HR Corner: Expert Advice on Hiring and After-Work Activities
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 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: 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 to review the candidates. The advantage of having a team is that each person has an area of questioning and everyone is witnessing the same questions and answers. Chances are that someone on your team may notice something important in the interview that you overlooked. Make sure you have a good set of interview questions prepared that focus on the technical aspects of the job. You want to ask these in a “behavioral interview” style by asking the candidate, “Tell me about a time when …” 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 strongly recommend doing a style assessment on the candidate 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. Do reference checks and make sure you speak to the candidate's last boss. What the boss unveils will be very telling about the candidate's work ethic and cultural fit. If you can get something in writing, that is even better. Be leery of the employer who is reluctant to tell you much. Listen to what they don't say. The best question to ask is, “Is the candidate rehireable?” Also, you may want to consider doing a criminal background check to see what surfaces. You should lean toward candidates who have worked in similar jobs/roles before. The best indicator of future performance is past experience. Finally, if you don't feel just terrific about the candidate, don't hire him/her! It's better to start over than to go through the expense and time of bringing on board the wrong person.
Q: Last Friday, I took my staff out for drinks after work. I had a few too many and kind of made a fool of myself and may have said some inappropriate comments — nothing off-color or of a harassing nature, but I definitely feel embarrassed. How do I save face with my staff?
A: Here is the bottom line, everyone likes a boss who can cut loose and blow off some steam — someone who they can relate to as a “common Joe” outside of work. However, you have to be really careful because you may have said something that offended someone, and even though you were off work time and off work premises, this still can be construed as harassment if it comes back to the workplace to bite you. Harassment is more about perception then intent. Even though you didn't intend to harm or hurt your staff, some may have perceived that you have done just that. My advice is to apologize to those you may have offended, and instead of taking your staff out for drinks next time, take them to lunch or throw them an in-office party. Alcohol and work just don't mix.
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PSDA New Member Highlight: Support One
Learn about new PSDA members in select issues of the Print Solutions e-Newsletter. This week, meet Support One.
Q: How did you hear about PSDA?
A: Four51, which Support One and SAP have been working with since 2008, introduced us to PSDA. Since then, we have been working with other PSDA members to integrate their e-commerce and business platforms to improve operational efficiencies.
Q: What are your primary reasons for joining PSDA?
A: With the support and breadth of SAP and the print distribution knowledge of Support One, we are offering solutions that help PSDA members gain operational efficiencies that lead to increased profits and client satisfaction.
Q: What services/products does your company provide?
A: We provide end-to-end software solutions that help optimize your business. If you are looking for better inventory controls, integrated e-commerce, CRM or better operational controls, we can help. SAP Business One has solutions specifically designed for print distribution.
For more information, visit the company's website.
Navitor Releases Short Run Presentation Packaging
PSDA member Navitor recently announced the release of Presentation Packaging, a customizable, comprehensive line focusing on the most popular styles and sizes of folding cartons and promotional packaging. Presentation Packaging by Navitor equips business owners with the ability to target consumers utilizing distinctive and cost-effective packaging solutions. Offered in short run options, starting at 50 quantity, and utilizing a variety of printing processes including foil stamping, process color and UV coating, Presentation Packaging by Navitor strives to uphold the client's image and provide customers with maximum marketing impact. Presentation Packaging cartons are customizable to any size or style with the benefits of no custom-die charges. This diverse product line is well-suited for the retail, cosmetics, medical, pharmaceuticals, food and beverage, technology, industrial and hospitality industries, among others. Click here for more information about Navitor's Presentation Packaging.
EnviroPAK Receives Wastewater Pretreatment Compliance Award
The Missouri Water Environment Association recently presented to PSDA member EnviroPAK Corporation a Gold Industrial Wastewater Pretreatment Compliance Award at the MWEA's annual meeting. EnviroPAK Corporation has won the Gold Award every year since 2007. Gold Award winners must be in complete compliance with all wastewater discharge and reporting requirements, have an industrial wastewater treatment facility or pollution prevention program, have zero serious deficiencies in safety related matters in the most recent pretreatment inspection, and have a history of good relations with the nominating city or sewer district. “We are proud to have received the Gold Award again in 2012,” said Rodney Heenan, President and CEO of EnviroPAK Corporation. “The MWEA recognition is indicative of our commitment to the environment and the level of excellence we strive to attain throughout our business.”
Gill-Line Hires New Field Sales Manager Danielle Davidson
Gill Studios, a PSDA member and promotional products supplier, recently added a new field sales manager to its Gill-line team. Danielle Davidson joins Gill as its Greater Texas Territory field sales manager. Prior to joining Gill-line, Davidson worked for Bullet Marketing as a field sales representative. Davidson consistently held a No. 1 ranking in the country and was the only sales representative on the Triple Crown list, which consisted of being top in each of three sales categories: quantity of leads generated, percentage of issue rate and percentage of demo rate/actual sale. Davidson has also held recruiting positions that required a strong sales background to sell the company and the candidate for suitable job placement.
Victor Printing Installs HP Indigo 5600 Digital Press
The installation of the HP Indigo 5600 Digital Press marks another landmark in the development of Victor Printing. Victor Printing, a PSDA member, provides comprehensive services that include business forms, prepress and proofing, sign and display printing, commercial printing, print management with web-to-print facilities, variable data, mailing services and in-house finishing. Throughout the years, Victor Printing has always maintained its commitment to providing their customers with specialized and high-quality printing solutions.
“With our new press, the setup stage is much faster, which allows us to print smaller quantities with very high quality and faster production times. Our customers will be very impressed with our new print capabilities,” said Bill Richards, partner of Victor Printing. The new HP Indigo 5600 Digital Press, with its versatility and ability, can easily switch between jobs and varied media types. The HP Indigo One Shot Color printing mode (available in July) on the HP Indigo 5600 Digital Press is uniquely designed to print specialty applications on a wide variety of synthetics, including PVC, PET, Teslin® and PC.
Relyco Opens Texas Sales Office, Hires Regional Sales Manager
Relyco, a PSDA member provider of value-added business printing and payment solutions, recently announced the opening of a Dallas-area sales office and the hiring of Shannon Greer as Southwest regional sales manager to run the new office. The company also announced its plan for a regional distribution warehouse in Texas to better serve its customers in the Western United States. “We've been planning to expand our operation in Texas for some time now, and the timing was right with the hiring of Shannon,” said Michael Steinberg, president of Relyco. “This allows us to focus on the growth of our business printing and payment solutions in the Southwest region. And, with our plans to open a new Texas-based distribution warehouse, we'll be able to service our Western customers more efficiently and cost-effectively.”
Greer joins Relyco with more than 12 years of experience selling commodity paper, unique substrates, custom solutions and value-added products to corporate business, commercial printers, in-plant operations, graphic communications shops, and federal, state and local government departments. She will be responsible for sales and business development for Relyco's comprehensive line of business printing and payment solutions across the Southwest region. Prior to Relyco, Greer was a supply and applications manager for Xerox Corporation focused on Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas markets.
Stand Apart With Special Effects
Quick Printing (06/12) Steele, Jeffrey
Printers can differentiate themselves from the competition by enhancing print projects with stunning special effects. They should, however, become familiar with equipment, inks and other products so they can choose the solution offering the most profitability potential. For example, Xerox 800/1000 presses can use clear toner, a versatile and affordable option for producing special effects on digital output. "That allows you to do a ton of creative effects, such as adding expression to documents, placing watermarks on documents, refreshing document and putting effects on key areas," said Xerox's Dale Allen.
PSDA member AccuLink co-owner Lindsay Gray said his company is the first North American commercial printer to deploy the Scodix 1200 UV inkjet imaging system, and AccuLink has branded its product/service as 3dUV-Powered by AccuLink. "We routinely apply spot 3dUV to gloss, matte and laminated sheets up to 20x23 inches," Gray said. Meanwhile, the AccuFoil digital imaging process simulates foil stamping and printing with metallic inks, due to a novel software program license by ColorLogic and the ability of the Indigo 5600 to print CMYK as well as the fifth color, white. Gray said substrates are presently constrained to metallic silver coated cover sheets in 10- and 12-point cover weights. "AccuFoil and 3dUV are both very unique offerings that greatly enhance the printed products they are imaged to," he said. Gray stressed that these processes are perfect for short-run, high-impact projects rather than mass production.
A specialist in UV special effect inks and high-quality screen printing equipment is RH-Solutions, and President Ron Hayden said the importer offers 18 special effects products that basically "bring print to life." "Our refractive ink can be printed on a foil stock on a digital or offset print, and more than one vector file and be used to create a holographic effect," he said. "Let's say you're printing on a foil stock and want to create a holographic effect but also want to create some texture on a brick or a flooring product pictured. This is ideal for businesses that supply bricks, shingles or anything that has a textured surface. Each of five different abrasives could be applied through separate applications. You could create multiple effects through each of the abrasive or UV special effect products we offer."
2012 PEAK Award Winner AccuLink, a PSDA member, was awared two PEAK Awards this year in the Direct Mail — Loyalty and Packaging categories. Check out the June issue of Print Solutions magazine to see the company's entry and full PEAK Awards coverage.
Nanography — A Modern-Day Gutenberg?
PrintWeek (06/01/12) P. 20 Francis, Jo
Benny Landa unveiled a radical new digital printing method at drupa, showing off six brand-new presses that enable a whole new kind of printing based on tiny particles. Nanography makes use of Landa's NanoInk, which is made using pigment particles that are just a few tens of nanometers, and, at this size, the pigments develop special properties, produce a very pure color and less pigment is needed. The new method has the ability to print onto standard printing papers, whether coated or uncoated, and also onto nonabsorbent synthetics such as plastic films.
Landa has been dubbed the print industry's Steve Jobs, and the presses had a futuristic look and were operated via a large 3m touchscreen; he wants to make printing press operation as intuitive as using an iPhone. Komori, Manroland Sheetfed and Heidelberg have signed on to develop presses using the technology. Landa's goal of bringing digital printing into the mainstream includes delivering the lowest cost-per-page and cost of ownership, making it affordable and viable for run lengths running into thousands. Although the samples were striking and colorful, the Nanographic prints showed some very obvious flaws, such as banding lines and white spots in the image area where ink was entirely missing. Landa must address these quality issues, but hundreds of companies put down hard cash for products that should be commercially available by the end of 2013.
Nanography was among the hottest topics at drupa 2012, an enormous trade show held every four years that some call the “Olympics of printing.” Print Solutions will feature exclusive coverage and analysis of drupa by print industry expert Ivars Sarkans, a frequent writer for PSDA's magazine, in the forthcoming July and August issues.
Bringing Mailing Into the Mix
MyPrintResource (06/11/2012) Whitcher, Joann
Mailing services offer print service providers an opportunity to tap a new revenue stream, but printers should keep in mind that mailing is an entirely new business that demands different knowledge and skills, said Jim Workman, assistant vice president, Center for Technology and Research, Printing Industries of America. Printers who are considering moving into the mailing business will need to stay on top of postal regulations that frequently change, keep client costs to a minimum and make sure mail is delivered on time and to the right recipient.
The first step is to understand the goals and objectives of clients, said Rocky Abbett, vice president, NOVA Marketing Services in St. Louis. "Clients today are balancing more responsibilities than ever before, and, as printers, we are expected to read between the lines, interpret their needs and come back with ideas that are creative and cost effective," Abbett said. Printers will need to understand how to qualify for postal discounts and obtain mailing software, as well as resources for cleansing, updating and sorting mailing lists in preparation for the mail stream. Other necessary equipment includes a tabber, an addressing unit and an inserter, which can cost $50,000 to $150,000. However, a tabletop model, which will work well for a printer that is slowly moving into mailing and is projecting low volume runs, costs about $30,000. A mailing industry consultant can help with planning the transition and arranging hardware configuration, said Josh Evans, vice president of product development, Lorton Data.
FedEx Office Expands Digital Printing Services
FedEx Office is accelerating investment in its infrastructure by adding additional high-end, commercial production equipment and is deploying new grand-format inkjet printing devices to its centralized production centers across the country for producing rigid signs, banners, posters, point of purchase materials, oversized prints and more. FedEx Office was recently awarded a four-year contract from Boeing and will serve as the aerospace company's primary print provider, producing critical operations, sales and large/grand format printed materials. FedEx Office recently installed new automated finishing equipment at its offset printing facility and will leverage this technology to produce a variety of signage and oversized prints for various customers, from big box retailers with multiple locations across the country to large corporations and small businesses. The expansion in FedEx Office's customer base from smaller, local businesses to larger companies could signal a new trend in the print-on-demand market.
Wide-Format Imaging (06/12) Mortimer, Pam
Way-finding signage is increasingly important as companies expand and grow more complex, and Gravograph's Anthony Harris said way-finding signage is most commonly found at various building entrances. It is crucial to employ a way-finding signage consultant when developing efficient signage systems, according to SignPro Systems' Julien Aiglon. "Making sure to include them in the discussion early on is probably a good starting tip as they are the experts who will make recommendations from an overall way-finding standpoint," he said. "Their recommendations go beyond just the signage aspect of the project; they strive to provide an efficient, clearly designed and successful way-finding program."
Aiglon also observed that several possible sign systems are often included in blueprints, and the sign maker may be able to make multiple sign system suggestions that accommodate the client's preferences and budget issues, depending on the specifications. For instance, SignPro Systems' curved modular frames combine the flexibility of a customizable system with a consistent, unifying look throughout an entire building.
Vista System's Danny Schneider cited three core issues signage professionals must contend with: the design and uniqueness of the product, the ease and cost of signage maintenance, and overall cost. Print technology innovation is allowing signage makers to exercise more creativity with way-finding signage products, with Harris noting that more and more interior signage is sporting decorative elements such as raised logos. "Now you have way-finding signage that is digitally printed that matches the pattern in the carpet," he said. "It may be printed to look like bamboo. It may be printed on bamboo." Harris also said more renewable materials are being utilized as signage components, while a move away from traditional rectangular shape signs is happening as well.
"Modular systems are in," Aiglon said. He pointed to shrinkage in some way-finding signage budgets, which appears to be driving "a shift from truly custom designs that come with a custom price tag, to modular systems, like SignPRO's curved design, which has seen a substantial increase in demand during the past few years. Lower overall costs combined with the ease of printing and installation makes it a user-friendly and affordable solution for the customer. With systems like SignPRO, signs can combine the look of a custom design with the cost of a modular, off-the-shelf, updateable signage."
Direct-Mail Advertisers Test Sophisticate QR-Code Tactics
Northern Nevada Business Weekly (06/11/12) Seelmeyer, John
Marketers in northern Nevada are expected to use personalized QR Codes in greater numbers this summer. The U.S. Postal Service is offering a 2 percent discount to direct mailers who print a QR Code that directs consumers to a personalized website or an e-commerce site, and CGS Direct, a direct mail company in Reno, is offering to create 40 free mobile websites to support advertisers who will be using QR Codes. About 20 companies have taken advantage of CGS Direct's offer so far. Marketers sometimes initially struggle to comprehend the possibilities of variable QR Codes, or are reluctant to build a mobile website to support the QR Codes on direct mail pieces, said Michael Hemphill, president of CGS Direct. However, the more sophisticated marketers, such as gaming companies, are intrigued by the opportunity to use personalized QR Codes to capture email addresses or phone numbers to deliver text messages, said Hemphill. The response rates for well-crafted mail pieces that include personalized QR Codes have increased by as much as 21 percent, Hemphill also said. Printers will not find including personalized QR Codes to be more difficult than printing an individualized address on an envelope.
Labels & Labeling (06/01/12) Jerschefske, Danielle
Both consumers and governments increasingly make purchasing decisions based on sustainability in packaging design. Label converters and suppliers should respond by becoming an active part of the sustainable conversation.
Design for Sustainability brings value to the product by minimizing its environmental impact. A life-cycle analysis (LCA) study of a product can help determine how the product is manufactured; how it is used/reused; and what happens to it when it becomes waste. LCA is a technique to assess the environmental aspects and potential impacts associated with a product or service by compiling an inventory of energy and material inputs and environmental releases. Label designers must rely on industry scientists and engineers providing them with real, tested data to understand the life cycles of the materials and processes they specify.
Interactive packaging tactics, such as QR Codes and the SnapTag, are helping brands and retailers improve the way they communicate sustainability to consumers — for example, by directing a buyer to an education game or an informative website. In 2011, Nestlé introduced its mobile app 123 recycle, which, through barcode scanning and email follow-up, tells the consumer how to sort and dispose of the various pieces of a product's packaging.
Social media avenues will be increasingly used to reach and educate consumers on sustainability. Reckitt Benckiser interacts with its customers via its poweRBrands game, which is similar to Facebook's Farmville, and in which users must use their sales and marketing skills to beat the competition, working their way up to be the company president.
Finishing in the Digital Age
Quick Printing (06/12) Hall, Bob
Modern digital print jobs generally require collation, scoring, coating, lamination, folding, binding or a combination of all these processes, while some finishing steps are more vital for digital output than they are for offset output, wrote consultant Bob Hall. "Currently, toner is far and away the leading digital output technology in the commercial printing industry," he said. "However, developments in inkjet are allowing that output technology to make significant inroads. Inkjet inks tend to soak into uncoated papers or sit on top of coated stock, which calls for UV or some other drying method before finishing. On the other hand, toner needs to be fused to the page and has a tendency to crack if not scored before folding."
Also worthy of consideration in terms of finishing digital output is whether it is accomplished in-line, near-line or offline, and Hall cited a PRIMIR study determining that most digital production printers were using primarily offline finishing several years ago. About 50 percent of digital monochrome presses possessed some form of in-line finishing capabilities, but fewer than 20 percent of color machines had any in-line finishing options. Still, close to half of all color digital printer providers said that they would opt for some types of in-line finishing when they purchased a color digital production press.
Hall noted that currently almost all color digital production presses are outfitted with some in-line finishing capabilities and optional roll-up or near-line finishing equipment. "Finishing equipment manufacturers have adapted their equipment to meet the specifications and characteristics of the various digital production presses and have combined several finishing steps, such as slitting, cutting and creasing, into one device," he said.
Hall pointed out that drupa 2012 appeared to emphasize two major drivers of enhancements, upgrades and new products in the finishing sector, namely speed and automation, both of which stem from increasingly shorter run lengths in contemporary printing operations. "As the speed of digital production presses has increased over the years, finishing equipment manufacturers have had to keep up with the faster press output," he said. But Hall also said, "Where once a digital press might be running a couple of long-run jobs per shift, today it could be called upon to run dozens of shorter jobs per shift. This makes automation and make-ready all the more important." Hall concluded that faster finishing setup is a necessity with shorter jobs, while the need for speed makes combining multiple finishing steps in one device a must as well.
UK Develops Screening Techniques for Printing Ink 'Set Off'
FoodProductionDaily.com (06/12/12) Harrington, Rory
The U.K.'s Food Standards Agency (FSA) has completed research into so-called "set off," which the agency defines as the unintentional transfer of substances used in printing inks from the outer surface of materials for food packaging to food contact surfaces. The FSA concluded that the results tend to show that set off is not a food safety issue. As part of the project, the agency said that it has developed a scanner for measuring visible set off in food contact surfaces in packaging that is suitable for regulators and industry.
The FSA has developed techniques and analytical methods to quantify individual ink components on food contact surfaces and measure set off that is not visible to the naked eye. The agency created a list of commonly used photoinitiators, used in printing inks to speed up the drying process of ink using ultraviolet light and synergists, which take part in the photoinitiator reaction, to help identify and measure relevant compounds. The assessment can be conducted in one day and can estimate worst case migration for shelf life applications of six months or longer at room temperature. The FSA plans to discuss the method with industry and use it for future work involving set off in food packaging.
Horticulture Week (06/15/12) Drury, Sally
Plant labels can help coax customers into making purchases, as long as the label is attractive, informative and possesses a certain special quality. "[Quick Response Codes] are the major marketing tool for 2012, and we are producing them to order for major supermarkets and garden center chains," said Labels & Packaging managing director Phil Griffiths. "Smartphones are a growing phenomenon. They are catching on very quickly and the QR apps are fast and free to download."
Scanning the QR Code allows customers to receive all the required plant information, along with a link to the company that grew it. Although it is a requirement of growers and garden centers to print codes on labels, point-of-sale (POS) material and packaging, there is little evidence that many garden center customers are speculatively scanning in the hopes of accessing the information embedded in the codes. "I haven't noticed people becoming slaves to QR Codes, yet," said Bamboo Print director Duncan McLintock. "There is some nice work being achieved with QR Codes, I'm just not sure that Eureka moment has come."
Hortipak's James Buffoni has been studying QR Codes and digital technologies for some time, and he is seeking new ways to employ information and link it with specialist horticulture technology. "We are looking to provide layers of detail for all the different types of gardener — from the real novice who wants help with the basics to the expert who wants specific technical advice," Buffoni said. "We already hold a lot of that information within our company for labels and POS material, so we have developed a digital channel for putting all this information out. And what we have now is a way to use horticultural knowledge, collect it together and then communicate it through different channels — print, online, web, mobile."
Hortipak is tapping market research to organize packages to help encourage specific types of people to visit the garden center. "It's more about merchandising and promotion," Buffoni said. "Our theme is connecting people with plants and we are looking to understand the gardeners, what they want and improve their experience as well as understanding the needs of our customers."
Floramedia's FloraLinQ represents the industry's first mobile and web-based labeling solution. It augments the picture label by adding more information, more images and uniquely suggested companion plants, all available on mobile smartphones and personal computers. "FloraLinQ uses standard QR Codes to link the label direct to the relevant web page, immediately adding a valuable marketing advantage to our customers' labels," said Floramedia's Nick Mathias. "There is no app to download. It is a very simple and powerful marketing tool."
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