Archive for August, 2002

  • Overflow…extra news…more news…overflow…extra news…

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    Positively, definitely, the LAST chance to join the inaugral national ground-breaking benchmark scheme for the printing and graphic arts industries. Click on the link for further information (print21online # 37).

    www.bluelinemedia.com.au/index.cfm?art=332&comid=1&issue=37

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    So how do you become one of those people who can impart experience and knowledge with lucidity, clarity and significance?
    Enrol in Greg Grace’s Train-the-Trainer three-day course in either Sydney or Melbourne. The Heidelberg training maestro is delivering the courses to impart instructional competencies and improve communication and presentation techniques in at the Heidelberg offices in Sydney 5, 6 and 9 September and Melbourne 14,15 and 18 November. You’ll learn to:

    • Identify how adults learn and what is meant by training
    • Plan, prepare and present a practical skill instruction
    • Identify training needs for theoretical and practical instruction
    • Write training outcomes in competency based terms
    • Prepare training aids and resources
    • Use appropriate audio-visual and training equipment
    • Compare teaching techniques for individuals, small and large groups
    • Prepare an evaluation check list for training programmes
    • Prepare training data for reporting / documentary purposes
    • Demonstrate presentation and public speaking techniques

    Cost is $ 500 per person – discount rates for company groups
    Contact Greg Grace on Greg.Grace@ap.heidelberg.com

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    A simple to use overprint control strip for checking that proofs and prints made from files transmitted as PDF/X have rendered correctly – and therefore whether a proof and final press sheet are likely to match – has been released by Global Graphics Software, a worldwide supplier of printing, electronic document and workflow software. The control strip is available free of charge from a number of leading web sites, including Time Inc., the DDAP (Digital Distribution of Advertising for Publications) and Global Graphics own web site (www.globalgraphics.com) and is supplied as an EPS file that can be placed outside the trim or bleed area of every job created in a design application.
    It may not be 3DAP approved but it’s likely to become useful.

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    The ability of the printing industry in the US to sustain the modest recovery begun last (northern) spring was brought into doubt by a continuing decline in key printing business indicators, according to the July Printing Business Conditions Special Update, issued by the National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL), the trade association for the commercial printing industry. Despite the decline, NAPL expects the recovery to continue and activity to accelerate this fall, although the anticipated recovery will be too little and too late. Total print sales are expected to decline in 2002, marking the industry’s second consecutive year of declining sales in nearly three decades.

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    APN owner of The New Zealand Herald and Australasia’s largest operator of regional newspapers, radio broadcasting and outdoor advertising, today announced a 63 per cent rise in net profit after tax from $22.1 million to $36.0 million for the six months ended June 30, 2002.
    For the first time, the result included the contribution to the group of New Zealand publisher Wilson & Horton, which was successfully acquired by APN in December 2001. The integration has gone smoothly and the new assets are performing well.

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    Indigo is small fry in the huge Hewlett Packard corporation but in the first quarterly report since the digital printing company was absorbed, and HP swallowed Compaq, it got honourable mention. While only a small component of current revenue, HP’s Indigo digital publishing unit showed strong growth in its active customer base and average page volumes per press. During the quarter, R.R. Donnelly announced its commitment to the HP Indigo Press as part of its new book-on-demand production systems.
    HP’s third quarter revenue was US $16.5 billion, compared to $18.2 billion on a combined company basis in the prior quarter.

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    According to a report in Dotprint, KBA is removing the UK’s first Rapida 74 from Bradford-based Horton Print Group after a dispute over its performance. KBA UK managing director Christian Knapp said that although KBA had “leant over backwards” and provided unlimited engineering support and “generous” financial incentives, Horton had been “unable to make the press work properly for them” since the installation in early 2001.
    Horton managing director Michael Burrowes had praised the £500,000 five-colour Rapida four months after installation, but claimed it had been dogged by problems. A five-colour Heidelberg Speedmaster 74 bought earlier this year was “doing the job we bought the KBA to do”, he added.

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    Optimus Deutschland, a contractual partner of Optichrome Computer Systems of Woking, Great Britain, and until now a wholly-owned subsidiary of MAN Roland, was acquired by a friendly software company on August 1, 2002, in the course of de-concentration measures by Man Roland aimed at improving organizational structures. The company will continue to operate under the same name and in the same facilities in Offenbach under the guidance of the new owner and managing director Jürgen Handrack and with a larger staff. Wolfgang Engel and Ullrich Behrendt, former managing directors as well as management staff of MAN Roland, are providing support during the transition.

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    Print buyers work with an average of 5.6 print suppliers, according to the latest CAP Ventures and Whattheythink results. Nearly 40 per cent of print customers work with five or more print providers, while only 5.2% of print buyers indicated they work with only one print provider. There is a strong relationship between the amount a print buyer spends annually and the number of print providers they work with. Companies spending under $50,000 per year on print work with an average of 2.6 print providers, while companies spending $1 million or more on print work with an average of 8.7 print providers.

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    GraphicBrain.com, the printing industry search engine, now has the on-line articles of 50 trade magazines in the industry that can be retrieved via GraphicBrain.com’s specialized search engine. The service has evolved as more graphic arts magazines provide their features online.
    Already 55,000 articles have been indexed. In most cases not only recent articles of magazines are retrievable, but also the archived content. All users can query the magazine articles and will see the results list, with extensive summaries.

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    And finally . . . you know you’re working for a successful, modern, corporation when . . .

    • You’ve sat at the same desk for four years and worked for three different companies.
    • Your company welcome sign is attached with velcro.
    • You get really excited about a two per cent pay raise.
    • Your biggest loss from a system crash is your best e-mail jokes.
    • Your supervisor doesn’t have the ability to do your job.
    • You sit in a cubicle smaller than your bedroom closet.
    • Lunch is just a meeting outside the building.
    • It’s dark when you drive to and from work.
    • Communication is something your group is having problems with.
    • You’re already late on the assignment you just got.
    • When your non-working time never exceeds 20 hours a week.
    • You work 200 hours for a $100 bonus.
    • Holidays are something you roll over to next year.
    • Your relatives and family describe your job as “works with computers”.
    • The only reason you recognize your family is because their pictures are hanging in your cubicle.
    • You read this entire list and understood it.
  • Xerox gets into micro-opto-electro-mechanical systems – MOEMS to you.

    Sometimes it takes a graphic image to make you realise. Imagine depositing four grains of salt, one precisely on top of the next, on a paper towel as it spins off the roll. That’s the kind of challenge Xerox Corporation faces when it lays down yellow, cyan, magenta and black images onto a photoreceptor to make a colour print or copy.

    It is even harder because the images must match up, or register, to within 1/12th the width of a human hair while the photoreceptor belt travels at up to 70 feet a minute. Xerox currently achieves accurate imaging in its high-end printers and publishers through high-cost, high-quality precision manufacturing techniques.

    But Xerox scientists are conducting advanced research to fabricate miniscule electro-mechanical devices that will offer a lower-cost and even more accurate way to control image registration. The technology is also expected to have applications in optical switching for telecommunications and industrial automation. Incredibly small and extremely reliable, these devices called micro-opto-electro-mechanical systems (MOEMS) integrate optical, electrical and mechanical elements in a package no bigger than a microchip. They contain intelligence that allows them to optically sense and then control what is going on around them by generating, modulating, guiding, switching and detecting light.

    “A photoreceptor belt can vibrate like a taut rubber band,” said Joel Kubby of Xerox’s Webster, N.Y.-based Wilson Center for Research and Technology. Instead of trying to hold the belt steady while the four colors comprising the image are laid down, Xerox scientists are investigating the use of MOEMS to detect the exact position of the belt and then to accommodate its movement by steering the laser beam to that position.

    “MOEMS will replace precision manufacturing with closed-loop feedback control,” Kubby said. The result will be much more precise registration, which will give customers even better image quality at lower costs.

  • Digital asset management is not a business for printers

    Often touted as a leveraged business opportunity for the printing and graphic arts industry in the digital age, DAM has failed to find many converts among the heavy metal fraternity. This is reflected in the title of the new report, Digital Asset Management: Who’s Buying This Stuff?

    DAM is defined as a computer software and/or hardware system that archives, tracks and manages digital page elements (including but not limited to text, graphic and photo images, pages, templates, line art, logos, finished layouts, PDFs, and more recently, video and audio clips). DAM systems allow users to quickly recall these elements for re-use in new jobs, saving the production time of recreating them. Though some would argue that a plain paper job bag is a form of DAM, in the last 10 years, DAM has been referenced as a digital software and/or hardware solution.

    “The goal [of this report] was to compile a representative collection of the available case studies and user stories from supplier archives and public sources that readers could analyze in a single volume,” said Vince Naselli, Director, TrendWatch Graphic Arts. “The report covers a the vast universe of markets, customers, and products types so as to bring this technology to life in a real-world context.

    “We suggest that readers, including printers and service providers, will gain new ideas, new perspectives, and new marketing approaches relating to DAM. Perhaps they will even find new markets. There is much to be learned from the experience and successes, especially outside of our own industry. Drawing on that experience, then applying those lessons to our familiar industry, is where true innovation arises.”

    Most of the information contained in DAM: Who’s Buying This Stuff? (And Why) is drawn from public sources (with the exception of some case studies supplied by manufacturers). The report contains:

    • An overview of DAM technology definitions and positioning
    • Listing of more than 30 digital asset management suppliers and company URLs, compiled from TWGA proprietary research
    • 76 case studies from high-profile companies, such as Simon & Schuster, The Daily News, DreamWorks SKG, ABC Television, Vanderbilt University, The Holocaust Museum, Sandia National Laboratories, U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, Home Depot, Wells Fargo, Exxon Mobil, PeopleSoft, Coors Brewing, General Motors, and many more
    • Case studies organized into 11 vertical market categories (Catalogs, Books, and Newspapers; Media and Broadcasting; Education and Institutions; Government; Law Enforcement; Online and Retail; Financial Services; Consulting, Marketing, and Creative; Manufacturing; Health Care and Pharmaceutical; and Miscellaneous Enterprise)
    • Materials from 13 key industry suppliers.

    This report is written for those selling or considering selling digital asset management,
    supplying or considering supplying DAM services to the market, and anyone considering investing or even ‘not’ considering investing in a DAM system.
    DAM: Who’s Buying This Stuff? is available for purchase by visiting the secure TrendWatch Graphic Arts eStore online at www.trendwatchgraphicarts.com or by phone at 866-873-6310. The price for the report is US $1595.

  • Asset protection strategies feature at Terrigal conference

    Printing Industries NSW Manager, Darren Jensen warns anyone intending to take advantage of the advantageous rates at the Terrigal conference to confirm their bookings ASAP. “Many delegates have registered their interest in attending but have yet to confirm. Unless they do so quickly they may find themselves out in the cold as far as conference rates go,” he said.

    The Printing Industries conference (register online at left) features a quality line-up of industry management and financial speakers. David Brown, a financial strategist, is one who will present his findings on what steps printers should take to protect their business, or even the family home from commercial misadventure.

    “In an increasingly litigious society it is not only the imprudent entrepreneur who is at risk. Personal finance disaster may be precipitated by unforeseen claims against a family company for negligence or product liability or through failure of a few large debtors. In an environment where financiers are extremely cautious and directors are often personally liable, it is only prudent to plan one’s affairs so that core assets are protected,” said Mr Brown. “This is especially the case for business people with dependent families.”

    The key asset protection is to ensure that core assets are held by a person or entity, which is totally insulated from all possible third party claims. An operating company, or indeed its directors should not hold such assets. A passive shareholder (e.g. a spouse) may be the appropriate party to own core assets provided that they have not given personal guarantees in respect of the family company.

    The courts have held that a spouse who merely signs documents as a passive director may be liable for company debts. Consider replacing family members who are non-executive directors with reputable third parties. This improves skills available at board level as well as reducing financial exposure. Alternatively, the Corporations Law now permits companies to operate with a single director so spouses may retire as director’s altogether.

    Asset Protection Trusts

    An asset protection trust (APT) is one of the most popular vehicles for integrating asset protection with tax and estate planning. An APT is essentially a discretionary trust structured so as to ensure that creditors of the persons who have donated assets to the trust cannot pursue trust assets. For example persons such as directors or guarantors who may be embroiled in claims against the family business should not act as trustees of an APT or be in a position to control the actions of the trustee or appoint a new trustee.

    Frequently an APT has a private company as trustee with trusted third parties acting as shareholders and directors of the Trustee Company. Pursuant to the Trust Deed the person behind the trust may have the power to appoint new trustees (thereby reasserting direct control) but this power ceases or reverts to someone if the appointer becomes bankrupt or mentally unsound. Whilst this model for an APT is one of many it is popular because it does not necessitate finding a totally trustworthy and risk free family member to act as an asset owner or trustee.

    However an APT is not usually the best vehicle for acquiring assets that are negatively geared. Such a strategy would involve the making of continuous donations to the APT to meet its cash flow needs whilst tax losses would be a ‘structure’ in the APT and could not be used by its beneficiaries. On the other hand, the APT is the ideal vehicle for sheltering assets, which produce assessable income and/or capital gains. The income of an APT can be distributed annually on a discretionary basis among a wide class of beneficiaries to minimise tax.

    Becoming your own creditor

    The proprietors of a private company are frequently its largest or second largest creditors. They often advance start-up capital to the company then reinvest profits as further advances year after year to help the company grow. Indeed, it is common to find the most valuable asset in the shareholder’s estate is not his shareholding but the debt owed to him by the company.
    Against this background it is curious why shareholders so rarely take security over advances to their own companies. Even when taking security requires the consent of financiers it is a simple legal procedure involving only minor transaction and stamp duty costs. It is true the shareholders security will almost invariably rank after the security taken by the company’s financiers.

    However it will rank ahead of unsecured creditors e.g. trade creditors. This can be particularly important if the company suffers some large unexpected claim such as negligence or product liability. If such a claim is upheld against a successful company it is common to find the secured creditors are fully protected while unsecured creditors including the shareholders and plaintiffs receive only a few cents in the dollar.

    Practical Tip

    It is important to recognize debts, whether secured or unsecured, as an asset separate to shareholding in a family company. A separate assets debt should be protected by being held through a party insulated from creditor risking (such as an APT). Unsecured debts can normally be translated without attracting any tax or stamp duty costs if appropriate steps are adopted. Secured debts can be similarly transferred but may give rise to loan security duty.

    Creating debt to shareholders

    In addition to the asset protection advantages of separating debt from shareholding in a private company there are frequently other benefits. For example, if an APT holds the debt, paying interest to the APT may reduce the profit of the company. This can be distributed on a discretionary basis by the APT to persons who are not shareholders. From an estate-planning viewpoint it may be convenient to leave the company debt to a family member not involved in running the company whilst leaving the shares to the family member who will inherit the business.

    If the above objectives are to be met in the case of a company not having significant debt to its shareholders then various strategies exist for creating such debt. For example, if the company has significant retained profits it may be able to pay a large franked dividend, which is then reinvested in the company as debt by the shareholder or an associate. It may be necessary to simultaneously undertake some tax planning for the shareholder to minimise the potential tax consequences of such an extraordinary franked dividend.

    Alternatively more complex debt creation strategies are available where the above strategy is inappropriate. For example, the operating company may acquire a shelf company subsidiary and sell some or all of its business assets to that new company.
    Thereafter the new company will take over trading operations and will have debt, which may be secured, to its parent company. Complex stamp duty and tax issues arise in connection with such restructures making it difficult to generalise. The existence of the rollover provisions in the tax legislation frequently makes such restructuring a viable option.

    Protecting geared investments

    The Australian taxation system encourages negative gearing as a technique for converting current taxable income into capital gains, which are tax deferred and sheltered by indexation to the consumer price index. It can be difficult to reconcile a wealth creation strategy (which involves acquiring negatively geared assets) with an asset protection strategy, which involves the ownership of assets outside the business vehicle, which generates the cash flow to finance their acquisition.

    Conclusion

    “Why do business people so often neglect asset protection strategies until it is too late? It is foolhardy to say, It can’t happen to me or to be too busy to protect one’s family. Asset protection strategies must be planned and implemented in conjunction with wealth creation, tax planning and estate planning strategies. With adequate forward planning core assets can be protected,” concluded David Brown.

  • GATF survey on top reasons for plate remakes on sheetfed presses

    Twenty-nine companies participated in the survey, contributing combined data on approximately 55,100 plates (42,600 digital and 12,500 film-based). The participants were asked to choose from a list of 34 probable causes of plate remakes and record the causes for plate remakes for 30 consecutive days. They could also write in a unique cause. As suspected, the plate remake causes were significantly different between film-based and digital plate:

    Film-based Plates

    1. plate wear (17.7%)

    2. voids (8.1%)

    3. register (6.6%)

    4. plates not stored (6.2%)

    5. changed press (5.5%)

    Digital Plates

    1. damaged on press (9.1%)

    2. customer change (8.8%)

    3. processor malfunction (6.9%)

    4. production planning (6.9%)

    5. RIP problems (5.4%)

    The survey also revealed that, overall, 4.3 percent of plates are remade. Digital plates have a slight edge over film-based plates at 4.1 percent and 4.8 percent respectively. However, the range of plate remake percentages was quite large. The lowest percentage calculated on the data was 0.6 percent based on 1,700 plates per month by a label printer using a computer-to-plate workflow. The highest percentage was 42 percent on 429 plates per month by a folding carton converter imaging via film.

    Furthermore, if the company that suffered 42 percent plate remakes was removed from the survey, the average plate remake percentage for film-based plates drops to 3.4 percent, over a percentage point lower than digital plates.

    The survey has Bruce Tietz, a GATF technical consultant, wondering if the industry has in fact significantly reduced the number of plate remakes. Tietz presented the survey findings during the 10th annual GATF/NAPL Sheetfed Pressroom Conference, held June 2 – 4, 2002 at the Marriott O’Hare Hotel in Chicago, Illinois.

    “There is a dearth of historic plate remake information available. According to NAPL’s 1987 Waste and Spoilage Survey, the average plate remake percentage was over 7 percent. The 4.3 percent average reported in this latest survey is certainly an improvement but reflects statistics from a more educated printer, not the industry as a whole,” comments Tietz. He refers to the fact that the survey was distributed to 200 people who were past attendees of the GATF/NAPL Sheetfed Pressroom Conference and GATF’s Continuous Improvement Network. “We suspect that companies that send people to conferences, especially one that focuses on quality issues, may experience fewer plate remakes than other companies.”

    Additionally, Tietz points out that demographic and background questions showed this group to have significantly more CTP experience than average companies.

    For the complete statistics of the survey, contact Jim Workman, GATF’s director of training programs. E-mail jworkman@gatf.org

  • Agfa doubles profit with increased IT component in graphic sales

    Reporting half year results after discontinuing the production of scanners and digital cameras from January 2002, Agfa posted a solid result mainly because of its Horizion plan to cut costs and eliminate inefficiencies.

    Graphic Systems’ sales decreased to Aud$1.6 billion (Euro 931 million) which, the company claims, illustrates that market conditions in the graphic industry are still weak. As a result of the continuing shift from Computer-to-Film to Computer-to-Plate, turnover in digital plates again showed considerable growth.

    Another market trend is that the IT content of the solutions offered to the printing industry is further increasing. This enabled Agfa to upgrade its Apogee X workflow software and to make it available for the packaging industry. Web-based project management software Delano was launched and Quebecor, the world’s largest printer ordered it for several of its plants.

    Graphic Systems’ operating result before restructuring increased by 36.4 percent and now amount to $133 million (Euro 75.0 million). Return on sales reached 8.1 percent, compared to 5.7 percent in the first half of 2001.

    Overall, after two quarters in 2002, Agfa’s sales reached $4,2 billion (Euro 2.3billion). The Group’s operating result before restructuring and net nonrecurring expenses increased 51 percent compared to the same period of 2001 – net profit nearly doubled to $105 million (Euro 59 million).

    Turnover decreased 3.8 percent compared to the first half of 2001. However, excluding the sales of digital cameras and scanners (discontinued as from the beginning of 2002), the decrease was limited to 1.4 percent and can largely be explained by the ongoing weakness in the overall economy. Sales of the New digital solutions continued to show strong growth (plus 28.1 percent) and now account for 34.8 percent of Group sales (previous year: 26.1 percent).

    As the beneficial effects of the Horizon restructuring plan increased, the results of the second quarter exceeded those of the first three months of the year.

    Outlook

    As further dollar weakness would affect turnover and as there are no signs yet of a sustained pickup of economic growth, Agfa does not expect its sales to improve substantially in the months to come. On the other hand, the Group will continue to reap the benefits of the Horizon Plan, which should lead to a further improvement of the results during the second half of the year. The operating result before restructuring charges for the second half should therefore exceed that of the first six months by at least 10 percent, while net profit should be 50 percent higher.

    The net result of 2003 should show further progress as additional savings will occur in the Horizon plan.

  • Morse code principles to protect JPEG patent

    The JPEG committee is fighting back against claims by Texas company Forgent Networks that it holds patents over the industry standard compression format. In particular it refers to technology that might be applied in run length coding, found in many technologies including the implementations of a baseline version of ISO/IEC 10918-1, commonly referred to as JPEG.

    “The committee has examined these claims briefly, and at present believes that prior art exists in areas in which the patent might claim application to ISO/IEC 10918-1 in its baseline form,” it said in a statement.

    Two German scientists Dr Klaus Jung, who represents Germany on the JPEG commission and Prof Rudi Seiler, of the Technical University of Berlin maintain that replacing frequently occurring symbols by short code and less frequent symbols by long code, was first established by Samuel Morse in 1838.

    They claim that many of the principles behind the Forgent patent were well known at the time and that it should never have been granted.

    The JPEG committee is establishing a web site to collect further examples of prior use of the principles behind the format.

    In a statement it said, that it has always been a strong goal of the JPEG committee that its standards should be implementable in their baseline form without payment of royalty and license fees, and the committee would like to record their disappointment that some organizations appear to be working in conflict with this goal. Considerable time has been spent in committee in attempting to either arrange licensing on these terms, or in avoiding existing intellectual property, and many hundreds of organizations and academic communities have supported us in our work.

    Forgent has claimed patent ownership of key elements of the JPEG format as a result of acquiring California high tech company Compression Labs. It has already gained considerable success in extracting royalty payments from such companies as Sony. (See print21 online #36)

  • Industry gets 100% win in restoring budget cuts

    Printing Industries announced that the PICS (Printing Industry Competitiveness Scheme) will be restored within days following lengthy negotiation with the Federal Government. Although the Government agreed in July to restore the Enhanced Printing Industries Competitiveness Scheme (EPICS), it indicated that PICS may not be reinstated.

    Continual negotiation by Printing Industries resulted in a new proposal being put to the Government to allow PICS to run its full term to 30 June 2003. PICS, a four-year $20.6 million scheme introduced in 1999, was used by printers to partly offset the import duties on paper used in book production.

    Printing Industries CEO, Gary Donnison, said written confirmation from the Government is expected within days. “We are confident that all outstanding PICS claims for 2001 – 2002 will now be paid,” he said. “Eligible companies will be able to claim until the scheme’s scheduled completion on 30 June 2003.

    Printing Industries National President, Chris Segaert, said the negotiations had been protracted and the outcomes never certain. “However, we persisted even when given a firm ‘No’ by the Government and this persistence has now paid off.

    “I believe we have won more than the reinstatement of our two industry assistance schemes, we have also won a greater recognition of our industry by government, and this is a position that Printing Industries will continue to encourage,” he said.

  • PMP predicts increased competitive rivalry will reduce margins

    After finally selling off its publishing interests to reduce debt (Print21online #37) PMP is now concentrating on its core business of prepress, printing and distribution. In a tough statement Robert Muscat, Managing Director, threw down the gauntlet to the industry by announcing that PMP intends to use its size and integrated knowledge to grow its share of print volumes, despite having suffered a six percent fall in the year to June 30. In a very competitive market he concedes that growth may only come at the cost of profit margins.

    “Our new strategic focus will be on gaining market share. We intend to leverage our scale and market intelligence with a marketing offensive on a segment by segment basis. To this end, we will develop a more cohesive relationship between corporate and divisional management. We will also consolidate our corporate and divisional management team in our new Sydney offices located in Chatswood, “ he said.

    “At the same time, we will establish a shared services centre in Melbourne. Shared services will help in our drive to focus sales efforts across the whole PMP group and allow us to use information and systems to enhance the speed and quality of group-wide reporting.”

    Despite reporting decreased market volumes of approximately six percent, and lower than expected demand from the retail and publishing sectors, Print earnings remained strong against tough market conditions. Print maintained its leadership position in the publishing market and grew its share of the retail and financial printing sectors. Griffin Press, the company’s dedicated book printing division, also recorded a sound EBIT result. In New Zealand, PMP successfully maintained its market position.

    Show-Ads showed a major increase in EBIT underpinned by significant cost reduction, increased turnover in the Print Management Business and a continued increase in the level of work done for PMP Print.

    Mr Muscat said that PMP would continue to follow its proven strategies of improving operational efficiency and reducing debt, but that the group’s stronger financial position would now enable it to invest in growing revenues and profitability. He cautions that, while PMP is in a much stronger financial position, the market outlook remains soft.

    “We do not expect any improvement on the advertising horizon, and are anticipating smaller print runs, smaller paginations and a continued decline in circulations. This will lead to increased competitive rivalry, requiring margin reductions in some sectors. However, there is capacity for growth in the retail, corporate and commercial sectors, and we have the advantage of long-term contracts in sectors such as directories printing.”

    “With our leaner, leveraged structure, more efficient cost base and better financial management, PMP is well positioned to withstand these tough market conditions and capitalise on future market growth,” he said.

    Although the company has left the publishing market it will continue a strong commercial relationship with Pacific Publications through its existing ten-year printing and distribution contracts with PMP Print and Gordon and Gotch.

  • Creo buys ScenicSoft in $9.5m boost to Network Graphic Production

    The acquisition will see Creo gain 20,000 Preps users worldwide as well as adding Upfront, Trapwise, Pandora, Color Central and Print Central to its NGP workflow development. “After working in partnership with ScenicSoft for the last eight years, Creo welcomes ScenicSoft’s market-leading software for layout and imposition into our product range,” said Amos Michelson, chief executive officer of Creo.

    “Creo also gains several other products that complement our Networked Graphic Production initiative, which integrates all aspects of print-production – from idea to delivery. The added technology, category-leading products, and industry knowledge of the ScenicSoft team will further strengthen our ability to deliver the best solutions to our customers.”

    The transaction is unlikely to have any immediate impact on local customers, according to Steve Dunwell, Marketing Director of Creo in Australia. “We have delivered ScenicSoft products as part of our Prinergy and Brisque workflows for some time now. Our people know as much about Preps as anyone.

    “It is a great buy for Creo, especially in terms of developing our Network Graphic Production. Pandora will also help us in our move into the packaging market.” [Pandora is a step-and-repeat application designed for folding carton, flexible packaging, and label production.]

    Graphic Knowledge is the ScenicSoft agent in Australia. Under well-known industry identity Nick Benkovich it has successfully increased the penetration of ScenicSoft products, especially as the industry turns towards CTP production.

    ScenicSoft is a 72-employee, 17-year-old, privately held company located near Seattle, run by Erik Smith, president and founder. It develops and markets software for the publishing and printing industries, and is a pioneer in developing digital prepress solutions.

  • Overflow…extra news…more news…overflow…extra news…

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    Peter Barnet is stepping up to the mark as the new Marketing Manager for Heidelberg Australia and New Zealand.
    Successfully completing a ten-year innings in the paper industry, culminating in his role of National Marketing Manager Dalton Fine paper, Peter will begin at HAN on September 6.

    “It has been a great 10 years in paper and I am looking forward to the new challenge,” he said.
    He comes to the position as a new leaner and more energetic Heidelberg under Andy vels Jensen is undergoing major transformations and facing tough competition in a market that has grown tighter in recent years.

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    The TrendWatch Graphic Arts Installed Base/Market Share Benchmark Study predicts the industry should expect an 18 per cent decline in offset plate consumption over the next five years. In the same period the number of digital colour presses installed in commercial printing establishments will increase 564 per cent to almost 10,000 units. The overall number of wide-format printers installed in commercial print shops will decline by seven per cent, though the number in creative shops will grow by 16 per cent during that time.

    For more information about the benchmark study, visit the TrendWatch website www.trendwatchgraphicarts.com

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    It appears our airing of the stoush between the Printing Industries and GAMAA over the control of the industry trade show PacPrint, was sufficiently disturbing to interrupt the recently-retired Rod Spencer’s trip across the Nullarbor Plain. After reading our reports, which he describes as “rumour now has it from industry sources” -– he felt compelled to add his tuppence worth. In the pages of a graphic arts magazine this week he takes us to task, with tedious pedantry, for daring to shine the light of publicity on an ongoing dispute that has implications for all the industry. This is not Rod’s way, despite his late assumption of the role of journalist. It seems that not even the wide-open spaces can overcome Rod’s fondness for the closed session and the confidential deal as a way of running the industry’ affairs.

    And by the bye Rod, it’s sheer curiosity, not shear.

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    Who says there is no money in printing. The advent of the Euro has proved a bonanza for certain printers, not all of them legal. Police have busted 116 people for printing fake euro notes in the six months of the currency’s launch. More than 400 counterfeiting cases were detected and 21,965 fake notes seized.

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    Police say this was less than expected. The number of fake notes found represented less than seven per cent of the total number of counterfeits of national currencies. A maximum jail sentence of eight years for counterfeiting euros was agreed by EU member states before the currency’s launch.

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    The New Power Mac G4s are targeted at graphic arts professionals and promoted as the fastest Macs ever. The machines feature the new Xserve high-performance architecture with support for up to 2GB of Double Data Rate (DDR) memory at up to 333 MHz, the industry’s first ATI Radeon 9000 Pro graphics card and an enhanced enclosure with increased storage up to nearly half a terabyte.

    Taking advantage of “Jaguar’s” [Apple’s new Mac OS X version 10.2] advanced UNIX-based architecture and symmetric multiprocessing capabilities, the Power Mac G4s deliver over 18 gigaflops (18 billion floating point operations per second), and Apple claims they run professional applications like Adobe Photoshop up to 90 percent faster than a 2.53 GHz Pentium 4-based PC.
    The new Power Macs G4s have won plaudits from Adobe. Bruce Chizen, president and CEO of Adobe, said, “These new Power Macs run Adobe Photoshop faster than any PC we’ve seen.”

    Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO claims,” These are the fastest Macs ever, and ‘Jaguar’ really makes the dual processors sing.”

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    There is a new version of Heidelberg’s Supertrap, to run on the Mac OSX platform. A demo of the latest Version 3.0 can now be downloaded free of charge for updating the previous version and also supports OS X. Supertrap is the world’s first trapping program to perform trapping on native PDF documents without converting them into an intermediate format.

    Supertrap won the GATF’s InterTech Award 2001, and Version 3.0 of this award-winning software has been available on the market since the start of the year. Its extensive range of new functions is now also available for the Mac OS X platform.
    Supertrap is a powerful production tool for Adobe Acrobat which can perform interactive, object-oriented trapping in accordance with user-defined rules. The plug-in offers tremendous speed and supports interactive control and editing functions. The program’s support for Acrobat 5 offers users new possibilities and ensures greater convenience of operation. It means that Acrobat 5’s batch processing function can be used to boost productivity. The trapping is performed directly in the PDF, thus relieving the RIP.

    To operate the trapping solution under Mac OS X, current Supertrap users must first download the combined demo/update version and enter their existing keycode after installation. This unlocks the software, making it usable. If the keycode is not entered, the download can still be used as a fully functional demo version. The only function not available in the demo version is the ability to output individual pages mirrored or rotated in any direction. The jobs are also marked with a large X. The free download is available from:

  • Building the momentum for change

    Keynote speaker at Terrigal Conference he says change is not optional in any industry. “You can choose to either ride the wave or have change imposed on you by the market.”
    Danny Casey works for a law firm but he is not a lawyer. He is a keynote speaker at the Printing Industries’ conference but he is not a printer. He describes himself as someone who has led organizations through significant change. “I have a particular interest in helping organizations establish a sense of vision and also define their values, which ultimately dictates how we behave as we set about achieving the vision.”

    His address at the conference is titled – WHEN YOU CAN’T AVOID CHANGE ANYMORE. It is centered on the significant changes undertaken by the firm, Acuiti Legal, and is used as a test case for similar organisational change in printing companies.

    Many of the changes that are impacting on the legal profession will strike resonance with many in the printing industry. Among the changes he nominates are:

    • globalisation – which often change client ownership, forced mergers, increased complexity of transactions and also provided attractive alternative employment for staff (key suppliers)
    • increased sophistication and complexity of client and legal issues
    • emergence of technology which meant advice could be developed in more efficient ways
    • emergence of new entrants including accountants and non lawyers.

    These changes helped create a concentration of market power as a number of firms began merging to become very large businesses. In addition, boutique players emerged and targeted highly specialised, high value work.

    All of which made life very difficult for undifferentiated, full service middle size firms. The middle size firm was really in no man’s land. They were trying to be all things to all people but were struggling to:

    • maintain profitability
    • secure high value good quality work
    • maintain highly skilled and motivated staff

    The company was one of those firms and was faced with three options:

    • ignore or hope for the best
    • merge to become much larger
    • trim down and become a boutique niche player

    It decided to confront change, by addressing strategic issues to build a sustainable position.
    The strategic issues were significant and included:

    • analysing the market and defining our competitive edge
    • picking our “space” – the position we wanted to occupy
    • challenging the scope and focus of the business
    • identifying cross subsidies in our current products and services
    • securing opportunities for growth in the changing market
  • “We assessed our industry and discovered the industry was growing faster than we were. Not surprisingly, profit growth in the industry was outstripping our profit growth. It was clear we were not maintaining our position in the marketplace.

    “The consolidation of a number of our competitors had enabled them to create economies of scale in certain areas that we could not match. In addition it also became clear that the new entrants, in particular the boutique firms and accountants, were likely to target our space.

    “While we had a number of services that were in the early stages of their life cycle, we had several service lines that were well into maturity and some which were into decline.
    “Clearly, the strategic analysis had identified that despite the difficulties, we needed to change the scope and focus of our business. The challenge was deciding exactly how.”

    Listening to clients and staff

    Client research provided some encouraging results. It was clear the concentration of market power was not necessarily meeting the expectations of clients.

    Staff made it clear that the structure of the industry did not necessarily suit all of their requirements. They were seeking high quality work, but also to work in an organization which had strong values and clear direction.

    “We identified ways in which we could secure new clients and ways in which we could introduce new services, if necessary through alliances and joint ventures with third parties.

    “We developed a set of values and principles to guide our behaviour on the way and we also established a new identify to reflect our values and service standards.

    “We created momentum and a desire to embrace the future rather than run from it.

    The change process was difficult but produced results almost immediately. Client retention has improved and the company has successfully penetrated new markets and secured new clients.

    It has attracted highly skilled staff which has increased its depth and capability to service clients’ needs. “We are confident that the positioning we are pursuing is sustainable – three years ago we were not sure.

    “Change can be managed and, well implemented, enable businesses to establish sustainable positions. Critical to successful change is:

    • a preparedness to confront change
    • an understanding of how you are currently placed in your markets
    • a view on the future of the industry in which you operate and key trends
    • a clear understanding of the position you are trying to secure
    • winning the hearts and minds of your people
    • a game plan to get there

    “The process we used in Acuiti is similar to the process in Print 21 and it does work!

    To register online for the Terrigal Conference, click here www.bluelinemedia.com.au/index.cfm?pageid=event&id=2#reg

  • Last chance to join ground-breaking benchmark scheme

    Printing enterprises have until the end of the month, or until the pilot scheme target of 200 participants is reached, to become members without charge. Later entrants will have to pay a fee to become part of what is described by Philip Andersen, National Director of Printing Industries (pictured) as ”perhaps the most important initiative in the industry’s history.”

    The benchmarking project, which is the first nation wide scheme of its type, will seek to establish a picture of the normal working ratios across the industry. Participant will gain access to valuable information on such items as capacity utilisation, amounts of waste, staffing and profit margins in order to be better able to regulate their own business. The scheme is open to companies of all sizes and make-up.

    “This type of information is invaluable to a company in order to know where they stand in relationship with other enterprises in the industry,” said Mr Andersen.

    All information collected will remain confidential. The scheme will be administered by Printing Industries which has engaged Ian Brown, director of the FMRC Benchmarking Team, Armidale to carry out the detailed comparisons required.

    Applications forms can be downloaded from Printing Industries web site www.printnet.com.au

  • Big press suppliers find the going is tough

    Heidelberg sales in the first quarter to June 30 were around A$1680 million (Euro 930 million) as against previous year’s $1.98 billion. Orders during the same period also slid to $1.9 billion from previous year’s $2.35billion.

    Bernhard Schreier, CEO of Heidelberg, said that a pick-up in the second half of the year was essential if the company was to meet its targets. “We have now past the bottom when it comes to orders and were able to improve slightly on the previous two quarters,” he said.

    The operating result fell as expected to $38 million during the period under review (previous year $81 million). The profit after taxes decreased to $22 million (previous year $52 million). “In the USA in particular, there has not been any tangible improvement yet”, stated CFO Dr. Herbert Meyer.

    Best result came from the company’s Sheetfed Division which posted a profit of $134 million. At June 30, 2002, the Heidelberg Group employed some 24,700 staff worldwide.

    MAN Roland is anticipating a downturn in business, despite favorable prospects in the global market for printed products over the medium and long term. Internationally, the market situation in the graphic arts industry in general and in the printing press manufacturing sector in particular remains tense. Competition is becoming tougher in the face of weak demand, putting strong pressure on manufacturing volume and pricing policies. A sweeping recovery is not foreseen in the near future. The underlying cause of the current situation is the slump in the advertising market that has made many printing companies put their investment plans, if only temporarily, on hold.

    In the first six months of 2002 new orders at MAN Roland fell by 34 per cent compared to the previous period to $1,397 million. Sales came to $1,536 million, or 12 per cent less than the previous period’s figures.
    Figures for the sheet-fed press sector were 36 per cent less than those achieved in the same period last year, while web-offset figures and those for trade and services compared to last year were also down by 42per cent and 10 per cent, respectively.
    As of June 30, 2002, the MAN Roland Group employed a staff of 10,610. In view of continuing weak economic activity, operating results for the entire year are expected to be approximately half of the figures achieved last year ($161million).

    KBAThe industry-wide slide in demand in the first quarter of 2002 also
    saw the order intake at KBA: fall 35.6 per cent to $451million down from
    $701million, with a sharp divide between orders for sheetfed presses
    and web presses.
    Bucking the trend, orders for KBA sheetfed presses in the first three months were well above the corresponding figure for 2001. Web offset presses, by contrast, were disappointing, with very few big newspaper press lines coming up for tender and a combination of overcapacity and plummeting ad sales depressing the market for smaller newspaper presses and commercial web offset presses.

    “The slowdown in the global market for plant and machinery continued throughout the first quarter. This was reflected in a widespread reluctance among members of the print media to commit funds to new equipment, particularly multi-unit newspaper and commercial presses,” said Reinhart Siewert, President of Koenig & Bauer.
    “Sheetfed sales, most of which are generated by our sheetfed offset plant in Radebeul, remained buoyant despite a sharp drop in demand in major markets like the USA. In fact our sheetfed offset division bucked the industry trend to post a double-digit increase in new orders compared to the same period the previous year. Although group earnings almost doubled from $1.6 million to $3.4 million, they were adversely affected by aggressive price competition in the web press sector and a renewed increase in inventories. However, we are confident that earnings will stabilize in the course of the year.”

  • Digital printing and copying growing at nine per cent

    The leading industry market survey company, CAP Ventures predicts1 an expanding production of copying and digital printing market (print on demand, data processing, and high speed copying). In a newly released report it expects the retail value of print in the production copying and digital printing market to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of nine per cent, from $36.6 billion in 2001 to $57.6 in 2006. The print-on-demand market will drive this growth as its retail value of print increases from $26.2 billion in 2001 to $50.5 billion in 2006, a 14 per cent CAGR. Retail value of print in the print-on-demand market grew from $21.4 billion in 2000 to $26.2 billion in 2001, a 22% increase.

    “Despite the current poor state of the [US] economy, the print-on-demand market will grow, showing double-digit increases in installed base, annual impressions, total annual revenue, and retail value of print,” said Ron Gilboa, Director of CAP Ventures’ On Demand Printing & Publishing Consulting Service. “Recent introductions of black & white and colour print-on-demand products have helped to spur this growth.”

    Black and white print on demand will represent $17.1 billion in retail value of print by 2006. This sector will be dominated by new lower-priced and low-volume digital copier/printers that have recently entered the market and will significantly grow the installed base of the 80+-page-per-minute (ppm) segment, which will more than triple from over 26,000 in 2001 to over 80,000 in 2006, a CAGR of 25%.

    Colour print on demand will continue to perform well, capturing $33.4 billion in retail value of print by 2006, up from $17.3 billion in 2001 at a CAGR of 14 per cent. Reductions in cost per print are helping to drive volume and provided reduced pricing for consumers.

    The growth in print on demand is due in part to new applications and opportunities, but is also related to technology classification and volume migration between the two other environments (high speed copying and data processing) that are represented in the production copying and digital printing segment. High-speed copying will continue to undergo significant changes as analog copiers are discontinued and aggressively displaced by digital copier/printers and standalone print-only devices. As the digital transition continues, the retail value of print of in the high-speed copying segment will drop significantly (-16% CAGR) over the next 5 years.

    Data processing is a large market with some growth in placements (two per cent CAGR) and installed base (4 per cent CAGR), but otherwise is stable or in decline. The retail price of print drops from $5.2 billion in 2001 to $4.8 billion in 2006. In this segment, converging applications are bridging the gap between data centre and print on demand.

    CAP Ventures’ [US] Print On Demand Market Forecast includes 2001 placements and a full forecast to 2006. The forecast consists of placements, installed base, impressions per machine per month, annual impressions, revenue (equipment, supplies, and service), average retail value per image, and retail value of print.

    The complete forecast is available immediately to clients of CAP Ventures’ On Demand Printing & Publishing Consulting Service. For more information on the forecast or to make a purchase, please contact Stewart MacDonald at + 1 (781) 871-9000, ext. 175 or via e-mail at stewart_macdonald@capv.com

  • PaperlinX is right on the money

    The profit result represents a 16 per cent increase and a 10.2 per cent return on equity. It came despite the impact of divestments and a difficult trading environment and reflects the acquisition of Turgeon Paper in April 2002 and the impact of the the sale of Australian Paper Plantations, Amtrade, Edwards Dunlop and Commonwealth Paper.

    Australian Paper contributed record paper production and sales volumes, and benefited from the lower cost of imported pulp. Its packaging business suffered from lower domestic demand and lower selling prices in export markets.

    This was the first complete year of Spicers performance in the Merchanting and Paper Trading business where the results were higher than in the previous year.

    PaperlinX managing director Ian Wightwick confirmed the company will continue its aggressive overseas expansion and is looking for European enterprises to complement its recent acquisition of UK Bunzl Fine Paper.
    “PaperlinX has grown in a period of lower world economic and commercial activity. We have an exciting period of growth ahead to be in a position to reap the benefits as the world economy strengthens.”

    He confirmed that further price increases will take effect this quarter in the order of three to five per cent for Reflex copy paper as well as a smaller increase in coated paper in the next quarter.

    PaperlinX now generates around half of its income from overseas and is aiming for a net profit of between A$140 million and A$155 million in 2002/03, which means growth of between 14 and 26 per cent

  • Applications open for $400,000 industry scholarship scheme

    The Association has engaged the Australian Computer Society Foundation (ACSF) to administer the scheme. The Foundation, which currently administers 54 scholarships across 37 Universities around the country, will work with GAMAA from the selection process onwards.

    It is also working with the Melbourne Business School (a division of the University of Melbourne) to design three day industry specific residential workshops for each semester. These workshops will be designed to provide participants with valuable business related knowledge to assist them in addressing the unique issues that face the industry. The workshops will be open to anyone in the industry and will reflect the needs of the industry as identified through a process of diagnostics and consultation, with both suppliers and customers.

    The scholarships are designed to foster post-graduate management or post-graduate business education with successful applicants choosing their preferred academic institution, program of study and method of delivery.

    “Scholarships are open to all individuals working within the printing and graphic communications industries who can demonstrate an on-going commitment to the industry, who have the support of their employer and can meet the academic requirements for university entry,” said Angus Scott, President of GAMAA. “Whereas we welcome applicants from across the industry it is important to point out that there are limited places in the Scholarship program and we will not be able to place all applicants particularly in the first year of the program.”

    The $400,000 will be allocated over three years – at this stage it is unclear how many scholarships it will fund. GAMAA will subsidise the academic fees for all successful applicants and will provide a supportive environment for them during their time of study.

    “GAMAA has worked on the Education Scholarship project for the past two years, undertaking extensive research both within Australia and overseas. We considered creating an industry specific course but have concluded that this element of flexibility is important. We need to give people the option of portability within the industry, so that we have better managers and knowledge workers across the board. That is the only way to attract and keep people within our industry.”

    “We believe our Education Scholarship program addresses the key findings of Print 21, an initiative that GAMAA has supported from the outset,” said Mr Scott. “By enabling our people to study with people from other industries we also open them up to other ways of coping with problems and of gaining insight into how other managers work within different market environments. It is this cross-pollination of knowledge and experiences that will enable our industry to look beyond itself and gain exposure to other market segments, some of which may form part of a broader print and graphics communications industry in the future.”

    Application forms can be obtained from the GAMAA website at www.gamaa.net.au