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Clancy column . . . the overflow . . . best bits . . .funnies

Friday, 31 October 2003
By Print21

A new Trendwatch reports says that optimism is returning to the printing industry in the US as 39% of companies expect excellent conditions in 2004.

According to the report:

  • The number one planned investment is Macintosh workstations at 56% (up 18% from Spring 2003). Such a high increase in the annual top investment is further evidence that printers are starting to invest again;
  • “Variable data printing” is a sales opportunity for a record high of 13% of printers – but, more importantly, “variable-data printing” is at an all-time high as an opportunity among creative firms;
  • Multicolour sheetfed presses are at the lowest demand level ever in history of the survey, as less than 2,000 companies claim to be in the hunt for a press;
  • The number two sales opportunity for printers is, oddly enough, “helping customers with training” at 27% (up 19% from Spring 2003). Printers are finding that they need to work more closely with their customers to achieve the goal of optimal efficiency;
  • Two new sales opportunities for printers debuted in a tie as the number three opportunity: “broadening digital printing services” and “making our Web site more interactive.”

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EFI has gained control of Printcafe, with a majority of shareholders voting in favour of the takeover. Creo, one of the largest shareholders, abstained in the voting, preferring to take its case to court. It is currently suing Printcafe and EFI, alleging improper tactics during negotiations that saw it frozen out of the process. In a statement Creo said, “This result is what we have anticipated for some time. Creo expects to receive payment for our outstanding loan to Printcafe and to sell our remaining equity stake in Printcafe. The net proceeds to Creo will be in excess of $21 million.”

On the other hand Guy Gecht, EFI’s CEO said, “We had a majority for the merger and we feel good about that. It was a difficult vote to speculate – but we were confident that we would win.”

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It’s a digital industry? Well, not quite, according to a report by PrintCom Consulting Group. Despite digital imaging technologies being around for over ten years, of the 32,970 US plants estimated to have use for the technology, only approximately 23% have adopted more than an imagesetter. The study reports the number of plants using some form of CTP imaging output devices (except imagesetters) in 2002 as follows:

  • Computer-to-Poly – 3,100
  • Computer-to-CTP metal – 3,730
  • DI Press – 930
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    Kodak continues to enjoy its relationship with the printing and graphic arts industry, despite selling fewer products to KPG this year. Sales fell 14% largely because of what it terms ‘digital technology transition’ and the effect of continuing economic weakness in the commercial printing market. But it is still chuffed about its 50% ownership (with Sun Chemicals) of KPG, which has a leading position in digital proofing and digital printing plates. Kodak is also happy with its NexPress 50% (with Heidelberg), claiming that the company continues to experience good customer acceptance on its sales of NexPress 2100 Digital Production Color Presses despite a weak printing market, with average monthly page volumes for these units running higher than planned.

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    In one of the sexiest naming naming coups of the year Scitex has brought a new monochrome printing system to the market called – JetBlack. Simple, strong, to the point, and sez all. It makes other digital companies’ naming programmes look less than inspired. The JetBlack is an addition to the VersaMark product family and is targeted to meet the high through put of high volume transactional printers.

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    And penultimately, what proves to be, on reflection, a very fair comment.

    To The Editor.

    A quick note …

    I enjoy Clancy’s column – and head for it first.

    However, in my opinion, the nostalgia below (last week’s joke – don’t bother to search the archive, ed.) should stay in the past.

    Police do a difficult and dangerous job. Several good policemen have lost their lives as they go about their job.

    It is unlikely that Clancy would consider it appropriate to publish a “joke” about a printer dying because his head was crushed in a printing press – just doing his job?

    In my opinion the “joke” below brings no credit to Clancy, or your magazine, nor the printing industry. I hope that it doesn’t make it into print.

    John Horsley.

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    And finally,

    New Rules For Employment

    SICKNESS AND RELATED LEAVE: We will no longer accept a doctor statement as proof of sickness. If you are able to go to the doctor, you are able to come to work.

    SURGERY: Operations are now banned. As long as you are an employee here, you need all your organs. You should not consider removing anything. We hired you intact. To have something removed constitutes a breach of employment.

    BEREAVEMENT LEAVE: This is no excuse for missing work. There is nothing you can do for dead friends, Relatives or co-workers. Every effort should be made to have non-employees attend to the arrangements. In rare cases, where employee involvement is necessary, the funeral should be scheduled in the late afternoon. We will be glad to allow you to work through your lunch hour and subsequently leave one hour early, provided your share of the work is done enough.

    YOUR OWN DEATH: This will be accepted as an excuse. However, we require at least two weeks notice as it is your duty to train your own replacement.

    RESTROOM USE: Entirely too much time is being spent in the restroom. In the future, we will follow the practice of going in alphabetical order. For instance, all employees whose names begin with A will go from 8:00 to 8:10, employees whose names begin with B will go from 8:10 to 8:20 and so on. If you’re unable to go at your allotted time, it will be necessary to wait until the next day when your turn comes again. In extreme emergencies employees may swap their time with a co-worker. Both employees’ supervisors must approve this exchange. In addition, there is now a strict 3-minute time limit in the stalls. At the end of three minutes, an alarm will sound, the toilet paper roll will retract, and the stall door will open.

    Thank you for your loyalty to our company. We are here to provide a positive employment experience. Therefore, all questions, comments, concerns, complaints, frustrations, irritations, aggravations, insinuations, allegations, accusations, contemplations, consternations, or input should be directed elsewhere.

    Have a nice week.

    The Management

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