Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

  • Graphics Grab Bag – this week in printing

    Grab Bag – definition: a miscellaneous collection: a potpourri.

    Welcome to the inaugural issue of Graphics Grab Bag, a weekly record of engagements and observations from an observer curious about the printing industry here and around the world.

    The big news this week was the Visual Impact show at Olympic Park, Sydney. The sold out show was a testimony to Peter Harper’s belief in the format and persistence in bringing it into being. Peter (above) is the GM Visual Connections, the graphic merchant’s association that runs the events. He’s now the sole GM or will be soon, when Karen Goldsmith leaves at the end of the month.

    I spent a couple of days at the show, trying not to get between sales people manning the stands and their prospects. It’s not something a wise person will do.

    Good to meet David Currie at the ‘big truck,’ always has the largest exhibition stand at these shows. He was chatting with a revived Steve Dunwell, back from a hiatus after finishing with manroland last year. No title on his Currie business card but he says his wife wants him out of the house. He’s helping young Will Currie at the NSW office. Welcome back Steve.


    1st-day sale: Martin Stacher with Sharlene Sach, Kissell+Wolf

    Honours for making the first-day sale at the show went to Martin Stacher of Kissel + Wolf, formerly known as Kiwo. He sold a Mutoh ValueJet 626UF to Melbourne printers CMC Gold, setting the tone for what I believe was a good transactional show. Clever inkjet machine the Mutoh compact unit is being used in shopping centres to print on anything and everything: wood, cups, plastic etc.

    Russell Cavenagh, the new GM of Mutoh holds great hopes for the prize-winning printer.


    Cameron McLachlan gets ready to fly with bon voyage from IanParkinson & Sylene Poncet.

    Across the way the cheers were ringing out as contestant’s battled it out in a wraparound ring. The Hexis people hosted the competition for best wrap artist to cover a 3-D boarding pass with shrink-wrap. Cameron McLachlan from Gold Coast Wraps beat off some strong competition. He won a 5-day trip to France to visit Hexis HQ in Montpelier. He was presented with the boarding pass by Sylene Poncet who flew here for the occasion and Ian Parkinson, managing director Hexis Australia.

    Talk about stoked.


    At Print Promotion in the Marriott, Pitt Street: Peter Scott, managing director Screen Australia, Dr Markus Heering VDMA and Scott Telfer, Customer CX.

    Away from the show, the German VDMA Print Promotion caravan rolled through Melbourne and Sydney on Monday and Tuesday. Promoted by Printing Industries, the hugely informed contingent was led by Dr.-Ing Markus Heering, VDMA, Geschåftsfuhrer (managing director for those without German). The level of technical knowledge and expertise of the German printing industry always impresses me. The line-up of products and processes shows why German technology is regarded as best in the world.

    Highlight for me was the description of a sheet-fed gravure press from HC Moog, a 3rd generation family-owned, press manufacturer from near Frankfurt. It was presented with enthusiasm regardless of the fact that, insofar as I’m aware, there’s not a single sheetfed gravure press anywhere in Australia or New Zealand.

    UV driers from IST Metz, the latest in laser die cutting from Polar and box making from Kolbus, filled out the program. Dierk Wissmann who’s been with Heidelberg Australia long enough to be considered a local, presented the press manufacturers digital ‘FIRE’ line up of presses, while David Murphy, from foilmaker Kurz, definitely one of ours, born and bred, showed what can be done with foils. I scored a couple of excellent posters.

    Kurz embellished posters from drupas past.

    Pity the free event wasn’t better promoted as I’m certain many more printers and owners would have found it as fascinating and informative as I did.


    And finally …

    Just when you thought it safe to go back onto the aisles, here’s a throwback to well before the #metoo world. Heck of a way to attract partners.

    See you around the traps.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • SA TAFE training – ‘Huge win of PIAA’

    Rob Hansen… has lost count of the number of printing apprentices he’s put through during his 38 years with Hansen Print.

    All print courses remain fully funded, prepress is back as an apprenticeship rather than a traineeship and a new standalone qualification for digital print is introduced at TAFE.

    This bizarrely named South Australian Industry Priority Qualifications Information, Media and Telecommunications Moderation Meeting gave the printing and packaging TAFE courses a huge boost. The meeting was held on the background of the delivery of the South Australian budget that allocated $202.6 million for apprentices and traineeships. PIAA President, Walter Kuhn, represented the industry in deciding what vocational training courses are funded, and what are not.

    His efforts drew appreciation from one South Australian member, Rob Hansen of Hansen Print, who described it as “as a huge win for PIA. Walter Kuhn performed brilliantly,” he said.

    Deeply frustrated by the treatment meted out to his new printing machinery apprentice, Nick Lacey, 18, who was hired in January, Hansen believes this decision is the start of a new day. He tells of Lacey’s three attempts to enrol as an apprentice this year, with TAFE and the privatised Print Training Australia even trying to cross the border to the Victorian-based Holmesglen. All said they are unable to deliver the apprenticeship.

    Walter Kuhn, president of the PIAA

    “It’s been a pain in the neck. I’ve been 38 years in the business, and can’t remember how many apprentices I’ve put through. But I’ve never seen anything like this.

    “Training in SA under the previous government was a dog’s breakfast. They flogged off all the equipment for a quick buck. I’m hoping this new Liberal government will be better,” he said.

    “Now it seems we’re back on track. The PIAA has had some issues in South Australia and they’ve had to make bold moves, everyone in business has to. But it seems to have paid off,” he said.

    According to Kuhn, the successful meeting was about giving clarity and priority to vocational and apprentice training in South Australia. As an employer of apprentices in his own business, he put the focus firmly on print training.

    Andrew Macaulay, CEO met this week with the new Minister Michaelia Cash, and is expecting a positive announcement from the Federal Government this week that will further benefit South Australian printers who employ apprentices.

    “This is an outcome that PIAA has been striving for over the last year, and we are very pleased to see such a complete and positive commitment from the South Australian Government. Based on continuing PIAA dialogue at Federal Government, we are confident that these plans will be fully funded. A win for the visual communications sector!”

    The Association has been in discussions with both the South Australian and Federal Coalition Governments regarding the need for urgent funding for the South Australian apprenticeship and vocational education sectors, especially for print.

    Andrew Macaulay, CEO who met this week with the new Minister Michaelia Cash, and is expecting a positive announcement from the Federal Government this week that will further benefit South Australian printers who employ apprentices.

     

  • New head honcho for Fuji Xerox Australia

    Fuji Xerox Australia headquarters in Sydney.

    Changing of the guard at the top of the industry’s largest digital supplier has Takayuki Togo replacing Sunil Gupta who served as managing director for two tough years at the head of the embattled enterprise.

    Togo-san, new MD FXA.

    The new man is currently the Senior General Manager of Fuji Xerox Asia Pacific Marketing, signalling a welcome return to a more marketing oriented management style after a period of necessary survivalism. According to the company Togo-san has extensive experience serving in leadership roles such as marketing and corporate strategy. It declares his leadership ‘is essential for Fuji Xerox’s growth path.’

    In a press release he said he’s excited about the enormous potential in the Australian market.

    ‘I’m thrilled to be leading Fuji Xerox Australia and to make it a growth driver for the entire Fuji Xerox organisation. I also want to thank Sunil who has led FXA to be at the forefront of other operating companies in providing best solutions and services that meet customer needs.’

    Sunil took over the reins in some of the darkest days of the organisation following on the heels of the departure of the notorious Neill Whittaker. He has presided over a massive reorganisation of Fuji Xerox Australia that has seen many long-term personnel depart, often to the opposition. The company lost its unchallenged preeminent position in the highly competitive production digital market to Konica Minolta with a resurgent Ricoh also making up ground.

    It is battling to unravel many badly written contracts that are losing it money, even as they maintain market share. A review of commission structures heralded for next year is likely to meet stiff resistance among sales staff.

    Sunil Gupta took the helm during the darkest days of FXA.

    Sunil will work with his replacement until the end of the month before returning to his home country, USA, having completed his assignment. He is described as being pivotal in making FXA a compliant, profitable, sustainable and growing enterprise again. ‘Now in a position of strength the organisation is focused on delivering exceptional results for employees, customers and all stakeholders,’ said the release.

     

     

  • Industry efficiency drives web press upgrades

    Andreas Schwoepfinger and Dennis Wickham, manroland Australasia

    Upgrades and retrofits at the News Corp Australia Yandina site from manroland Goss web systems are increasing production efficiency, quality and the availability of the press. An upgrade with a gluing system from Planatol, a retrofit for the production of additional formats and an e-retrofit of the controls of the existing UNISET and REGIOMAN presses are setting industry standards.

    According to Dennis Wickham, managing director manroland Australasia, the drive towards industry consolidation will see more printers getting extra efficiencies from existing press. “Printers are looking for new ways to ensure productivity keeps up. This is a good example of clever thinking,” he said.

    The upgrades of a new gluing system and for expanding the format flexibility help to make the press competitive for the future. It means News Corp can react to the growing market demands for more flexibility, productivity and quality. In the future the press can also produce narrow formats that are usually printed on heatset presses and have been outsourced so far. The gluing system enables gluing of the standard format.

    Additionally there has been a retrofit of the control system. This increases the efficiency as the availability of the press and the communication of the system improves tremendously. A control retrofit with latest server technology gets all components, such as colour and web control, infeed, folder and reel splicer and helps to integrate the upgrades perfectly.

    According to Andreas Schwöpfinger, Technical Service Director at manroland Australasia the new upgrades and retrofits will future proof the facility. “With the upgrades and retrofits, News Corp. in Yandina can react better and more flexible to the growing market demands and handle more orders in-house. At the same time, they can handle existing jobs with higher quality and more efficiency. Furthermore, the new formats offer a real added value and a stand-alone factor,” he said.

     

  • IPMG merger punishes PMP share price

    The loss of Coles catalogues along with the Pacific Magazine printing contract to IVE Group as a result of the IPMG deal saw PMP’s share price take a 13.7% hit on publication of its annual results.

    The region’s largest commercial printing operation said sales were up $132.1 million to $734.0 million but when compared on a like for like basis with the previous businesses, they actually dropped by $108 million from $842 million. It posted a net loss of $43.8 million for the year.

    Kevin Slaven, CEO PMP.

    Acknowledging the task of bringing the two companies together had led to an increase in manufacturing costs, Kevin Slavin CEO in an executive summary, declared the integration was now complete. He declared the consolidation of the businesses was an important and necessary step that has helped settle the pricing and capacity issues that have long plagued the sector.

     As part of a plan to retire older inefficient presses and reduce overall print capacity PMP is buying a new manroland 80-page press for Warwick Farm to be installed in the second half of next year.

    It maintains the new $20 million press will provide production efficiencies through wider web width, increased running speed and faster make-readies, and in addition cost efficiencies through reductions in labour, energy, and repairs and maintenance. Replacing older presses allows for a net reduction in our overall fleet capacity (circa 10-15%). It will be paid for largely through export credit funding with a four-year payback.

     In an upbeat report the company reported that print volumes as well as revenue from its top 20 retail customers increased with expectations of further growth in the coming year. Despite overall unaddressed volumes to household in slow decline, large retailers remain committed to catalogues as a key driver. PMP delivers to 6.7 million Australian households every week.

    Citing an improved industry structure and realignment of capacity it predicts that heat set prices will stabilise. However falling print volumes for newspapers and magazines will likely offset the savings gained from the merger next year.

    PMP New Zealand’s results were dismal with revenue down 6.8% to $120.1 million. Heatset volumes there dropped by 3.5% along with earnings, which were hit by lower selling prices.

     

     

  • Aussie customers get Nanographic preview

    Impremia NS40 … Nanography from Komori.

    It’s been a long time between drinks for local printers who’ve put their hands up and their money down for the Landa-inspired Komori Impremia NS40. The select group was given a tour of the Komori factory in Japan at IGAS last month ahead of field testing next year, but will have to wait a while yet to get their hands on a press

    The Nanographic Impremia NS40 is to be field tested in Japan early in 2019. First shown at drupa 2016, the Komori Impremia NS40, a sheetfed inkjet press equipped with Landa Nanography technology, has been in development at Komori in Japan for more than two years.

    “Our local customers saw the machine during IGAS on a special tour in the Komori factory,” said Carsten Wendler, managing director, Print&Pack, the exclusive Australian Komori agent. Most Australian printers signed up for the Komori machine ahead of the Landa version. They include printers such as Blue Star, Hero Print and CMYKhub, who signed on at drupa.

    It’s not expected that any press will be available for local printers for a few years. General availability is planned for late December 2019.

    The NS40 is designed to combine the versatility of digital with the quality and speed of offset printing at a low cost per page. It has the capability to print on any off-the-shelf substrate, from coated and uncoated paper stocks to synthetic substrates and paperboard—up to 32 point—without the need for pre- or post-treatment of any type. Operating at an initial throughput rate of 6,500 straight sheets or 3,250 perfected sheets per hour, the NS40 will be available in multiple configurations, from a 4-7 colour straight press to an 8-color perfector with in-line coating.

    Based on the progress of the development of the Impremia NS40, Komori plans to carry out the first field test of the beta press in the Japanese market in the northern spring of 2019. This will be followed by similar plans to further test the NS40 in other countries as well.

    “Komori has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to bring this game changing technology to the market so we are very excited that this product will soon be a reality,” says Scott Robertz, NS40 product manager for Komori America Corporation.

     

  • P21 Issue 1041 – August 29, Weekend SPECIAL

    Good to see that investment in the printing industry continues apace. Every other news item that comes across my desk is about someone buying hardware, software or even taking over another business. While the supply-side mix is constantly shifting, the overall number of investment decisions seems to be as strong as ever. PMP’s latest $20 million buy of another manroland 80-page press is a fine example of the confident nature of the industry.

    It’s always going to be a tough game, but printing is enjoying rude health.

    Welcome to your latest issue of Print21, the premier news and information service across Australia and New  Zealand.

    Patrick Howard
    Publishing Editor.

  • Flexo/label confab focus on digital

    Meet the FPLMA’ers: Vince Sedunary, DIC, Andrew Maxwell, Maxteq, Tiana James, Hally Labels, Mark Easton (president), Ecolean, Michelle Lees, HP, David Feenan, Amcor, Lindsey Boyd, AldusTronics, and Anthony Dalleore, Macdermid

    The 2018 conference of the initially challenged FPLMA kicked off yesterday, with automation and integration the key for the flexo and label printers attending the two day event in Melbourne.

    According to FPLMA president Mark Easton the two day event is an important part of the flexo and label industry. “In today’s world we need to ensure we are keeping up with trends in business, in technology, and in society as they impact on packaging. This year’s conference has a terrific line up of speakers which will address those issues clearly,” he said.

    Some 85 delegates were at the first day of the event, with another 65 today. The big awards ceremony tonight has more than 300 people booked in.

    Opening the conference at the Crown Promenade, Easton told the delegates the industry was now operating in a world where the internet was dictating the pace of change, and digital technology was enabling new opportunities and sweeping all before it.

     Easton’s comments came in the same week when it was revealed that digital and hybrid label presses were now selling more than traditional analogue label presses for the first time.

    Easton said, “Automation and integration are the keys to the future. Label and flexo printing systems are already able to connect to complementary production areas such as CRM, prepress, finishing, scheduling. We are also able to integrate directly into the end customer.

    “Customer demands will increase, especially the need for speed of turnaround – automation and integration will enable label and flexo printers to meet that requirement and exploit opportunities.”

    First speaker was legendary AFL coach David Parkin, who spoke on leadership and strategy. He quoted the head of VicRail who on his appointment told his 800 managers that they were 10 per cent a steel business and 90 per cent a people business. Parkin highlighted the need for company leaders to focus on people, both their own staff and their customers.

    Parkin said his most successful time as an AFL coach was when his players took ownership of the team. He said the best company leaders were those that were perceived to be focused on developing their staff.

    He also spoke on the importance of mental and physical health in company leaders, asking how many of the attendees had done a workout this morning, which revealed the alarming statistic that only two had.

    The FPLMA conference has speakers from both Australia and overseas, including several from Europe, coming form companies including MPS, BST, HP, Sun Chemical, UPM Raflatac, Esko, GMS Pacific, Kayell, LasX, Bobst and Xeikon.

    Also speaking is Andy Thomas, strategic director of Tarsus, who will examine the growing crossover between labels and flexo.

    The conference will finish with the annual label and flexo awards ceremony tonight.

  • Mimaki edges Roland in wide format

    Eco-solvent wide format printers hold market share against latex, even as HP retains its top rankings. Good growth continues in the sector with both printer volumes and revenue continuing to rise.

    According to an IDC report, in Reseller News, over all shipments of wide format printers in the Asia Pacific region grew by 3.9% in the second quarter of the year. The report also ranked the five top suppliers, putting HP as number one ahead of Canon-Oce, Seiko Epson, Mimaki and Roland DG. The latter pair swapped places since the previous report.

    Revenue was also reported to be up by 5%. A lot of market activity is being driven by supplier incentives such as discounts and bundling.

    The report indicates there is no evidence of the market saturation some analysts predicted. The appetite for new wide format technologies seems set to continue to grow, even as the sector matures.

    Read the full IDC report here.

  • Winds of change – Karen Goldsmith leaves Visual Connections

    She’ll be missed.
    Karen Goldsmith, GM associations, Visual Connections.

    High-profile industry identity and long-term association professional, Karen Goldsmith, is resigning from her role as general manager, Visual Connections in September. The well-liked Goldsmith ends a 14-year engagement with the supply side of the printing industry, initially as director of GAMAA, the graphic arts merchants association, then latterly as joint GM with Peter Harper of Visual Connections following the merger.

    The move has taken the industry and her colleagues by surprise. According to Mitch Mulligan, president of Visual Connections, she’ll be thoroughly missed. “She achieved a lot over the years. She’s always been a stable force, pulling people together. It must have been like herding cats. We should consider ourselves lucky to have been the beneficiary of her talents for so many years. She’s a true north and will be bloody hard to replace,” he said.

    In a brief statement Goldsmith indicated she is leaving ‘to pursue a new challenge outside of the industry. After 14 years this is a huge decision as you can imagine, with so many good friends and colleagues that I have worked closely with over the years. The decision wasn’t made lightly but it is time.’ The growing success of Women in Print which increased its attendance this year is a singular cause of satisfaction, along with the many good industry people and mentors she’s met over the years.

    She’s leaving with Visual Connections in good shape, gearing up for a sold-out Sydney Visual Impact exhibition in September.

    _________

    New marketing magus for NewsMediaWorks

    Simon Davies: “I believe it’s an exciting time to be working in the news media sector as it shows positive signs of growth.”

    Taking on the task of marketing news media to advertisers for the peak publishing body is Simon Davies. A former committee member at the Audit Bureau of Circulations, he’s also worked in sales management roles at ACP Australia (now Bauer) and Murdoch Magazines. He replaces Charlie Murdoch, who is joining News Corp as GM trade marketing.

    According to Peter Miller, CEO, Davies is joining at a time when advertisers are re-evaluating and investing back in newspapers and news websites.

     

     

  • P21 Issue 1035 – Weekend SPECIAL August 10, 2018

    I was in Tokyo couple of weeks ago at IGAS so I’m keenly aware of the Japanese value of ‘saving face.’ Not being seen to back down is part of it and it’s deeply embedded in the culture. Not so here where we’re supposed to be more down to earth and sensible about social relations. Yet, the ongoing stoush at Note Printing Australia has all the signs of a ‘face-saving’ schoolyard rumble. Management and unions have been at it for months arguing over the difference between a 2.5 per cent and 3.5 per cent pay rise.

    Fellas, hasn’t anyone come up with the idea of splitting the diff? Call it 3.0 per cent and let’s all get on with it.

    Welcome to your latest issue of Print21, the premier news and information service to the printing industry for Australia and New Zealand.

    Patrick Howard
    Publishing Editor.

     

  • Printers locked out at high-tech Reserve Bank print plant

    Note Printing Australia locked out half its work force this morning in retaliation for ongoing industrial action by the AMWU, provoking the remaining workers to go on a one-day strike in support.

    The workers will return on Monday maintaining their ongoing work bans on overtime and software implementation. They’re demanding a pay rise from the NPA, whose board of directors is made up of Reserve Bank members. The prolonged negotiations are snagged on a difference of one per cent with the union demanding 3.5 per cent to the NPA’s offer of 2.5 per cent.

    According to Mick Bull, AMWU organiser, this morning’s picket was the result of the company’s actions. “We’re open to negotiations with the board but they won’t meet us. They only send their HR people who don’t have any authority to negotiate,” he said.

    A petition signed by the entire workforce demanding a meeting with the Board was presented to the company. The enterprise bargain at the Craigieburn plant covers three unions, with the majority, 120 workers, belonging to the AMWU. One hour industrial stoppages are planned to continue with the threat of further escalation next week. A mass meeting of workers voted to continue the bans.

    Bull points out what he terms the hypocrisy of Reserve Bank governor, Philip Lowe, who’s on record as encouraging workers to demand largest pay rises. He is reported to have told politicians that average annual wage increases need to be about 3.5 per cent to achieve average inflation of 2.5 per cent, the middle of the bank’s target.

    NPA was contacted but didn’t get back with any comment or explanation before deadline.

    The industrial strife comes as NPA is congratulating itself on completing the ‘next generation banknote’ series (NGB) with Malcolm McDowell, CEO, claiming the production and issue of the complex banknotes highlights the company’s ability to industrialise innovative new security technologies, and high-end security printing. NPA took part in the international SUSI Optics Specimen Note project along with suppliers LenSys, KBA NotaSys, SICPA and KURZ. In addition to printing Australian banknotes and currency for such countries as Singapore and Chile, NPA also produces Australia’s passports.

  • Celmac installs hybrid HP Latex R2000

    The HP Latex R2000.

    Celmac has installed a new HP Latex R2000 printer in its newly refurbished Technology Centre in Melbourne.

    The HP Latex R2000, launched earlier this year at FESPA in Berlin, is HP’s first hybrid printer for rigid and flexible sign and display printing in one device. It’s designed for a range of applications, can accommodate materials up to 2.5-metres wide and up to 5-cm thick, and features HP Latex Rigid Printing Technology and HP Latex White Ink

    Celmac is inviting wide format printers to visit its centre in Brunswick to see how the new R2000 can increase productivity on rigid substrates, with vibrant colours and the glossiest white ink opening up fresh creative concepts for sign and display.

    The newly refurbished Celmac Technology Centre has been designed to demonstrate the latest hardware as well as workflow solutions from colour management through to print and finishing options, says Celmac sales director, Rob Skene.

    It’s also a training centre for Fogra standard colour with Barbieri tools and RIP’s to enable high level colour management. An Aristo cutting table and vinyl cutters are also part of a comprehensive program to show printers how new technologies can benefit their operations.

    Celmac will also provide the option of private viewing. To arrange a suitable time, email technologycentre@celmac.com.au

     

  • IPEX is gone – iconic UK trade show pulls the plug

    IPEX London 2014.

    Bowing to the inevitable the organisers of IPEX have called it quits following two disastrous trade shows, one in London where it broke tradition by moving to the capital, the second a vain attempt to return to its spiritual home in Birmingham.

    According to Rob Fisher, the exhibition’s event director, the organisers blamed changing market conditions rather than accept any blame. “The changing market conditions and appetite for a large-scale event which focuses on Print in Action continues to be challenging. Having engaged with a range of exhibitors and partners to evaluate the options for IPEX, we have concluded that the requirements of the industry no longer match our own in terms of the cycle, scale and what is required to help us further support and fully invest in the brand.

    “Through IPEX, we’re proud to have played a role in an important and diverse industry, and to have supported a brand that has such a long history. We enjoyed organising and delivering IPEX 2017 and received positive feedback from exhibitors, many of whom recorded excellent levels of interest and sales at the event. We’d like to wish our partners, exhibitors, and everyone we’ve worked with on IPEX every success as the industry continues to evolve.”

    According to Andy McCourt, associate editor of Print21 and a long-term supporter of the show, the fault lay not in the stars but with some fundamental flaws in management.

    “It’s an understandable move by Informa Exhibitions. The lesson should have been learned long ago – never move away from your market; nurture and cherish your customers and most of all – don’t piss the trade media off!”

    IPEX long held a special place in the heart of the Australian and New Zealand Printing industries. With many print company owners proudly wearing a London School of Printing credential, the opportunity to add on a few weeks tax-free holiday in the ‘old country’ made the show a much loved pilgrimage.

    With the easy familiarity of language and custom, locals flocked in their hundreds to the National Convention Centre in Birmingham. The Print21 IPEX barbeque was a highlight of the industry’s social calendar.

    “Sad to see it go really, but it’s what Andy McCourt says, stay close to your market,” lamented Patrick Howard, former Print21 publisher, who along with McCourt, organised the famed barbeques. “But we still have drupa.”

     

     

     

  • Making web-to-print work for you

    Online ordering is taking off, and many printers are cashing in on the trend by investing in web-to-print (W2P) systems that promise to slash costs and boost efficiency. EFI’s Daniel Aloi (right) examines the benefits that web-to-print has to offer.

    W2P systems allow printers to automate and streamline their ordering processes through a web-based portal. Customers can upload their les directly and pay online, removing the need for sales staff to spend hours on the phone taking customer orders to exact specifications.

    Often, the W2P software will plug directly into your MIS and even the printer’s RIP, which bypasses time-consuming and expensive pre-press procedures. EFI’s Digital StoreFront, for example, comes bundled with our print suite packages, and interfaces directly with MIS software and Fiery RIP for a hands-o process. It frees up staff that would otherwise be busy with pre-press to take on higher-value tasks.

    W2P can also help open up new market opportunities and expand the range of services you offer your clients. For example, companies such as Vistaprint have made great use of W2P software for short-run, on- demand and bespoke printing jobs. Variable data and W2P go hand-in- hand, with applications ranging from simple business cards and stationery printing to major direct marketing campaigns.

    It’s all about the customer

    A lot depends on getting the right type of customer to take advantage of what a W2P system can do. As a print service provider investing in W2P, it’s vital to talk to your clients and tell them the benefits of using it – some customers will take to W2P with great enthusiasm, while for others it may take time to adopt new processes and ways of ordering. Those customers who do embrace W2P contribute a significant saving while improving profit margins.

    When introducing W2P into your operations, it’s a good idea to sell existing customers on the technology first before trying to use it to win new business. Start small, with something like simple stock ordering, before moving up to fulfilment, non-print items, and ad-hoc work.

    (Read Daniel’s complete blog here in the latest issue of Print21 magazine.)

  • printIQ lands in UK ahead of schedule

    “The UK is a new one for us. It came out of the blue and changed our plans:” Anthony Lew, CEO, PrintIQ

    An urgent ‘out of the blue’ inquiry from a North London printer brought forward the software creator’s plans to establish a presence in Britain.

    According to Anthony Lew, CEO, printIQ, the move into the UK was planned for early 2019 so doing it ahead of schedule has meant some late nights and some extra organising to have staff on the ground. “The UK is a new one for us. It came out of the blue and changed our plans,” said Lew. “The customer, called us, asked if we could be up and running within four weeks when the previous system was to be turned off. So of course, we said ‘yes,’ we’ll do that.”

    The first install then turned out to be the first of many prospective customers in the UK that are looking at printIQ installations.  “We were very surprised at the response, in a good way of course. To see the same reaction in a new market as what we find here was exactly the stating point we were hoping for,” Lew said.

    The UK expansion comes on top of printIQ’s continuing success in the US market, leading to the establishment of support and implementation facilities on both the West and East Coasts. In addition a new office in Canada, has come on board to drive expansion in that market.

    printIQ’s international success follows a ten-year growth blitz ever since the company launched its workflow production system in 2008. Operating from three locales here; Wellington NZ, Collingwood in Victoria and Burleigh Heads Queensland two thirds of the 35 people in the company are in development and implementation and support.

    The overseas drive represents both a new opportunity and a natural progression into new markets. Lew believes that given the size of the USA market, it is less competitive than it is here.

    “The Australian MIS market has a lot of players, everyone knows the printIQ brand and it’s so well regarded. In contrast, in the US, the market is enormous, there are fewer players and generally no one knows who we are. The one thing that the two have in common is that as long as we get in front of a customer we invariably make a sale,” he said.

    Part of the reason behind the success, he believes, is the ability and determination of printIQ to continue to develop the system to meet customer’s requirements. Lew tells of American printers coming to the company at trade shows dissatisfied with the inability of their mainstream systems to change.

    “Sixty percent of our customers are converting from other systems. They complain that nothing ever changes, that it’s the same product over the past ten years. We continually invest in product development to be able to change. Thirty percent of our revenue goes on R&D. Yes, it’s a costly thing to do, but we look at it more like a marketing cost. If we build a great product, it sells itself.,” he said.

    “Everyone’s workflow is different. The printIQ approach is to enable customers to create a workflow that supports their business.  We achieve this by equipping them with a toolbox full of gadgets and plugins that ultimately allow them to create a unique workflow. We give them the tools. We hold their hands, and when they don’t know how, we show them what it is they can actually do,” said Lew.

  • Currie Group launches 2018 Roadshow

    David Currie, chairman and Bernie Robinson, managing director, Currie Group with the mobile showroom.

    Currie Group’s mobile showroom has hit the road on its 2018 Roadshow, trucking the latest graphic arts technology around the country to provide print service providers with hands-on access to the latest solutions.

    The first stop is in Brisbane, where the Mobile Showroom is already set-up at the Currie Group offices at Unit 1, 87 Webster Road, Stafford.

    The iconic Currie Truck will be showcasing inline automated booklet production via the innovative combination of an HP Indigo 7900 Digital Press with a Horizon 200 Series bookletmaker – a world first at PacPrint 2017.

    The combination delivers true ‘end-to-end’ productivity and solutions and is a perfect illustration of automated printing. The Horizon booklet maker takes the sheets from the HP Indigo and, in one operation, stitches, folds and 3-way trims, to deliver a finished product onto the conveyor at the far end, all without a single touch point.

    The Roadshow will boast an impressive range of equipment from HP Indigo and HP PageWide XL, Horizon, Foliant and CRON, providing demonstrations on fully integrated print solutions.

    The Roadshow will next move on to Albury in NSW (9-10 May) then Adelaide, South Australia (23-24 May).

    The team at Currie Group invite you to join them this week for the Queensland Roadshow that will provide hands-on access to the very latest solutions.

    To register for the Roadshow events, click here.