Archive for November, 2005

  • Q&P – the leading MIS software for the printing industry

    Quote & Print Software is the leading management information software (MIS) used by the Australian and New Zealand printing industry. The locally designed and supported comprehensive suite of software modules has a well-deserved reputation for fast, simple and accurate control of costing production, forms management and accounts over a wide range of printing companies across the region. Created and developed over the past 22 years by industry professionals Judy and David Bell (pictured), Quote & Print Software has become the benchmark MIS against which all others are measured.

    The success of Q&P Software has much to do with the fact that its development has always been in response to the requirements of the local industry as it moved to meet the demands of a computer managed world. The developers were guided in their work by the needs of printing customers, meeting their requests for solutions to particularly local demands. As a result Q&P Software is recognized for its sophisticated ability to adapt seamless to every type of local specification. Continual development by Beloran, the Q&P dedicated research and development company, ensures that every new statutory and technical requirement is handled and assimilated with the minimum of fuss.

    Because it is a local company, Q&P Software has the professional back up and support of distributors in every state of Australia, as well as in New Zealand. It is also making a name for itself with an increasing prospect interest in Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. In all parts of the region customers are assured of on-the-spot service and personal attention, with rapid technical response to any new development.

    How it all began

    Quote & Print Software Mark 1 was first developed in 1981 for a family associated printing business. For the technically minded, this early version ran on a PDP11 computer and was one of the first MIS systems of its kind. In 1986 the software was rewritten to run on an IBM personal computer as DOS-based software. Thus began the commercial development of the software and the first Q&P Software installations in commercial printing companies in the eastern states of Australia.
    It was quickly embraced by companies who recognized its down-to-earth approach to the problems faced by the printing industry and it was soon installed in customer sites across Australia.

    Ten years on in 1996, the software was rewritten to make use of the popularity of Windows software, thereby enhancing its ease of use and delivering more flexibility. The knowledge gained by the developers in over 10 years’ experience of specific industry development, between 1986-1996, ensured that the Windows program constituted a major leap forward for the printing industry at that time and allowed for the changes envisaged in the industry over the coming years.

    In 2001 the software was again adapted to meet the growing requirements of the internet age with the release of the Quote & Print Internet Interface. This browser-based solution is continually being updated to meet the needs of the industry, as printing clients become more internet and e-business savvy. The Q&P solution now allows even small printers to make use of internet connectivity, both within their own organizations and in communicating with their customers. On-line MIS, print ordering and job tracking are all part of the future for Q&P’s customers.

    As the software has grown in popularity, the development company, Beloran, now focuses on the ongoing evolution of the different modules and meeting the requests of customers for special projects and solutions. The regional network of Q&P Software distributors provides the daily contact with the increasing installed base of users, ensuring their special needs are catered for. Both developers and distributors of Quote & Print are passionate about continuing to embrace the needs of the printing industry and working together to ensure that Q&P remains the industry leader for management information software.

    Distributor contact information:

    • New South Wales and ACT
      Quote & Print Solutions
      Tel (02) 9747 9066
    • Western Australia
      Orelia Management Services
      Tel (08) 9419 2211
    • Queensland
      Calprint Systems Pty Ltd
      Tel (07) 3325 2739
    • Victoria and Tasmania
      Printec Solutions Pty Ltd
      Tel (03) 5967 2488
    • South Australia
      Print-MIS Solutions
      Tel (08) 8367 8422
    • New Zealand
      Taylored Systems Ltd
      Tel 64 9 8128506

  • GAMAA grad grabs honours at gala industry celebration

    Ben Hickey, Sony Music Entertainment, took the prize for the GAMAA–LIA graduate of the year.

    The PrintNSW Awards focus on excellence in particular aspects of business during the previous 12 months. A development in 2005 was the introduction of separate recognition for smaller companies as well as an Award for Occupational Heath and Safety.

    Award winners included several of the biggest companies in the industry as well as a small, regional operation.

    Winners of the PrintNSW Business Achievement Awards 2005 were:

  • Best in Business Practice – J S McMillan Printing Group
  • The Judges found McMillan’s to be a thorough, innovative and detailed submission covering all aspects of benchmarking and best practice strategies, business tools, e-commerce and logistics. Forward thinking and a strong focus on step-by-step-change resulted in their submission receiving the highest praise.

  • Best in Environmental Initiatives
    • Small Business – North Coast Print Solution.
    • Large Business – Focus Press.

  • Best in Education and Training Initiatives – Heidelberg Australia.
  • Best in Occupational Health & Safety Initiatives – Penfold Buscombe.
  • The Judges found that in a relatively short timeframe Penfold Buscombe had achieved a reduction in its workers’ compensation premiums of $70,000. The company had also achieved several individual months with no lost time through injuries.

    In announcing the Graduate Scholarship Prize, Bruce Lowery of GAMAA, said, “This award is evidence of the commitment that GAMAA has to education in the industry at many and varied levels. The prize, valued at $15,000, will enable Ben to further his education and as a result contribute to the future development of our industry.”

    Greg Grace, chairman of the judging panel said that while choosing the winning graduate proved to be a difficult task, in the end it was unanimously agreed that Hickey had distinguished himself from the competition.

    “The selection process is an extensive one, requiring all the graduates to make a written submission, outlining their perspective of the industry, their personal objectives and commitments to making a contribution to the industry, their employer and to their own personal growth and development,” says Grace.

    Interstate graduates were flown into Sydney, with all accommodation and meals provided by Heidelberg Australia.

    (L to R: Robert Black, LIA judge; Jennifer Batt-Rawden, NSW Graduate; Darren Neindorf, WA Graduate; Paul Moengaroa, Vic Graduate; Joey Mandile, Vic Graduate; Lee Gradisar, SA Graduate; Daniel Quinn, Qld Graduate; Ben Hickey, NSW Graduate and winner of the scholarship award; Greg Grace, LIA judge and selection committee chair; James Tibbott, WA Graduate; John Golding, WA Graduate; Glenn Flower, Heidelberg (partially hidden); Bruce Lowery, GAMAA judge; Mitch Mulligan, GAMAA judge)

  • PaperlinX buys Canadian paper merchant for $97m

    The acquisition will more than double the size of PaperlinX’s paper merchanting operations in Canada, with the investment expected to meet its target of 15 per cent return on funds within the first three years. PaperlinX is hailing the opportunities for synergies made possible by the purchase, claiming it further leverages its global platform for paper merchanting.

    Tom Park, managing director of PaperlinX, claims the Cascades buyout is part of the company’s strategy of expanding its paper empire worldwide.

    “It builds on our existing Canadian paper merchanting business made up of Coast Paper (acquired in April 2002) and Papier Turgeon (acquired in April 2003), providing the opportunity for significant operating synergies over time, beyond those included in our target return expectations,” says Park.

    Cascades Resources is a fine paper merchant that employs around 490 people in 15 locations across Canada, with annual sales revenues of $486 million and 210,000 tonnes of paper. The company is primarily a stockist merchant, providing a range of paper products that includes graphic arts supplies and industrial packaging.

    In other PaperlinX news, long-serving CFO and director Darryl Abotomey has stepped down from the board of the financially troubled company. He is to be replaced by David Lamont, who is currently working at BHP Billiton as the CFO carbon steel materials group.

    Lamont will be joining the company in February, but will not be taking up Abotomey’s place on the board of directors. Abotomey’s resignation will be effective from the beginning of 2006, with the board agreeing to provide him with an additional six months on top of his contractual entitlement of 12 months severance payment.

  • CPI looks to paper merchant industry consolidation for salvation

    Despite a nominal return to profit, CPI–Results a downbeat report to the CPI annual general meeting saw Gerry van Wyngen, chairman, canvas the merits of industry consolidation as a means of restoring value to the balance sheet of the troubled public company. As the third largest paper merchant in the region, after PaperlinX merchants and The Red Group, any such move would have seismic effects on the sector.

    In his address he said, “Some of the questions we receive relate to the merits of industry rationalisation, as logically this should reduce the unit operating costs of participants in the merchant paper industry. It is a belief we ourselves subscribe to, and that we will investigate if an opportunity arises.”

    He said he understood the company’s competitors are hurting in a similar way. “Unfortunately that is no comfort to the CPI board, or to CPI shareholders, nor can we or will we run a business on this basis.”

    During the year the company realised the remaining assets of its former imaging division and sold its state of the art warehouse facility in Wetherill Park, NSW. In recent weeks it also sold its interest in the Braeside headquarters in Victoria.
    The machinery division, which has the agency for Komori presses in the region, underwent a substantial reorganisation. The company claims that although the division remained unprofitable for the first third of the year, orders in hand will ensure it will turn a profit in 2006 – the first in many years.

    Bernard Cassell, managing director, in his address to the annual general meeting, emphasized the bad news from the paper division. In addressing the vexatious problem of margin erosion he said; ”Your Board and I agree however that this position cannot be allowed to continue, and although we continuously strive to broaden the base to achieve a satisfactory level of profitability, regrettably this alone is not enough. Irrational pricing behaviour has taken it past this point.

    “The paper industry worldwide has been brought to its lowest ebb by this irrational behaviour. It surely cannot continue for much longer.”

    Summing up, Cassells made the point that the company’s net asset backing is well above the current share price, and its plan is to improve the financial position in order to pursue any expansion opportunities that may present themselves.

  • Currie Colour Express heads up the Hume to make it a capital event

    The graphic arts industry in Canberra was treated to a unique display of high technology equipment and work processes when the Currie Colour Express rolled into the Comfort Inn, Queanbeyan last week. The colourful behemoth opened its doors to a constant stream of visitors who took advantage of the Currie Group’s invitation to examine the latest equipment.

    According to Steve Dunwell, NSW manager, (pictured below on left with Urs Egli, Pirion factory manager and Andrew Matthews, Currie national consumables manager) almost all the graphic arts companies in the federal capital came along to have a look, many encouraging staff who may not have the opportunity to visit trade shows elsewhere. “It was very encouraging and the visitors were quite enthusiastic,” said Dunwell. “Outside Sydney and Melbourne people don’t get much of a chance to see the latest equipment. In Canberra they really appreciated the trouble we took to bring the Colour Express to their town.”

    This is the second stop for the Currie Colour Express with its equipment display following a successful debut at PacPrint this year. Created to showcase some of the Group’s wide range of solutions, the specially designed semi-trailer opens up to provide an air-conditioned, networked production environment, which can be brought to graphic arts professionals in regional centres throughout the country – and New Zealand next year.

    “Many of the companies that came along brought production files for us to output. We printed, cut and bound jobs for three days. It all worked very well,” said Dunwell.

    Coming to a location near you

    The Currie Colour Express changes its equipment fit-out to suit the different destinations. On board in Canberra were two HP Indigo digital colour presses – the HP Indigo 3050 six-colour, (pictured) which was a first ever for Canberra, and a HP Indigo 1050. “We brought two digital presses because we believe there is a demand for both levels of digital production in Canberra,” said Dunwell.

    In addition, there was a Horizon automatic perfect binder and a Horizon automatic single knife cutter. Cards printed from customer’s file on the Indigo’s were easily finished on the cutter.

    After the three days the Colour Express headed back down the Hume Highway to the Currie HQ. In the New Year it is destined to travel to South Australia and then across the Nullarbor Plains to Western Australia to bring the latest in digital technology to the industry.

    Stay tuned for times and dates.

  • Job of the Week: Service Representative – Applications Support Prepress, Melbourne

    The successful applicant will be responsible for the provision of a high level of customer support, advice and information for internal and external customers on Heidelberg Prepress applications, hardware and workflow products; including performing demonstrations and training, executing installations and providing service support. 

    Responsibilities include (but not limited to) providing prepress support troubleshooting repairs and upgrades to prepress equipment & applications either installed at the customers’ site or in house, Prepress applications training, Liaising with Technical and Product Segment Managers to enhance knowledge and understanding of new product releases and industry trends, and providing application product support and advice to internal and external customers.

    Ideally, you will have demonstrated experience working in the Graphic Arts Industry or similar commercial environment. 

    Practical experience in Prepress software support and technical service Experience with modern Prepress systems including CtF, CtP and Digital Workflow will secure your success in this role.  The Ability to communicate and demonstrate complex technical ideas and details in clear and understandable fashion, with a general understanding of consumable and capital equipment Sales will be highly regarded, along with the demonstrated ability to develop, build and maintain effective working relationships with both colleagues and customers.

    A competitive remuneration package will be offered including salary and car allowance, based on qualifications and experience.

    Applications including covering letter and resume should be directed via email to: Sarah Keating, Human Resources:


    To view more printing and graphic arts career positions click here for Print21 Online employment section.

  • Local market quarantined from international plate price hikes

    The results showed that while the Agfa graphics division secured a 3.9 per cent year-on-year increase in sales, the results were harshly impacted by the high cost of raw materials. Profits for the quarter fell from last year’s result of $36.6 million to only $11.7 million. The company has indicated that it intends to raise prices across Europe next month.

    However, Agfa’s operations in Australia and New Zealand have confirmed that these price rises will not carry through to the local market. Bruce Blythe, managing director of Agfa in Australia and NZ, says this is in spite of the fact that the cost of raw materials is the highest they have even been.

    “For the local market, there has been a lot of downward pressure on prices, and we have resisted that,” says Blythe. “Following on from that, our intention is to keep prices as stable as possible in the region in spite of the soaring cost of raw materials.”

    “We are slightly buffered by the fact that the Australian dollar has remained strong to the Euro, so this gives us a little breathing space to keep prices stabilised,” says Blythe.

    Blythe claims sales in the Asia Pacific region have been growing steadily. “We’re not going to give our competitors a break,” he says. “We hold a strong position in the marketplace, and we’re not going to jeopardise that by moving prices in either direction.”

    The outlook worldwide for the rest of 2005 remains positive, with Agfa expecting a strong end to the year. Trading conditions for the graphic arts industry are emphasised as positive, price pressure is receding and the company claims the steps taken to ensure the different business groups operate independently are proceeding according to schedule.

  • Clancy . . . overflow . . . the best bits . . . funnies

    In this ever-changing occupational landscape, where more power and influence is accumulating in front of a computer screen, the survey is timely and likely to prove very useful.
    Be in it.


    Steve Dunwell is a football tragic. That’s soccer football, mind, the code Australia has developed quite an interest in since last Wednesday night’s victory over Uruguay to get into the World Cup.

    Having suffered through the past five elimination qualifiers, the NSW honcho of the Currie Group was not going to miss out on the chance of witnessing glory. Down in Canberra with the Currie Colour Express, he flew back to Sydney that night for the game, got to a riotous bed at 2.00am after the sudden death penalty shoot-out and was back on the road to Canberra at 5.45am to be there when the first customers arrived.
    Now that is dedication to company and to code.


    And speaking of dedication… no better man to take on the role of national president of the LIA than Greg Grace of Heidelberg. Picking up the role from departing Ankus Scott who served three years, Greg epitomises the value of the LIA; committed to the industry, hugely technically literate and proud of the craft traditions that still sustain quality printing.
    Of course, he had to clear the nomination with the boss, (it’s a serious time commitment), but Heidelberg in Australia, under Andy Vels Jensen, is always that kind of company.

    Congratulations all around.


    To paraphrase the Oscar Wilde … to lose one Sinnott from the industry may be unfortunate, to lose two in the same year smacks of carelessness. Bruce Sinnott, marketing manager and techno guru of IPMG, and prime mover of 3DAP, finally worked himself out of a job at the industry’s second largest printing company. He left last month and when Clancy tracked him down he was taking his ease at Seal Rocks on the NSW north coast. It’s Clancy’s opinion that the industry can scarcely afford to lose one of the finest technological minds it possesses, but he’s comforted by Bruce’s declaration that he’ll only take a few months off before looking around to see what’s what.

    Earlier in the year brother Kevin Sinnott, CEO of the family company Sinnott Bros, now part of IPMG, took a well-earned retirement. And that makes two.


    John Crosfield, founder of the seminal scanner company in the 1950s, celebrated his 90th birthday at a luncheon in the company of some 90 of his ex-colleagues at the end of October. During an after lunch speech, Jim Salmon, former CEO of the company, commented that Dr Hell, Crosfield’s friendly competitor passed the 100th milestone. “As Crosfield was never content to be second best to Hell, we look forward to celebrating your 100th in due course,” he quipped.

    “This is also an occasion to revive fond memories of Crosfield Electronics, the company you founded and for which we so enjoyed working. We were inspired by your spirit and enthusiasm, inherited we feel sure, on reading the books which you wrote about your Crosfield and Cadbury ancestors, from their fervent Quaker principles.

    “Those families cared about people and their welfare. The Bourneville village that your grandfather George Cadbury built for his employees was a social revolution in its day. You inherited that ethos and kindled a family spirit in your company that we still enjoy today.
    “ For that, and all the enjoyment and prosperity we have experienced throughout the years, we thank you John.”

    And so say all of us.


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    And finally … here’s one to prove we never get too homogenised around here,

    A little old lady decides to join her local Commancheros bikie gang, so she rides her hog over to the clubhouse and knocks on their door. A big burly biker opens up, take a look at the LOL and asks what she wants.

    “I want to join the club,” she says.

    “Well,” he says. “We do a lot of drinking here, do you drink?”

    “Oh, I drink like a fish,” said the LOL.

    “We also do a lot of smoking. Do you smoke?” says the biker.

    “I smoke like a chimney,” she says.

    The biker steps outside and takes a walk around her Harley Davidson and he’s impressed. “When’s the last time you were picked up by the fuzz?” he asks.

    “Oh,” she says, “never been picked up by the fuzz… been dragged around by the nipples, though.”

  • QM Technologies goes live on stock exchange

    The company is one of the big four rivals in the sector – the others are Salmat, HPA and Security Mail, which latter is still privately held. The launch on the stock market follows the stellar rise of Salmat, which went public three years ago and proved to be a darling of the exchange. Artarmon-based QM Technologies manages more than 100 million mostly printed communications between client organisations and their customers each year.

    Nick Debenham, managing director at QM Technologies, says he is pleased with how the company performed in the offering, claiming trading has been reasonably vigorous since it was floated on the stock exchange.

    “We welcome all new shareholders and thank them for their support and remind them that we are dedicated to growing earnings per share and dividends each year,” Debenham says.

    “We see many opportunities for future growth, we have a clear strategy and talented hard working team to capture that growth. This is the beginning of an exciting stage in the history and growth of the company.”

    Around 43 per cent of the 24 million shares have been allocated to institutional investors, with the other 57 per cent going to retail investors. Following its listing, QM now has 44.5 million shares on issue, 53.9 per cent of which are available to new shareholders under the offer.

    QM Technologies pulled in revenues of $53.84 million and earnings before tax of $9.50 million in the 2005 financial year, and forecast revenues of $59.01 million and earnings before tax of $11.26 million for 2006, representing growth rates of 9.6 per cent and 18.5 per cent respectively.

    The company points to a number of strategic decisions as reasons the growth will be sustained, including the leveraging of its software IP to develop new products, potential acquisitions and possible expansion into WA and New Zealand. $4.3 million in proceeds from the initial public will be injected back into the company.

  • UK bosses and workers come together in groundbreaking agreement

    The contract is the result of consultations between the British Printing Industry Federation (BPIF) and the Amicus union organisation earlier this year. The agreement is in contrast to the divisive developments in industrial relations affecting the industry in Australia.

    The Partnership at Work joint initiative addresses 12 key objectives that were identified as common to employers and employees in an extensive survey of BPIF and Amicus members.

    Key issues in the agreement include increased dialogue between employers, employees and their union, improving productivity and profitability, reducing excessive overtime working, assisting employees to adapt to change and enabling effective recruitment.

    The launch of the scheme follows the successful ballot of Amicus members employed in the printing industry and working under the organisation’s national agreement with the BPIF. The members voted overwhelmingly in favour of a new national agreement covering working conditions.

    Gerry Sutcliffe, UK minister for employment relations and consumer affairs, officially launched the Partnership at Work agreement in a keynote address made at the DTI Conference Centre in London.

    “This agreement demonstrates that everyone from the ground floor up has an interest in making their organisation succeed. I’d like to congratulate the BPIF and Amicus for their success in securing this agreement.”

    Tony Burke, assistant general secretary for Amicus, expressed delight at the launch that the agreement had received such overwhelming support from its members, securing a majority of more than 2 to 1.

    “The new Partnership at Work deal will move industrial relations in the industry into the 21st century. The new, modernised agreement takes into account the technical and economic changes that have occurred in recent years as well as reflecting the many social changes,” says Burke.

    Burke also emphasises that the agreement will allow a wide range of issues to be discussed in a fresh manner. “Discussions will take place on a regular basis between ourselves and the BPIF, with the help of an independent chair to work through any issues, whilst recognising the interests of both sides.”

    Ken Iddon, speaking on behalf of the BPIF, labels the ballot result as significant achievement for printing in the UK. “This is a significant milestone for the whole of the printing industry, and this landmark partnership will enable us all to benefit from a more modern and vibrant industry, which now has a much brighter future.”

    The BPIF is the UK printing industry’s leading trade association, with approximately 2,200 members. It runs a strong regional network of advisors in six regional business centres to support printing companies in the UK.

  • LIVE FROM IPEX briefing in Birmingham UK; Angus Paterson on best printer in the world competition

    The prize will be presented at the British Printing Industries Federation (BPIF) Excellence Awards, scheduled to take place early next April alongside the Ipex tradeshow at the Birmingham national exhibition centre.

    A unique aspect of the awards is the BPIF’s dedication to recognise all-round business performance, rather than simply the quality of the printing. The companies singled out for accolades will be those that have grown profitably through innovation and diversification, have a well-trained and productive workforce, and can demonstrate financial stability.

    While the overall focus of the BPIF Excellence Awards will remain on industry in the UK, the International Award is included as recognition of the international nature of the Ipex tradeshow, with companies from all around the world eligible for the award.

    Michael Johnson, BPIF chief executive, claims the print awards are the only of its type in the world to exclusively recognise great print businesses rather than the quality of ink on paper, and encourages other industry organisations to adopt similar ‘best practice’ criteria.

    “Recognising best practice provides not only a reward for achievement, but also role models for the rest of the industry to follow,” Johnson claims.

    To download entry forms or to book places at the Awards, visit or contact Charlotte Locks-Moro via email on For more information about the BPIF visit

    The BPIF is the leading trade association and business support organisation for the UK printing industry, and was named ‘Trade Association of the Year’ in 2003. The organisation has approximately 2,200 members and runs a strong regional network of advisors in six regional business centres to support printing companies in the UK.

  • Prepare for the upcoming boom and insure for the bust – magazine article

    If we knew what the demand for our services was going to be in the future then our businesses would be much more prosperous. If demand was to increase we could expand, if it was to stay the same we could improve efficiency and if it was to decline we could consider handing the keys to somebody and check out the employment section of our newspaper.

    We always hear that saying, “if only we had known,” when someone missed out on an opportunity such as not purchasing his or her premises or not buying that five-colour Heidelberg at auction last year. This is why it is always worthwhile to keep an eye out for indicators to what the future might hold.

    Predicting the future is big business; it’s worth billions of dollars each year. The whole stockbroking industry exists through trying to predict how certain shares will perform. The gambling industry exists because of people who think they can predict how fast a horse will run, which poker machine will pay out or where the ball will fall on a roulette wheel.
    Of course the biggest winner in all of this is the Government through raking in billions of dollars in tax on stock market and gambling profits.

    Is it all roll of dice?
    Some would say however that the printing business is a bit of a gamble too and many continue in the hope that some new business is soon going to arrive through the door, and mostly it does. There are times when not enough new business lands in the in-tray but at other times we can’t cope with the workload.

    When not enough business comes in over an extended period we run into financial problems. A reduction in sales can occur through printing going to other media but those of us who survived the internet and customers purchasing their own printers have adjusted to the new market.

    In a steady economy it is unlikely that the demand for printing will decline any more than its present level. In fact, there is growth in short run digital and offset colour printing, finishing and design services in the fast turnaround sector.

    The future really does not look that bad. One reason we can run into trouble though is through increased competition but not many new printing establishments have opened in recent times. The major reason sales may decline now is through customers going elsewhere for reasons of slow delivery, poor quality or outdated equipment.

    What goes down must come up
    If we provide good service and our technology is reasonably up to date then we have a fair chance of surviving for the foreseeable future; that is unless we are hit by an economic recession. If we could accurately predict when the next recession is going to occur it would provide us with an advantage to counter the impending doom. With high oil prices, interest rate increases on the cards, war in Iraq, terrorism, avian flu and more, the mainstream media feeds us a diet of gloom, but what if an economic boom was just around the corner?

    Changes in the economy often tend to happen when they are least expected. American multi millionaire John D Rockefeller is quoted as saying, “The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets.”

    Many of us will recall, from just a few short years ago, the stock market technology boom and subsequent bust of gigantic proportions. We saw many who got burned and some of us got burned ourselves. “Stay away from tech stocks,” is now the order of the day but it could be that we are writing technology off too soon, we may well be on the verge of a second technology boom.

    If Google can do it, you can too
    In 2004 Google went public and raised sums of money reminiscent of the recent tech boom but it looked like an isolated incident, they may simply be one of the few survivors from the late nineties who finally came through. Around the same time as the Google launch, Hewlett Packard shares took a dive and their CEO moved on but during the middle of this year HP’s shares suddenly lurched upwards again. More recently I saw Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp hot on the trail of a number of technology companies. This was starting to look like a trend so I decided to dig a little deeper.

    Some years ago I read a book by American Harry S Dent called The Great Boom Ahead. I remember thinking that his predictions were the most accurate, if not the most publicised at the time, so I decided to find out what he is saying right now by doing a Google search. It was no surprise to learn that Dent has a new book but the title got my attention, The Next Great Bubble Boom—How to profit from the greatest boom in History, 2005—2009.
    Dent is predicting a second technology boom, stating that the same thing happened in the past with steam, electricity, the telephone and more.

    What he says is there is an 80-year cycle in the emergence of radically new technologies, new economies, ways of living and doing business. He calls the 1920—21 crash (that lead to the great depression) a “tech wreck” because it occurred through the collapse of stocks involving technologies of the time such as rail and electricity. That crash was followed from 1922 to 1929 by the greatest stock market advance in history.

    Right now Dent is predicting that the stock market will power ahead until around 2010 with technology stocks being a major player. In fact he predicts that the value of the stock market will more than double during that time. What follows is not pleasant, a prolonged economic recession from 2010 to 2020. That is ten years of tough economic times if he is right. More importantly, if he is on the money it means we have four years to build up and fortify our businesses for the long winter ahead.

    The science of prediction
    What Dent says is that predicting probable outcomes is becoming a science. With computer modelling we are much more able to predict variables such as the economy or the weather as we are seeing with predictions of where hurricanes will strike days ahead in the USA. There have been major breakthroughs in many types of science over the last 20 to 30 years brought on mainly by the computer revolution and the creation of massive databases, which allow more accurate predictions.

    One of the major tools used by economic futurists is demographics and one of their sources is data from consumer cards such as Fly Buys and more which allow modeling programs like US based TAPESTRY< > to project consumer spending down to neighbourhood blocks.

    Much of the data is based on our spending patterns at different ages and we all know that the baby boomers have high disposable income right now but we also know that they will be cashing in their super in the not too distant future. Most superannuation investment is in shares so when the baby boomers cash in they could start a run on the stock market.

    Harry Dent may or may not be right but in either event we could do worse than to prepare for a buoyant economy followed by a recession. This is enough reason to get our businesses performing at maximum efficiency.

    What to do
    If we believe that we are in for four years of prosperity then we need to implement measures to capitalise on increased demand.

    Handling increased demand when we expect sales to fall off just a few years down the track calls for a firm resolve. The problem is when we are prosperous it is hard to imagine that tough times will ever come around again and we tend to expand with increased staff, new equipment and larger premises.

    We have to expand to some degree or watch the boom go by from the sidelines. The goal at the end of the day though is to increase margins rather than solely increase sales. This often means we need to focus on what we do best which is normally our most profitable area.

    At the top of my list is firm pricing in the areas where we offer an advantage such as fast turnaround printing, urgent artwork and high quality short runs including matt coated business cards, gloss coated labels and more. In essence, we won’t be in a hurry to succumb to pricing pressure.

    We must also consider that during times of economic growth our customers increasingly demand faster turnaround times. This stems from new ventures with customers rushing to get their products and services to market ahead of their competition. This is where short run digital printers will benefit, especially if they can also provide fast turnaround design services.

    There will also be increases in the call for finishing services as businesses continue to purchase their own high speed and colour copiers. Most find that the machines can deliver the required number of prints but then somebody has to collate, staple, fold or bind the documents and this is too much like hard work so they drop it off at their local printer. This work commands full price as there is no printing job involved.

    Another thing we will be striving for is to keep our equipment and software up to date and debt free by the year 2010. Importantly, regardless of whether Harry S Dent is right or wrong we are going to stand firm and make our prices stick while the economy is strong.

    There can’t be much wrong with striving for these goals regardless of which way the economy turns.

    Harry Brelsford works in the printing industry in Australia. He is a recipient of the Honorary Lifetime Membership award from PrintImage International and is founder of the new DPA email forum for digital printing establishments to share information. Harry–Brelsford I>

  • The paper price rises we have to have – merchants to stand firm

    First cab off the rank with an unequivocal rise is CPI, which circulated its customers with increased prices from January 3, 2006:

  • Coated Woodfree – four per cent
  • Uncoated Woodfree – four per cent
  • One Sided Boards – five per cent
  • Copy and Digital – three per cent.
  • Although the company grew its paper volumes by five per cent durin the past year, selling prices declined, eroding margins. At the annual general meeting, CPI–this–issue chairman Gerry van Wyngen, declared that the Australian and New Zealand paper merchant industries were in the midst of the “most savage margin squeeze in history.”

    Bernard Cassells, managing director, maintained irrational pricing behaviour has brought the paper industry worldwide to its lowest ebb. Describing the continuing decline in margins as a “transfer of shareholder value from paper merchants to their customers” he committed the company to holding the line on the price rises. “Our customers will have to decide if they wish to maintain full service paper merchants such as ourselves, and if they do, are they prepared to pay enough to ensure that is the case.”

    And others are following

    CPI is only an instant ahead of other merchants who all are flagging similar price rises in the immediate future. “Both Raleigh Paper & Edwards Dunlop Paper have felt the impact of fuel levies from freight forwarders, interstate hauliers, local contractors, and some paper mills. Yet other mill product has higher cost on the weaker Australian dollar, combined with energy costs and ocean freight increases,” said Les Perrett of The Red Paper Group.

    “Costs have been backing up for some time. Clearly this upward movement has brought significant pressure and new pricing needs to be in place quickly, and certainly by the end of January. With regard to the size of the price increases, it is appropriate that our Australian merchant businesses communicate their intentions to their customers first.”

    Simon Doggett of KW Doggett confirmed his company is also considering its options and will likely raise prices in the New Year. He points to the impact of the falling dollar on paper landing in Australia and New Zealand during December and January. Rising operating costs contribute to make a price rise imperative. “Doggetts operate a fleet of 26 trucks as well as making country deliveries. So far we’ve absorbed the fuel surcharges, but it can’t continue.”

    Rohan Dean of Spicers confirms the PaperlinX merchant will push through price rises in mid-January averaging out around four per cent – although as high as five per cent for some synthetics. “There’s no question that price increases must come through. I think the printers recognise that. We are at historically low prices while oncosts are continuing to rise. It’s important we start to get some value back into the business,” he said.

    The last time paper merchants attempted to lift prices was in April but the initiative was baffled by printers’ intransigence to paying extra while there appeared to be a glut of paper globally. The impact of the hike not sticking was cushioned by the rise in the Australia dollar, which made imports cheaper and gave the merchant’s some room to move. Now that the currency has come off the boil and the global cost hikes in transport have worked their way down the supply line, the merchants again are bracing themselves to have a go at a price rise.

    However some industry players are skeptical of the merchants’ ability to hold the line. “Harry Potter is more realistic than most paper merchant’s price books,” said Colin Longbottom, Longbottom Papers, referring to the practice of merchants growing volume by slashing prices. He quoted instances of paper being sold over 40 per cent below quoted prices.

    “They all want one hundred per cent of the business and don’t worry about margins,” he said, affirming he had no intention of raising prices on his large range of specialized digital papers.

  • Book Club –

    Printers have not had a resource to share with designers or other industry professionals that would explain the folding process and all of the different folding styles they can offer to their customers.

    In the publication industry, there has never been a guide for folding. Designers have never understood all of the folding options available to them, and have not had access to the math behind proper digital document set-up. Until now.
    Finishing Experts Group, an industry-specific publishing company, has just released Fold, a first-of-its-kind, two-volume set that creates an essential system for the printing and design industry by establishing naming conventions and standardizing the folding process.

    Fold is an 850-page reference manual with over 1,000 illustrations that systematically documents and classifies more than 180 brochure folding styles, breaking them down into eight folding families (accordions, basics, exotics, gates, maps, parallels, posters and rolls). Each folding style is named, numbered and illustrated. Then, each style is diagrammed with proper folding compensations for accurate digital document setup. There are also tips and considerations for each.

    The reference manual, written by Trish Witkowski, a creative director with a Baltimore marketing firm, is the product of five years of industry research.

    Geared toward print and design professionals, industry organizations, binderies, folding machinery manufacturers, and the graphic arts education market, Fold provides a common language for designers and printers/binderies, giving everyone the same frame of reference and saving valuable time and resources.

    “As a professional designer, I would often become frustrated with the lack of a comprehensive resource for folding,” said Witkowski. “This guide fills a vacuum in the industry. My hope is that the book not only will be the go-to guide in the industry for folding, but that it also can serve as a springboard for creativity.”

    Trish Witkowski is currently the creative director for a marketing and communications firm in Baltimore. She earned her master of science in graphic arts publishing from Rochester Institute of Technology’s world-renowned School of Printing Management and Sciences and a bachelor of fine arts degree in graphic design. She has taught design and desktop publishing at the college level, and is the co-author of The Adobe InDesign Guide.
    Fold is available exclusively in Australia and New Zealand from Print21Online

    Table of Contents Volume ONE

    • Visual Index…………………………………….. 1
    • Folding List……………………………………. 33
    • Getting Started
    • How to Use This Guide………………….. 43
    • How This Guide is Organized………… 47
    • Understanding the Lingo……………….. 49
    • Format Options………………………………. 52
    • Folding Preparation
    • Planning for Folded Matter………………. 55
    • Setting-Up the Digital Document…….. 56
    • Placing Fold Marks………………………….. 60
    • Making Sequenced Folding Dummies.61
    • Modifying the Folds in this Guide………. 63
    • Folding 101
    • Folding Basics…………………………………. 67
    • How Paper Effects Folding………………. 69
    • Die-cutting, Scoring and Perforating… 71
    • Wafer-seals and Glue………………………. 72
    • Reference Materials
    • Conversion Chart……………………………… 75
    • Press Sheet Sizes……………………………. 76
    • Standard Envelope Sizes………………….. 77
    • Finishing terms…………………………………. 81
    • Folding Families
    • Accordions………………………………………… 85
    • Basics……………………………………………… 279
    • Exotics……………………………………………… 373
    • Table of Contents Volume Two
    • Gates……………………………………………….. 435
    • Maps………………………………………………… 509
    • Parallels…………………………………………… 551
    • Posters…………………………………………….. 681
    • Rolls…………………………………………………. 779
    • Index…………………………………………………. 845


    To buy FOLD: The Professional Guide to Folding and to browse the Print21Online Graphic Arts Library click

  • Q&P action group drives innovations

    In response to the printing industry’s growing need and wish to have computerized information systems closely integrated with workflow, there has been an increased level of activity and cooperation between the Q&P development team and Q&P distributors. The action group gets together to chart the developments required to meet customer needs and find a way to enhance the functionality of the industry-leading MIS.

    “This face-to-face interaction to grapple with and discuss the pros and cons of different methods of achieving what the client wants is always the best way forward,” said Q&P founder Dave Bell (pictured). “Brainstorming sessions will often inspire contributions from others that help to shed light on some of the challenges the team is facing.

    This week, the group will meet in Perth to discuss the requirements of the planned new interface, along with the JDF/JMF progress. For many printers, the JDF/JMF functionality will enable them to remain competitive in a period of shortened runs, low margins and faster job turnarounds. Trials have been done with press suppliers and it is expected the first installations will be rolled out in the next few months.

    “The Australian industry is a different animal to that of the European industry with a much reduced market, and a higher percentage of small and medium businesses,” said Bell who visited DRUPA and IPEX to look at what was realistic to have as integration to workflow here in Australia.

    The ongoing developments of Q&P that arise out of the close customer base consultation process ensure the program remains tailored to the specific industry conditions of Australia and New Zealand. Flexible and timely responses to the changing demands of the market deliver a competitive edge to printing firms in the Q&P network.

    “There is nothing like local front-line experience to sharpen the applications that are useful to our customers,” said David.

    Stay tuned for updates as the new interface makes its appearance.

  • Melbourne printer wins Premier Steve Brack’s green award

    The general commercial printer in Blackburn, employing 33 people, won the small business award for implementing a programme to reduce its environmental impact by;

  • cutting its energy consumption by 40 per cent
  • replacing 80 per cent of ink tins with recyclable cartons, and
  • cutting the use of air pollutants (volatile organic compounds) from 12 per cent to five per cent.
  • “What makes Print Bound really stand out is that it has gone the next level by educating its customers and staff members about environmental considerations, to the point where staff have even changed their behaviour at home,” said Bracks. (pictured 2nd from left with Mauro Mattarucco, Print Bound managing director, Mark Tomasini, director and Mark Randles, general manager.

    Print Bound has initiated a website to encourage its customers to adopt environmentally sound print strategies. The ‘greening’ of the company involved considerable changes to work practices and had as one of its goals to improve the reputation in [sic] the print industry for poor environmental practices by educating and supporting all consumers of paper and print.

    Some of the projects undertaken by the company in its quest to be a green printing company required a major shift in its operating procedures. Among others they included

  • collecting the chemical wastes from the press, separating the sludge for removal and purifying the remaining liquid into a solvent ready liquid and send it back to the printing press for use. Over a year, this innovative system reduces the use of chemicals by approximately 90 per cent.
  • Replacing ink tins that go to landfill with recyclable cartons. This is a revolutionary product from DIC Colortron and was recently awarded a gold medal for sustainable packaging. Print Bound claims to be the only printer in Australia that has 100% supported this product. The ink is completely vegetable-based.
  • The company bought a new Heidelberg 102 CD 6-colour with water cooled unit, which helps eliminate the heat generated from the machine, reducing the use of air conditioners.
  • According to a company statement the major challenges in making the transition proved to be the time and resource of senior managers, which it recognises could have had a major impact on the profitability and general running of the business. It also involved significant cost including considerable downtime on machines to trial an IPA replacement, which was ultimately successful reducing from 100 alcohol to five per cent. The new recyclable cartons created a six per cent loss in ink due to the transition.

    But it was not all bad news and according to the directors the results have been worthwhile.
    It has provided the business with a clear direction to ensure the business is ‘Built to Last’ and after three years in the making we are reaping the rewards.
    The Clean Green Print process has created numerous opportunities enabling us to network with many large corporates i.e. Yarra Valley Water, Australian Pensioners Agency; universities i.e. Latrobe, Melbourne and Swinburne and city councils. Most importantly we have been able to network with eco friendly businesses to learn and improve our own processes.

    It has created a unique culture, improving morale and communication within the business. Several staff have indicated they have changed the way they save water and how they distribute their rubbish at home.

    Upcoming projects for the Print Bound team include sourcing a new bio-degradable laminate, installing fluorescent lights that use 30 per cent less energy and in February 2006 becoming forest stewardship council (FSC) certified.

  • PMP reels from catalogue fallout

    Volumes and prices are predicted to fall in its core printing business, particularly in the second quarter of the 2005/06 financial year. The primary reason for this is the state of the retail catalogue business, with demand from retailers dropping off, the company claimed at its annual general meeting.

    “The group is forecasting a lower first half result than last year largely due to lower print volumes in the second quarter,” claimed Graham Reaney, chairman for PMP, during his address to shareholders.

    Richard Allely, company CFO, insists problems with volumes and prices will be felt by operators right across the industry, rather than being specific to PMP. “It is a reasonable assumption that the lower than expected volumes and prices leading into the very busy second quarter of this financial year are mostly an industry-wide issue,” he said.

    In spite of this fall in demand, PMP insists it will still be able to secure an earnings-before-income-tax for the full financial year between $80-85 million, with earnings evenly split between the first and second half. This is attributed to operating efficiencies resulting from the installation of its new equipment, as well as from other restructuring,Ó according to Allely.

    “The new presses [MAN Roland Lithoman 64] provide a quicker time to market, higher quality, improved format flexibility and importantly, a lower cost to manufacture. The benefits from further restructuring will be significant in the second half, particularly in areas such as support costs and business overheads. Further benefits will be achieved with improved efficiency in end-to-end business processes in manufacturing and optimisation of sales and operations planning activity.”

    While the 2004/05 financial year was characterised by capacity constraints for PMP, the company expects to be running at full capacity by the end of November. “We don’t expect to be capacity constrained in the first half of fiscal 2006,” says Allely.

    PMP expects the relocation and upgrade of its printing site in Adelaide, from Netley to South Salisbury, to reach completion by the third quarter of fiscal 2006, slightly ahead of schedule.