December 20, 2012

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CEO Summit
2013 Distributor Solutions Expo
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HR Corner: Expert Advice on Vacations and Working from Home

By Claudia St. John, president, Affinity HR Group LLC

Q: We have been working to recover from our office closure that was the result of Hurricane Sandy. This is the time of year when everyone wants to take vacation, but our backlog is staggering. Can we require that employees forgo taking their vacation until we are caught up?

A: Yes. Vacation is a benefit that is typically structured in employee handbooks as subject to management approval. If yours is not, now might be a good time to review the language in your handbook. There are many ways of doing this: 1) Simply deny voluntary leave until a certain date; 2) Offer employees the opportunity to carry over the vacation days so that they are not lost — just postponed; or 3) Offer to pay off the lost vacation days so that employees will get the income in lieu of the days off. Whatever you decide to do, be sure to follow what is in your handbook and administer your policy consistently for all parties to ensure it is fair and equitable.

Q: In the northern states, this is the time when we get snowstorms. We have a new office network that enables access to the network remotely. Some of our customer service representatives live far away. There's nothing about it in our handbook; can we let them work from home on an ad-hoc basis?

A: Sure. Flexible work arrangements are increasingly prevalent and can help minimize the office disruption that can occur with inclement weather occurrences. A couple of things to keep in mind, though: First, always require approval for ad-hoc work changes. You will need to decide if this new flexibility is a right or a benefit. If it is the latter, it should require approval and be well managed. Second, hourly, nonexempt employees (which is how most customer service representatives should be classified) will need to be paid for all time worked — even after-hours. Be sure to arrange in advance how you will track each CSR's hours when working from home. Finally, you should take the time now to establish what your work-from-home policy is so you are not inconsistent in your approach or management going forward. 

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.

4over, Inc.


PEAK Awards Call for Entries Open

PSDA is now accepting submissions for the 2013 Print Excellence and Knowledge (PEAK) Awards. Hosted in partnership with the Print Education & Research Foundation (PERF), the competition highlights unique and successful print and marketing applications and honors the work of print professionals who have creatively addressed their customers' needs.

Learn more about the program and submit your programs for consideration today. Make sure to review our new 2013 Peak Award Categories. The deadline for submitting entries for consideration is Feb. 1, 2013. 

The 2013 PEAK Awards will be judged by a panel of industry peers based on innovation, suitability for intended application, print quality (where applicable), distinction/differentiation from similar common products, strategic significance for the end user and production complexity.
Make Plans to Attend CEO Summit

PSDA's 2013 CEO Summit, taking place Feb. 11-13 at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, is the best opportunity to connect with the people behind the largest, most successful companies in the industry. Take a look at the program and register today.

Keynote presenter Soren Kaplan, author of the bestselling book, "Leapfrogging," will present on Breakthrough Change: Why Disruptive Innovation is Everyone's Business. Kaplan will discuss the importance of achieving disruptive innovation in your organization through services, business models and customer experience, and he'll showcase strategies that you can use to deliver everyday breakthroughs.

More details are available at the CEO Summit web page, or you may download a PDF of the conference preview from the October issue of Print Solutions magazine.
Add PSDA’s Blog to Your RSS Feed

Do you want regular, relevant and interesting print industry related content at your fingertips? (Of course you do!) Subscribe to the PSDA Blog RSS feed and start reading popular posts such as “6 USPS Mailing Promotions for 2013” and “Communication Study Shows Popularity of Direct Mail.”

To subscribe, copy and paste the following URL into your RSS feed reader:

If you are not already using a feed reader, you can go to and get started now. Simply choose “subscribe” on the left-hand side of the page, paste in the PSDA Blog feed and click “add.” PSDA Blog content will update automatically when you visit your reader page, allowing you to effortlessly stay on top of industry happenings.
Ennis, Inc.

Member News

Jubilee Brands Expanding, Positioning Itself for Future

Missouri-based Jubilee Brands, manufacturer of the Thanks a Dozen® and Brandelope™ lines — which are PSDA member companies — plans to roll out four new product lines in the coming months. The first to debut, Packaging Solutions 360™, “will allow customers to order any quantity of nearly any size box in a choice of three substrates, printed inside and out, including variable data, at prices previously unheard of,” said Allen McNeill, Jubilee Brands' owner and president. Early customer reactions to the product have been extremely positive, and prototypes are in the works for personalized sales boxes, odd-shaped shipping boxes and other unique applications.

In a time when many print providers are nervous about 21st-century demands, McNeill is wildly optimistic about the future. “We've increased our workforce and invested in training our employees. We've been able to pick up some very nice and much-needed equipment in the current market. I really believe the sky is the limit for the print producer that thoughtfully examines consumer needs.”

In 1990, understanding the plight of salespeople to stand out from the crowd, McNeill pioneered the “donut box,” a unique and memorable way for salespeople to leave treats with potential customers. McNeill knew the value of the custom box early on. He'd built his own business as a print rep using the same strategy. Brandelopes were born in 2008. Direct mail users are always looking for ways to stand out, and the express shipper-type mailer has been successful at catching consumers' attention and getting packets opened. Packaging Solutions 360 was the logical next step in the progression. “There are more marketing messages vying for customer attention than ever before,” McNeill said. “The challenge is to stand out, draw attention and fill a real need. We can help our customers with the first two criteria — the rest is up to them!”
RBO PrintLogistix Acquires J.R. Scott Inc.

RBO PrintLogistix, a PSDA member, recently acquired J.R. Scott Inc., a Waterloo, Ill.-based print distributor. “J.R. Scott is a perfect fit for us,” said Jim Riley, president and CEO of RBO PrintLogistix. “They have a customer-focused business model, just like RBO. Plus they have an established client base in the metro east and in southern Illinois. RBO has plans to expand more aggressively into both markets.”

J.R. Scott owner Jeff Rodenberg said he is excited about the more robust business offerings now available to former J.R. Scott clients. “We prided ourselves on offering exemplary service — so there's a natural fit with RBO. What's more, RBO has a substantially larger product and service offering than J.R. Scott. In addition to print management, RBO also offers everything from research to fulfillment & distribution. These are all deliverables J.R. Scott customers want and need — and we're excited to be in a position to deliver them.”

RBO offers end-to-end marketing solutions and print management services such as marketing research, strategic consulting, creative services, promotional products, e-commerce, print management, and fulfillment and distribution services. The integration of J.R. Scott into RBO has already begun. “The process is going smoothly,” Rodenberg said. “Our customers have seen a seamless transition and are already benefiting from the expanded resource.” Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Continental Datalabel
Two Sides Posts New Environmental Marketing Best Practices Web Page

PSDA partner Two Sides recently launched a new resource page titled Environmental Marketing Best Practices for Print and Paper. The objective of the page is to provide marketers with some guidelines, tools and advice on how to promote the environmental benefits of print and paper products and avoid “greenwashing” (the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service). The page also supports Two Sides' current nationwide educational campaign to help companies better understand the sustainability of print and paper and to create greater awareness of best practices for environmental marketing.

As part of this effort, Two Sides compiled a detailed FAQ sheet to answer the most frequently asked questions about environmental marketing best practices and a list of resources to help companies navigate green marketing dos and don'ts. To access a PDF version, click here.
Ward/Kraft's Mary Sisseck Retires

After 25 years, Mary Sisseck has retired from PSDA member Ward/Kraft. Sisseck started her long career with Ward/Kraft as an estimator when the labels division first began. She held many positions throughout her Ward/Kraft tenure, including estimating, order entry, quality control, labels sales rep, long run sales rep, on-site coordinator and most recently as corporate trainer.

“I love being with distributors. I love being with people. I love teaching,” Sisseck said. That love helped propel Mary into the Ward/Kraft on-site program. She traveled from coast to coast visiting distributors and teaching them about the print industry. Along the way, she built relationships with past and present distributors.
Xeikon Names Canflexographics Canadian Distributor

PSDA member Xeikon and Canflexographics, a distributor of flexographic capital equipment and peripherals, recently made an agreement wherein Canflexographics will be a representative of the Xeikon label and document printing digital presses, as well as the entire line of ThermoFlexX digital imagers for flexo and letterpress plates, in Canada.

"We are very pleased to be working with Canflexographics," said Michael V. Ring, president of Xeikon America. "Kelly Roberts and his team of well-respected professionals will provide education and support to our Canadian clients, as well as enable direct access to our digital printing and platemaking solutions."

Kelly Roberts, president of Canflexographics, added that Xeikon is an innovator in digital printing technology and provides tested and proven solutions. "The support and the open dialogue we have received from the entire Xeikon team shows their desire to connect and educate all partners and clients — a key component in our decision to work with this superior organization."

Top Story

Direct-to-Substrate Market Takes Off: The Power of Wide-Format
PrintWeek (12/14/12) Creasey, Simon

Advancements in wide-format print support the capability of printing material directly onto virtually any kind of substrate, with the appeal of doing so mainly concentrated in cost and quality. Oce U.K.'s Dominic Fahey said direct-to-substrate devices substantially cut down the amount of processes required to finish a print job, which yields savings in terms of time, money and error rates. Tangent On Demand's investments in a new wide-format direct-to-substrate press are paying off, said managing director Andy Davis.

"We installed a SwissQprint machine at our site in London's West End that allows us to print on materials such as wood, metal, glass, cork and so on, and it now produces 35 percent to40 percent of our work," Davis said. "It has opened up new markets and opportunities." Davis said his company has not hit any limits regarding the type of substrate the press can print on, provided the material is flat and does not exceed 50 millimeters in thickness.

"I don't think it's an overstatement to say that inkjet has revolutionized [point of sale]," said Fujifilm's Mark Stephenson. "Especially now that these brands can cost-effectively print their own personalized and regionalized campaigns." Still, Stephenson said direct-to-substrate printing may not necessarily be appropriate for all marketing campaigns. "Just because you can print on any surface, it doesn't mean you should do it," he said. "There are many factors that need to be considered, such as UV-resistance, scratch- and water-proofing, etc."

Hewlett-Packard's Marchel van der Camp said direct-to-substrate wide-format printing can be especially advantageous for budget-conscious marketers. "These customers are faced with the need to deliver far more with much less, so they can use it to maximize the attention-grabbing potential of their campaigns," he said. "Since inkjet allows for short-run samples and one-off pieces to be produced quickly and cost-effectively as test projects, marketers can also experiment with different substrates and techniques without incurring huge outlay."

Printing Trends

Mohawk Works to Dispel Myths About Paper and the Environment
MyPrintResource (12/10/12) Whitcher, Joann

Paper companies and allied advocacy groups are striving to combat the public image that paper use is unhealthy for the environment through strategies for illustrating the paper industry's sustainability. Mohawk, for example, seeks to educate customers in the areas of impact tools for media buyers, timely information and support for purchase influencers and exchange of best practices via its own communication and promotion initiatives outreach. Mohawk's environmental calculator has become a crucial instrument for companies looking to quickly and easily understand the effects of their choices.

Meanwhile, Mohawk communication director Jane Monast said that "because they are on the front lines, day in and day out, advising customers and educating them for the entire industry, we believe printers — from sales reps to customer service — are pivotal to helping media buyers understand the environmental impacts of their choices." The company's Mohawk MakeReady tool supplies an uninterrupted flow of actionable information for printers to use themselves or share with their clients. The most popular Mohawk tools among the print community include Your Guide to Green videos that can educate sales teams and end users on how to use the company's proprietary tools and slide presentations that printers may tailor for their own end-user calls and presentations by adding their own logos.

In terms of best practices, Mohawk offers a new swatchbook system, comprising a library of specification tools "that represent what the buyer needs at the time they make a decision," Monast said. "This streamlined system reduces material consumption by 60 percent as well as the according freight costs. Today, we choose to use FSC certified paper wherever possible — each use of FSC publicizes the use of pulp from responsibly managed forests — our corporate advisers encourage buyers to do the same. Last, but not least, we share customer stories that demonstrate how the versatility of print and paper can be combined with other media, such as apps, to tell a much richer story, through our news blogs and designer hub, Felt & Wire."

Climbing the Walls
Wide-Format Imaging (12/12) Mortimer, Pam

Print service providers (PSPs) have faced several issues when preparing and adhering graphics for rough surfaces, such as the longevity of adherence. New technology and processes, however, allow PSPs to better explore this niche of the industry and expand their business. Walls, with various textures and finishes that were previously applied, are one challenge. 3M has addressed some issues with new products, such as films designed especially for application to textured or rough walls. Avery Dennison Graphics & Reflective Solutions offers MPI 6121 Street Graphics, a product with "micro-fracture" technology that allows film to adhere to very rough surfaces by fracturing and conforming. Some surfaces should be avoided with any material, such as extremely rough brick and stucco. Smooth walls painted with a quality, semi-gloss paint are the preferred substrate. Surfaces must be completely dry and free of "growing" cracks or crumbling areas. Specialty products may be more expensive, and a PSP may change its price structure to accommodate different surfaces with more difficult installations. As for future trends, experts suggest interior wall decor is a growing market, as well as faux wall textures and promotional graphics.

Digital Printing

InfoTrends Report Reveals Growth for CDLP Market
Package Printing (12/03/12)

The color digital label and packaging (CDLP) market will grow strongly between 2011 and 2016, with an 18 percent compound annual growth rate in digital press revenues, according to the consulting firm InfoTrends. The most important technology additions will be high-end color electrophotographic and inkjet presses, which will increasingly steer color digital printing into the printing of folding cartons and flexible packaging, applications that are currently only minimally penetrated by even the most capable current color digital presses.

"There are two megatrends among brand owners that support the growth of the color digital press market in label and packaging uses," said Bob Leahey, associate director of InfoTrends' Color Digital Label and Packaging Service. "One is the brand owners' focus on target marketing, and the other is their focus on lean manufacturing." Leahey said these influences together have prompted brand owners to more frequently order smaller amounts of packaging and labels. This development will result in increasing numbers of short-run print jobs for converters of labels and packaging, which color digital presses can print more efficiently than conventional presses.

InfoTrends' forecast also means that the market will soon change with the arrival of a new generation of CDLP presses, most of which were introduced at the drupa 2012 show in Germany. These new presses will be high capacity models with more than twice the width of most current CDLP presses. That difference in width and overall productivity will drive the use of CDLP presses to new levels in folding cartons and flexible packaging, two applications where current models currently have only a limited role.

Produce Packaging Gets QR and Human-Readable Codes in Single Pass
Packaging World (12/12) Mohan, Anne Marie

Emerald Packaging in Union City, Calif., is using new digital inkjet printing equipment from Domino USA to print unique QR Codes onto its bags. The fresh produce packaging supplier has installed Domino's Bitjet+ in-line digital printing system, incorporating the printer into its bag processing line. The Bitjet+ is suitable for adding high-resolution variable data, including QR Codes, addresses, numbers, barcodes and graphics, to a range of substrates. The packaging manufacturer is using Domino's Editor GT inkjet and production line controller to manage the QR Codes, which contain information on produce, such as farm locations, grower profiles, food safety notices and nutritional information. Domino's technology delivers unique human-readable and QR Codes in a single pass. Consumers will be able to discover a wide range of information about produce by scanning the code with a smartphone. They will be able to track when and where their produce was harvested and packed, even down to the specific field where the item was grown, said Todd Somers, sales and marketing director for Emerald Packaging.

Print Technology

These Are Not Your Desktop Printers
ProPrint (12/04/12) Crowe, Steve

While inkjet has long been considered a technology only for home printers, major manufacturers have recently developed machines designed to take control of sectors dominated by conventional offset or digital. Australia has seen a flood of inkjet web press installations that should continue as more print firms find that market space can be adequately accommodated by inkjet’s specific capabilities. High-volume inkjet is currently concentrated in the sectors of books, essential mail and transpromo printing and direct marketing. Inkjet technology is a good fit for transactional and transpromo printers due to its high speed, ability to personalize and acceptable print quality.

Australia Post invested in two Océ ColorStream 3700 twin web presses in July, which it said were "the first in Australia dedicated to the transactional market." While the book market has taken a hit, printers note that it is too soon to predict the death of the book. In September 2011, Griffin Press entered high-speed inkjet printing with the first installation of the HP T350 digital press coupled with the first Muller Martini SigmaLine in Australia. Even earlier, SOS Print & Media installed a Kodak Prosper 1000 inkjet press to produce black-and-white books for publishing clients. Publishers have accepted the ability to print on demand, rather than create large numbers of warehoused books. With the use of personalization, print marketing can engage with target markets, using personal data to connect individually with recipients. Bruce Peddlesden, managing director of On Demand in Melbourne, entered the inkjet arena in November 2011, using a web-fed Océ ColorStream 3500 for books and direct marketing work. The Océ, he said, fits between digital and offset in its ability, while bringing greater cost efficiencies and new options for present customers.

Armor Unveils New Wax Ribbon
Labels & Labeling (12/03/12)

Armor has launched AWR 8, a high-quality wax ribbon designed for flat head thermal transfer printers. The AWR 8 ribbon is compatible with a wide range of label materials and can print equally well on rough uncoated papers as on coated papers and synthetic materials. It also is compatible with most preprinted labels.

Olivier Moreau, product manager at Armor, said the AWR 8 ribbon gives the firm's customers "access to markets where a very low price is needed. The ribbon is a first-class choice for new application needs at a price that defies all competition." The ribbon was designed for printing at low temperatures, making it possible to extend the lifespan of print heads, but is still printable across wide ranges of energy settings, enabling it to be used to replace competitors' ribbons without the need to adjust print settings.

Marketing Services

Direct Mail with Mobile Features Is Changing Holiday Shopping
Printing Impressions (12/10/12)

Direct mail is increasing its engagement with customers thanks to mobile and web technologies such as QR Codes, personalized URLs and augmented reality. "Long lauded for its ability to provide consumers with personalized and tangible information about products, promotions and sales, today's direct mail, combined with web technologies and smartphone apps, is offering holiday shoppers a media-rich experience that connects with them on a deeper, more personal level," said Gary Reblin, vice president of domestic products at the U.S. Postal Service.

"Direct mail that includes personalized QR Codes or personalized URLs, which link consumers to individualized discounts and special invites — usually with their names — tells recipients that the retailer knows who they are and what they want," Reblin said. Direct mail enhanced with augmented reality technology enables consumers to view products from all angles or interact with 3-D-embedded videos and animations.

The increasing number of mobile-enabled circulars and catalogs will be the launching point for many holiday purchases this season, according to Reblin. "More and more retailers are creating mobile-optimized sites for their direct mail campaigns to allow their customers to shop whenever and wherever they are," he said. Meanwhile, retailers now are incorporating digital coupons — which can be saved on a mobile device — into their hard-copy mail.

Image recognition allows a shopper with a smartphone to scan a picture of a shirt in a catalog and be connected immediately to mobile shopping features. Also on the rise are smartphones enabled with near field communications, enabling the user to simply tap the device on a printed page to make a purchase — without an app.

Grab Attention with Cross-Media Marketing
Quick Printing (12/12) Steele, Jeffrey

Print providers that want to expand their services may consider cross-media marketing as a key growth area. This type of marketing combines print with other media, such as social media, QR Codes or augmented reality. CustomXM was first in the Cross Media Marketing category at the 2012 NAQP Print Excellence Awards. CustomXM President Paul Strack said: "Today, it's not enough to put their name in bold print; people have become used to the customized piece. You have to know something about each of your customers before you can talk to them with customized messages."

Raven Printing is another company that uses cross-media marketing, launching a marketing business earlier this year called R5 Design and Marketing. Under this name, Raven Printing provides mobile websites, branding identity and email marketing. An effective sales message requires proper planning, because many clients and prospects are unfamiliar with cross-media marketing. Companies can talk to colleagues, clients and prospects about technology available, including direct mail, email, social media and personalized URLs. When using cross-media marketing, businesses should remember the educational aspect and make sure clients know how all cross-media channels can be used most effectively.

Study: B2B Purchasers Demand B2C E-Commerce Experience
Multichannel Merchant (11/29/12) Tierney, Jim

Ninety-four percent of B2B purchasers said suppliers should create an online buying experience as simple as using a B2C website, according to the 2012 hybris State of B2B Ecommerce study. Steve Kramer, president of North America at hybris, said suppliers must improve online offerings to gain and keep their customer base. Outdated catalogs and a lack of B2B ecommerce functionality have prompted two-fifths of the survey respondents to switch suppliers. Ecommerce is appealing to B2B purchasers because it lets them do business with their suppliers at their convenience, saves time and better informs them of the status of their order. However, 71 percent of survey respondents still work with vendors that do not offer online ordering.

Interested in PSDA's print and digital advertising options? Download the new PSDA 2013 Media Planner for more information, including the Print Solutions magazine 2013 editorial calendar, ad rates and specifications. Turn to for one-stop access to the PSDA blog, industry news and a live sourcing request feed.

About PSDA
PSDA is an unrivaled network of professionals, dedicated to providing best-in-class print, marketing and business communications solutions to end-user customers through the distributor channel. PSDA provides its members with information on market trends and leading practices through a series of national and regional events, online training, and its flagship monthly magazine, Print Solutions, which was recently honored by Trade Association Business Publications International for coverage of the prior year's most impactful client success stories.

Learn more about membership in PSDA or contact our headquarters ( office at 800.230.0175 and talk with a member of our staff team.
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