Archive for December, 2010

  • Big year for FX with 30 Color 800/1000 install

    Fuji Xerox is celebrating the success of its new printing engine with an installed base of 30 since its launch in August.

    In the five months since the machine came onto the market the acceptance of the new technology has delighted Henryk Kraszewski, Production Marketing Manager at Fuji Xerox Australia.(pictured)

    “Since the introduction of the Color 800/1000 Press in August its reputation has quickly spread around the industry as a leader in digital print technology, enabling users to expand their market reach with new business opportunities and enhance their print quality at the same time. We’re delighted that Australian printers have embraced the Color 800/1000 Press so quickly.”

    The first Color 1000 Press in Australia was installed prior at Dashing Print, a pioneering digital print company servicing the corporate and advertising markets in the North Sydney business district and the Sydney CBD.

    The company is now installing its second Color 1000 Press.

    According to Russell Kavnat it is part of the drive to to stay at the cutting edge of technology. “After we installed the first Color 1000 Press, it performed even better than our expectations, which were very high. It was obvious that we needed to order a second Color 1000 Press.”

    The Color 800/1000 Press can produce a “spot” or “flood” clear coat inline using Fuji Xerox’s Clear Dry Ink, which enables digital printers to highlight images or text, enhance logos and variable images, apply digital watermarks and simulate pearlescent and metallic effects.

    Melbourne offset printer, Print Bound, took its first step into digital print by investing in a Color 1000 Digital Press in August, with a view to enhancing the company’s reputation for “clean, green” print.

    Managing director of Print Bound, Mauro Mattarucco, said, “We didn’t want our clients going to other suppliers who had digital print capabilities. We wanted to grow our print offerings to the market, and not just be an offset printer. We’re expanding as a company to cater for a number of markets, including design and web, and now digital print. We are able to offer very high print quality, and we can pursue other digital print options such as variable data, and ensure that our service is second to none in turnaround times.”

  • Goss cuts workforce at French factory

    300 employees at Montataire, France will get an unpleasant Christmas present with redundancy notices for the New Year.

    The web press manufacturer is adjusting to the downturn in its European market, while reinforcing its viability elsewhere.

    “We regret the impact on our employees, but this is an essential, proactive
    step in our plan to rationalize and integrate Goss resources in Europe to
    deliver the highest level of value to our customers,” said Goss
    International president and CEO Jochen Meissner. Meissner emphasizes that Goss International maintains a global network that includes substantial manufacturing sites in Europe, America and Asia.

    Goss International facilities in Europe include development, manufacturing
    and support centers for key Goss products. These include the Sunday 5000 press, the only 96-page web press model in production in the world, the unique M-600 Folia web-to-sheet perfecting press and the M-600, Sunday 4000, FPS, Universal and Uniliner presses as well as Goss splicers, pasters and heatset dryers.

    Goss International supplies presses, finishing systems and aftermarket
    services for newspaper, commercial, packaging and specialized printing
    applications. It has a large established base in the Australian anhd NZ market.

    The company is owned by  Shanghai Electric, an international group with annual revenues of approximately $8 billion.

  • Tumbling letter volumes forces Aust Post to cut services

     The number of letters being posted is falling by more than five percent per year as the world moves towards emails. This year the volume of letters posted within Australia is expected to fall below 5 billion. Australia is suprisingly the exception to the rest of the developed world by retaining social mail but it is falling off a cliff.

    The falloff has prompted Australia Post to announce the closure of 27 post offices around the country in 2011. It is cutting staff numbers, aiming to spend $150 million on redundancies.

    The organisation operates under certain Governement restrictions.  It is required to have at least 4,000 outlets, with 2,500  in rural areas. Currently it has 4,414 post offices.

    It is all a long way from even a few years ago when Australia Post was a cash cow for the government, coining $500 million profit. The organisation blames email and Facebook for the transition but is blamed by commercial operators for hiking the postage on direct mail campaigns, dealing a blow to the printing industry.

    DIrect marketing mail is now the backbone of Australia P{ost’s letter operation with most of the volumes coming from Salmat, Computershare and Sema.

    The attitude of Australia Post is best seen in its lemming-like rush to the cliff. This year the postal giant decided not to send Christmas cards to its business customers; it opted for emails instead.

  • Letters, feedback, get it off your chest: 22 December 2010

    Not everyone wants to write to Santa, some have thoughts on our stories they’d like to share with us. Why not write in and let us know what you think, too.

    Re: Roy McKelvie gone from Gresham Partners

    As I stated in March this year, the equity partners have treated the print industry with disrespect. Sure, the cowboys needed to be weeded out and some needed educating on how to control a print business in hard times. And as I have found out there are still some print owners living in the seventies hoping for a turnaround. Some of these guys do know how to knuckle down and with respectful guidance develop the new print businesses of the future as some have. The equity partners have failed and left a trail of misery and an industry on its knees praying.

    It’s time that private equity groups put the passion and craft back into print. Equity partner print groups have, in my opinion, treated the commercial print people and the industry with disrespect by not appreciating the knowledge and benefits that they can really bring to the table (and this can be said for most of the equity partner groups).??Yes, the print people had a lot to learn and there certainly needed to be a maturing and growth in their abilities; however, they know what makes the industry tick. It is a small and incestuous industry with a lot of skilled and talented people. Give them the skills and train them to improve their financial skills but show respect for our print culture that has been crafted for many years. People are the key to the success of a print business. Make them proud of what they belong to and make them really part of your new print business structures!??

    Print manufacturing is not 101 and print sales is not 101 as I have heard some equity partner print group say, that is utter ignorance. Commercial printing is a diverse range of different services and talent that come together to ensure the finalisation of a quality printed product in many different applications.??

    It takes longer than a year, much longer, to understand the commercial print culture. It is not book printing or web printing, they are all different in processes. Until the equity partner print groups appreciate that and build a respect for commercial print people, the equity partner model in commercial print will continue to fail. It is much more than just numbers. Build a commercial print business that is passionate about quality, service and the craft of commercial printing, then the dollars will look after themselves. ??

    You might be good at running a successful finance business but a commercial print business, you have a lot to learn. I am seriously and thoroughly disappointed with the way these finance organizations have seen us, the print industry, as a quick buck and didn’t really care about building a true future for that business and its people. In their rush to buy print businesses “under duress” they were either to slow to react or brought in people that had no respect or experience with the industry’s skilled people. They even had built in exit strategies from almost day one of purchasing the businesses that were discussed with other equity groups over lunch as if these printing businesses were meaningless slaves being traded.??

    Passion, promotion, motivation, dedication and innovation are all words that built successful printing businesses of the past eg Lilyfield Printing, JS McMillan and many more, such as print entrepreneurs like Bob McMillan and Reg Hammond who inspired their staff and had them fell like it was their businesses too. This is a very special industry with a lot of excellent people who have the drive to succeed without the roadblocks. They know their clients and are passionate about their relationships to deliver service, quality and the can-do, let’s-make-it-happen attitude. YES, we can.

    Please for all our sakes, bring back some guys who know what they are talking about. ?

    Phil Heaton


    Re: Why Gen Y can’t keep their eyes off print

    Great article, Mitchell.
    I’m hoping at some point that ‘information overload’ is nearly at saturation point and the wheel turns back to improved literacy and numeracy.

    Rod Wade

  • That was the year that was 2010

    Tough times, takeovers and occasional triumphs characterised this year. Read on to relive the biggest printing news of 2010 as reported by Print21.

    Moore Business Systems taken over by Argus

    A Christmas Eve general meeting of publicly listed Argus Solutions Limited put a halt to trading in its shares in order to reorganise its finances and formalise a bid for Moore Business Systems (MBS).

    Opus Print Group makes a move on Asia
    Following a busy year of local acquisitions, including the takeover of ACT-based CanPrint and Union Offset, Opus Print Group is furthering its reach through a strategic alliance with C.O.S Printers in Singapore and Hung Hing, headquartered in Hong Kong, with several print facilities in China.

    Worldwide Online stores continue trading as HQ goes under

    Independent franchise print stores around the country kept operating as usual, while the Perth-based franchisor floundered after 16 years of growth.

    Canon takeover of Océ heads to court

    The great print takeover of the decade was met with some resistance as shareholders challenged the acceptance of the cash offer by directors.

    Paragon Printing runs out of luck
    News that iconic forms company, Paragon Printing entered into voluntary administration along with Moore Office Products set the scene for distress and protest in the rural community of Wodonga.

    Staff stand down set to continue at Paragon Printing
    And on it went …





    Carnage continues across local print industry

    Another blow to the industry as award-winning Pettaras Press entered voluntary administration. Later, STI Lilyfield would purchase the company’s equipment and machinery.


    PaperlinX pulls the plug on Burnie paper mill
    The closure of the Burnie mill signalled an end to PaperlinX’s manufacturing operations in Australia as it transforms into a purely paper merchant company.

    Chippendale given the chop by administrators

    No rescue package from private equity owners, Helmsman, or mooted merger with fellow busted printer, Beaver, came to save the iconic Sydney company.

    Paragon Printing picked up by Print Media Group

    And finally a buyer was found as the Wodonga business became part of Print Media Group.

    Opus signs on in Singapore
    More expansion from the PE-backed Opus Print Group.

    Heidelberg goes digital with Konica Minolta
    At IPEX, Heidelberg said the D-word. Then it said K and M. Together.

    Geoff Selig is back in business with Caxton Web
    Talk about a blast from the past. Ex Blue Star identity, Geoff Selig, got back into the game.

    Quality Print Group goes under
    Another one bites the dust … in Sydney.

    QANTAS gags comment on $10m print tender
    Print management company, TMA, was not allowed to give details to us of its winning bid as QANTAS insists all print under the new tender will be sourced in Australia.

    Printers pull together in Christchurch crisis

    Major earthquakes in Christchurch saw a strong show of support from NZ print community.


    Goanna Print is the latest print company to fail

    The continuing plague of company failures claimed another victim in the iconic Canberra printer that was one of the most awarded in the industry.

    Industry mourns loss of Printing Industries national president
    A great loss for the printing industry as national president, Jim Atkinson, (pictured) passed away.

    Final chapter for Standard Publishing House
    The troubled tale of major Sydney printer ame to an end as liquidators move in and trade creditors go begging.

    TLC NSW – the $16 company goes broke owing $1.2 million
    Creditors left holding an empty bag as The Laminating Company (NSW) goes into voluntary liquidation reporting total assets of $16.78.

    SOS reaches across the transTasman with Astra Print
    Another chapter for the progressive Sydney-based SOS Print + Media.

    Toby takes over from Tom in PaperlinX reshuffle

    Tom Park’s time with PaperlinX came to an end as UK CEO, Toby Marchant, took over the role but remains overseas.

    Colorpak thinks outside the square with Carter Holt Harvey acquisition
    $5 million acquisition of Carter Holt Harvey’s folding carton operations allows Colorpak to move into New Zealand.

    Sydney printer’s life ends in tragedy
    A terrible tragedy as a man died after becoming trapped in a printing press.

    PrintCom coming to Melbourne
    Big news from GASAA. Another print tradeshow, and the same year as PrintEx.

    Canon opens the door to Océ in Melbourne
    Major movement in Melbourne as local Océ office joins Canon in the same building, while the two continue to trade as separate entities.

    Media man Ian Law leaves PBL
    PBL Media’s CEO, Ian Law, resigned from the top job the same year as the company pulled the plug on plans for its own printing site.

    Susan Heaney leads the way as new Printing Industries president
    Queensland print identity, Susan Heaney (pictured) of Heaneys Performers in Print is the first woman national president of Printing Industries heading the newly elected committee which takes office in the new year.

    PMP downsizes New Zealand print sites
    Second stage of PMP transformation sees its five print sites in Auckland reduced to only two.

    NZ paper merchant BJ Ball scores a win in Australia

    The private equity-backed supplier is now in effective control of mid-sized merchant, Focus Paper.


    Platypus Graphics catches Printpoint

    The year ended with another casualty, this time in Queensland, as award-winning printer, Printpoint entered liquidation.

    Here comes another campaign to promote print

    Finally, some good news. The Power of Print campaign at next year’s PrintEx tradeshow is just what the industry needs in its continued fight for recognition. The campaign has also been welcomed by APIA, too.

  • So what’s your plan? A letter from the publisher

    The future has a defining characteristic—it is unknown, says Print21 publisher, Patrick Howard.

    This more than anything else has shaped human life, from the caveman around the campfire to the head of state. Fear of the unknown is never far from experience and how we deal with it is a measure of our life.

    One of the most common responses is to pretend it does not exist. We fill the void with an amazing diversity of philosophies, religions, beliefs, hopes and dreams. These are strategies to deal with the future and all are likely to be as good as the other. Research indicates that a common shared belief, no matter how strange, is better for an individual’s welfare than no belief at all.

    At bottom, all our stratagems are some type of plan to deal with the future. Whether buying insurance or casting fate to the winds, the essential thing is to have the conviction of your own belief and take responsibility for your behaviour.

    In business, there is plenty of room for visions and dreams. The notion we make business decisions in some super-rational environment is wrong. Management theory is full of the need for visionary leaders to direct the troops’ gaze towards the light on the hill. However, common sense indicates that having a plan to get up the slope is the best way of arriving at the summit.

    This leads to the inevitable conclusion, that any plan is better than no plan at all. There is no way of testing the utility of visions and goals. Be careful what you wish for because you might get it. Utopian dreamers with a solid plan can achieve amazing results, while pragmatic realists without one are left floundering. The important thing is to take control of the future and the best way to do that is to have a plan.

    Taking control … and some time off

    A good plan is a combination of science, engineering and art; it seeks to eliminate the unknown and the unquantifiable while building strategies to handle inevitable unforeseen circumstances. That plans work can be realised the next time you are in an aircraft at 35,000 feet. Someone planned the engineering that keeps you up there. Someone invented jet propulsion and refined the aerodynamics. The combination was sufficiently reality tested to ensure that air travel is the safest form of transport. However, flight in its essence remains one of humanity’s most visionary accomplishments.

    There is little need to dwell on the limitations of even the best-laid plans—mice and men and all that. There is a need to encourage more printers, small to mid-sized enterprises, to adopt the planning culture. At a time when the industry is enduring difficult trading decisions, day-to-

    day survival takes precedence. But dogged persistence will only take you so far.

    There are many gates into planning, budgeting being the most obvious. Knowing your real costs is essential to sustainable operations. When faced with death-defying price competition, the only way of rationally deciding whether to compete or not is to know what it costs you to produce. You can plan to meet the market, if that is your goal.

    Reading management textbooks is good too. The shelves in bookstores are groaning under the weight of inspired opinion. It is not that one seer has all the answers but a regular diet of business theory keeps one up to the mark. Knowing how others approach business performance will feed into your own planning process. When did you last read a management book?

    Seek and pay for expert advice. There is an unwarranted scepticism about the role of the consultant in our industry. Someone you employ to tell you how to do your job. But you pay a doctor and a lawyer when required. If you identify a persistent problem in your business, which may be an acute inability to formulate a plan, then it makes sense to bring in someone who specialises in planning.

    Take control of your destiny, discover your goals and make 2011 the year you plan to achieve them.

    Having said that, my plan is to take some time off over Christmas. Sit on a beach, sip some cool drinks and watch Ponting’s players win back the Ashes. The Print21 team will be back in January, refreshed and ready for the fray.

    We wish you all the compliments of the Season. Merry Christmas and let’s plan for a Happy and Prosperous New Year.


  • Ego gets bigger with Heidelberg Speedmaster 102

    Melbourne-based Egotrade installs Heidelberg Speedmaster 102 ten-colour perfector.

    Reporting 30 per cent year-on-year growth for the past five years prompted director, Ashley Tomlin, to begin looking for a new press. Originally, Tomlin wanted to install a second Speedmaster CD102 press to complement the company’s CD102 six-colour press with double coater.

    “We bought this press new three years ago and have been extremely pleased with its performance so we were happy to go down that path again. But after analysing our production data it became obvious that a perfector press was the best choice in terms of broadening our offer and meeting our growth potential,” he explained.

    Heidelberg, through its business consulting service, worked with Ego to undertake the audit, which factored production data from Ego’s three presses together with MIS information to project an overall picture of the company’s true cost to print.

    “The audit enabled us to look at various scenarios and accurately determine the best course,” Tomlin said. “Once we had decided that a perfector was the right press for us, we did look at other presses on the market to gauge what was out there. But at the end of the day we wanted to stay with Heidelberg because we’ve had such a positive experience with the company in terms of equipment performance and also service and support.”

    According to Tomlin, the new press will free up the CD102 and enable the company to target extra work, which will come from both new and existing clients. “We have no doubt that the perfector press will broaden our offer and enable us to gain more work from the clients we currently do specialist UV coatings for,” he added.

  • Up and running … Salmat’s first JetStream comes online

    Salmat’s first Océ JetStream 2200 production line, the first in Australia, has now been installed at the company’s new Victorian operation in Ravenhall, on the outskirts of Melbourne.

    Preliminary test runs are being completed and staff training has begun. Salmat is planning to print its first jobs on the Océ JetStream as early as pre-Christmas.

    Salmat’s second Océ JetStream will be delivered to the company’s Sydney factory in January.

    Pictured: (left to right) James Rallis, Salmat production manager, and Stefan Feuerstein, Océ service product manager, checking the first colour run on the Océ JetStream 2200.

  • manroland realigns production and services

    Cost cutting continues in Germany with 500 jobs set to go in Augsburg, Offenbach, and Plauen by the end of 2012.

    A further 300 employees will be transferred to a new business unit manroland Industrial Services, which will be founded on January 1, 2011. The portfolio of this new business unit includes industrial consultancy as well as the placement of technical specialists as temporary staff.

    According to a statement, the measures are part of a comprehensive restructuring package to secure the company’s long-term independence. “Implementation of the strategic reorientation is making progress not only on the cost side but also on the growth side. manroland recently agreed on a cooperation with Océ Printing Systems GmbH for digital printing, started cooperating with the Tensor Group in the area of newspaper printing for growth regions, and expanded its services offering worldwide,” the statement said.

    The planned job cuts of around 500 will affect indirect functions in administration, as well as the production areas. As a result, the number of manroland’s worldwide employees will drop to about 6,000 by the end of 2012.

    A framework paper for concluding a supplementary wage agreement has been negotiated with the IG Metall union.


  • WTF have WWF done? Commentary by Andy McCourt

    The news that the WorldWide Fund For Nature (formerly the World Wildlife Foundation) has jumped on the greenwash bandwagon and introduced a no-can-print version of PDF, comes as something of a surprise for such a supposedly well informed group, says Andy McCourt.

    To cite items 2 and 3 of its own Code of Ethics:

    “2) We will use the best available scientific information to address issues and critically evaluate all our endeavours.
    3) We will, wherever possible, seek dialogue and avoid confrontation.”

    Portable Document Format in all its versions has succeeded in both print and online communications because it is Portable – it can address multiple output choices. For some time it has been possible to lock PDFs from printing – mainly for security or copyright reasons – but the unlocking of PDFs is easily accomplished or you can simply do a screen capture and then print from Photoshop.

    So why the spleen venting about the .wwf  non-print version of PDF? It’s the outrageously misleading claim “Save as .WWF, save a tree.” That, dear conservationists is a blatant lie. Yes, lie. A big word to such a powerful organization as the WWF whose patrons have includes Prince Phillip and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands plus countless industrialists who formed the ‘1001 Club’ which funded the original WWF. It’s a lie right up there with the claims of the eTree people who not long ago were blustering on about lawsuits until they realised  the inconvenient facts support paper as one of the few truly sustainable industries on the planet.

    Let’s get back to those two WWF Code of Ethics clauses. In this instance they clearly have not used the ‘best available scientific information…’ because if they had they would have discovered that forcing people not to print PDFs does not save a tree. It’s total garbage to suggest that. The internet runs on coal and the more you encourage people to spend time online, the more CO2 you pump into the atmosphere. Trees used for pulp and paper sequester CO2, oxygenate the atmosphere and are responsibly managed in forests that are audited by bodies such as FSC and PEFC. To suggest that paper must come from virgin rainforests in 2010 is ignorant of the facts.

    Managed plantations for paper production are actually increasing in acreage, year-on-year in all developed countries. Even China is on a massive tree-planting programme to feed its printing industry, all responsibly managed and positive for the environment as the harvesting programme takes fewer trees than the newly-planted stock provides.

    Look at ethical point 2:”we will seek dialogue and avoid confrontation.” Did the WWF think to speak to the many scientifically-based paper research organizations or even producers? No, in the headlong rush to take a cheap shot at the sustainable paper industry, you listened to your PR advisors who are as ill-informed as you apparently are.

    But perhaps the most significant blooper committed by the WWF in its misguided meddling in workable document file formats is the sheer arrogance to attempt to deny individuals the right to print something out if they want to – and to use illogical slogans in order to achieve it. Sometimes, a print-out is the only reliable record for a document because the electronic version can be sneakily changed.

    We don’t want .wwf files and we don’t want to be told they can’t be printed (even though they can which adds idiosyncrasy to the whole argument). If you receive a file with the extension .wff I suggest you return it to its originator and request a proper .pdf, saying you alone will decide what you print and what you do not.

    Please, stick to the good work on saving species and ecosystems, WWF!

    One of the WWF’s trustees is our very own Professor Tim Flannery who can be contacted at Macquarie University, Macquarie Park, NSW 2109. He’s a rational bloke so why not write to him and see if he can communicate some sense on this issue, back to the WWF?

  • Geon Brisbane builds a bigger future

    Taking over another company is never easy, but Geon in Queensland has managed to integrate not just one, but three different businesses into a dynamic print powerhouse. Mitchell Jordan travelled to Brisbane to visit the new state-of-the-art print centre and see what the future holds for the company in the sunshine state.

    Geon may only be four years old, but its footprint in Queensland dates back decades. In 2007, when the private equity-backed company was nearing the end of its big buy-up phase, it acquired mailing house, Impressive Laser Solutions, bringing its total of Brisbane-based businesses to three, also including Penfold Buscombe (formerly Scanlon Printing) and Octane.

    Each of the three businesses serviced three very different areas: offset (Scanlon Printing), digital (Octane) and mail, giving Geon strong playing power not just in Queensland, but across Australia. However, being based in different locations always brings with it issues in continuity and cohesion; pretty soon a solution presented itself: a purpose-built print centre (pictured below) that would house all three of the businesses in one location just as Geon had achieved earlier at its facility in Highbrook Business Park, New Zealand.

    Such a concept is fine in theory, but in practice many a time it has proved a headache for companies, to say the least. Three different companies means three different attitudes. It takes a steady hand and a patient mind to steer everyone in the right direction but Cameron Mackellar, who came on board as general manager just before the site’s completion 26 months ago, can take considerable credit for the success of the Geon building in Eagle Farm, Queensland.

    Mackellar, who has a strong background in web printing, spent 12 years at PMP prior to joining Geon and was attracted to both the thought of taking on such a challenge and also being part of a company that was on the growth path.

    “Geon had very large growth plans and initiatives in place,” he recalls. “They wanted to take this business and, through the support of Gresham Private Equity, drive significant growth into the organisation organically, and through other opportunities such as acquisitions.”

    Looking back, Mackellar realises his task was certainly an ambitious one. “It was an enormous challenge: we had three separate business and three separate cultures,” he says.

    “The most significant challenge was blending them all into a Geon culture that is team-orientated and filled with people who take ownership and responsibility on board.”

    Of the many employees that came across to the new facility, most are still with the company today, and, according to Mackellar, are a significant part of the business.

    “They all make a valuable contribution and have a strong work ethic,” he says.

    Mackellar sees the new building as an embodiment of Geon’s achievements within in the state of Queensland. “The plans for expansion into the Queensland market were set in stone well before two years ago when we opened, but this place was specifically built to integrate the various acquisitions we had made in order to have one operational facility that services all of Queensland,” he says.

    “It’s a state-of-the-art facility; the location is fantastic for servicing both south and north. We are essentially on the Brisbane River with the main freeway next to us and the city just kilometres away.”

    Mackellar isn’t exaggerating when he describes the building as state-of-the-art. The camera doesn’t lie, of course, but it is also hard to capture how impeccably laid-out and clean the premises is (outside is also the nesting centre of choice for some fierce-looking crows). With the river just behind it, the building has also hosted some fun times for staff and customers, including a recent garden party.

    On a tour of the factory floor, I see just how carefully planned out the space is: the four Heidelberg presses take pride of place, with separate areas for digital printing (powered by an HP Indigo 5500 and Xerox and Konica Minolta presses), mailing and bindery with enough space to easily extend each of these divisions, which is exactly what Mackellar intends on doing.

    He sees digital print and mail as the two biggest growth areas for Geon in Brisbane.  “Whilst offset printing is the mainstay of our business, digital and mailing have been consistently growing for us, even in the GFC, whereas the offset market has been adversely affected with some volume decline,” he says.

    “We run offset printing 24 hours a day, five days a week and want to run digital printing and our mailing division to a similar pattern. We see great potential in both of these areas of our business as it allows us to provide the total solution to the customer.”

    Power of the people
    It is people that are just as important and necessary in growing a business and Mackellar credits the team for placing Geon on a strong, upward growth trend over the last six months.

    “This has been achieved largely through adding resources to our existing capability. The only way to grow is to have the right people on board,” he says.

    One of the people he is referring to is Bill Campbell, (pictured right, with Mackellar) sales manager for Queensland, who joined the company just over one year ago after a considerable time heading up sales at fellow Brisbane printer, Fergies Print and Mail.

    “What attracted me to this role was the sheer scope of the company and the range of products it offers – Geon is a lot more diverse than a traditional printing company and has significant opportunities for growth,” Campbell says.

    Since joining, Campbell has wasted no time in recruiting “some good quality, dedicated salespeople” to drive business further. It hasn’t always been easy. He admits that: “The Queensland market is always tough, challenging and highly competitive due to oversupply and pressures in the industry. It’s mainly a commercial market here.”

    Still, the sales team’s efforts are reaping rewards. “Bill has been a fantastic acquisition for us – he has amazing market and customer knowledge,” Mackellar adds.

    Though Campbell has spent much of his lifetime in the printing industry, both him and Mackellar recognise the importance of bringing fresh young blood into the industry. In particular, Mackellar realises the industry is not seen as particularly “glamorous” for those choosing a potential career, but he also sees the importance of promoting the positive aspects of working in printing.

    Of the 130 employees, 10 per cent of the workforce are apprentices. Book binding apprentice, Matthew McClellan, enjoys the “creative” aspect of the job. “It’s interesting learning how books are made,” he says.

    Another recent addition to the team was 24-year-old Nicole Woodward, who took up the role of marketing coordinator this year, fresh out of university. After they were inundated with applications from aspiring graduates, both Mackellar and Campbell conducted extensive interviews with a shortlist and were blown away by the creative ideas that young people were able to bring to the business. A stand-out presentation on the printing industry secured the job for Woodward, who has since taken on a number of responsibilities, such as the compilation of the company’s e-newsletter and also had the idea of creating an entire room to showcase Geon’s range of print and products to customers.

    “We didn’t really have anywhere to show products to our clients and the room was empty, so I thought it was the perfect place to show customers what we do rather than just tell them how fabulous we are,” Woodward explains.

    She admits that prior to joining Geon, she never thought much about print, but after getting involved would definitely recommend the industry to others her own age. “There are so many different aspects of printing – whether it’s design or the marketing side. It’s a really interesting industry to get into,” Woodward adds.

    Outside of Brisbane, Geon has been busy expanding its presence throughout all of Queensland. With two regional sales operations in Townsville and Cairns and sales reps on both the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, every inch of the state is well covered.

    Two months ago, a new Xerox press went into the Cairns site. “There have been a number of digital company closures in Cairns and that rationalisation provided us with a great platform for a start-up operation that is well supported by the exiting customer base,” Mackellar explains. It is likely that something similar may take place on the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast soon.

    It fits well with Mackellar’s future plans for Geon. “We would like to double the size of our business turnover in Queensland in the next five years,” he says. “We’ve got the facility and management capability to do it; the market is certainly there, we just need to offer the right solution. That’s the key to generating a good profit.”

    The view from up high
    Three months ago, Scott Thompson went from looking after Geon in three states to the whole of Australia. He talks about his plans for Queensland and how the industry must change in order to survive.

    In only two years, Scott Thompson (pictured) has risen through the ranks from southern region manager to executive general manager of Geon Australia. Undoubtedly it’s a big role that sees him frequently up in the air, travelling from one state to the next, but Thompson insists that it is far from draining.

    “It’s actually fun,” he says, “you get to meet with great clients and customers and any day I help somebody grow is a day I thoroughly enjoy.”

    With a background in packaging, Thomspon is familiar with printing, though he does believe it is too resistant to change.

    “Compared to other industries, it spends more time looking backwards than forwards, but there are still plenty of opportunities,” he says.

    According to Thompson, each state in Australia has its own different challenges and Queensland represents a strong opportunity for Geon.

    “The Queensland market appears to be very fragmented. There are a lot of small, family-owned companies with their fingers in all parts of the pie. It’s not buoyant, but it’s certainly showing good growth,” he says.

    “Queensland is very big geographically and it’s an expensive freight state. Digitally, there is an opportunity to service markets more effectively.”

    While he sees traditional offset print as continuing to be a large part of Geon’s offering, Thompson also recognises the potential of digital, which also goes hand in hand with mailing.

    “People are printing then mailing and with one person to manage that whole campaign for them means there are greater opportunities,” he says.

    Thompson was involved in the executive group for the Queensland company as it embarked on the new building and offered advice to the team along the way. He describes the journey as “one of the biggest fun challenges anyone can have”, and credits Mackellar for his dedication.

    “Cameron and the team did a sensational job in turning things around. It was all about effective communication at all levels of the organisation and involving everyone on that journey – then the cultural change is easier to achieve,” he says.

    “The results are speaking for themselves in terms of morale, industry feedback and worker motivation.”

    What makes a good print salesperson?
    Competition between sales people has never been more competitive in the printing industry. With more companies competing over fewer jobs, sales people are a printing company’s best asset. So, what makes a good sales rep? Bill Campbell (pictured) shares his thoughts:

    “For our market, relationship selling is the key. You can be a hard worker, but unless you’re good at relationships you’re generally not as successful,” he says.

    “When hiring, I look for someone with in-depth knowledge of the industry. It’s difficult to transfer someone from a non-print background because in our market, clients look to sales people for information and knowledge on how to produce products.”

    It has only been in recent years that the term “salesperson” has replaced the long-held “salesman”. Campbell estimates that around 30 per cent of his team are female.

    “It’s not gender-specific,” he says. “You need a mix of people to appeal to a range of different clients.”

  • Funeral notice for Dick O’Connor

    Industry colleagues of the late Richard (Dick) O’Connor are invited to his funeral this Friday.

    He was the founder and majority shareholder of Colanco Printing, from 1978 until its sale to The Dominion Group in 2008. At its peak it employed around 70 staff, and was considered to be one of the tightest run companies in Sydney, continually punching above it’s weight in the competitive commercial colour market. He passed away Saturday 11th December after a short battle with cancer.

    Dick is survived by his wife Elaine, and children Glenn, Amanda and Angela.

    The funeral is to be held Friday 17 December at St Benedicts Catholic Church, Smithfield NSW at 10.30am.

  • Don’t miss DES second-hand printer sale

    DES has a wide range of secondhand printers for sale, from the Epson Stylus Pro 3800 (pictured) for $1195 (ex GST) to the Epson Stylus Pro GS6000 for $17995 (ex GST). We are clearing our secondhand stock over Christmas. Buy through our online store or give us a call on 1300 728 411.

    To see the full range of printers available, click here.

  • Candidate of the week: Offset Printer Adelaide

    I am a newly qualified offset printing machinist who has just relocated to
    Adelaide from country South Australia. I have been printing predominantly
    on Heidelberg A3 and A2 single colour presses and have some experience on
    multicolour presses. I would love the opportunity to build on my
    multicolour skills or to move onto web fed machines, even if I needed to
    start as an offsider.

    I am proficient in 4 colour process printing as well as spot colours and
    numbering and perfing. I also have some finishing skills including
    guillotining, stapling and collating.

    I would also be interested in getting into pre press operations where I
    think my experience in making plates and my time as a printer would be a
    great advantage to me.

    I don’t pretend to know everything there is to know about printing but I
    am getting there. My skills and knowledge are solid. My high standard of
    work speaks for itself.

    If I can be qualified and produce quality work after 2 and a half years on
    ancient, worn-out machines imagine what i could do given the opportunity
    on a good press!

    Resume and checkable references available on request.

    Please contact Eb at

  • Equipment for Sale: Gandi Innovations Jeti 3150 UV Flatbed

    Pristine condition – hardly used $55,000 ONO

    This high speed UV Inkjet printer is designed to produce high quality images on a wide variety of rigid and flexible substrates. The next generation of Graphic User Interface enables easy operation and fluent workflow production. This very versatile machine has the capability to print on both flexible and rigid substrates including:

    · Acrylic
    · Foam board
    · Compressed PVC
    · Screen board
    · Canvas
    · Vinyls
    · Light metals
    · Creazon

    Key Features
    · UV Light Technology in conjunction with a UV Photo-reactive Ink set to print quality images at a high production speed
    · Maximum print area of 3.048m x 1.52m (120 inches x 60 inches)
    · Physical resolution of 300 x 300 DPI (apparent resolution of 600 DPI)
    · Print speeds of up to 80 sqm/hr in production mode, 51 sqm/hr in quality mode or 44 sqm/hr in best mode
    · Can print a very wide range of media up to 50mm (2 inches)
    · Heavy-duty vacuum bed with pop-up pins for secure placement of media
    · Easy loading and unloading of large and heavy material can be performed by 1 person due to the print area being very accessible
    · True flatbed table using linear motion to control movement ensures perfect registration on rigid and flexible materials
    · Operates from a wide range of RIPS including Onyx Postershop, Wasatch SoftRip, ColorGate, Caldeara GrandRip+ and Shiraz V6
    · UV Ink Technology with a 6 Colour Configuration: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black, Light Cyan and Light Magenta

    Dimensions & WeightHeight: 1.54 meters (60.5 inches)
    Width: 2.43 meters (95.5 inches)
    Length: 6.23 meters (245.25 inches)
    Weight : 4763 Kgs (8000 lbs)

    Electrical Requirements
    Three Phase
    Phase sensitive, Load not balanced, 220/380VAC 4 wire plus ground (3 phase, 1 neutral, 1 ground)
    Phase to Ground = 220 VAC 50/60Hz
    35A (25KVA)

    Air Requirements
    Compressed air/100 – 150 psi
    5scfm @ 100 psi (min)

    Environmental Requirements
    Ambient Temperature: 20-30°C (68-86 °F)
    Relative Humidity: 40-80% non condensing)

    Mark McEwan
    Tel:  03 9587 1755
    Mob:  0418 424 231
    Fax:  03 9587 8322

  • CSG spearheads Canon multi-channel sales drive

    The move to contract the sales and service of Canon MFDs has proven its worth with increased sales in the first six months.

    High-profile industry identity and former Fuji Xerox managing director, Phil Chambers, is executive chairman of the publicly listed print services and technology company, CSG, that is a key part of the new Canon go-to-market strategy. It is responsible for the sales and service of a substantial part of the installed base of Canon’s multi-function devices.

    Under the management of Ken Kobayashi, Canon Australia managing director, (pictured on right with Craig Manson,director, Canon Business Imaging and Phil Chambers, executive chairman CSG)  the new alignment is part of an aggressive sales drive in the lucrative MFD office market. To facilitate the entry of the Darwin-based CSG, Kobayashi in April this year authorised the transferral of 10,500 units to CSG for a consideration of $31 million.

    This created sufficient critical mass for CSG to build its sales and service arm. It started with 37 sales specialists and is now at 85 with most of the extra 50 transferring across from Canon. It has also increased the number of machines it is responsible for to 12,500, a growth rate of more than 20%.

    The engagement with CSG is a major change for Canon, which has traditionally been a single channel company, selling it products directly to end-users. According to Craig Manson, director, Canon Business Imaging, the company has done a strategic rethink.

    There are no immediate plans for CSG to enter the print production market on Canon’s behalf but it is on the agenda. With Chambers undoubted expertise in the sector it would be a logical expansion of activity.

    According to Chambers there have been no discussions yet with Canon, but it is on the agenda for next year. Bedding down the sky rocketing growth in MFDs is a big enough challenge at present. He puts a lot of the initial success down to the calibre of the CSG sales force.

    “I think the CSG Sales Team is the best I have seen. Bear in mind that the deal with Canon was only done five months ago at a time when we had no salespeople, no support staff and no technicians. We had to build a completely new multi-million dollar business from a zero base. We had to find new premises in each capital city, a new national customer support centre, as well as recruiting a complete sales and service organisation,” said Chambers.

    “Now we have a complete national physical infrastructure in place as well as a sales team of 77 specialists and 85 technicians. In my 40-year experience in the industry, the quality of the sales force we have recruited in Sydney is second to none. Even making allowances for the inevitable teething problems faced by any start up business, the productivity of the sales force and the morale of the whole team are quite extraordinary."

  • Ebooks open up new chapter for readers

    It’s time to turn another page in publishing and pay attention to ebooks, says Barry Jones, chairman of the Book Industry Strategy Group.

    In an article for the Sydney Morning Herald, Barry Jones, chairman of the Book Industry Strategy Group, outlined the numerous possibilities which ebooks can have on the publishing industry. They are a product which he believes will allow for greater diversity.

    “Will the "deregulation" of the publishing industry, where anyone can self-publish, result in more stories of highly variable quality? Of course it will – just as the printing press did. But it may lead to some new and innovative ways of storytelling, ways that engage the reader in different or deeper ways,” he wrote.

    Price is one of the factors which account for their popularity, according to Jones.

    “Books in electronic form, or ebooks, are becoming popular at the expense of printed books, or pbooks. Why? It’s not just about price. Anyone who spends several hundred dollars on an electronic book reader, an eReader, is not doing it to save money in the first instance. It’s true that ebook titles costing about $10 are more attractive to the price conscious than the same pbook at about $30. But there’s more to the story,” he wrote.

    “Where Amazon and Apple have got it right is the immediacy of purchasing an ebook. Both the Kindle and the iPad come with wireless connectivity to the Amazon and Apple stores, respectively. If you have an Amazon account, the Kindle comes preconfigured with your details so you can buy a book at 3am if you so desire. Bilton calls this ”Me Economics”, which is really just instant gratification in book buying. But it beats late-night television.”

    To read the entire article at the Sydney Morning Herald, click here.