December 2012


Add Value with Variable Data

In-plants that have not invested in VDP should consider the value-added service opportunities that it has to offer. Integrating variable data services within existing production operations allows in-plants to offer faster turnaround times and reduce the costs associated with outsourcing jobs that require personalization. Having a VDP solution will allow them to stay relevant and serve the printing needs of multiple departments within their organization.

Addressing Evolving Needs

If anything, the emergence of eBooks as an über niche tucked inside the book publishing space has provided more opportunities for the printing community to show off its diversity to publishing clients. Some of the nation's largest book printers have dug deep into their coffers to fortify printing capabilities and capacity, a sign of health despite an economy that refuses to break into full recovery model.

Change and Thrive

A change that has been occurring and will continue to do so is optimizing processes. The job shop mentality is being replaced with concepts like Lean Manufacturing and process workflow. While many companies have claimed to become more efficient, the truth is, printing still has a long way to go to match that of the electronics and automobile industries, to name a couple.

Changing With the Times

At the World Bank, we certainly needed to do some major adapting if we were to continue successfully serving our customers. Our main concern was the large distance between our operational groups. To address this new reality, we decided to embrace the challenge of overhauling our workflow. As a result, we have implemented a good number of systems and technological tools that will help us take our operation into the future.

Courier Corp. Adding Color Inkjet Press at Indiana Plant

Courier Corp., which specializes in book manufacturing, content management and publishing, plans to provide complete end-to-end digital production capability at its flagship four-color plant in Kendallville, IN. The heart of the new production line will be a high-volume HP T410 color inkjet web press, Courier's fourth HP digital press and its largest to date.

Don't Rely on the Economy

Even if the stars align and politicians are able to put aside their differences for the greater good, recovery for the printing industry ain't a-happening in any meaningful way in 2013. NAPL expects industry sales to grow somewhere between 1.0 percent and 2.5 percent.

drupa Cycle to Remain Same; Graph Expo Reports Increase

drupa plans to maintain its four-year cycle for conducting the international printing trade show. A key factor in this decision was the international trade fair calendar that is built around a four-year cycle with drupa.

Finding the Right Mix

Multichannel marketing continued to be the main focus for both publishers and catalogers in 2012, with the integration of print and electronic media being a key driver. As mobile technology such as smart phones and tablets gained more popularity, publishers continued to look for ways to monetize and incorporate them into their mix. The adoption of QR codes, pURLs and Augmented Reality applications also continued to grow.

From the Editor: Redefining Your Purpose

During the Interquest Digital Printing in Government and Higher Education Forum (held at GPO) last month, a discussion broke out about the importance of print to the government. Acting Public Printer Davita Vance-Cooks had just given the keynote address for the Interquest Digital Printing in Government and Higher Education Forum (held at GPO) and explained how GPO has transformed from a printer to a provider of information.

Giants Among In-plants

North America is home to some very large in-plants. We surveyed our readership to find out who they are.

Impressions from Our Venerable List -Michelson

It's hard to believe that this marks the 29th anniversary of our annual Printing Impressions 400 list of the largest printers in the United States and Canada ranked by annual sales. The consolidation trend has intensified, albeit more from the result of shrinking print markets coupled with the economic fallout from the Great Recession.

Is Video in Your Future?

As printers, our value is in getting the word out. By incorporating other aspects of digital media, we can help make our customers more effective. We all consume media—typically reading for education and video for pleasure. But video allows for less misinterpretation of messaging, as you can read body language and see verbal cues.

Managing by the Numbers

How can one manage workflow, prioritize jobs or manage resource allocation without a basic understanding of the volume and types of orders flowing through the shop? Sadly, I rarely see shops that collect even the most basic production data. Not knowing what we print, and for whom, is a big problem that will only increase in importance as we move forward.

PA Printer Suffers $75 Million Loss After Press Catches Fire

The third-generation owner of a printing plant here is faced with the task of completely rebuilding his business after an Oct. 23 fire ripped through the facility, requiring the work of 13 fire departments to get the blaze under control. The damage was estimated at more than $75 million.

Preparing for 2013

NAPL Senior Consultant Howard Fenton takes a look at industry trends, including what we saw at October's Graph Expo 2012: the unrelenting drive to reduce costs, the importance of keeping your customers happy, and a renewed focus from industry leaders on strategic planning.

Rethink Price Discounting –Farquharson/Tedesco

It's a fact: the easiest and least expensive way to grow sales is to sell more to current customers. By rewarding clients and giving them an incentive to keep working with you, you'll earn their continued loyalty and more of their business.

Ripon's 50th a Time to Reflect -Cagle

Our friends at Ripon Printers in sunny, downtown Ripon, WI, celebrated their 50th anniversary with an Open House on Sept. 26-27. According to Ripon stalwarts Deba Horn-Prochno and Carol Cluppert, the event was a huge success.

Still Best Marketing Value

Direct mail is still considered the marketing channel of choice by a vast number of marketers across verticals ranging from telecom and utilities to nonprofit, publishing and financial services. According to the Direct Marketing Association's “2012 Response Rate Report,” the rates for letter-sized direct mail (3.4 percent) were 30 times higher than those for email (0.12 percent). The belief that direct mail is dead or dying will have to be suspended for the time being.

Superstorm Sandy Rattles Printers in the NJ/NY Area

Hurricane Sandy unleashed a fury of destruction on the New Jersey shore and New York City.  The damage was catastrophic to a number of printers, who were flooded out and (as of Dec. 1) remain shut down. Others—like Design Distributors of Deer Park, NY—have opened their facilities to allow impacted printers to use their gear.

Supplier News

Finch Paper has launched its FIT (Fluid + Ink + Toner) Color Management and Workflow Services progra

The 2012 Printing Impressions 400 Ranking

Now in its 29th year, the Printing Impressions 400 provides the industry’s most comprehensive ranking of the leading printing companies in the United states and Canada.
 Company rankings for the current and previous year are based on sales figures reported to us in 2012.

The Reinvented Printer

Any printer that is able to experience modest growth, let alone stellar, certainly stands out in the sea of red ink, closures and bankruptcies that marked 2012. A small cadre of performers were able to do more than just survive.

To Build Strategic Relevance, Look Outside Your Organization

As new business models continue to emerge across the dynamic media landscape, in-plants have an opportunity to take a leadership role in reinforcing their strategic relevance. And some of their best opportunities are in capturing new revenues from insourcing, and developing new services by outsourcing and partnering with external firms.

Why Would You Listen to Me?

You don't know me. We've never met. You've never been to my department. We've never done business together. But we could, couldn't we? What would I/could I/should I do to get your attention—to get you to consider me instead of the others who do what I do?