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Label Market in Printing Continues to Grow and Change

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Its funny when you start to take notice of something and then realize the thing you never thought much of is everywhere.  Buy a red car and you start seeing red cars everywhere, cut your hair and now everyone seems to have the same one, research the label printing industry and realize they are on nearly everything!

Labeling things is a art as old as time – well maybe not that old but it has been at least 400 years since the first recoded print labels were produced.  They were time consuming, printed on hand made paper with a wooden hand press.  The industrial revolution in the 19th century really brought labels to the forefront with all the new products being mass produced: standard-sized glass bottles and bottle filling lines, the first canning factories, the rapid growth of pharmacy products, labels on boxes, labels on luggage, labels on cigar boxes and bands, matchbox labels.

Today, self-adhesive labels make up around 40% of label usage, fuelled by a whole host of technology and press innovations over the last thirty years that have enabled labels to be printed faster, on wider webs, using rotary and wrap-around tooling, servo-drive presses, and press controls that include web inspection, register control, colour management, and much more.

Since the mid-2000s, digital printing has also begun to evolve quite rapidly, initially with electrophotographic liquid and dry toner technologies and, most recently, with new generations of UV and water-based inkjet.

In the pipeline for launch in 2014 is the newly developed Landa nanographic printing process, an offset inkjet process that has already created significant market interest amongst label, folding carton and flexible packaging printers.

All these new ideas, technologies and discussions on future innovations are going to be highlighted at Labelexpo Europe is in Brussels this year in September and Labelexpo America’s is in Chicago 2014 in September.  Both expo’s are huge events highlighting the latest and greatest technology, innovation and sourcing for new suppliers and machinery.  

One thing most consistent in life is change, and you have to be aware and ready for it!  

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Print Industry Continues Upward Growth

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Kodak and AlphaGraphics are two very different companies in the print industry are having positive a 2013, but in very different ways.  

Kodak was founded in 1888 by George Eastman with the primary focus on photographic film products.  They were the dominate photography company in the 1970’s with over 90% market share.  However, with the birth of digital film their market share began erode and in 2o12 Kodak announced that it would focus solely on corporate digital imaging market.   They entered chapter 11 bankruptcy, sold many of their patents which raised over $525 million, and recently received approval to borrow up to $844 million to fund the rest of its Chapter 11 reorganization.

These figures, says Chris Payne, Kodak director and vice president of commercial marketing, show Kodak going back into the black with a positive  Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization (EBITDA) of $167 million at some point in 2013. By 2017, the company has told the SEC, EBITDA will be $494 million, having improved by more than $800 million since the measurement began climbing out of negative territory in 2011.

The strongest growth, according to Payne, should come from Commercial Imaging’s (CI) digital printing and enterprise portfolio segment, which includes production presses, functional printing solutions, and packaging.

A much newer and smaller company AlphaGraphics has spent 2013 growing from a positive to position to an even stronger one.  AlphaGraphics was founded in 1970 and has grown to an over $8 million a year company with franchises throughout the US and internationally.  Founded entrepreneur Rodger Ford the company now operates as part of British print and electronic media firm G. A. Pindar & Son.

During fiscal year 2013 ending June 30, 2013, it signed an unprecedented 41 franchise agreements. This unit growth is more than double its fiscal year 2012 signings. AlphaGraphics attributes these strong results to the successful implementation of its business strategy to evolve from a printer to a trusted, marketing communications franchise serving small businesses. 

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2013 Looking Good for Small Business

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As we have just passed the 1/2 mark for the 2013 business year, small business owners are finding the business climate positive.  

Forty-three percent of small-business owners consider business conditions to be positive, according to a Citibank small business survey.  That number has almost doubled since the last survey.

Small-business owners cited some of the following ways they kept business thriving:

88% kept updated and knowledgeable about their field

70% increased face time with customers

67% updated/upgraded computer systems

52% increased their use of the internet and social media

51% built a network of suppliers and partner companies

 

“Small-business owners risk everything to pursue their dreams and are willing to do what it takes to make it,” said Maria Veltre, Managing Director, Citi Small Business. “Their personal sacrifices, passion and ability to adapt have positioned them to capitalize on improving business conditions.”

A majority of respondents (53 percent) say they have reinvented their business “to stay afloat or competitive.” This strategy is reinforced in the current competitive climate that 38 percent of respondents describe as “extremely intense.”

“Small-business owners are especially adept at reinvention – whether because of obstacles or new visions for growth,” Veltre said. “Change is never easy, but neither is starting and running a business. We see our small-business clients embracing change and reinventing themselves to secure a rewarding future.”

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Invention is often the mother of necessity

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“Yet a true creator is necessity, which is the mother of … invention.”

The Republic, Book II, 369c, Plato

 It is a famous saying, often quoted and even more often proved true from home projects in the garage, recipes that are one ingredient short in the kitchen, and most importantly in the business world when frustration spurs great minds into action.

Simprint, which was founded over 10 years ago, constantly strives to provide new, innovative solutions for the printing world.  From their innovative 4 R’s business model, developing a brand new fuser roller, and creating a new air core shaft, Simprint has shown that they aren’t just another plain jane company in the landscape.

The 4 R’s business model:
Remanufacture:  Simprint remanufactures printers, pre and post equipment, major assemblies, parts and consumables, and provides Smart Care Kits which provide emergency parts, on demand inventory and greatly reduces down time for equipment.

Reassurance:  Simprint provides reassurance through onsite support, phone and web support, installation, de-installation, a 90 warranty, and each install/de-install goes through a vigorous planning period called Action 80 which involves all departments at the same table to make sure all contingencies and issues are resolved and ready to go before the process begins.

Repurpose: Simprint provides equipment sourcing, consignment inventory, large equipment storage, packaging, transportation and sales force assistance.

Recovery: Simprint provides end of life, equipment buy back, asset dis-assembly, testing and certification, and electronic board repair.

New Fuser Roller:
Simprint has worked with our industry partners to develop a new high end soft fuser roller which maintains quality print standards and extends the fuser roller’s life expectancy.  The new RED Soft Fuser Roller for Océ PageStream, DemandStream VarioStream models is now exclusively offered by Simprint – P/N – S26312-F1055

 

Air core shaft innovation:
Maximum grip at all contact points along the core
Independent fins with inserts or chucks operate to secure the paper roll with equalized pressure at every point.
Customizable shafts are built to exacting standards
We can design a new component to aid in your processes.  each design is analyzed to ensure that the shaft will carry the loads specified and meet the expected operating conditions of speed and tension.
Air Core Shafts can be rebuilt
We can also remanufacture used and worn out air core shaft’s with all new components.
 

Simprint has created these innovative solutions with more on the horizon; if you need help or a custom solution of you own – contact us today so we can help you too!

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Truepress JetSX now in North America

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(June 27, 2013 Irving, Texas)

Everyone loves new toys, is fascinated by new technology and always on the lookout for a competitive advantage.  Well the Truepress JetSX is a full-color, duplex variable printing system that narrows the gap between digital and offset print production. It provides the B2 format that the current crop of toner devices cannot handle while also cost-effectively printing quantities up to about 3,000 copies compared with sheetfed offset. 

If you are looking for a competitive advantage – the Truepress delivers. It employs water-based pigment inks. It features a minimum droplet size of 2 picoliters and can output at 1,440 x 1,440 dpi with a maximum sheet size of 20.8 x 29.1 inches. It prints on coated and uncoated cut sheets, including any gloss or matte standard stock, with no need for a precoating stage. A postcoat unit applies a spot coat to protect image areas. An infrared drying unit dries the sheets before delivery, allowing sheets to go immediately to postpress.

Back row (left to right): Mark Oosting, Tim Karel, Paul Kelly and Merlin Buhl make up the ownership group at Foremost Communications in Grand Rapids, Mich. Front row (left to right): Brian VanderHooning, chief operating officer; Kyle Keitzman, lead digital specialist; Greg Gibson, digital specialist; and Jim Fongers, digital specialist.

The company that is first in North America to utilize this technology is Foremost CommunicationsThey are a provider of media communications and marketing services  that purchased the printer to help grow their targeted direct marketing and personalized packaging.

“Our first live job on the Truepress JetSX was a short-run, customized pocket folder for a resort in Michigan,” VanderHooning, COO, said. “Sheets were printed with a solid green color. Other digital presses would have had trouble maintaining color consistency across the sheets. The resort’s management group was impressed with the output. The color quality that closely matches offset and data-driven technology enabling 100-percent personalization make this solution unique.”

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Automation in Finishing

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(Irving, TX June 20, 2013)

InfoTrends conducted a survey and found that a big priority in 2013 for companies was the automation of finishing.  “Improving finishing automation is important because of the opportunity available for printers to reduce costs through improving production turnaround times, reducing dependency for manual labor, and removing human errors.”

Xerox and HP heard what the consumers are asking for and looking for and have developed solutions to further the automation process.

 Xerox Integrated PLUS solution was developed in partnership with CP Bourg, Ultimate Technographics, and StandardHorizon, with the intent to assist in automated booklet creation through integration with FreeFlow Process Manager. A unique component to this solution is the Xerox Dual-Mode Sheet Feeder, developed by CP Bourg that enables an inline finishing solution to act as a near-line solution or can turn an offline finishing solution into near-line. The feeder is activated by scanning a barcode that uses JDF and JMF data to automatically set up finishing devices.

HP SmartStream Finishing Connectivity solution is a finishing expert system that determines the most optimal finishing process for each job and communicates this to the required finishing device in the shop. It also shows operators how to finish the job in the most efficient way by visually displaying every finishing step on the console of the finishing device. The solution was developed through partnership with Ultimate Technographics Imposition intelligence software and communicates to devices through JDF and JMF data. SmartStream Finishing Connectivity can be used in production workflows for near-line finishing processes. The solution was showed at drupa as a technology demo and is expected to come on the market after summer.

As more consumers demand further automation, more companies are sure to follow with new products to fill that need, creating a rich market full of solutions to meet each companies needs.  And a robust, competitive market is a win-win for the printing industry!

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Print Industry Shipments Hold Steady

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(Irving, TX June 13, 2013)

The Commerce Department provides monthly reports on NAICS 323 which includes commercial printing includes label and wrapper printing but not other packaging; it includes newspapers printed by commercial printers, such as weeklies printed by a non-heatset offset commercial printing company, but not newspapers printed by a newspaper publisher that owns its own presses.

Its a narrow definition, but shows even in this closely defined slice, how big the printing pie is!  For the month of April shipments were up by $49 million for a total of $6.773 billion dollars posted in the month of April. The market has fluctuated a bit from last year but only down by less than 1/2 a percent.

Overall the print industry is remaining strong and steady in the midst of some rocky economic terrain.

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Paper Printing wins big in New RR Donnelley Deal

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(Irving, Texas  – May 30, 2013)

Simprint is a proud partner of RR Donnelley – providing support for several print shops domestically and internationally, and we are so excited about the multi-year, multi-million dollar deal they have reached with Williams-Sonoma, Inc. to provide printing, sophisticated co-mailing and mailing logistics services for all of Williams-Sonoma, Inc.’s catalogs.  In addition to catalogs and mailing logistics RR Donnelley also provides Williams-Sonoma, Inc. with commercial printing, direct mail, labels and financial printing.

As with many corporate structures Williams-Sonoma also represents Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, PBteen, PBdorm, Pottery Barn Bed & Bath, Pottery Barn Outdoor, Williams-Sonoma, Williams-Sonoma Home, West Elm, Rejuvenation as well as its recently launched Mark and Graham, Agrarian and West Elm Market.

Patrick Connolly, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Williams-Sonoma, Inc. stated, “Catalogs play an integral role in our multi-channel merchandising strategy and they must reflect the quality of our brands. We are pleased that RR Donnelley will be producing these important communications for all of our concepts.”

This deal is huge for RR Donnelley, the print industry as a whole, and the little guys that can provide jobs, parts, consumables, and support as they embark on this new endeavor.

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Taking Web-to-Print to the Next Level

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(Irving, Texas – May 23, 2013)

Taking what you have to the next level is a high priority for virtually every company, and through research and reading case studies involving three thriving companies: Quad/Graphics, Entourage Yearbooks and MyCreativeShop share a part of them that makes them unique and successful.

Quad/Graphics does over $5 billion in sales annually and has over 25,000 full time employees! Not only do they provide their customers with a huge variety of print products but also the logistical services to deliver the goods once they are finished.  Providing digital publishing, mobile/tablet conversions, and apps – Quad/Graphics makes sure their clients can reach their audience through whatever medium they want to use.

Entourage Yearbooks serves thousands of schools around the world by integrating CHILI’s front-end editor to the online yearbook website which allows customers to design the entire yearbook online in their timeframe instead of relying on a local representative.

MyCreativeShop.com  is passionate about business process automation and provides quality templates and browser-based editing.  Once you have your finished product you can print with MyCreativeShop, at home, or with the printer of your choice!

These company are making huge strides in integrating easy-to-use and affordable solutions that provide clients with an easy way to manage and edit online documents which is crucial in the ever expanding global market that operates 24/7.

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USPS – Where will they be in 5 years?

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(Irving, TX  May 15, 2013)

Many commercial print shops rely on mass mailers, bills, and catalogs as their main source of reoccurring revenue, and as every small business knows, very small changes in price multiplied over hundreds of thousands of pieces adds up to quite a lot.

With that in mind, new and ongoing changes at the United States Postal Service are going to continue impacting the print shops bottom line.

Whether the print shops provide postage with their service or the client deals with it on their own, the continued price increases is slowing eroding the amount of mail printed and sent out, the future of the USPS mail service is on a fine wire.

“To return the Postal Service to solvency requires a comprehensive approach, which is reflected in our updated Five-Year Business Plan,” said Postmaster General and CEO Patrick Donahoe. “The plan provides an achievable roadmap to restore financial stability and preserve affordable mail service for the American public. The major elements of the plan must be pursued and executed within a short window of opportunity to avoid unsustainable losses and potentially becoming a long-term burden to the American taxpayer.”

USPS believes that if the following legislation can be approved they can turn their juggernaut of a hemorrhaging business around and get back in the red.  Time will tell if the rudder is strong enough to right the ship, but certainly bears watching and perhaps contingency preparation.

Fact:  The Postal Service needs to save $20 billion annually by 2016.

Many of the savings cannot be achieved without the following legislative action:

-  Require a USPS Health Care Plan
–  Resolves the Retiree Health Plan prepayment issue)
–  Refund the FERS over-payment and
–  Adjust the FERS payment schedule
–  Adjust delivery frequency (six-day package/five-day mail delivery)
–  Streamline the governance model
–  Allow USPS the authority to expand products and services
–  Require a defined contribution retirement plan for future postal employees
–  Consider USPS’s financial condition in interest arbitration awards
–  Reform workers’ compensation

Benjamin Franklin

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

― Benjamin Franklin

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