HR Corner: Expert Advice on Background Checks and Smoking Policies
By Claudia St. John, president, Affinity HR Group LLC
Q: Do we need to do background checks on employees before we hire them? We never have.
A: While there is no federal law requiring a criminal background check, we do recommend them. Employers can be liable for a "negligent hire" if they hire someone with a known criminal background who then commits a similar crime in the workplace. Background checks offer an affordable piece of mind.
What do you do with the information that is included on the report? Our standard practice is to make sure that the employee reported his criminal history on the application for employment. If he didn't, that raises a significant concern. We also look carefully at whether the crime committed is relevant to the position. A 15-year-old DWI may not be much of a concern for a customer service representative, but it could be very relevant if the person you are hiring will be operating company vehicles.
Q: We have just instituted a no-smoking policy on our premises. However, our employees are now taking their breaks on the public sidewalk and smoking. Can we keep them from smoking on public property?
A: Congratulations for making this change. It is beneficial to the health of all of your employees. With that said, it's often a challenge to manage these policies. What employees do off of your property is their own concern provided they are not "on the job" at the time. But if they are at work as part of their work day, you can manage their behavior. Here's how some have handled it: 1) State that the facility and surrounding company property is smoke-free (including in their cars in the company parking lot). 2) State that all employees must remain on the property during breaks. 3) Should employees choose to leave the property during an approved extended break, such as for lunch, they may do so but they must leave entirely (they may not trespass on neighboring property). Of course, this policy only works when managers manage it strictly and consistently. Unfortunately, smoking is a serious addiction and, as such, employees will look for ways to satisfy their need. Also consider offering smoking cessation programs, products and incentives to help them kick their habit. Good luck!
Affinity HR Group LLC is a consulting firm and PSDA partner that specializes in providing human resources assistance to associations and their member companies.
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.
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Apex Color Now Offers Digital, Direct Mail, UV
Jacksonville, Fla.-based Apex Color, a PSDA member, recently added Konica Minolta's C8000 Bizhub and 1200 B&W to its equipment list. Both offer inline booklet maker, pamphlet maker, punch and stapler and have full variable capability. This investment gives Apex Color full digital and direct mail capability. In addition, Apex Color recently added Tec Lighting's offline UV coater and now offers flood UV for both commercial offset and digital products.
“We are very excited to offer our customers entirely new products and capabilities. Adding digital gives us the ability to be a true one-stop shop for short to medium runs on the color side of our business,” said Eric Adloff, the company's vice president of sales and marketing.
For more information, call Eric Adloff at 800.367.6790 or contact him via email.
Formax Introduces the ColorMax 7 Digital Printer, 6204 Series Inserters
PSDA member Formax recently introduced the ColorMax 7 Digital Color Printer to expand its digital print and finishing solutions offerings. The ColorMax 7 is a high-speed inkjet printer powered by MemjetTM technology. The ColorMax 7 (pictured) produces crisp, full-color CMYK images up to 1600 x 1600 dpi at 6 inches per second in up to 16.8 million colors. Its patented MemjetTM fixed print head makes this possible with five ink channels flowing through 70,400 nozzles and no moving parts. This offers higher speeds, more precise printing using less ink, less noise and lower maintenance costs than standard print heads.
Formax also recently introduced the new 6204 Series Inserters, which replace the 6202 Series, offering a range of new user-friendly features. The large color touchscreen control panel with wizard feature easily guides users through setup and operation. AutoSetTM allows for one-touch setup of new jobs by automatically measuring paper lengths, envelope sizes and fold lengths. Recurring and frequent jobs run in AutoSet can be stored as one of 15 programmable jobs, accessed with the touch of a button. The 6204 Series offers the power and reliability of larger machines with the ease of operation expected in today's office environment.
Relyco Establishes Strategic Vendor Relationship
PSDA member Relyco, a provider of value-added business printing and payment solutions, recently announced that the company has established a vendor relationship with Franchise Services Inc. (FSI) and its franchise brands including Sir Speedy, PIP Printing and Marketing Services, Signal Graphics and MultiCopy. As a strategic vendor, Relyco is now offering all FSI franchises its unique digital substrate solutions, which include DigiPOP personalized digital packaging, REVLAR waterproof paper, REIMAGE carbonless laser paper, ULTRASEAL pressure seal mailers, ID and membership cards, DigiFLIP interactive puzzle cards to enable new applications ideas and revenue growth opportunities. “Relyco products are geared for digital on-demand printing and that makes them ideal for these FSI franchises,” said Mike Steinberg, president and CEO of Relyco.
PSDA Member to Speak at GRAPH EXPO 2012
Ed McMasters, director of marketing and communications for the Flottman Company, a PSDA member, has been selected to present a special session titled, “Putting the ME in MEdia,” at GRAPH EXPO 2012 on Oct. 9. This presentation is one of 50 hot-topic sessions in 31 education categories selected to comprise the GRAPH EXPO 2012 Conference Program. GRAPH EXPO is the largest graphic communications exhibition and conference in the Americas in 2012. Purchasing decision makers from every key market segment plus many other niche specialists will come together in Chicago seeking ways to grow or diversify their businesses. Click here
for more information.
Wright Enterprises Expands Management Team
PSDA member Wright Enterprises Holding Co. (parent company of Wright Business Graphics and Wright Imaging) announced the addition of Mike Zinder as general manager of the company's Kent, Wash. facility. Most recently, Zinder was the vice president of operations for Emerald City Graphics, a division of Houston-based Consolidated Graphics.
"We are excited to have Mike joining our senior management team. Mike is a 35-year industry veteran with diverse background in graphic design, commercial printing and packaging,” said Dan Adkison, president and COO. “These are three high-growth segments of our business, and it is particularly gratifying to be able to recruit an individual with Mike's depth of experience and successful track record. We remain committed to prescriptively transforming our business, bringing additional value and revenue streams to our distributor partners.”
End Game: In Wide-Format Printing, Finishing Is Where the Real Work Begins
WhatTheyThink (07/31/12) Romano, Richard
Finishing is frequently where the actual added value resides in wide-format printing, which is why it behooves today's wide-format shops to be familiar with finishing options if they wish to achieve market distinction. Lamination is one of the most common and fundamental options, offering protection from the elements as well as adding vibrancy to colors and rigidity to prints in instances where mounting or printing on an inflexible substrate is infeasible. Aqueous coating or UV coating are solid alternatives to laminating.
Common options for mounting, which involves the application of the finished graphic to a rigid surface, include foamcore, Gatorboard, Sintra and many other paperboard, wood, plastic and metal-board options. There also is grommeting, which entails the punching and reinforcement of holes or eyelets in a print through which string or other material can be threaded and used for mounting or anchoring the graphic. Creating a specific shape or texture for the printed substrate can be accomplished through various means, including die-cutting, laser cutting and routing.
Heat can be used to imprint text or some other design element on a printed graphic or object through the hot stamping method, while doming involves application of a polyurethane resin atop a printed area that will solidify and add an extra dimension to decals, labels or other specialty items. Vacuum forming or thermoforming enables the molding of graphics printed on plastic substrates to produce 3-D configurations, and the use of tiling graphics allows wide-format printers to split unprintably large images into manageable fragments that can be assembled following output.
FLEXcon product manager Jodi Sawyer said the decision of what finishing options to use depends on several factors, including whether the shop will procure the equipment itself or outsource a specific process to a partner. "Understand the volume of the opportunity or opportunities you are considering, the longevity of the business and other prospects for business as the result of your investment," Sawyer said. "The combination of increased sales and profitability are critical factors." Finally, the printer must determine what kind of market differentiation is facilitated by the capability under consideration.
Will Shrink Sleeve Growth be Stifled by Recycling Issues?
Labels & Labeling (08/06/12) Jerschefske, Danielle
Attendees at AWA Alexander Watson Associates' recent International Sleeve Label Conference and Exhibition in Cincinnati discussed the growing issue of recycling compatibility. Corey Reardon, president of AWA, said, "the sleeve label market is growing, is dynamic and an opportunity for growth in package decoration. Still we are seeing some challenges with recycling materials as are all packaging sectors." Brands enjoy the 360 degree decoration capability of shrink sleeve labels and the design for contour that the technology offers, helping shrink sleeve decoration to achieve 6.5 percent growth globally in 2011 and 5 percent growth in North America and Europe.
The Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) published a statement earlier this year finding "all sleeve labels to be unsatisfactory" with regard to viable recycling in current infrastructures. Dave Cornell, technical director at APR, who represents 20 PET recyclers in the United States, said "the label resin must be compatible with the bottle side wall or it needs to be separable. Clarity of PET resin is what sells. When you print on a label it can carry over to the resin and tarnish clarity." Adhesives are said to scorch, burn and cinder in the PET recycling process, creating yellowing specs and haze. "If you can avoid the adhesive it is a good thing," Cornell said.
One idea promoted at the conference to overcome recycling stream compatibility issues for shrink sleeve labels involved shrink labels designed with a perforation that allows consumers to remove the label prior to disposing of the container into recycling outlets. The issue is whether consumers can be enticed to remove the labels and how quickly the industry can adjust to making changes to perforate labels for removal while maintaining performance.
Another proposal featured floatable materials that easily separate and remain buoyant in the wash-out process. Within the Sustainable Packaging Coalition's labeling for recovery project, committees are working on floatable label performance. The difficulty so far has been the ability of recycling conveyer sensors to tell the difference between shrink-wrapped bottles and wet-glue or PS labeled containers.
Cornell suggests designing labels with transparent panels to give the auto sorting machines a chance, yet such designs impact the marketing goals of brands selecting shrink sleeve decoration.
QR Code Scans Skyrocket in Q2 2012
ClickZ (08/08/12) Mickens, Daniel
The latest mobile barcode trend report from ScanLife showed major growth in mobile barcode scanning. The study reported 5.3 million scans in the month of June alone, the highest ever number of scans in a month. The number of scans per minute increased from 24 in the second quarter of 2011 to 120 in the same period in 2012. The report also found that 4 million new people scanned via ScanLife in this year's second quarter.
The largest campaign run in the second quarter of 2012 resulted in more than two million scans, compared with approximately 30,000 scans for the top campaign in the same period in the previous year. Campaigns that produced the highest number of scans contained contests or loyalty programs as the primary content. Other mentionable QR campaigns contained social media content, app download content and video content. ScanLife's report represents traffic from QR Codes and UPC barcodes, including QR Code traffic generated through third party platforms as well as through ScanLife. More than 75 percent of the QR Code scanning demographic is comprised of people 25 years and older. The industry with the top QR code campaign was the toy industry, followed by health and beauty; wireless; fast food restaurants and the beverage industry.
Windows of Opportunity Offer Print Service Providers Chance to Grow Customer Base
Wide-Format Imaging (08/12) Steele, Jeffrey
Print service providers are continuously seeking ways to diversify and grow their customer base, and they can generate new creative media spaces and supply premium ad placement for clients' marketing messages using window graphics. "You can offer window graphics to your existing customers, broaden your product portfolio and use it to provide an entree to new customers," said Paul Roba of Avery Dennison Graphics and Reflective Solutions. Meanwhile, MACTac's Jason Yard said that many retail establishments already have a lot of window space. "With the technology existing today, if you can leverage UV or latex printing with the right substrates, you can turn glass into works of art," said Jim Holloran of Lintec of America.
Tammi Johnson with 3M Commercial Graphics pointed out that window graphics can be created on the same gear that PSPs are already employing in-house to produce their graphics. "Part of the challenge is simply becoming more aware of the advertising and decorative potential of ubiquitous glass surfaces," said Clear Focus' Judy Bellah. "The next step is to look at one's existing customer base and target key markets with the most promise, such as retail stores, auto dealerships, commercial offices like banks, credit unions, real estate firms and other suitable sectors." Bellah also said PSPs can make their client relationships more valuable by educating their customers on window graphics' advantages, which include promotional, branding, architectural and residential applications.
Installation is a key issue for producers of window graphics, with Yard asserting that "windows are obviously made of glass, which is a high-energy surface. That requires a low-tack adhesive." Yard said many shops retain in-house installers on staff, while others contract out the installation. Professional installers are typically used to install higher-end, longer-term graphics overall, while Roba said that large window installations are more difficult, "because you need special equipment and permits." PSPs that perform graphics installation themselves should bear in mind that most are applied wet, Roba said.
Bellah said the chances of long-term success with window graphics can be significantly improved with the proper equipment, media and expertise. "PSPs that have cut their teeth on wrapping curvaceous vehicles should be able to transfer their experience and skills with relative ease to flat-glass applications, such as retail store windows," Bellah said. "Those specializing in banners and other types of traditional signage that don't wish to take on vehicle wraps may decide to partner with a local company experienced in vehicle graphic production and installation. The combined expertise can be a win-win."
Upsize and Conquer Using B2 Inkjet Sheetfed Digital Format
ProPrint (07/30/12) Kohn, Peter
B2 inkjet sheetfed digital production presses showcased at drupa 2012 illustrated manufacturers' seriousness about the technology's prospects, as the B2 format is the sector where volume print runs are made. Although a B2-format machine offers easy installation in a commercial sheetfed pressroom calibrated to half-size printing, some doubters contend that linking B3 presses to some of the latest inline finishing still offers greater productivity than ganging on the larger sheet size.
Australian interest was ample at Fujifilm, Screen Truepress, Konica Minolta and other manufacturers' drupa stands, which vendors hope will lead to local investment in the coming year. The products will likely get another boost as locals are exposed to them at next year's PacPrint. One Australian printer impressed by the B2-format machines was Core Print. "What this will do to the A2 market is the same as what the Indigo has done to the A3 market: take away the jobs of up to 1,500 sheets," said Core Print managing director Rob Maloney. "The place in the market where this falls is variable data and multiple images." However, Maloney anticipated, "Short-term, the costs are so excessive that the click rate will keep litho for medium to long runs in the market for a long time yet."
A sticking point for Maloney is vendors' support of the click-charge model, which he considers a major hindrance to larger-format production inkjet catching on. He also thinks maintenance overhead is still a stumbling block for local printers. Meanwhile, SOS Print & Media director Michael Schulz envisions B2 sheetfed inkjet as a powerful substitution pathway in the packaging sector, "which seems to be due for a digital, on-demand revolution, provided economical pricing can be achieved." He stressed, however, "productivity needs to increase and price needs to come down" before SOS considers investing in B2 sheetfed inkjet.
drupa 2012 For more on drupa 2012, check out the two-part drupa feature from the July and August issues of Print Solutions magazine.
Pinning for Business: Pinterest as a CRM Tool
CRM Buyer (07/26/12) Wagner, Vivian
The focus on visual content, such as links and pictures of products, ideas, projects, fashions and other content, sets Pinterest apart from other social media. Businesses using Pinterest do better when they take the time to look at other people's content and engage them by leaving comments on other people's pins and repining, rather than promoting their brand, said Tamara Littleton, CEO of social media management company eModeration. The engagement leads indirectly to heightened brand awareness and brand loyalty. When brands post content, it should be useful, interesting and unique enough to catch the attention of the varied and demanding Pinterest community. "The crucial thing about Pinterest is that it is a community, and the brands that go in and take over do badly," Littleton said.
Businesses looking to monetize engagement can turn to tools like iGoDigital Pinterest Tracking; retailers add the 'Pin It' button to the tool's product recommendation and they will be able to identify people who pin products, analyze their sphere of influence and estimate revenue associated with their activity on Pinterest. In its current form, the social pinning site is more about having conversations with clients, customers, partners and other business than the hard sell. There have been few reports of customer posting problems with products and services, but this kind of engagement could increase as Pinterest evolves.
Another Use for QR Codes: Business Cards
Quick Printing (08/12) Giles, John
Quick Response (QR) Codes are gaining ground on a national level and spreading to areas that include not just the barcode market and retail stores but also the medical community. For instance, one hospital employs QR Codes to direct women to an online appointment facility to schedule mammograms, and the codes are advertised in newspapers, magazines and postcards.
The key to a successful QR Code campaign is ensuring that the code steers users to things they want. "Just going to a mobile website isn't exciting if the visitor can't read the information on his smartphone," he said. "Good sites usually feature videos, sign-up opportunities and coupons. They offer something that will keep the visitor coming back and sharing the site with friends."
Giles said that experts still think business cards are vital in the professional sector and suggested that people read this Huffington Post article to check out a number of things that are essential to know about business card design. "You will want to share this information with your customers through your own website and social media sites," said consultant John Giles. "More people are adding QR Codes to their business cards so their contact information can be easily uploaded to a contact program or app."
New Twitter Tools Can Generate Lead for Inbound Marketing
Business 2 Community (07/23/12) Krentz, Taylor
B2B companies should be using Twitter because it offers a way to constantly communicate with current and potential customers without spending a lot of money. Twitter recently made a few changes that will make searching, finding and connecting easier than ever. The new autocomplete function will guess what users are searching for, whether that is a person or hashtag — including people they already follow and those they do not — and autocorrect and search suggestions will make searching for new people and topics less of a hassle.
Twitter has added a new search feature that lets users filter their search results to 'People they follow,' and the new search also will find people based on their Twitter name and their user name, even if they are different. The changes mean that you can search people who are involved in the type of business that your business would like to connect with, search a keyword related to your business and the descriptions of other profiles will be scanned. If you find someone with a description matching your search, you can follow these people and begin to connect. Moreover, prospective clients will be able to search for you much easier than before. B2B companies that make their profile keyword rich and tweet regularly will be more likely to appear in search results when someone is looking for the product or service they offer.
3-D Printing: Next Big Tech for Construction?
Many in the construction industry believe 3-D printing is the next big technology for the industry. Architecture, engineering and construction firms already have begun to use the technology, which produces pure white and color physical models quickly and easily from 3-D CAD, BIM and other digital data, as part of design development and project delivery. Indian architectural modeling service company iKix, for example, uses 3-D printing as a project management tool. Because it creates models directly from CAD data, they are much more accurate and have helped the company save as much as 8 percent in construction costs by lowering time, labor and materials costs while improving communication. Aside from printing models, though, 3-D printing may help to automate the entire construction process — Contour Crafting has developed a method using 3-D printing to create a single house or colony of houses, which can be applied in emergency, low-income and commercial housing. However we have not reached the point where applying 3-D printing to the field is realistic — 3-D printing systems still cannot run conduit or install HVAC on large-scale projects, so there is much room for development of the technology.
Cheap and Cool: Tiny Transmitters That Cost a Penny to Print Unveiled
BBC News (08/13/12) Kleinman, Zoe
Printed transmitters offer an inexpensive way to transmit data from object to mobile phones when swiped. Researchers from Sunchon National University and Paru Printed Electronics Research Institute in Korea have spent four years developing small "rectennas," a cross between an antenna and an AC/DC current converter, to use radio waves emitted from a smartphone to transmit data to it from a tiny chip. The team has printed rectennas onto plastic foils using electronic links and reports that they cost less than one penny per unit to produce.
Near field communication is the technology behind the rectennas. "What is great about this technique is that we can also print the digital information onto the rectenna, meaning that everything you need for wireless communication is in one place," said Gyoujin Cho, a member of the research team that developed the printed rectenna. "Our advantage over current technology is lower cost, since we can produce a roll-to-roll printing process with high throughput in an environmentally friendly manner." Moreover, many extra functions can be integrated into the technology without significantly increasing the cost of the printing process. QR Code usage in America has increased by 40 percent year on year, according to management consultancy firm Greenwich Consulting, but development such as the rectennas have made augmented reality platforms compelling alternatives.
Inkjet Is Living Large (Format)
Wide-Format Imaging (08/12) Vruno, Mark
Continuing change in wide-format digital print technology is being accompanied by faster run speeds and improved output quality. PE Plus Imaging of Toronto became the first North American firm to acquire Durst Image Technology's Rho P10 Series printer, and the Rho P10 250 Presto UV inkjet printer prints up to 2,100 square feet per hour. The Rho P10 printer line is specifically designed for cost-effective generation of various hand-held and eye-level materials, including backlit signage, POP and commercial displays, and small packages at production speeds.
"We wanted a printer that not only could keep up with new customer requirements, but also would allow us to propose and produce options that the customer hadn't thought of before, that would impress them," said PE Plus Imaging co-owner Debbie Jaue. "The ability to do that sets you apart from the competition and makes you very valuable. Our new Rho printer gives us that ability." The P10 250 generates fine color graduations and virtually perfect color reproduction and also maintains high levels of cost-efficiency and flexibility. The printer's image quality and range is further augmented by its ability to print light cyan and light magenta, and the machine can print simultaneously on two parallel panels or rolls, while Durst said the printer can operate unattended around the clock.
Meanwhile, Ontario-based Vinyl Xpress updated its inventory with a Mimaki UJV-160 flatbed printer and a JV34-260 super-wide-format printer, enabling the company to print sizes up to 104 inches wide. Vinyl Xpress' specialty is making signage for businesses, trade shows and retailers running the gamut from banner printing to vinyl graphics and beyond. The company offers clients high-impact, rich-looking printed materials that range from standard prints, large backlit posters, vinyl banners and graphics for windows, floors and vehicles to fabric prints and decals/logos/vinyl lettering. Not only do the new printers provide formidable size output and vivid color reproduction, they also supply creativity options that are impossible with standard inks. The UJV-160 prints on both rigid and roll-to-roll media, making it perfect for printing onto almost any substrate including paper, vinyl, fabric, magnets, wood, plastic, steel, carpet, leather, polyvinyl chloride, boat sails, wood and glass.
Abstract News © Copyright 2012 INFORMATION, INC.