Deadline Extended: Annual Trade Printer, Distributor Surveys
PSDA is 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 has been extended to May 7. 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 Welcomes New Exhibitor: VariVerge
Learn about companies who will be exhibiting at the upcoming Print Solutions Conference & Expo for the first time in select issues of the Print Solutions e-Newsletter. This week, meet VariVerge (Booth #331).
Q: Please describe the types of products/services that your company provides. What makes them unique?
A: VariVerge is a turnkey statement processing solution. We offer secure upload of data files through our FTP server, document design, printing, folding and inserting, and mailing services. We utilize a 2-D barcode and a file based inserting system that offers 100 percent mail piece integrity. We can guarantee that 100 percent of your documents are printed and inserted correctly, 100 percent of the time. We also offer job status verification via email to keep the customer involved in the process the whole time.
Q: How do your products help distributors to increase sales?
A: Our service increases our customers' attention to their core business when they don’t have to focus on printing and mailing their statements in-house. VariVerge also offers presorting capabilities in our presort facility, getting our customers the lowest postage possible and saving them money.
Q: How can you help our attendees to sell your products and services?
A: Our services sell themselves. If attendees want a low cost, effective way to print and mail their statements and billing without having the stress of handling it themselves then VariVerge is their data + print + mail solution.
For more information on VariVerge, visit the company's website.
PSDA Welcomes New Member: iPROMOTEu
PSDA is pleased to welcome iPROMOTEu as a new member. iPROMOTEu is a service provider to promotional products distributors, providing order financing, processing and accounting and technology support, in addition to other services. iPROMOTEu will be exhibiting for the first time at PSDA's Print Solutions Conference & Expo, being held June 4–6 in Baltimore (Booth # 213).
MPX Hires Two as Part of Digital Services Expansion
PSDA member MPX, a provider of custom business solutions and print services, recently expanded its team dedicated to serving clients and developing solutions. Heather Falb was hired as program manager and Sinisa Topalovic was hired as application developer. Both come from organizations familiar with MPX programs and their unique structure. In her role as program manager, Falb will oversee the front-to-back management of several client mailing and fulfillment programs. In his role as application developer, Topalovic will join a team of internal programmers dedicated to developing and maintaining the applications and systems in place to process and manage these programs.
(Pictured from left: Heather Falb and Sinisa Topalovic)
Printco Expands with Purchase of Xerox Nuvera
Printco Inc., a PSDA member, recently purchased and installed the Xerox Nuvera 120EA Production System to better serve its customers and meet growing demands. “We chose Xerox because of their reputation to produce machines with speed and quality,” said Printco CEO Ken Sperling. The Xerox Nuvera 120EA Digital Production System delivers offset-quality images, along with the highest resolution of any digital monochrome system on the market: 1200 dpi and 156 lpi. The Xerox Nuvera uses advanced technology to provide a smooth, consistent offset matte finish, finer lines, sharper text and halftones, as well as deeper solid blacks than traditional toner.
Wilmer Introduces Basic Black Imprint Check Line
Wilmer, a PSDA member trade manufacturer, recently introduced a new laser check program, Basic Black Imprint Laser Checks. This economically priced program offers four color options with 10 free security features. Basic fits in with Wilmer's other successful laser check programs, Standard Black Imprint and Standard Plus. For a Free Basic Laser Kit, call 800.494.5637.
The Flesh Company Releases White Paper, Installs New Equipment, Announces Contest Winner
PSDA member The Flesh Company recently released a new white paper for distributors discussing risk analysis as it applies to document security printing and applications. The paper provides a “best practices” approach to the process of performing a risk analysis for a client. Check fraud, identity theft and brand fraud are just a few of the areas where criminals copy, alter or counterfeit documents. A copy of the white paper can be downloaded here.
The Flesh Company also recently installed a new imaging verification system at its plant in Parsons, Kan. “This equipment will allow us to catch duplicate numbers, mismatched barcodes and failed reads,” said Randy Lewis, general manager. The Parsons facility produces a large variety of barcoded and sequentially numbered documents such as chain of custody forms for the medical market. The Flesh Company also added a new re-winder system that enables it to produce large rolls coming off specific equipment to provide more flexibility and improve cycle time.
In other news, The Flesh Company recently announced that Bill Allison of Envelope Solutions (pictured, right) won the company's iPad contest. To be entered in the contest, distributors had to submit a quote for an order valued $1,500 or higher. The Flesh Company is currently running a second contest, ending June 5, and the winner will be drawn during the PSDA 2012 Print Solutions Conference & Expo in Baltimore. “The first contest was not only successful in ROI, it was just plain fun,” said Roger Buck, CDC, director of marketing. “We thought a second campaign timed with the PSDA show made sense, and we hope to be lucky enough that the winner is in attendance so we can present the iPad personally.” For more information on The Flesh Company's second iPad contest, visit the company's webiste.
Printing and Graphics Association Midatlantic Honors WebbMason for Printing Excellence
PSDA member WebbMason, an integrated marketing solutions and services company headquartered in suburban Baltimore, recently announced the company has received an award from the Printing & Graphic Association MidAtlantic (PGAMA) for a product catalog printed by WebbMason's commercial printing division. The catalog was designed by Shaun Burkowski Design and printed for Caesar Guerini, an Italian maker of premium shotguns. “WebbMason Commercial takes pride in our longstanding relationship with Shaun Burkowski, one of the area's most creative and versatile designers,” said Eric King, vice president of operations at WebbMason Commercial. “We were delighted that Shaun called on WebbMason to print a catalog that captured his design vision and the quality of Caesar Guerini products, a company whose handcrafted shotguns are truly functional works of art.”
MyPrintResource (04/30/2012) Hall, Bob
Ink prices have increased in recent years largely due to the rising cost of raw materials, such as gum rosin, copper, benzene, titanium dioxide, mineral oils, carbon black, napthenic oils, soy, carbazole violet, phthalo greens and blues. According to the Flint Group, raw materials cost 15 percent more in 2011 than they did in 2008 and likely will continue to climb, but the most volatile "raw material" component affecting prices is crude oil. A barrel that went for $34.57 back January 2009 now costs $103, and the International Monetary Fund predicts that the price could increase 30 percent this year as a result of oil sanctions on Iran. Industry experts said printers should focus more on quality and service rather than making ink purchases based on price.
Jeff Koppelman, president of Gans Ink & Supply, does not believe the rising cost of ink will force printers to pass the cost on to customers. A move toward digital printing is unlikely to provide much relief, but printers who reinvent themselves as print service providers will be less affected by ink prices. "They offer a larger portfolio of services, such as digital, printing fulfillment, marketing assistance, web-to-print, web hosting, etc., while placing a greater emphasis on high-value-added print capability, upscale print or special effects," said John Copeland, president and COO of Toyo Ink America. "Those that succeed in making this transition tend to be better off than average."
Paper and the Sustainability Issue
MyPrintResource (04/23/2012) Whitcher, Joann
Graphic communication providers might benefit from paper manufacturers' push to educate corporate brands and consumers about what they see as a misperception of paper's environmental impact, especially in comparison to electronic/digital communications. A 2009 International Paper brochure says electronic communications come with its own environmental costs in spite of being viewed as greener than paper. The nonprofit Two Sides US will very soon roll out a major campaign to convince large companies in three sectors to stop using "unjustified claims to get customers to use electronic communications instead of paper," according to Two Sides US President Phil Riebel.
"The idea for Two Sides came about because we wanted to demonstrate the positive side of paper, while also promoting responsible end use," Riebel noted. "Our message is not only to tout the environmental benefits of using paper, but also to make sure that people get the message to use paper responsibly, as they should with any product." Among the advantages of paper over electronics supported by boosters are lower costs of manufacture in terms of resources consumed and greater recycling of paper products compared to electronics. "When it comes to sustainability, it's not just about not polluting; it's also about ensuring resources are renewable — not stripped from mountaintops and never to be used again," said sustainability guru Don Carli.
A recent report from the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 1.5 percent of energy consumed in United States is from electronic data centers, while the pulp and paper industry consumes about 0.7 percent. "Paper is about as responsible as it gets when it comes to the manufacture of materials," says Sappi Fine Paper North America's Laura Thompson. "It is made from a renewable resource — trees — and uses high levels of renewable energy, so we have a low carbon footprint. The other great thing about paper is how recyclable it is; it is recycled more than any other product." Thompson reports an official 2011 recovery rate for paper of 66.8 percent. In addition, Sappi employs about 85 percent carbon neutral renewable resources to operate its mills versus the average paper firm's roughly 65 percent.
Paper companies as well as printers are combating the perception they are not environmentally friendly though certification from sustainability organizations such as the Forest Stewardship Council, whose credential shows that the wood used to make the paper came from a managed forest. "We find that the best way to support environmental claims is through third-party certification," said Monadnock Paper Mills' Lisa Berghaus. She also points out, "We offer paper products that can are not petroleum based; we call them the 'Un-Plastic.'"
More on Sustainability
PSDA is a member and supporter of Two Sides. Check out the Two Sides website and learn more about the organization's message.
For more on sustainability in the print industry, check out the Print Solutions issue from March 2011. The theme was "Print is Green" and it included articles such as "To End Users, Green is the New Normal" and "For Print Distributors, A New Era of Sustainability." Read the entire issue here.
Visit the PSDA Blog to see Sappi Fine Paper North America's 2011 Sustainability Report.
3-D Printers: Make Whatever You Want
BusinessWeek (04/26/12) Vance, Ashlee
The ability to print physical objects has become indispensable for doing business in a range of industries. Automakers and aerospace companies adopted industrial-grade 3-D printers some 25 years ago to fashion prototype parts for their vehicles, but today the medical field is using the machines to make custom hearing aids and invisible braces, architects are embracing the technology to build models, and consumer electronics companies are building prototypes of their latest gadgets. Large industrial machines range in price from about $5,000 to $1 million and can print in different colors and materials other than plastic, such as metal, glass and ceramics.
The market for 3-D printers has risen to $1.7 billion, according to the consulting firm Wohlers Associates, but the industry tracker said sales are rising quickly and should reach $3.7 billion by 2015. The technology now flows downstream to consumers. 3D Systems, led by Chuck Hull, the man who pioneered the technology about 30 years ago, plans to offer an affordable 3-D printer for consumers in May but faces stiff competition from Shapeways in New York, the Amazon.com of 3-D printing, and MakerBot Industries in New York, which dominates the market for hobbyist kit versions. Advocates of 3-D printers believe the technology has the potential to end bland mass production. "The basic premise we're working toward is, everyone should be able to make or buy whatever they want," said Peter Weijmarshausen, CEO of Shapeways.
Denton Record-Chronicle (04/22/12) Ramirez, Karina
Companies appear to be responsive to consumer demand for more environmentally friendly products, with a recent Shelton Group study estimating that 65 percent of consumers said they are purchasing or seeking "greener" products. Alphagraphics' Micah Pazoureck reported that customers have a greater concern with the products they purchase. "They want to know if it is certified — even our basic everyday person is asking," she noted.
Pazoureck pointed out that the last 10 to 15 years have seen a growing push for environmentally friendlier services in the paper industry. "We have certified FSC [Forest Stewardship Council], well-managed-forest certified paper," she said. "It is in all our boxes." Pazoureck observed an increase in environmental consciousness within the paper industry and said she now had more eco-friendly items because manufacturers have changed the product's constituent elements or have rolled out a completely new product.
The paper industry has adopted other kinds of eco-friendly material, such as banners fashioned from plastic milk jugs. Pazoureck said approximately 10 percent of customers also are asking whether products are manufactured in the United States. "On our part, we will change something because something new becomes relatively available without necessarily our customers asking for it," she said. "If it is better and it has the same price, we will absolutely switch over."
PSDA Blog: One Consumer's Awareness of Sustainable Print In a blog post earlier this year, Print Solutions assistant editor Alexa Schlosser looked at the environmentally friendly practices of the comapny Ben & Jerry's. To read that post, visit the PSDA Blog.
Labels & Labeling (04/16/12) Jerschefske, Danielle
The labels industry needs tools to identify areas for reducing environmental impact and needs to open up new avenues of innovation and added value in order to meet the demand for sustainability in packaging design. Much more than manufacturing a "green" label or package, Design for Sustainability brings value to the product by minimizing its social, economic and environmental impact. The tools needed are supply chain management and life-cycle analysis, a technique to assess the environmental aspects and potential impacts associated with a product, process or service by compiling an inventory of energy and material inputs and environmental releases, evaluating their potential environmental impacts and interpreting the required actions for decision makers.
Global brands increasingly are being held responsible for the environmental footprint of their products, and governments are feeling the pressure to respond. Canada enacting a stewardship tax on large grocery retailers in 2010 for selling packaging that can not be recycled within the existing infrastructure, and the move suggests that label and packaging designers need to catalyze change and innovation before legislation restricts their creative opportunities. Some global brands have started to use the Carbon Reduction Label on products to communicate their success in reducing harmful environmental emissions. Also, interactive packaging tactics such as QR Codes and the SnapTag have enabled retailers to improve the way they communicate sustainability to consumers.
Quick Response Codes — A Store's Best Employee
Dealer Marketing Online (04/10/12) Wolfe, Andrew
QR Codes make it easy for businesses to engage and communicate with customers and make good business sense, considering that more than 70 percent of all phones sold today are smartphones. Businesses thinking seriously about QR Codes this year should first do their homework and work with a company that is skilled in developing QR Codes and strategies.
A QR Code specialist can show a business how to integrate QR Codes into traditional print advertising. A customer who scans a QR Code from a newspaper ad can be instantly directed to the company's website or entire inventory. A business can place QR Codes on displays in its showroom or store windows to act as a salesperson, even after hours. A QR Code specialist can show a business how to place QR Codes on key tags, which can make it easier for customers to connect back to a store when they have service or maintenance needs. Businesses could direct consumers to their main website one day for offers and promotions, to a YouTube video the next day for a product launch and then to a registration page to join a loyalty program, all with the push of a button to scan a QR Code with a smartphone.
Print Solutions Conference & Expo
Several exhibitors at the Print Solutions Conference & Expo, held June 4–6 in Baltimore, will be showcasing their use of QR Codes. Look out for the conference onsite guide soon where more information on exhibitors will be available.
Documented Advantages of Wide-Format Scanners
Wide-Format Imaging (04/12) Vol. 20
Wide-format scanners could be a source of untapped revenue and profit for print service providers. Architects, engineers, GIS professionals and private mapping companies need to scan large numbers of hand-drawn maps to be electronically accessed; companies with lots of paper documents need to store them in order to free up space; and firms in the fine art space are interested in making sure original artwork is well represented and accurate. Wide-format scanners, which can be used for scan-to-file, scan-to-print or both functions, play a key role in the production of high-quality graphics and images. Contact Image Sensor (CIS) technology is more appropriate for technical documents and shops that do about 100 to 300 scans a month, while a Charged Coupled Device (CCD) scanner can produce a wider array of colors with greater accuracy for posters, photography or artwork.
Eric DuPaul, Designjet business development manager with Hewlett-Packard, said the company offers a free service called ePrint & Share that would enable print service providers to jump on trends such as cloud-based initiatives. "PSPs can utilize this to share the scanned documents back to the client, who can also use ePrint & Share to share the documents with as many entities as they see fit, and then add or subtract recipients as the job entails," DuPaul said. And Oce North America is targeting government agencies now that the Obama administration wants to improve record management by moving to electronic records. "We call on them at the federal, state and local level, and use this as an entree to talk about electronic records," said Bob Honn, director of marketing services for the Wide-format Printing Systems Division of Oce.
Positive Signs for POP, Retail
Wide-Format Imaging (04/12) P. 20
Retail point of purchase accounts for more than 60 percent of the global sign and display industry and is growing about 15 percent per year, according to HP. POP advertising is still huge in print, as printed digital accounts for only 15 percent of the category. Customized printed products that target specific buying trends at the point of purchase are more popular than ever, and to help determine what they should be printing, some customers are turning to the 2011 research report, "From Point of Purchase to Path to Purchase: How Pre-shopping Factors Drive Unplanned Buying."
One growing POP trend is cutout shapes and dimensional printing, said Mike Sherkey, business development director for Cushing, a wide-format printer in Chicago, and printing on thinner materials also is growing in popularity. The print service provider added a Canon imagePRESS 7010 in late 2011 to increase capacity for small-format jobs such as brochures, mailers, booklets, counter cards and table tents. And this past summer, TI Group in Toronto installed a large-format Durst Rho 1000 printer at its SCL facility in Scarborough as part of its move to pursue POP more aggressively. The decision to invest in new equipment can be difficult for small print firms, which is why Cushing networks through the ReproMAX association, and first consulted with members about similar equipment purchases. "It's invaluable to get input from other people before you make a bad decision," said Sherkey.
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