PSDA’s HR Corner: Expert Advice on Social Media and Hiring
By Claudia St. John, president, Affinity HR Group LLC
Q: One of our employees posted something very disparaging about our company on his Facebook page. He did this on his personal time, so I don’t know if we can discipline him for this. Please help as his comments have gone viral, and I’m worried about the damage it will do to our reputation in the community.
A: First, if you don’t already have one, you need a social networking policy, which outlines what employees can and cannot do with the Internet and social networking sites in relation to their job. The courts have weighed in on this and decided that some speech on the Internet is “protected speech” under the National Labor Relations Act. Even if you are not happy about what the employee said, employer rights are not so clear. Before you take any action against the employee, you should seek help from an attorney or HR consultant to help you draft a policy or help you in interpreting your rights as an employer.
Q: We recently hired a few people that have not worked out due to either personality fit or skill set. These candidates interviewed very well, but when they got on the job they were less than stellar and, frankly, just not the right fit for our culture. In the future, how can we insure we are hiring the right person?
A: To garner more insurance over hiring the right candidate, I suggest you develop a hiring team who will review the candidates. A team approach is very effective. Make sure you have a good set of interview questions prepared that focus on the technical aspects of the job. Ask “behavioral interview” questions by asking the candidate, “tell me about a time …” Have them tell you about how they have acted, performed and dealt with situations in the past; it’s the best indicator of how they will act in the future.
We also strongly recommend doing behavioral-style assessments on candidates to see what their true behavioral style and motivators are. We feel so strongly about this that we won’t do a recruiting project without one. Without this data, you’re really just assessing how well the candidate interviews, which is not a determinant of future behavior.
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.
Mailing and Fulfillment Webinar Series Continues Next Week
Clemson University's webinar series to the industry on “Mailing, Fulfillment and Marketing Services” continues on June 25. Dr. John Leininger, a professor at Clemson University, believes that this is critical information for any company serving the industry that does mailing or fulfillment and offers the class as a webinar series for the industry.
Dr. Leininger, a presenter at the Distributor Solutions Expo said: “The rules are constantly changing in mailing as the USPS continues to adjust its production model; one mistake could cost the printer thousands of dollars. Everyone from the sales rep to the designer, to the press operator, to the operator on the inkjet addressing machine should be looking for problems.”
This class is a live synchronous distance learning class for students that will be recorded each week and posted for companies to review after the live event. Learn more by downloading this flyer.
The next available webinar, taking place Tuesday, June 25, is titled “Building Blocks of a Quality Fulfillment Operation.”
PSDA members receive a $50 discount off the webinar series if they write PSDA after their company name on the application form. Download the registration form here.
Register Now for PSDA's New Sales Training Program
The Ultimate Sales Training Experience
Dan Seidman, GOT INFLUENCE?
October 17-18, 2013
Join us for a full two-day sales program where you'll train with the 2013 International Sales Training Leader of the Year, Dan Seidman of GOT INFLUENCE?. This program is customized specifically for sellers of print and related services. Learn tips and techniques that will make a lasting impact on your sales behavior so you can make more money.
Learn more and register.
Strata-Tac Featured on Fox Business Network
PSDA member Strata-Tac was featured on “Manufacturing Marvels” on June 19 on the Fox Business Network. The two-minute segment showed Strata-Tac's manufacturing process for top coating and adhesive coating films for digital printing.
Strata-Tac is an adhesive coater and top coater located in Saint Charles, Ill. Since 1995, Strata-Tac has provided top quality products to the label and business forms converters. The film products provided by Strata-Tac range from digital compatible film laminates to two liner transfer tapes.
View the video on the Strata-Tac website.
TFP Data Systems and Apex Business Systems Expand Partnership
TFP Data Systems and PSDA member Apex Business Systems, two of the nation's market leaders for government-approved forms and compliance solutions, recently announced an expanded partnership to further align their businesses and better serve their customers.
In recent years, the two well-established sister companies have collaborated on product development, manufacturing and warehousing. The expanded partnership will build on this dynamic relationship and integrate more of the expertise, resources and customer focus the companies share.
“The alliance of TFP and Apex represents almost 91 years of combined experience,” said Rick Roddis, president of TFP Data Systems and Apex Business Systems. “Capitalizing on each other's strengths puts us in a unique position to expand our product and service capabilities, in addition to exploring new, value-added solutions for our print brokers, dealers, distributors and resellers.”
Among those value-added solutions is ComplyRight™ E-file solutions. In the coming months, TFP and Apex will promote two key services to meet the emerging trend for quick and accurate electronic filing: a customizable e-file website and “print and mail” W-2 and 1099 processing.
A few changes will result from the expanded partnership, including relocating Southeast distribution to a state-of-the-art facility in Sunrise, Fla., and opening a new office for sales and customer service in Houston. Together, the companies will continue to operate two manufacturing facilities in California and Pennsylvania featuring the latest, specialized equipment for high-volume production. They will also maintain five strategically located shipping locations throughout the United States for efficient order fulfillment and prompt delivery.
e-Quantum Holds 2013 International Client Conference
PSDA member e-Quantum held its annual International Client Conference in Lake Tahoe, Nev., June 12-14. The conference is dedicated to education and enhancing the value of your e-Quantum system. It featured new technology, and the opportunity to explore software enhancements and hear from industry professionals. View the full conference agenda.
PSDA Executive Vice President Matt Sanderson and PSDA Board President Tressa McLaughlin were both present at the event. Said Sanderson: “It was great connecting with so many PSDA members at the e-Quantum conference. We appreciate e-Quantum’s support of PSDA and congratulate them on 30 years in business.”
e-Quantum was also recently featured in the monthly PSDA Profile in the June issue of Print Solutions magazine. Read the full issue now, and check out the profile on page 16.
The Flesh Company Welcomes New Sales Trainee
Jamie Ellis has joined The Flesh Company's sales team as a sales and marketing trainee. Ellis has a bachelor's degree in communication with a minor in graphic design. She has worked in several fields involving customer service and account management.
“We consider ourselves very fortunate to have the opportunity to add such an energetic person to our sales team with her credentials,” said Paul Barrett, director of sales for The Flesh Company, a PSDA member. “Her passion for customer care is excellent and her no-fear approach to projects makes her a perfect fit for us.” Ellis will be based in the Parsons, Kan. facility.
The Flesh Company provides top quality, affordable print services in areas such as variable image barcode printing, integrated cards and labels, label/form combinations, custom label products, full-service bindery and a variety of promotional printing applications, including 100 percent “green” printing. FSC and SFI certified, The Flesh Company operates under the premise that each company or division has a distinct core competency for its focus, allowing it to provide top quality products and services for everything it offers.
Royal Offers New Label and Flexo Print Capabilities
PSDA member and Brooklyn Park, Minn.-based Royal recently completed the installation of a new, state-of-the-art UV flexo press and plate-making equipment.
Royal President Tim Urness said: “We continue to advance our production capabilities and invest in new technologies. This is another demonstration of our commitment to support the future of print. We are excited to bring the most technologically advanced flexo production capability to the market.” One of the most common applications includes labels. Royal can produce almost any custom label. It installed a brand-new press from Mark Andy that allows: web widths up to 10”; six-color capabilities (or five plus coating); in-house flexo plate making; inline variable data or barcoding; inline die cutting; UV flexo inks and coatings; specialty water-born coatings; dual side printing; roll or sheet format with the possibility to add fanfold; and delaminating/re-laminating for printing on adhesive.
Package Printing Converts: Transformations from Commercial Printing
Printing Impressions (05/01/13) Cagle, Erik
Making the transition to package printing requires a substantial investment in equipment, education and training, and a number of printers who have either added packaging as an ancillary service or made the complete switchover to flexible packaging, labels, folding cartons and so on offer object business lessons. "We spoke to our reseller customers and listened to what they were looking to sell," said Graphic Dimensions' Bill Reid. "We found that many were not selling custom labels because they did not know all of the variables that go into producing labels. They weren't familiar with the different facestocks, adhesives, laminates and coatings. They wanted to partner with a vendor who could provide technical expertise and reliable service."
Graphic Dimensions' launch of New Dimension Labels allowed it to set up a niche business with custom prime digital and flexographic labels, whose clients include the food/beverage, health/beauty, nutraceutical and household products industries. The company bought a Hewlett-Packard Indigo WS6600 digital press to help fortify the new division, which Reid said is expected to boost the parent company's sales by 30 percent in the first year alone. "We pursued custom labels because the packaging segment of the printing industry is growing," Reid said. "There are opportunities for distributors to participate in that growth segment. For us, planning was the key."
Commercial printer Vista Color reached a crossroads in 2011 amid dwindling commercial work and an overwhelming concentration on folding cartons. "We realized we were in a mature and saturated industry, that prices would continue to drop, and the sheer volume would diminish in commercial basically due to the fundamental ways that people communicate," said Vista Color President Henry Serrano. The company presently services the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, health and beauty, spirits and consumer goods markets. Vista Color makes heatseal and faceseal blister cards, as well as synthetics. Serrano said the company's diversification in carton styles is its chief asset, but the folding carton market also has reached a saturation point.
Packaging That Opens Eyes Think packaging consists mostly of drab cardboard boxes? In a market that often gets a bad "wrap," some distributors are using creative packaging to help their clients boost sales and solve challenges.
Check out the article "Packaging That Opens Eyes" in the June issue of Print Solutions magazine.
What, If Anything, Does 3-D Printing Mean for PSPs?
MyPrintResource (06/10/13) Vruno, Mark
Three-dimensional printing can benefit print service providers by adding value to traditional two-dimensional printing. Braintree Printing was the first company in the New England area to adopt 3-D technology with its procurement of a Dimension 1200es professional 3-D printer from Stratasys. The device enables customer digital files to be converted into physical objects in minutes. “Most printing companies are very comfortable dealing with files,” said Braintree co-owner Jim Corliss. “The infrastructure is in place — from servers to FTP sites — so it’s a natural progression. We have the file and digital expertise.”
Corliss said his company has, to date, completed eight paying jobs for four clients. “It’s similar to incorporating mailing services or pURLs or QR Codes into your [printing] business ... but 3-D printers are a game-changer in new product development," he said. "Our customers will be able to perfect their products before they go to manufacturing — all at the touch of a button.” Still, the vertical markets for 3-D printing can diverge significantly from those for 2-D printing, said Direct Dimensions Inc.'s Phil Magenheim. “Different applications require different equipment and different materials,” he said. 3-D print providers should, therefore, concentrate on similar verticals.
An April Lux Research report said 3-D printing market sales should total more than $8 billion in the next eight years, up from $777 million last year. The automotive, aerospace and medical industries will command the bulk of the market at almost 85 percent. “Maybe not this year, but next year [in 2014], I would hope that we will have the first ‘Shapeways millionaire’ that sold more than a million dollars’ worth of merchandise,” said Shapeways CEO Peter Weijmarshausen.
Print Solutions magazine July issue Watch for a cover story on the topic of 3-D printing in the upcoming July issue of Print Solutions magazine!
Quick Printing (06/13) Hall, Bob
There is concern that the continued development of inkjet technology will threaten the commercial viability of offset and digital toner devices, with InfoTrends predicting that color inkjet will comprise 33 percent of all digital color pages by 2015. The nexus of such growth will be within the transactional, book production, direct mail, short-run catalog, marketing material, signage and light packaging sectors.
"At its best speeds, toner devices are challenged with competing, due to the inherent restriction of dwell time, heat and pressure required," said Konica Minolta Business Solutions' Erik Holdo. "Some would say that we are at the physics-limited edges of the toner market as far as speed, due to these restrictions. As for offset, while it certainly has the edge on quality and speed, makeready and waste are dramatically reduced with inkjet. While press manufacturers continue to refine their press environments to reduce up-to-color waste to as little as 20 sheets, inkjet is ready at sheet one. The main advantage, however, comes ... in the form of micro-versioning, or variable data. Therefore, the approach of adding inkjet heads to a press has continued to gain popularity."
Holdo said toner or press devices still offer better quality than current inkjet products. "However, this is beginning to change at the high end of the market, with 1200 dpi imaging and UV based inks on the horizon," he said. "The future of inkjet holds higher resolution, instant curing, substrate-agnosticism and wider pigment gamuts as well as speed enhancements." He said sheet-fed inkjet offers far more suitability in the small/medium segment as the challenge becomes the finishing infrastructure with roll-fed inkjet.
Holdo said aqueous inks offer more cost-effectiveness than toner but are less cost-effective compared to offset inks. "The sweet spot in the current market is for 5 percent coverage in transactional and book printing applications," he said. "However, as higher resolution heads and UV come on the scene, higher coverage levels will yield benefits. Most experts agree that UV will be closer to toner-based prices as a consumable, due to the limited market demand and availability."
"The standard growth areas of book publishing, transactional/transpromotional and direct mail will continue their increases in market share, while new inks and technologies such as marketing collateral, light packaging and short-run catalogs/newsprint will also benefit," Holdo said. Other experts said more and more customers will migrate from being printers to being full marketing services providers.
Feds Approve Nutrition Labels for Wine
Santa Rosa Press Democrat (California) (06/09/13) Bussewitz, Cathy
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has released guidelines on how wine, beer and liquor companies can tell consumers about calories, carbohydrates, proteins and fats inside their bottles. The guidelines are voluntary and there are many opinions on the matter, but Pedroncelli Winery in Geyserville, Calif., is making a bet that consumers will want nutritional information on the label. In the next few months, Pedroncelli plans to use QR Codes to provide consumers with additional information, such as calories and ingredients. The Wine Institute was opposed to mandatory nutrition labeling. Wine grapes change year to year, unlike food products. To print accurate nutrition information, a winery would have to test its ingredients prior to bottling, print a new label and then seek approval for the label from the TTB, which could delay the release of the wine by months, said Wendell Lee, general counsel of the San Francisco trade group. Otherwise, a company could mistakenly print inaccurate information on a label and face an enforcement action.
How to Improve Interior Wayfinding Signage
Wide-Format Imaging (06/13) Mortimer, Pam
Attractive interior wayfinding signage can be a tool for improving a company's brand via application of design and color, and sign makers are in a constant state of evolution, adopting new methods, processes and products to create appealing and useful signage. Print service providers often find that they have to use different techniques for various customers depending on their specific needs. Some clients may request straightforward signage while others may have special requirements for their businesses. Furthermore, there is a growing prevalence of Americans With Disability Act-compliant (ADA) signage in the marketplace.
"We've observed a growing need for quick changeability of signage content and our front-loading curved system lends itself very well to quick updates, by simply removing one insert and replacing it with the next," said SignPro sales consultant Adam Larson. "SignPro frames are designed to accommodate a variety of substrates, from simple digital prints combined with a clear lens, to ADA faces, engraved plastics, metal and more." Meanwhile, American PERMALIGHT general manager Marina Batzke said her company's signage "helps building occupants find their way out of a building, both with lights on as well as in full darkness."
The requirement for visibility in low-light areas calls for PERMALIGHT's utilization of special methods. "PERMALIGHT signage is photoluminescent, a non-electrical, non-radioactive technology that functions even during a power failure, natural disaster or simply at night," Batzke said. "Photoluminescent products absorb ambient lighting [e.g., fluorescent ceiling lights] and emit their bright yellowish luminance, when all lights are out.”
Larson said in terms of special requirements, "we've recognized the growing requirement of ADA compliant signage and offer a system that is all around ADA-compatible, ready to accommodate ADA faces that can be produced with multiple techniques." Fastsigns International's Jayme Nelson said there are a number of considerations to be mindful of when weighing special needs. Such considerations include know-how of good design practices for readability and legibility, and for producing common, logical elements that can be used across the sign designs; comprehension of where to place the signs to get the maximum user value; and understanding of ADA requirements.
"ADA signage and the need for interchangeability are big trends in the signage industry," Larson said. "As more companies and organizations work to update their facilities SignPro's modular frame technology is a great option for a long lasting interior sign system." Batzke said it is crucial that PSPs keep pace with code requirements and how they impact the industry, as awareness of such developments can help them penetrate new markets. "Another trend is the types of signs and graphics that can be part of a wayfinding program," Nelson said. "In the past, wayfinding often meant site signs and wall signs. Now, with the help of technology and some imagination, wayfinding has expanded to include floor graphics, wall graphics, suspended signage and digital signs [kiosks, digital posters and touch-screens], all applications that are more creative and flexible than before."
Direct-to-Slide Printers Improve Safety, Efficiency
Laboratory Equipment (06/13) Strobel, Mark
A new breed of direct-to-slide printers will enable medical laboratory technicians to address some major challenges. Printing directly onto specimen slide labels will help eliminate issues with illegible handwriting and incorrect labels, which should lead to fewer errors and improve patient safety. The strategy also eliminates the possibility that chemicals will degrade a printed label because direct-to-slide printers use specialized ink that is resistant to common laboratory chemicals as well as alcohol, reagent, stain, xylene heat and light. The printers can contribute to more efficient, cost-effective lab operations by enabling on-demand color printing, and the software options allow for the deployment of templates for collecting data. When choosing a printer, lab administrators should consider their organizational objectives, evaluate by price and features to find the best value, make sure it is durable and look for a dust-resistant, easy-to-use cartridge design. There are thermal transfer, solvent inkjet and laser options, and each has its advantages and challenges. The printers are affordable and small enough for installation at technician workstations.
Rising Need for Offline Coating
WhatTheyThink (06/10/13) Braceland, John G.
The need for offline coating is rising along with the growth in the speed and versatility of digital equipment. Printers must evaluate the end use of products to determine what they need, with UV, aqueous, spot coatings or specialty coatings all having their advantages, disadvantages and different applications. Offline coaters are generally roll coaters or anilox coaters, and there are full coaters and spot coaters. Most offer UV cured coatings, and some do both water and UV. The price range is from $20,000 to $125,000, with the more versatile equipment costing more. The company's customers and printing focus should determine where they need to be on the coating of their digital print. The paper generally has to be treated to be receptive to the digital inks, but some digital printers do not require special papers. Direct mail, packaging and specialty printing will generally require a coating to protect the product.
Global Label Trends and Application Technologies for Drinks Manufacturers
TheDrinksReport.com (05/29/2013) Thompson, Doug
Drinks manufacturers see the latest developments in label production as an opportunity to differentiate their products from those of their competitors. Brand owners have experimented with inks such as thermochromic inks on packaging, which change color when its contents are cold enough to drink. Different finishing techniques such as foiling and embossing have been used to enhance the appearance of labels and make their products appear more prestigious. Different substrates such as shrink sleeve labels and the use of tactile, textured materials also have given their products multi-sensory appeal. Digital printing has enabled drinks manufacturers to personalize and customize labels for different regions and special promotions and to meet consumer demand for more on-pack information. High-end brand owners are exploring the use of "product passports" to gain complete traceability from the original source through the logistical supply chain to the customer. The use of QR Codes has added an element of interactivity, as drinks manufacturers can direct consumers to mobile sites for additional information.
Goodbye Mass Mailings: Technology and Targeted Direct Mail
Business 2 Community (06/03/13) Kaufman, Rachel
Macy's has taken a more sophisticated approach to customized, targeted direct mail. Working with the analytics firm dunnhumby, Macy's has created customized versions of its catalog based on the purchasing history of its customers. For example, a customer who bought shoes will receive a catalog that includes a larger selection of footwear. Macy's ended up with half a million versions of the catalog. "For your most loyal customers, there's a big payoff," said Katherine Black, senior vice president of client leadership for dunnhumby, which specializes in providing customers with personalized shopping experiences. "You have a really consistent lock on what they buy, and they really appreciate being able to save money or even just see more of the type of items they're interested in to draw them into the store." The project involved full-color printing, different layouts on the pages and different numbers of pages.
POS Evolution Can Boost Receipt-Printer Sales
Business Solutions (05/13) Albright, Brian
Receipt printers have undergone a significant technological shift largely due to the advent of cloud computing solutions, electronic-receipt options and mobile point-of-sale (POS) systems. In particular, the mobile trend offers a huge opportunity for resellers, as retailers gain the ability to operate printers through smart devices such as POS terminals, smartphones and tablets. Merchants are looking for mobility, and resellers should promote their printers to the fullest extent and explain the role they play in enabling an advanced POS solution. Most consumers prefer having a paper receipt, for the time being, but VARs should fully leverage cloud capabilities. The printers offer opportunities to provide consulting and other services that can create value and reinforce the VAR/client relationship. "We are witnessing the evolution of the receipt printer in terms of the paper it prints on and the environment it prints in," said Jose Basa, director of business development at CognitiveTPG. "Receipt printers that are able to accessorize, modify for certain environments, configure to different paper applications and adapt to the customers' distinctive application will give resellers a true value proposition."
What Your Company's Online Ad Dollars Will Buy
Bloomberg BusinessWeek (05/22/13) Klein, Karen E.
Small business owners considering investing a large chunk of their advertising budgets in new channels, such as Pandora, should evaluate how this would fit into an integrated advertising and marketing campaign. They should consider their goals, their target audience and the targeting criteria for a campaign, then plan a strategic, trial-and-error campaign that offers lots of flexibility. Small companies should monitor response to the ad every day and tweak it as needed to see if performance improves. Performance will likely be around 50 percent of the average, unless the company is a significant brand. Established companies tend to spend no more than 10 percent of their advertising budgets on testing new avenues, said Rob Valerio, president of Central Planning Organization, a Los Angeles-based internet marketing and consumer research company. "The other common practice now with small company marketing is to divide their advertising budgets into five areas with equal spending," he said. "The current best results for small businesses are email marketing, pay-per-click, content marketing, direct mail and social media, for certain products and services."