible. Money is rarely the true reason for employee turnover. Start listening now. Even if it's too late for this employee, others will benefit from your consideration and concern. For more on this topic, I recommend two books: “12: The Elements of Great Managing” by Rodd Wagner and James K. Harter and “The Dream Manager” by Matthew Kelly.
Q: I heard about a new requirement that employers have to post a notice informing employees about their right to unionize. I only have seven employees. Does this apply to me?
A: Yes; the notice most likely does apply to you. It applies to most private businesses regulated by the National Labor Relations Board. That said, the good news is that an the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued an order this week granting an injunction precluding the National Labor Relations Board from implementing its notice posting rule, pending appeal of a lower court decision upholding the validity of the rule. What this means for employers is that they can wait until a final court decision, anticipated in September 2012, before proceeding with the posting.
For more on the employee rights notification and the recent court decision, go to https://www.nlrb.gov/poster.
Deadline Approaching: Complete Annual Trade Printer, Distributor Surveys
PSDA is currently seeking responses for the 2012 “Top Trade Printers” and “Top Distributors” research, the results of which will be published in future issues of PSDA's magazine, Print Solutions. Don't miss out on the opportunity to have your company featured in the magazine. The deadline for submissions is Monday, April 30. If you represent a trade printer, click here to access the appropriate survey. Distributors should click here to access their survey.
To complete your survey, which should take only a few minutes, you'll need your organization's total sales figures for your 2011 and 2010 fiscal years, as well as total sales in a variety of product and service categories, so make sure to have those numbers handy. In addition, make sure to take the time to share your insights regarding your past year in business and the year ahead in section 3 of the survey. Besides providing much-needed context to the data you provide, your responses to these open-ended queries may help your company to be featured in additional coverage in Print Solutions.
PSDA New Member Highlight: Pacific Western Sales
Learn about new PSDA members in select issues of the Print Solutions eNewsletter. This week, meet Pacific Western Sales.
Q: How did you hear about PSDA?
A: I had previously worked for another promotional products supplier that joined PSDA as a way to help increase sales and to find exposure to the products that were offered by that particular company. When Pacific Western Sales started selling labels, I wanted to get involved with the PSDA community.
Q: What are your primary reasons for joining PSDA?
A: We added labels to our line for 2012 and I wanted to introduce the PSDA distributor community to our product.
Q: What services/products does your company provide?
A: We are an ASI/PPAI Promotional Products Supplier that offers bags non-woven, paper, and plastic), packaging (gable boxes, apparel boxes, gift boxes and jewelry boxes, which can all be imprinted), packaging accessories (ribbon, tissue, gift wrap, and bows which can all be imprinted as well) and labels. Seventy percent of my overall product SKUs are made in the USA and 90 percent of my packaging is made in the USA. We have two locations (one in California and one in North Carolina).
Q: Who should members contact if they want to learn more?
A: Anyone who wants more information should email John Short or call 314.810.7219.
For more information on Pacific Western Sales, visit the company's website.
FormStore Launches New Membership ID Card Sales Kit
PSDA member FormStore recently began offering a new membership ID card sales kit. These new collaterals include a comprehensive promotional kit of FormStore's core products and vertical market ideas. The sales kit was created in order to help FormStore's distributors empower themselves to dominate the market and build their sales. This kit includes samples and spec sheets from FormStore's family of affixed and integrated membership ID cards and magnets. The marketing collateral campaign integrates the use of pURLs (personalized URLs) in the email blast campaign along with a direct mail piece. Included in the sales kit is the membership ID card product selector book, the vertical markets idea book and a sample portfolio. Request your new membership ID card sales kit.
Suncoast Marketing Hires Two New Employees
PSDA member Suncoast Marketing Inc., a promotional products and printing company, recently announced the addition of two new hires. John Donhauser was hired as regional sales manager. Donhauser has 25 years of experience selling printing and promotional items to many Fortune 500 companies during the span of his career. His extensive knowledge of the industry makes him a valuable asset to the continued success of Suncoast Marketing. Patricia Greene also recently joined Suncoast as marketing coordinator. Greene brings with her more than 20 years of experience in marketing and graphic design in the health care, engineering and magazine publishing industries. Her primary responsibility at Suncoast will be to implement marketing and strategic plans to help the company achieve its sales goals and targets.
(Pictured from left: John Donhauser and Patricia Greene)
Michael Johnson Joins Relyco as Vice President of ePayment Solutions
PSDA member Relyco, a leading provider of value-added business printing and payment solutions, recently hired Michael Johnson as vice president of ePayment solutions. Johnson joins Relyco to lead the company's initiative to help transition customers from traditional methods of paper-based check payments to time and money saving electronic payment methods for accounts payable and payroll. Johnson brings more than 27 years of extensive professional experience in senior management, sales and marketing programs, and business development to his new position at Relyco. Most recently, Johnson managed channel relationships and sales for Eastman Kodak Corporation's digital print solutions and software through Ricoh. In his career, Johnson has held other management roles at companies including LexisNexis, Forsyte Associates, Xerox and ADP.
The F.P. Horak Company Launches Company Rebrand
The F.P. Horak Company's CEO, Fritz Horak, recently announced the rebranding of F.P. Horak's core business units and product offerings. As part of the company's dynamic strategic plan, F.P. Horak, a PSDA member, has created six business units, each with specialized services and benefits to enhance client value and satisfaction. The six business units are: Impress Creative Group, F.P. Horak, Impact, Print Resource Management, engage! and Great Lakes Bay Publishing. F.P. Horak's logo brand was maintained and new business unit names and logos have been designed to better express to customers the company's value proposition for each service.
Additionally, a new F.P. Horak custom-published magazine, Bottom Line, has been developed and is being mailed to executive business decision makers throughout Michigan. The publication's articles detail practical and innovative ideas that can help CEOs, CFOs, CMOs and other business leaders drive revenue and reduce costs.
Graphic Dimensions Announces Two Additions to Team
Graphic Dimensions, PSDA member and trade manufacturer of business documents, recently announced management additions. Bill Reid has joined the company as the director of marketing. Reid brings more than 22 years of print industry marketing and sales experience to Graphic Dimensions. Most recently, Reid was VP at PathQuest Group, an industry consulting firm. Reid will be responsible for the company's marketing direction and along with some key sales responsibilities.
Andrew Alford joined the company as the director of eCommerce. Alford most recently served in senior IT management with Cenveo, where he was responsible for the strategy and execution of eCommerce technology development for all of Cenveo's subsidiary companies. Alford brings a wealth of experience in the development and implementation of new technologies in the print and packaging industry.
“Both Bill and Andrew are great additions to our senior management team,” said Jay Scammell, president and CEO of Graphic Dimensions. “Their combined talents and industry experience will be a great asset towards our continued growth.”
(Pictured from left: Bill Reid and Andrew Alford)
Mohawk Reinvention Plans Unveiled at Launch Events in New York
Mohawk Fine Papers Chairman & CEO Thomas D. O'Connor Jr. has revealed his company's blueprint to transform its premium paper business to thrive in today's digital world. In recent presentations, O'Connor has outlined his vision for the future. "Everywhere you read that print is declining, but the opportunities with the new digital technologies, or with what I would call 'the new generation of print,' are great," O'Connor said. "Technology disrupts, recessions clarify and successful companies reinvent. That's what we're doing right now."
Mohawk will focus its manufacturing exclusively on high-margin papers and products that will bring distinct value to the new generation of print customers, a unique positioning in an industry historically driven by volume and capacity. The family-owned paper company will develop strategic acquisitions and partnerships that successfully leverage Mohawk's expertise and operational excellence.
O'Connor cited Mohawk's acquisition of Bravo in 2011. The digital specialty substrates business, he reported, offers significant worldwide potential. O'Connor said Mohawk will continue to seek strategic partnerships with companies, such as business card company Moo.com, that differentiate their products with unique substrates. Mohawk fully expects to leverage its industry expertise and operational excellence as an incremental revenue stream. "Last year, we earned more than $1 million consulting with other paper companies," O'Connor said.
On April 16, Mohawk transformed its face to the world. The company launched Project Streamline, a strategic consolidation of Mohawk's core paper lines, taking 22 paper brands down to six. A new technology/operations initiative, Unified Service Delivery Platform, will create a seamless purchasing experience for all customers from merchants to printers or small businesses. A new website will integrate e-commerce into all dimensions of Mohawk's online activities. The new name of the company will simply be Mohawk. A new campaign, "What will you make today?," also launched April 16.
Print Solutions Magazine Industry News
Check out the May 2012 issue of Print Solutions magazine for a more comprehensive look at Mohawk's reinvention.
Finishing in a World Gone Digital
MyPrintResource (04/09/2012) Whitcher, Joann
In the digital print realm, efficient finishing solutions are key to a job's profitability, given the tremendous labor costs that go into the finishing area. Spiel Associates co-owner David Spiel said digital finishing does not really exist. "Binding a book is a mechanical process — there's nothing digital about it," he emphasized. "Digital in binding refers to setup time, how quickly can I set up a job — can I hit a button and leave it alone." Meanwhile, Mark Hunt of Standard Finishing Systems stressed that "you can't afford to have a digital print set up with a conventional finishing approach. If you're only producing 500 units, you can't afford to burn 50 of those to get the machine setup properly; you need first book off capability, whether it's saddle-stitched or perfect bound."
According to Hunt, Standard Finishing Systems is "looking to strip labor costs out of the finishing equation" and migrate its whole business model from a cost-per-page equation to a cost-per-finished-document scheme. Heidelberg USA's Dan Mauer noted that with digital devices offering much better output quality over earlier models, finishing technology has had to make a reciprocal response. "Finishing is becoming a big part of the marketing tool — it's an inroad to capture the audiences' attention," he observed. Heidelberg's clients are using both sheetfed and web digital printing devices for more extensive and refined uses, rather than depending on speed to fuel new business. "Print providers aren't commanding a high margin for simple digital projects, so they are marketing and employing enhanced finishing techniques — variable data, tipping on cards, timed perforation and specialty effects, such as coatings, spot UV coating and embossing," Mauer said.
The greater use of variable data in digital printing has encouraged more data verification employment. "We are outfitting more and more systems with camera systems, such as our VIVA inspection system," Hunt said. "Customers need to be able to track their product through every step of the workflow; their customers are asking for an audit trail — they need to verify at sheet or page level the integrity of a document." Mauer pointed out that there is no single turnkey solution. "You need an integrator to pull the pieces together for the customer's workflow so they are able to do it in most efficient way," he explained. "You have to build flexibility into your equipment."
Digitally printed products are frequently toner-based, requiring different handling than jobs printed with traditional offset ink. Toner and ink interact very differently with paper, and digital paper will almost always require some type of scoring before folding. "Finishing needs to correspond to these substrates," Mauer said. "The postpress area will need different scoring devices because of how toner reacts to cutting, deciding whether to use a creasing device like a Morgana DocuCreaser or a Duplo DC-645, or a rotary scorer like those in our Stahl folders or like Rollem sells. You need to minimize the cracking that can occur with toner-based products. Shops will often make a decision on the fly on which device to use, considering the higher expectations of quality."
Hearst Tests Personalized Onserts Featuring QR Codes
Chief Marketer (03/30/12) Riggs, Larry
Hearst publications, including Popular Mechanics and Harper's Bazaar, are testing personalized onserts that feature Quick Response (QR) Codes. The Popular Mechanics test was run last fall by Hewlett Packard (HP), and it generated 15,288 HP website visits in 28 days from 12,008 unique visitors residing near merchants selling HP products. The test included a competition to win a wireless printer, and the entry form requested name, address, phone number and email address. In addition, the form asked entrants if they wanted that information automatically filled in according to the subscriber data tied to their QR Code.
The Harper's onserts promoted a Neiman Marcus cosmetics sale in 300,000 copies of its March issue. They were polybagged with copies sent to subscribers residing within 50 miles of one of 41 Neiman Marcus U.S. outlets, said the publication's Connie Livsey. The onserts were personalized with the subscriber's name and their closest Neiman Marcus store. The QR Code directed subscribers to NeimanMarcus.com, where they could watch a video of the magazine's executive fashion and beauty editor giving tips on using the promoted products. Furthermore, the onserts spotlighted in-store promotions.
Livsey was generally positive about the potential for using this technology to connect with subscribers, and Harper's plans to extend the onsert program to other advertisers. "It creates a one-on-one relationship," she said. "It's a very interesting, sophisticated and personal way to reach a subscriber."
Report: NFC, QR Codes Will Drive Proximity Marketing to $2.3 Billion in 2016
NFC News (04/13/12)
The global market for action oriented proximity based marketing services will grow to $2.3 billion by 2016, according to new market research from Smith Point Analytics. The firm defines the category as services that enable brands to interact with consumers based on their proximity to a particular physical location or object. Consumers would perform an action, such as scanning a barcode or tapping an NFC tag, to launch a web experience or access content. Well established in Japan, the market is just gaining momentum around the world. Smith Point Analytics expects the rest of the world outside of Japan to account for $1.5 billion in action oriented proximity based marketing services by 2016.
Investment by major mobile commerce companies, such as Google, and rising consumer awareness of standard QR Codes will drive the growth. However, Smith Point Analytics said the web experience associated with QR Codes must improve if consumers are to increasingly interact with smart posters, print ads, point of sale terminals, product packaging and the like via mobile phones. "While it is easy to create a QR Code, the resulting web experience is much more difficult, often leading to poor experiences for users, discouraging repeat usage," the firm said in a summary of the report, "Action Oriented Proximity Marketing Technologies & Platforms: Blending the Online and Offline Marketing Channel With NFC & Barcodes."
Minneapolis Star Tribune (03/18/12) Nelson, Todd
Chippewa Graphics in Minneapolis is working to transform itself from an ink-and-paper based printer to a print marketing services company. The American Indian-owned printer has purchased a new $860,000 offset press that will improve productivity and lower costs and offers new services to clients in new markets, such as printing packaging and inserts for pharmaceutical companies. Chippewa Graphics also offers point-of-sale displays, large-format digital printing and marketing-related services through Skyblue Graphic Services, a sister company formed through a partnership with Meyers Printing in Brooklyn Park, and does smaller digital print jobs and other work for Meyers' clients.
The move comes at a time when owner Randy Blackorbay, 55, is preparing to make way for third-generation leader Robert Blackorbay, 35. The elder Blackorbay's parents, Jack and Marlene Blackorbay, founded Chippewa Graphics in 1981, and now his son Robert is about halfway through a three-year leadership development program that is part of the transition plan. For the past 18 months, Robert Blackorbay has been largely running the company, which has about 45 employees and specializes in printing packaging inserts that require high accuracy and intricate folding as well as instruction and other manuals and marketing materials. Chippewa Graphics lost business during the recession and had to cut jobs and pay, but the printer has posted profits during the past two years. "We're branching off and looking at other options, to replace work that literally no longer is there," Randy Blackorbay said.
The Evolution of Anilox Technology for HD Printing
Labels & Labeling (04/10/12) MacBeth, Dave
Press technology along with anilox has enabled high quality flexo printing to become the norm around the world. HD Flexo is the new key driver within the flexo industry, having taken problematic designs and raised the bar in tonal reproduction by using new screening techniques and finer dots on the printing plates; the manufacture of finer screened rolls that will work with the new technologies has also been a challenge for anilox manufacturers.
The anilox roll remains the heart of the press, and its technical development enables other components to see real benefits within the printing process. The anilox specs should always be considered before moving to higher screens. According to independent market research, 45 percent of the global marketplace has anilox rolls incorrectly specified for CTP plate technology of plates higher than 120lpi and incredibly, as the industry pushes harder with HD printing, 98 percent of the global market has anilox technology incorrectly specified for printing this technology of 150lpi and higher. In 2011, Pamarco Global Graphics linked 500W multi hit laser technology with new screening software that enabled the company to improve on successful EFlo design, from a shape wall perspective cell as well as change the inner dimensions of the construction of the cell.
Using an EFlo-HD anilox at a lower BCM volume and higher line screen enables the ink to transfer at a much better rate to the plate, allowing for a sharper and cleaner dot, with a higher contrast of color. The technology allows for the production of custom cells by employing a variety of software applications and optical paths that produce a large selection of laser engraving manipulation tools.
Integrating Automated Cutting for Productivity
MyPrintResource (04/01/2012) Mortimer, Pam
PSPs can boost productivity and raise efficiency and accuracy through investment in semi-automated or fully automated cutting systems for finishing products. Distinguishing between an automated or semi-automated cutting system may be challenging, particularly for the PSP that is unfamiliar with new technology. Digital cutters are constantly being upgraded, opening up new options and opportunities.
"The first thing [PSPs] have to look at with automation is the existing format," said Zund America general manager Reto Woodtli. "Are they running high volume, wide format? It's something that the print companies have to look at to make sure that they get the best return of investment, that they don't buy overkill that in the end will restrict them even more than actually help." Woodtli noted that a fully automated system is not always the most sensible choice, as it "can maybe restrict some flexibility that you have with a semi-automated [system]." Woodtli described the semi-automated option as "a good start for a small to mid-size company. The advantage of a semi-automated is that the cutter is given the piece of productivity and not the operator. Before the operator would control the output; with the semi-automated it's an inexpensive that allows the cutter to dictate the productivity."
The Fletcher-Terry Company's James McNickle stressed that semi-automated systems are an especially wise option for firms seeking to increase productivity and profitability. Woodtli, meanwhile, emphasized the importance of flexibility, noting that customers "should always invest in a system that can grow and adapt with them. There's nothing more frustrating than having all this productivity out there and then they are limited by equipment and they have to make huge investments again just for the machine to adapt." Woodtli also advised PSPs to concentrate more on productivity versus speed as there are numerous variables to weigh.
With the Internet Taking a Chomp Out of Print Shops, Hamilton Printworx Owner Is Taking a Chance With Her Own
Times of Trenton (04/15/12) Tarr, Mary Ann
Carolyn D'Amico remains upbeat about the printing industry, even though thousands of print shops across the country have closed over the past decade. The owner of printworx, a full-service copy and design center in Hamilton Township, N.J., said there is still a niche for businesses that can deliver a superior product. "Technology changes and we're constantly trying to offer better machinery while trying to keep the costs the same," said D'Amico, who took over Triangle's Hamilton business about eight years ago and then turned it into an independent shop last fall after being given the opportunity to do so by NRI, a New York-based printing company that had bought out Triangle. She said that customer service is her print shop's biggest asset, considering the Internet is its biggest competition. D'Amico said people can always get someone at printworx on the phone, and adds that sometimes customers who have had a bad experience online will turn to her print shop. "We do whatever we can to do the job right, and we gain a customer that way," D'Amico said. Printworx offers high-speed copying, full- and spot-color printing, graphic design and layout.
Why Hollywood Loves 3-D Printing
ZDNet (04/16/12) Terdiman, Daniel
Hollywood producers are starting to realize that movies can be made more efficiently and quickly by using 3-D printing. According to Jason Lopes, a system engineer with the Oscar-nominated effects studio Legacy Effects, 3-D printing makes it easier to turn concept art provided by a producer into full scale models, as the reference art can simply be printed out, presented to clients and updated when changes are necessary. For the 2010 film "Iron Man 2," Legacy Effects used 3-D printing to put together a physical Iron Man suit for certain scenes that could not be computer generated.
In the past, new handcafted foam models had to be created each step of the way. The technology is convenient and makes sense because it enables producers to leverage a database of 3-D reference models; higher-end 3-D printers can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Legacy Effects uses a 3-D printer from Objet Geometries that can produce models with a layer thickness of 16 microns, which is the kind of precision and quality that is ideal for the entertainment industry. "I think it's starting to infiltrate more in Hollywood, and more and more people who know what comes out of our studio are seeing how this technology can assist any industry," Lopes said.
Lexus Brings NFC-Enabled Print Ad to Wired Magazine
Advertising Age (04/16/12) Del Ray, Jason
Wired magazine and Lexus have teamed up to create what they say is the first mass-produced print magazine advertisement embedded with a near-field communications (NFC) tag. "Place your NFC-enabled Android phone here," according to the ad, to experience the apps in the car's dashboard. The ad ran in 500,000 subscriber copies of Wired's April issue and allowed readers who have NFC-enabled phones — such as the Nexus S — to access a demo of the Lexus GS 2013's Enform App Suite simply by holding their phone up to the ad. Unlike the 2-D barcodes found in magazine pages, readers do not have to take pictures of anything with their phones' cameras, as the phone automatically detects the NFC chip.
In the case of Wired and Lexus, it brings up a link on the phone's screen that loads videos introducing the car's in-dash App Suite. Users can then click on each of the app icons — Bing, OpenTable, iHeartRadio, Pandora, MovieTickets.com and Yelp — to see short videos explaining each app.
"Our estimates are that there around 3 million people in the U.S. with NFC-enabled smartphones," said Brian Bolain, national marketing communications manager for Lexus. "We know it's a pretty small pool, but we need to do something more interesting in print to make it a little more of an interactive experience for those people who want it."
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