Archive for October, 2006

  • Quote & Print brings your business online with MIS

    Colanco Printing in Sydney is an enthusiastic user of Quote & Print’s Internet Interface, which allows for client interaction via an internet browser. Such connectivity can open up a fresh approach to business – new customers, new processes and a new way of doing things.

    Wayne Bywater (pictured right), general manager at Colanco Printing, fired up Quote & Print’s online module as soon as he arrived at the company in 2004, convinced of its effectiveness after working extensively with the software company over 15 years. Colanco has been offering commercial printing services for nearly 30 years, but Bywater knew it was necessary to take the business online to allow it to maintain its competitive edge.

    Colanco specialises in commercial offset and digital, with an HP Indigo digital press complementing the offset Komoris and Heidelbergs. It performs work for a wide variety of clients, mostly in the financial sector but also taking in manufacturing, universities and a bit for the trade.

    “I knew the MIS solutions from Quote & Print were the way to go, so I took Colanco down that path as soon as I arrived,” says Bywater. “The company already had an online interface in place, but it just wasn’t up to scratch. Though it was custom built, it lacked a lot of features and was generally inadequate for what was required.”

    Quote & Print’s ‘Internet Interface’ on the other hand possessed everything that was needed to provide Colanco’s customers with an online link to the company. Browser-based software that allows business-to-business interaction over the internet, it opens up new possibilities like job tracking, stock level enquiries and online ordering.

    Immediate benefit

    The most immediate benefit that Colanco enjoyed from the Internet Interface was that it allowed the company to gain new customers. “It’s enabled us to pick up more than a few fresh clients, particularly those who have offices interstate,” says Bywater. “All of a sudden we were offering a highly efficient method of interaction that meant customers didn’t need to be in the same state to easily place an order.”

    And he insists such capabilities are definitely becoming more important as clients begin to ask more and more from their printers on the customer service side. “If you haven’t got such capabilities when going for a tender, chances are you’re not going to get the job,” says Bywater. “If you don’t have online capabilities then you don’t have a chance.”

    Ordering 24/7

    Another visible benefit of Quote & Print’s Internet Interface is that it provides clients with the opportunity to place an order at any time of the day or night, seven days a week. Freeing up customers from having to place an order during business hours, it also gives them the opportunity to order without even having to call the office, send a fax or shoot off an email.

    “The advantages of these capabilities are obvious, it means we’re not tying up our sales staff with babysitting the jobs,” says Bywater. “It all takes care of itself, and goes right back to the core benefits of MIS – allowing for more to be done with less resources.”

    These are not the only ways in which Q&P’s Internet Interface facilitates communication between the printer and client. Its online reporting facilities allow customers to draw on stock through the interface, to see what items are available and how much of it there is. “It gives customers info on the job, on the inventory side of things,” says Bywater. “Which branch requested it, when the request was made, when it left the factory and current stock levels.”

    When it comes to security, the module allows for the interaction of each and every customer to be customised by privilege allocation. For instance, the Internet Interface can restrict levels of access to certain people, narrowing it down for some while widening it out for others.

    Don’t MIS the boat!

    Bywater says his faith in Quote & Print’s software was reflected in how quickly Colanco’s customers took the system up. “Businesses have adapted quite comfortably to the system because of its simplicity,” he says. “The software is user friendly and easy to navigate, and not complex in any way. Fortunately for us, this simplicity applies at the backend as well.”

    While Bywater concedes there are printers out in the marketplace who do not share his enthusiasm for MIS – after all, the benefits from money spent on a new press appear a whole lot more tangible – he believes those who neglect such software do it at their peril. “MIS is a vital part of the total service that we offer our customers, and the clients are demanding it more day by day,” he says. “If you don’t provide it, then you could end up in trouble.”

    Bywater’s final consensus is that MIS brings extra efficiency and means productivity increases on the factory floor. “It makes money in a roundabout way, and I think a lot of commercial printers are waking up to that.”

  • Join the student princes in Heidelberg

    Australian and New Zealand graphic arts management candidates are encouraged to enroll for this year’s ‘Summer University’ at the Heidelberg Print Media Academy in July 2003.

    This is the second time that the Print Media Academy of Heidelberg has hosted the “Summer University”, which will take place from July 14 to 20, 2003. At the Summer University, print and media managers from all over the world are given a week of practical information about the most important trends in management and technology. Seminar fees are AUD$5466 including GST, but these fees do not cover travel and accommodation costs. Seminars are held in English.

    Each day of the Summer University focuses on a particular issue, for example market and competition, sales and strategy, controlling and financing, and managing and motivation. The content of the course is backed up by lectures, presentations, workshops and visits from print media companies.

    Participants are required to have a few years of managerial experience behind them. This ensures that there is scope for participants to discuss and exchange ideas, which in turn will allow them to establish a personal network. Participants will create a personal action plan, where they state what, when and how they want to change.

    Bernd Schopp, head of the Print Media Academy, explains how “this week gives participants new food for thought. Even talking to people from different cultures can inspire and produce ideas.”
    The first Summer University was a great success. It took place in August 2002 and attracted 19 participants from four continents.

    If you have any queries regarding the Summer University or would like to register, please contact:

    Greg Grace
    Phone: +61-2-9318 5222
    Fax: +61-2-9313 7516
    E-mail: greg.grace@heidelberg.com

    More details on the Summer University program can be downloaded from www.print-media-academy.com

  • iWay – the new Fuji Xerox software route to on-demand fulfilment

    Fuji Xerox Australia will distribute iWay production-workflow management software with e-commerce-ready platform and information management capabilities. iWay is a product of Press-Sense, a leading developer of Web-based solutions for the printing industry.

    According to Brett Maishman, Graphic Arts Industry Marketing Manager, the introduction of ‘iWay’ will further assist Fuji Xerox customers improve the value of the services they offer to their market.

    “The use of the internet as a relationship and procurement tool is becoming a very powerful and effective mechanism for repeat and on demand print. With our variable information education initiative, Profiting Through Personalisation, we are witnessing an increase in Web-based localised, versioned and customised pieces being produced on our DocuColor 2060’s. The new iWay software family will make it even easier for our customers to offer a personalised print service.”

    The iWay family of software includes:

    • iWay Print – Provides an easy to use print management backbone and online
      ordering capabilities for small print houses or simplified template based applications.
    • iWay Prime – Provides a complete print management backbone to easily manage online ordering for an unlimited number of customers and to output to any existing print devices. iWay Prime comes complete with a range of account management, order management and billing tools for the Print House.
    • iWay Extended Interfaces – The extended Interfaces kit is an add on module that provides the print house with 5 extra features. Each of these features enabled the print house to connect with clients through resident desktop applications such as Outlook, Quark, Illustrator and the range of MS Office products. Extended interfaces further simplifies the process of submitting and ordering jobs from the print-use.

    Also new, the ColorWorks 2000, an all-in-one in-line bookletmaker for the DocoColor 2060 press. The ColorWorks 2000 combines bleed trimming, scoring, stitching, folding and stacking, for flexible finishing.

    “It will revolutionise the way our DocuColor customers provide timely, professional fully imposed documents. ColorWorks 2000 is what we have been waiting for to complete the workflow from procurement and electronic file submission to final ‘saleable’ product, all in the one pass,” said Maishman.

    For more information contact Brett Maishman or visit the Fuji Xerox web site.

    E-mail: Brett.Maishman@aus.xerox.com

    Ph: 02 98565567
    Fax: 02 98565986

  • HP Indigo bash is a whale of a time

    Over 300 industry types turned up to Luna Park in Sydney for one of the biggest marketing events seen in Australia’s graphic arts industry. HP’s celebration of its acquisition of the Indigo press line had industry speakers from Europe and the USA – and a couple of Southern Right whales cavorting in Lavender Bay just outside.

    Hosted by the Currie Group, local agents for HP Indigo, the Make a difference event was designed to draw a line in the sand between Indigo presses before and after the HP acquisition. It is part of a global road show that began in Mexico and will visit Brazil, Sweden, Spain, Russia and China before the end of the year.

    Its scope and no expense spared style is indicative of the sea change in the HP Indigo digital press line that now has the backing of one of the largest technology companies in the world.

    Keynote speaker Richard de Boissezon, Worldwide Marketing Manager, HP identified the strengths the company brought to Indigo digital printing as world class IT expertise, open network standards, strategic alliances, colour science and amazingly, 20 million networked printers throughout the world – the next largest installed base is a mere one million.

    Even with such a huge market leadership, HP’s laser and inkjet printers only account for four per cent of the total printing market. The other 96 per cent, the commercial printing market, is the prize of which it hopes to gain a share. The strategy is that HP, through its corporate connections, will be able to provide the demand for digital printing to its print service providers.This strategy is a long term one, as he said “not now, but in the future.”

    Eric Bredin, of HP Europe gave some compelling CAP Ventures figures on the local and world printing industry to justify HP’s interest in the market. Of total Australian manufacturing production of $230 billion, printing contributes $26 billion. Of that, the 80/20 rule applies with 82 per cent of the total print being supplied by 20 per cent of the large companies. Since 1998 the printing market in Australia has grown by 7.5 per cent.

    On a global perspective he claims that by 2010, 17 per cent of printing will be required next day and 20 per cent on the same day. This rises in 2020 to 19 per cent next day and 30 per cent same day. He nominated 36 per cent of the total print production is likely to go digital, singling out administration, marketing and training as the most likely candidates.


    Jeff Lovell (left) of Total Digital Solutions, fresh from commissioning the latest HP Indigo press in Perth last week, pictured with David Currie, Managing Director of the Currie Group.

    A local perspective was given by David Minnett of Momentum in North Sydney who is on his third Indigo – this one he and his marketing director, Robert Dean, promote as Colossus. They have five reps selling digital print to keep it fed. There are 2,000 Indigo press installations worldwide – over 30 in Australia and New Zealand, which makes this region about 14th.

    Well known digital printing veteran, Michael Mogridge, who is now HP Indigo director of SE Asia and Australia closed the presentations with some test cases from around the world. He claimed 17 per cent of HP Indigo digital printing is high value personalised output.

    The Make a difference event showed what marketing muscle and unlimited budget can do. It is perhaps the dawn of a new era in digital printing – certainly we are likely to hear more about it in the future.

  • DIGITAL PROOFING CAMPAIGN EXPLODES FOR CYRACHROME

    How many digital proofers can the Australian graphic arts market absorb?
    This is a question that proofing experts CyraChrome are asking as sales
    for their ColorTuner/Epson combination continue to surge.

    At its peak, analogue DuPont Cromalin proofing enjoyed around 300 installations across Australia. CyraChrome has just surpassed that number of ColorTuner proofing installations, mostly with Epson printers as the output engine, but with a few HPs in the larger format and A3 area.

    “Since the launch of our new advertising and awareness campaign, and the introduction of the new Epson 7600 and 9600 engines, ColorTuner proofing sales have simply exploded,” says Marketing Director Andy McCourt.
    “Epson cannot keep up with our demand for printers; they’re searching the world for available stocks. ColorTuner proofing with Epson printers has become a standard for contract-quality proofs in Australia.

    “What we are now seeing is proofing moving ‘up the food chain’ to advertising agencies, graphic designers, publishers and even into the marketing departments of big brand companies. In analogue days, our sales universe was limited to prepress shops and printers with inhouse prepress. Today, it is ten times as large, with remote proofing adding to it.”

    ColorTuner is software written by CGS Publishing Technologies International of Frankfurt, Germany and it contains unique algorhythms to enable fine-tuning of ICC profiles and individual colours.

    CGS’s Christophe Thommessen, currently in Australia, says “Australia was our first big growth overseas market following Epson’s release of the 9000 printer in 1999. Since then, it has become the leading contract-quality proofing software in many other countries including the very demanding Japanese graphics market where we have over one thousand installations.

    “In December we will release version 5.0 and all I can say is ‘watch this space’ because it is the most efficient, time-saving and colour accurate proofing software ever written.

    “CyraChrome has done a great job in supporting ColorTuner in the marketplace. Colour management is the most critical part of the printing and publishing process and CyraChrome’s engineers are the best in the business.”

    So how many digital proofers does Australia need? “I don’t know,” says McCourt, “I used to think we’d peak at 200, now we have 300 and a backlog of orders. I’ll go for 500 now. Speak to me at PrintEx next May and I might say 1,000!”

  • Agfa Sublima – Innovative hybrid screening technology

    Agfa Sublima is a hybrid screening technology for newspaper or commercial printing. It combines stochastic screening (frequency modulation) techniques and conventional (amplitude modulation) screening to give photo-quality screening not normally achievable in an offset printing environment. Based on a minimum reproducable dot, it uses conventional Agfa Balanced Screening in the mid-tones and, for enhanced print detail, stochastic screening in the highlights and shadows. Tonal range is increased without any reduction in regular RIP and platemaking speeds.

    Hybrid screening technology brings full continuous tone reproduction to high-speed newspaper printing. Agfa Sublima delivers a 1 to 99%dot reproduction, unlike conventional screening; it gives clearer, sharper images and enables smaller details to be seen. It allows colours to be printed, even in extreme highlights, and brings out contrast, even in deep shadows. Together with its leading-edge products, such as the Agfa Palladio, Galileo & Xcalibur Platesetters (Commercial printing) and the Agfa Polaris automated flatbed platesetter (Newspapers); Agfa continues to lead the way in high quality CtP.

    The new sublima has Patented Technology, unique combination of AM & FM screening, IDR technology, Invisible Dot Image Quality, Real Tint colour reproduction, Stochastic Quality with commercial ease and no need to change print procedures

    Further information on Agfa ‘s new Sublima technology contact Garry Muratore: garry.muratore.gm@australia.agfa.com

    Or visit the following web site
    http://graphics.agfa.com/product/CatProd_DisplayPublic.html?id=7478

  • Candidate of the week: Print Management Team Leader

    This candidate is a one-man production department, responsible for planning and imposing all jobs, originating work tickets, and signing-off on all jobs prior to print. He is responsible for managing the entire “production admin”
    function – and is currently handling around $3 million worth of print.

    He is also an estimator, problem-solver and team-builder.

    This is a senior manager, with talent to lead a “print management” team – or – to manage a large, busy production admin group.

    Contact: James Cryer

    james@jdaprintrecruit.com.au

    ––––––––––––––––––––––––––

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

  • Job of the week: Internal Sales Coordinator – Melbourne – Maternity Leave Contract

    Role:

  • Expedite the internal process of orders and quotes for the Sales Reps and Clients
  • Assist customers via the telephone and email, ensuring their orders are processed in an accurate and professional manner.
  • Providing customers with up-to-date information, including product information and delivery information.
  • Maintain information in the company CRM system
  • Resolving customer issues.

    Prerequisites:

  • Outstanding verbal and written communication skills is essential
  • Computer skills (PC, word, excel, www)
  • Good general knowledge in printing
  • Experience in sales support is an advantage
  • Experience in PRISM CRM package would be an advantage
  • Self motivated team player

    Please only apply if you:

  • Have experience and are passionate about providing exceptional customer service
  • Have previous experience in a similar position preferably in the print industry
  • Display a pro-active approach, lots of initiative and problem solving skills
  • Have a great eye for detail
  • Exceptional organization and time management skills
  • Great phone manner
  • Ability to think on your feet and learn quickly
  • Positive ‘glass full’ attitude
  • Ability to stay calm under pressure and focus on customer needs
  • Have a great sense of humour

    If this sounds like you please send your CV
    dlewin@altshul.com.au or contact Daniel on 9489 1000 for any questions.

    ––––––––––––––––––––––––––

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

  • Book of week:

    A new edition of Pocket Pal is always an event in the printing and graphic arts industry. First published in 1934, this indispensable reference work has long been the authoritative introduction to the graphic arts for artists, designers, publishers, advertisers, students and buyers of printing. It has also proved to be a handy reference guide for printing professionals.

    Pocket Pal is the ultimate argument solver, jam packed with facts, figures, diagrams and illustrations of all major imaging processes. It provides concise and detailed information on prepress, press and post press, with individual sections on paper and a graphic arts glossary. Readers will find information on types and typographies, including proofreading, type, colour charts and digital prepress.

    The 19th Edition is edited by Frank Romano, RIT School of Print Media (Michael Riordan, RIT, Assistant Editor) and builds on the millennium edition’s initiative to bring digital printing into the mainstream of the industry’s reference. The result is a thoroughly up to the minute reference work that also retains the solid background knowledge that has made it such a favourite for generations.

    Pocket Pal is easy to read, an inexhaustible resource, and provides printing and graphic arts professionals with the wherewithal to fully understand all facets of their industry.

    –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

    To buy Pocket Pal: Graphic Arts Production – New 19th Edition and to browse the Print21Online Graphic Arts Library click here.

  • Wot’s on this week . . . industry events . . . don’t miss it . . . dates for your diary

  • The JPE NSW Annual General Meeting will be held at Oatlands on November 1st.

    The 70th AGM of the association will address a range of topics with presentations from James Cryer and Andy McCourt. See the calendar for more information.

  • An Introduction to Occupational Health and Safety will be run by Printing Industries for the NSW audience.

    The seminar will be held at Printing Industries national office on October 31st to explain your obligations in the workplace. See the calendar for more information.

  • The Adobe Creative Suite 2.3 Seminars continue their tour across Australia this week.

    The day will run through the Adobe’s latest Creative Suite and show you how to use it to your full potential. Check the calendar for more information on the events in Brisbane and Melbourne.

  • Chromaticty will host a Digital Printmakers Master Class at RMIT in Melbourne this week.

    The two day course aimed at photographers, fine art reproducers and creatives using RGB digital output will run twice this week. Check the calendar for more information.

  • The First Annual Boston Print Buyers Conference will commence on November 2nd.

    A day of education awaits as the graphic arts industries gathers in Boston. See the calendar for more information.

  • Asian Printing Technology Expo will be held at the Guangzhou City Exhibition Centre in China this week.

    The expo, starting November 3rd aims to help both internal and external printing enterprises work in the Asian market. For more information, check the calendar.

  • The Focus on China series continues this week teaching graphic arts business about Competing Against China.

    Head to the Rydges in Parramatta on November 3rd to investigate methods on strategies to adapt to the Chinese market. Check the calendar for more information.

    If you have an industry event that needs to be added to the Print21 calendar, email me at Shaun Hellyer.

  • Grays Online seeks surplus industry gear

    For graphic arts companies with surplus printing equipment taking up floorspace and costing them money, Grays Online claims its November Auction is the perfect place to sell it. The same applies to excess stock of consumables or anything to do with the printing industry.

    “There is a buyer for everything somewhere – we’re already fielding enquiries from North America, Europe and Asia as well as Australasia,” says Andy McCourt, Grays Online. “Listing equipment for sale is easy and Grays manage the process end-to-end, conducting online auctions along traditional auction lines, with specialists in each category.”

    Grays Online is promising a massive range of equipment for its November sale, beginning on November 3 and continuing through to November 8 at 4pm. Photos will be up on website from this Friday and inspections can take place at various Sydney locations on Monday 6th November.

    To put your gear up for sale on www.graysonline.com.au, contact Andy McCourt via email at andy.mccourt@grays.com.au or via telephone on 0410 080 371. Printers looking for bargain buys should also keep an eye on Grays November auction.

  • explains WorkChoices in plain English

    The seminars are part of the Commonwealth Department of Employment and Workplace Relations Employer Advisor Program, but are being delivered by the association’s Employee Relations staff in all states and territories. The campaign is comprised of 30 free seminars

    Ken Stenner, national employee relations and OHS services manager for Printing Industries, says the seminars explained the WorkChoices changes in plain English and in ways that related to industry workplaces.

    “Participants will hear of the opportunities now available to develop arrangements which provide flexibility to meet the specific needs of both the employer and employee,” he says.

    “While anyone from any industry can attend the seminars, our staff are print and graphics industry specialists, so we understand the business structures and the information needs of management and staff.”

    Stenner says it is important that all companies made certain that their systems were compliant with the changes. This was essential in all areas and critical for the new record keeping requirements which impact on time and wages, leave accrual and payments.
    The seminars also discuss how the WorkChoices changes apply to workplace agreements and flexible arrangements, rates of pay and hours of work, annual, personal, long service and parental leave. WorkChoices application to various awards and state legislation is also explained.

    Dismissal procedures are discussed along with dispute handling and the powers and rights of unions. “Questions are encouraged and participants will receive briefing notes. On completion of the series all registered attendees will be sent a support DVD,” says Stenner.

    “We can also provide free on-site visits for companies and we encourage them to contact any of our state offices to arrange this”.

    The campaign, which extensively covers regional areas in addition to capital cities, will continue until mid November. To find your nearest location and venue phone 1800 227 425 or visit www.printnet.com.au (click on the WorkChoices Registration banner) where you can also register online.

  • QLD takes home the prize at Heidelberg golf comp

    The game has been in play for over three decades and this year’s edition of the Heidelberg Shield was held at the Mount Lawley Golf Club in Western Australia. The Shield is currently played between Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, rotating between the states with next year’s competition to be staged in Queensland.

    Each State has a Golf Association and plays a round of golf each month, from March through to December, at some of the best courses in Australia. Participation in the Shield is open to anyone involved in the printing and associated industries that hold a current AGU Handicap.

    (L to R: Alaster Hadley from Heidelberg Australia presenting the shield to Damion Hogan from Avon Graphics and Bruce Manderson from the Buckner Group)

    The format is a 2 man Best Ball Stableford and social golfers are also welcome to join in on any of the days. The results for 2006 are as follows:

  • Queensland: Bruce Manderson & Damien Hogan – 43 points
  • NSW: Alan Dove & Yvonne Little C/B – 41
  • Victoria: John Wannless & Ross Gilberthorpe – 41
  • Western Australia: Brad Hall & Michael Laws C/B – 39
  • South Australia: Ian Dalbridge & Steve Staker – 39

  • Industry optimism flies in face of mixed trading conditions

    While the trends report for the September quarter indicates industry participants are experiencing mixed trading conditions, Hagop Tchamkertenian, national policy and research manager at Printing Industries, claims respondents still hold a sunny outlook over how their businesses are set to perform over the next three months.

    “The report indicates that operators remain optimistic over activity for the next three months, meaning they are expecting conditions to improve across production, sales and selling prices. This is somewhat out of tune with the actual results,” says Tchamkertenian.

    “The December quarter is the busiest period of the year, which could explain the increased levels of optimism. But while key areas such as orders, production and sales were all reported to have modestly improved during the September period, it was of concern to see that outcomes were significantly below expectations across a number of other key indicators.”

    Some of the key areas that fell below expectations during the September quarter included profits and selling prices, the latter which experienced falls for the 23rd consecutive quarter. Production costs and outstanding debtors were up, employment and overtime levels were down while labour availability again deteriorated for the ninth consecutive quarter.

    Printing Industries September 2006 Quarter Report

    On the critical issue of capacity utilisation rates, results show that 64 per cent of respondents were operating at capacity levels of 70 per cent or over, up from the 60.7 per cent proportion reported last quarter and marginally up on the 63.0 per cent reported this time last year.

    Over 90 per cent of respondents ranked lack of orders as the primary barrier to increasing production levels, an improvement on the record 94.9 per cent level reported during the June 2006 quarter but higher than the 87.4 per cent proportion reported this time last year.

    The industry is optimistic the December 2006 quarter will be characterised by stronger trading conditions, expecting it to yield the following results:

  • Net balance increases in orders, production, sales and net profits
  • Recovery in selling prices
  • Increased availability of finance
  • Reduced availability of labour
  • Increased employment and overtime levels;
  • Further increases in all production cost categories: average wages, other labour costs and average material costs
  • Reduced stock levels
  • Increased number of outstanding debtors.

    Over the next six months until March 2007 the respondents are forecasting:

  • Increased investment activity in plant and machinery; and
  • Increased investment activity in buildings.

    The outlook for general business expectations over the next six months remains favourable across the country, with the most optimistic states being Tasmania, Queensland and Western Australia.

    The September quarter also revealed the highest capacity utilisation rates were reported by respondents from Tasmania, followed by Western Australia, Queensland and Victoria. Idle capacity continues to be a serious issue for respondents in South Australia and New South Wales.

    As for the product sectors, high capacity utilisation and activity rates were reported by the Folding Cartons, Quick Printing, Paper Merchants, Labels, and General Promotional and Commercial.

    Considerable levels of excess capacity seem to exist in the Business Forms and Continuous Stationery, Graphic Reproduction, Screen Printing, Desktop Publishing, Book Binding, Other Packaging and Paper Converting, and Books, Magazines, Periodicals and Newspapers sectors.

    With the exceptions of Graphic Reproduction (forecasting deterioration) and Graphic Arts Machinery and Supplies and Desktop Publishing (forecasting no change), most product sectors are expecting improvements to take place in business conditions over the next six months (December 2006 quarter and March 2007 quarter).

    Capital expenditure intentions remain strong with most sectors either forecasting increased investment in plant and machinery or no change over the next six months. Only a single sector, Graphic Reproduction, is forecasting reduced investment activity over the next six months.

    Any one interested in obtaining a copy of the full survey report can contact Printing Industries. Hard copies of the report cost $20 for members and $40 for non-members. Electronic copies of the report are also available on request and cost $20 for members and $40 for non-members.

  • Nexus forms as South Australian industry consolidates

    Jack van Gastel has sold his award-winning business to Gillingham Printers after 28 years in the printing sector, claiming his decision was in response to the ‘get big or get out’ environment currently prevailing in the industry.

    “Competition is fierce (and) I feel that with the merger of the two companies, we will be in a better position to attack. I also feel more relieved that all our staff will be employed for a lot longer than they might have been,” van Gastel told the Adelaide Advertiser.

    The merged businesses will be known as Nexus Print Solutions and Jack van Gastel will stay on in a technical support role. The new company will have 64 staff, 40 of which are moving over from Gastel Printing. The majority of its work is expected to be in books, packaging, catalogues and binding.

    Craig Thornquest, managing director of Gillingham Printers, says that while consolidation is not as common in South Australia as it is in the rest of the country, the new Nexus Print Solutions will be the frontrunner and it is a trend that is sure to pick up in the state in the near future.

    “The change of name is part of our attempt to reposition ourselves in the marketplace, which will also see us adopt the corporate image and logo of Gastel Printing,” says Thornquest. “It’s the biggest change the company has had in 130 years, as we’ve been operating in the South Australian industry since 1876. I’m a great believer in growth and consolidation and we’re in a great phase at the moment.”

  • Earnings to take a hit as PaperlinX restructures

    Market conditions remain tough for PaperlinX as it faces continued price pressures, a weak US dollar and the rising costs of raw materials. David Meiklejohn, chairman of PaperlinX, confirms his company is getting underway with restructuring and development programs that will involve the investment of capital and current earnings to deliver sustainability.

    “The implementation of these programs has had, and will have, negative impacts on 2006 and 2007 earnings,” says Meiklejohn.

    PaperlinX says its strategic response to the current market environment has revolved around improving long-term returns for its merchanting and manufacturing businesses, calling for some tough decisions.

    “We have initiated projects to improve and strengthen our core businesses, we have exited businesses where we do not have competitive advantage and we have acquired businesses which will improve our market position and profitability in the longer term,” says Meiklejohn.

    Some of the biggest restructuring initiatives for PaperlinX include the upgrade of the pulp mill and bleach plant at Maryvale; the closure of a paper machine at the Shoalhaven mill; the purchase of the Cascades merchanting business in Canada; the restructuring of its merchanting operations in the Netherlands; and the rationalisation of its logistics operations in the UK.

    “There are other projects and initiatives planned for 2007 and the costs of these will be offset to some extent by the cost and profit benefits delivered from the actions taken in 2006,” says Meiklejohn.

    When PaperlinX released its full-year results in August it indicated there were few positive signs that the economic fundamentals affecting the business were improving, and Meiklejohn claims this is still the case.

    “I confirm that this situation has not changed and the negative headwinds of excess global capacity which is depressing paper prices, higher input costs and the ongoing effects of a weak US dollar have continued to impact our businesses in the current financial year,” he says.

    “There do appear to be some positive developments that could lead to improved capacity utilisation rates globally for both coated and uncoated grades which in turn could have positive impacts on pricing, but we believe it is premature to predict any sustained improvement in these factors.”

    However, he says said PaperlinX is already benefiting from its initiatives. “And as a consequence the earnings for the September quarter for PaperlinX overall and for each of our merchanting and manufacturing businesses are ahead of the corresponding period last year,” Mr Meiklejohn said.

  • Murdoch enters the ring with Fairfax share grab

    News Corporation’s share purchase has delivered it 7.5 per cent ownership of rival media group Fairfax, publisher of newspapers The Sydney Morning Herald, Melbourne’s The Age and The Australian Financial Review. However, News Corporation has insisted the move will not be followed by a full takeover bid. A spokesman for the company has labelled the purchase as “purely an investment” and Rupert Murdoch CEO of News Corporation, has gone on record saying he has no plans to buy Fairfax.

    David Kirk, chief executive of Fairfax, has dismissed claims that his company is ripe for a takeover following the changes in media laws last week, because of its open share register. “It’s not right to say that without a major shareholder the company is a sitting duck,” Evans said in a speech to the National Press Club in Canberra.

    Kirk described News Corporation’s purchase of Fairfax stock as “defensive”, claiming he trusted the rival publisher’s assurance that it was only taking a friendly interest. “I take Mr Murdoch at his word,” he said.

    Kirk has also dismissed claims that the different assets of Fairfax would be more valuable if they were carved up, emphasising that many of Fairfax’s newspapers were sold as packages to advertisers and that both its online and print interests were heavily integrated.

    “From some quarters, I have seen reports saying that Fairfax would be more valuable if it was broken up. This is unadulterated rubbish,” said Kirk. “The dis-synergies of breaking up the company are substantial.”

    News Corporation’s $385 million share raid on Fairfax represents only a fraction of the changes taking place in print media ownership. The Federal Government’s overturning of restrictions on foreign and cross-media ownership last week sparked a frenzy of buying activity as Australia’s media barons positioned themselves to take advantage of the new laws.

    Kerry Stokes’s Seven Network purchased what would eventually rise to a 14.9 per cent stake in West Australian Newspapers, while James Packer entered a $4.5 billion deal with private equity group CVC Asia Pacific that saw him sell half of Publishing & Broadcasting Ltd (PBL), which contains APC Magazines among other television and online media assets.

    Speculation is also building that Hannan’s IMPG Group, which owns Craft Printing, Offset Alpine, Inprint and Hannan Printing among others, is readying its own sell-off of its FPC stable of magazines. Reports suggest that ACP and the Seven Network’s Pacific Magazines are among the parties interested in the sale with Michael Hannan seeking a price of between $150 to $200 million for the business. FPC currently accounts for approximately 5 per cent of Australia’s magazine market.