Archive for August, 2011

  • The Rabbi and the Goat

    After Alon Bar Shany

    A guy goes along to his Rabbi.
    “Rabbi, you have to help me. I’m going crazy, my wife is nagging me all the time, I’ve got seven kids and the house is too small and now my mother-in-law is coming to live with us. What can I do?”
    The Rabbi thinks, scratches his beard.
    “Go home and buy a goat. Keep it in the house and come back to see me in a week,” he advises.
    The guy goes, buys a goat and brings it home.
    Seven days later he’s back with the Rabbi.
    “Rabbi, this is crazy. You may be a very wise man but the advice about the goat! It’s driving me nuts, it’s all over the place, butting the kids, eating the furniture, biting my mother-in-law. It’s chaos. What can I do?”
    Rabbi considers again.
    “OK, go home and sell the goat and come back to me in a week.”
    Guy goes home, sells the goat and seven days later he’s back.
    “So, how is it?” asks the Rabbi.
    “Oh, Rabbi, it’s great. Everything has calmed down, the kids are back to normal, my wife is talking to me again. Even my mother-in-law is not complaining.”

    Moral of the story … if you think things can’t get worse, buy a goat!

  • World authority may meet industry CEOs

    One of the world’s most innovative and knowledgeable printing industry personalities, Professor Goran Roos, may visit Sydney to meet with industry CEOs.

    Printing Industries is currently negotiating to bring Prof Roos to Sydney for a special CEO Luncheon tentatively scheduled for 4 October.

    Prof Roos was very well received during the PrintEx Forums when he presented to a packed house on innovation and how it is shaping the printing industry.

    Printing Industries
    CEO, Bill Healey, says London based Prof Roos, who has been in Australia for several months at the request of the South Australian Government as its Thinker in Residence developing strategies to assist its manufacturing sectors, will be completing his obligations shortly.

    “Printing Industries believes that Prof Roos’ knowledge of the printing industry and its future development internationally as well as in Australia is invaluable,” he says.

    “His brief visit for PrintEx was a highlight of the forums and generated much comment about what our industry members should be focussing on for their futures.

    “We would like to give as many of our industry CEOs as possible the opportunity to benefit from Pros Roos’ insight and have the opportunity of meeting him at our own CEO luncheon forum before he returns to London.”

  • Western Australia’s Gold printers shine

    Scott Print, GEON WA and Quality Press/QPrint Online were the big winners at the Western Australia Kodak Printing Industries Craftsmanship Awards (PICA) coming away with a total of 17 gold medals last Saturday.

    Taking seven gold was Scott Print, GEON WA five and Quality Press/ Q Print Online five. Other multiple gold winners were Percival Print and Packaging, Labelworld WA, Fast Finishing Services and PMP Print.

    A total of 32 framed gold medallions were awarded from more than 300 competing entries to companies that will now go on to represent Western Australia in the National Print Awards in April 2012.

    Bill Wall of Heidelberg Consumables announced GEON WA as the 2011 winner of the Heidelberg Award making it three in a row for Ian Smith and his team.

    Pictured: John Austin (left) from GEON WA receiving Heidelberg Award from Bill Wall, general manager of consumables for Heidelberg Australia NZ

    Completing the formal awards of the night, the Kodak Printing Industry Recognition Award, presented by the Managing Director of Kodak (Australasia) Adrian Fleming, went to a surprised Mick Ciavarella (pictured), Director of Presslink. Recognised for his work in the industry, particularly with the LIA and the Graduate of the Year program.

    Fleming reflected on the difficult conditions the WA printing industry was operating in and said he looked forward to the time when printers could speak of having plenty of work and being able to make a profit. He was positive about the future of the Industry and closed in affirming Kodak’s continued support and thanked the many Western Australian companies that were Kodak customers.

    This year the PICA WA returned to the Burswood Entertainment Complex with a theme focussed on the well known sites of South West Western Australia.

    Western Australia PICA Chairman, Ainslie Lamb, emphasised the outstanding support from Kodak to the local industry over the many years they have been a major sponsor. He also thanked Media Super who this year supported the event as a Diamond sponsor.

    Lamb reinforced the importance to the printing industry of continuing to produce quality products that are sustainable and a tried and proven success for customers to communicate their messages with.

    Printing Industries
    new CEO, Bill Healy, was impressed and gratified at the support and level of excellence demonstrated for the WA PICA.

    He said that while new to role, he had already met with many printers in WA and around the country and he was confident and reassured that print has a significant place as part of future multi media communications.

    The LIA Graduate of the year was presented by Heidelberg Customer Support Manager, Chris Lebesmuehlbacher, to Corey Hunter a third year apprentice with Fairplay Print.

    Corey also receives a grant for further education which was presented by Mal Gammon of the Future Now-Creative and Leisure Industries Training Council.

    Pictured: LIA Graduates Alisha Dyer, Corey Hunter, Simone Teo, Benjamin Grant

    Printing Industries WA General Manager, Paul Nieuwhof, says the PICAs were going from strength-to-strength as more companies came to appreciate the value of achieving awards for excellence.

    “There is a healthy relationship and awareness between the industry companies entering the awards and the sponsors who help make them happen that these are important to our industry on many levels.

    “These range from the interstate rivalry as each compete against their interstate colleagues for national recognition via the National Print Awards through to client interaction where companies can showcase the innovation and quality of their workmanship as part of their marketing mix,” he says.

    Pictured: PICA WA 2011 Display

  • The block stops for digital print

    Theo Pettaras shut down Devonshire Street, Surry Hills last weekend to forklift his new NexPress into Digtalpress.

    It took six hours to remove the old press from the premises. It was wrapped, palletized, pushed and pulled through the street-side double doors to make room for the new NexPress PhotoSX3300.

    According to owner Theo Pettaras, the company has made a clean sweep of its production capability with brand new machines pulling the quality of print forward.” The new press gives us a great competitive advantage and allows us to offer a strong point of difference. What we’ve seen come out of the NexPress is truly amazing. We thought we were printing quality work before, but this has raised it to a completely new level.

    “Despite the fact that we had a Kodak press already, it didn’t necessarily mean we would return to that brand. We did a very strong due diligence with what was available. After that we felt comfortable that going again with Kodak was the right decision.

    “My mind was made up for NexPress around a week before the purchase at PrintEx. We feel very confident that we can produce the best in class print quality with this machine,” he says.

    Assisting the Digitalpress team install the new press is Kodak specialist Karl Heinz-Lorenz. Sent over from Germany for the week installation to tweak the printer to optimal capability and precision levelling.

    Pictured: Digitalpress team – Nick Pettaras, Ehab Kamel, Karl Baker, Dean Ferguson, Kristian Whitfield, Stacy Masiruw, Jackie Connor, Karl Heinz-Lorenz (from Kodak Germany), Paul O’Neill, Harley Economou, Kassandra Pettaras, Theo Pettaras.

    Pettaras says the PhotoSX3300 is such new technology; companies need someone like Karl to come over and set it all up.

    The production floor has been rearranged to accommodate the new equipment, planned to suit the new workflow. The print shop also installed a Ferrostaal Morgana DigiFold and a GBC Duplo saddle-stitcher to keep up with the faster print output.

    “Installation of the new finishing equipment was important to keep up with the speed of the Nexpress. Our business grew too much to accommodate the speed of the saddle-stitcher that we had, and the DigiFold allows us to finish our work four times faster than before,” he added.

    Pictured: Removal and installation of Kodak NexPresses on a blocked off Devonshire Street, Surry Hills.

     

     

  • PICA WA 2011 winner list

    It was a glittering night for the 2011 WA PICA awards and a great time had by all. Here is the list of winners, check here for how your company and competitors ranked.

    Scott Print and GEON WA cleaned up with around 25 awards apiece.

     

     

     

     

    Gold:

    Newspaper Inserts web fed, cold set Colourpress
    Wide format inkjet printing over 1.5 metre wide Expo Group
    Finishing Fast Finishing Services
    Finishing Fast Finishing Services/Classic Bookbinding
    Book Printing, offset GEON WA
    Calendars GEON WA
    Leaflets/Folded Leaflets GEON WA
    Self Promotion GEON WA
    Stationery – Sets GEON WA
    Digital Printing Imatec Digital
    Labels Offset – Roll fed – other LabelWorld WA
    Labels Roll fed – other LabelWorld WA
    Labels Roll fed – wine & beverage LabelWorld WA
    Folding Cartons, Boxes Percival Print & Packaging
    Postcards & Greetings Percival Print & Packaging
    Posters/Art Reproduction Percival Print & Packaging
    Environment Award Picton Press
    Direct Mail & Promotional PMP Print
    Newspaper Inserts – web fed PMP Print
    Book printing, digital Q Print Online
    Annual Report Quality Press
    Book Printing, offset Quality Press
    Presentation Folders,Programs & Menus Quality Press
    Saddle-Stitched Booklets Catalogues, Brochures Quality Press
    Book Printing, offset Scott Print
    Book Printing, offset Scott Print
    Catalogues,Brochures & Magazines Scott Print
    Catalogues,Brochures & Magazines Scott Print
    Environment Award Scott Print
    Saddle-Stitched Booklets Catalogues, Brochures Scott Print
    Stationery – single item Scott Print
    Labels – Offset – Roll fed – wine & Beverage Supa Stik Labels

     

     

    Silver:

    Finishing Fast Finishing Services
    Finishing Fast Finishing Services/Classic Bookbinding
    Annual Report  GEON WA
    Book Printing, offset  GEON WA
    Book Printing, offset  GEON WA
    Calendars  GEON WA
    Catalogues,Brochures & Magazines  GEON WA
    Folding Cartons, Boxes  GEON WA
    Postcards & Greetings  GEON WA
    Saddle?Stitched Booklets Catalogues, Brochures  GEON WA
    Stationery – Sets  GEON WA
    Stationery – single item  GEON WA
    Wide format inkjet printing over 1.5 metre wide  Go Graphics
    Embellishment  Intafoil
    Labels – Offset – Roll fed – wine & Beverage  LabelWorld WA
    Labels Offset – Roll fed – other  LabelWorld WA
    Labels Roll fed – other  LabelWorld WA
    Labels Roll fed – wine & beverage  LabelWorld WA
    Specialty or Special Printing inc Innovation  Percival Print & Packaging
    Book Printing, offset  Picton Press
    Self Promotion  Picton Press
    One, two or three colour printing – any format  Pilpel Print
    Direct Mail & Promotional  PMP Print
    Direct Mail & Promotional  PMP Print
    Direct Mail & Promotional  PMP Print
    Newspaper Inserts – web fed  PMP Print
    Newspaper Inserts – web fed  PMP Print
    Design  Promotional Graphics
    Calendars  Quality Press
    Catalogues,Brochures & Magazines  Quality Press
    Posters/Art Reproduction  Quality Press
    Posters/Art Reproduction  Quality Press
    Annual Report  Scott Print
    Book Printing, digital  Scott Print
    Book Printing, offset  Scott Print
    Book Printing, offset  Scott Print
    Book Printing, offset  Scott Print
    Digital Printing  Scott Print
    Leaflets/Folded Leaflets  Scott Print
    Presentation Folders,Programs & Menus  Scott Print
    Saddle-Stitched Booklets Catalogues, Brochures  Scott Print
    Saddle-Stitched Booklets Catalogues, Brochures  Scott Print
    Self Promotion  Scott Print
    Labels – Offset – Roll fed – wine & Beverage  Supa Stik Labels

     
     

    Bronze:

     Finishing Fast Finishing Services/Classic Bookbinding
     Catalogues,Brochures & Magazines GEON WA
     Finishing GEON WA
     Postcards & Greetings GEON WA
     Stationery – Sets GEON WA
     Stationery – Sets GEON WA
     Stationery – single item GEON WA
     Labels – Offset – Roll fed – wine & Beverage LabelWorld WA
     Laabels Roll fed – other LabelWorld WA
     Labels Roll fed – wine & beverage LabelWorld WA
     Labels Roll fed – wine & beverage LabelWorld WA
     Book Printing, offset Lamb Print
     Folding Cartons, Boxes Percival Print & Packaging
     Specialty or Special Printing inc Innovation Percival Print & Packaging
     Book Printing, offset Picton Press
     Calendars Picton Press
     Saddle-Stitched Booklets Catalogues, Brochures Picton Press
     Direct Mail & Promotional PMP Print
     Newspaper Inserts – web fed PMP Print
     Annual Report Quality Press
     Postcards & Greetings Quality Press
     Presentation Folders,Programs & Menus Quality Press
     Presentation Folders,Programs & Menus Quality Press
     Saddle-Stitched Booklets Catalogues, Brochures Quality Press
     Calendars Scott Print
     Catalogues,Brochures & Magazines Scott Print
     Design Scott Print
     Digital Printing Scott Print
     Embellishment Scott Print
     Folding Cartons, Boxes Scott Print
     Leaflets/Folded Leaflets Scott Print
     Posters/Art Reproduction Scott Print
     Labels Offset – Roll fed – other Supa Stik Labels
    Newspaper Inserts web fed, cold set WA Newspapers

     

  • No Australian copy paper will carry FSC logo

    Reflex paper, Australia’ largest selling copy brand, will not carry a FSC logo even after Australian Paper’s got back its chain of custody certification.

    According to Shaun Scallan, general manger for corporate social responsibility for Australian Paper, the FSC logo hasn’t been on Reflex paper for nine months due to a packaging review last year. Yet it is still certified with PEFC, the world’s largest Forest Certification System.

    “A contributing factor was the fact that the Forest Stewardship Council guidelines dictate its logo cannot appear alongside competing chain of custody programs, like AFS/PEFC.

    He says after the Rainforest Alliance audit of VicForest operations, FSC International disagreed with the interpretation of the standard. “This left insufficient time for us to address and so we elected to withdraw controlled wood from our certification.

    “Even today they are not clear on their interpretation. We have held the FSC standard at VicForests for the last five years, but it’s clear that the requirements are changing with time,” says Scallan.

    The Wilderness Society has gained over 10,000 signatures of Australians committing to stop purchasing Reflex paper in its Ethical Paper campaign.

    Luke Chamberlain, Victorian forest campaigner for the Wilderness Society, says it is time for the makers of Reflex paper to move into the 21st century and make a real green product using plantation timber and recycled fibres only.

    The majority of wood supplied to Australia’s sole fine arts paper producer is AFS/PEFC certified. VicForests is still forestry certified.

    This means that, according to the European Union supported World Wildlife Fund, no Australian produced copy paper meets the FSC guidelines. Most FSC copy products listed on its website are produced by European mills with some from China.

    Rainforest Alliance’s decision to recertify Australian Paper to FSC STD 40-004 supersedes the original certificate extension and the new certificate excludes the controlled wood verification programme.

    Richard Donovan, forestry VP for Rainforest Alliance, says interpreting and implementing the FSC Controlled Wood standards is one of the more challenging areas of work within the FSC system, both in Australia and worldwide.

    “The Rainforest Alliance has been proactive in working to improve and implement these standards, participating actively in the controlled wood debates at the recent FSC General Assembly, and taking on the challenges of implementing the standards in the field.

    “We believe that major forest operations that provide controlled wood supply should become certified to the FSC Controlled Wood – Forest Management (CW/FM) Standard 30-010.”

  • Fair weather friends turn cold – Print21 magazine feature

    There’s a widely-held belief that, in the wake of the GFC, printers are being shunned by the big banks, just at a time when many companies are looking to secure financing for new investments. But how true is it? Does the printing industry have an image problem with money lenders, or are there other issues at stake? Simon Enticknap investigates.

    It’s been quite a while since any finance company or bank called me wanting to spread the good word about how much they value doing business with the printing industry. Not that it used to happen a lot but certainly there have been times in the past when the money lenders were keen to be seen as good friends of the industry, the sort of mates who could be relied on to help out a printer in his time of need.

    Back then, printing was regarded a relatively ‘safe’ industry to be involved with; good printing businesses generated strong cash flows, the assets, by and large, held their value, and many companies were family-owned businesses with deep roots in the industry and good credit records. There was something sturdy, solid and reliable about printers, not at all like those fly-by-night dot.com operators.

    How times change. The after-effects of the GFC have sent shockwaves through the industry and changed the perception of it in some people’s eyes as a good bet. The collapse of well-known companies and the widespread consolidation of the industry, particularly in the commercial print market, has created uncertainty amongst lenders to the extent that fewer and fewer seem prepared to take a risk and support what is viewed as a declining industry. Banks have tightened up their lending requirements and are much more likely to refuse an application that would have been given the nod in years gone by.
    That’s the perception anyhow, but how realistic is it? Is the printing industry really on the nose with today’s money lenders?

    One person who has experienced first-hand the changing landscape of print finance is Maurie Shakespeare of Heidelberg Print Finance. Over the past decade or so, he has witnessed how the lending policies of finance companies and the banks have changed with regard to the printing industry and the impact this has had on local print businesses.

    For instance, when Heidelberg Print Finance first started, its role was mainly as a conduit through which printers could obtain financing for their equipment purchases from a range of lenders, of which there were several.

    Since then, Shakespeare says the number of lenders prepared to offer finance to the printing industry has declined significantly. At the same time, the Big Four banks have also been making it harder for printers to obtain credit. The result is that Heidelberg Print Finance has had to take on a bigger role as a lender to the industry, albeit reluctantly and not through any desire to enter the world of finance.

    Two years ago, when Print21 last interviewed Shakespeare about finance for the industry, the story was one of finance companies withdrawing from the market and the big banks making it harder for printers to get approval for finance. This time around, he says the story remains the same.

    “From where we sit, there’s been no real change in the appetite of the banks over the last two or three years,” he comments. “It’s still extremely difficult for clients in the graphic arts industry to get funding done through the banks, and the number of sources external to the banks is extremely limited.”

    The irony of all this is that now is actually a good time for printers to be thinking about dusting off those investment plans. The Aussie dollar, at record levels against the Euro and US dollar in recent months, is working in favour of local printers looking to import equipment from overseas; as anybody who has travelled to Europe or the US recently can testify, the local dollar goes much further these days. At the same time, interest rates seemed to have become becalmed at a lower level than they were just prior to the onset of the GFC with little prospect of rising in the near future.

    The result is that for those businesses that can obtain finance, current purchasing conditions are as good as they have been for some time. Of course, that’s not a reason in itself to go out and buy a new press—there’s no point in investing in new equipment if the market won’t support it—but it is a significant factor in companies’ purchasing decisions. The question is whether, given the current economic conditions, the lending drought is acting as an impediment to companies wanting to invest.

    Printers are not alone

    It is a question that has occupied the minds of more than just printers. Last year, a Senate economics committee handed down a report (Access of Small Business to Finance, June 2010) investigating the current state of financing for small businesses (which includes the majority of print companies). The report acknowledged that lending to SMEs had fallen since the GFC and that many small businesses were reporting difficulty in obtaining credit and were having to pay more for it.

    Not surprisingly given the nature of these all-party committees, the reasons given for this state of affairs were equivocal at best. On the one hand, the slowdown in small business lending was attributed to a fall-off in demand from businesses in the wake of the global recession and the fact that many companies had adopted a more conservative approach towards taking on debt.

    On the supply side, it was noted that banks had tightened their lending require­-ments having “tended towards recklessness in the preceding boom”, and that there were less funds available among non-bank lenders. As to who was to blame for the current lending drought, well, in the words of the report: “Witnesses were reluctant to apportion the roles played by these various factors.”

    The point is that many of the factors affecting lending to the printing industry are common to other industries and small business in general.
    For instance, as the report suggests, lending to farmers, another small business sector, has likewise been hampered by the flow-on effects of the GFC. In addition, it’s clear that not all businesses, large or small, have been affected to the same degree. Several business surveys suggest that only a minority of businesses have been negatively impacted by credit issues, while others suggest it is the cost of credit rather than its availability which is the critical factor.

    Closer to home, Markus Haefeli, MD of equipment supplier Ferrostaal, is scathing of the idea that the printing industry has been singled out as a “bad risk” by the banks and finance companies.

    “People often say ‘the banks aren’t financing’ but we’re asking banks to finance companies that have no positive equity, they have been losing money for the past two or three years, they don’t know where they’re going in the future—why would you lend them a million dollars?
    “We’re asking the banks to do very stupid things and these guys are not stupid.”

    Haefeli says companies with healthy balance sheets and a strategic plan for the future should have no problem financing their plans, and he lays down a challenge to anybody who says they are being shunned by the banks because of the industry’s image problem.

    “If the business is well-run, has a strategy, a positive balance sheet and is profitable, there should be the capability for a business like that, whether it is in the printing industry or the refrigeration industry, to gain financing and funding.

    “Anybody in the industry who has a positive balance sheet, who is profitable and has liquidity to prove they are sustainable in the future, I will find them finance and I guarantee it.”

    When vendors become lenders

    Whatever the reason for the perceived credit drought, one of the consequences has been to underline the increasingly important role being played by the equipment vendors as financiers.

    Heidelberg Print Finance is one example of a vendor finance service that has morphed from being effectively a broker for financing arrangements to actually financing its own sales. In the digital sector, vendor finance from the likes of Fuji Xerox, Canon and HP is common­place and these days accounts for the majority of equipment deals. In effect, these vendors are bankrolling the growth of the industry and making it possible for printers to keep on investing in new technology.

    Cynics might argue that vendors only become lenders in order to sell more equipment, and to some extent that is true. That is their purpose after all. Vendors on the other hand are more likely to see financing as just one of a number of services they provide to their customers in order to ensure their business success. Either way, there’s no doubt that vendor finance enables deals to be made that would otherwise get knocked back by the banks.

    So why are vendors prepared to sanction deals that banks and other third party lenders would not approve? Maurie Shakespeare says it’s not that the vendors have less stringent requirements than the banks but rather that vendors often have a better understanding of the impact on a business of a new piece of equipment.

    “It’s very hard to get across to somebody outside the industry exactly what new technology does for a business,” he comments. “We have a better understanding of that because we see it time and time again, and through our consulting work can ascertain the value of the proposition as well as its potential for being successful.”

    These days it has become standard practice for banks to fully secure all loans against fixed assets such as the family home or to require personal guarantees. They are no longer prepared to provide finance on ‘soft’ security such as cash flow or goodwill. In effect, the banks want to eliminate all risk from the deal by securing it against only those tangible assets which it understands.

    By comparison, Heidelberg still applies the same criteria to any finance application as do the banks, but it also takes into account future cash flows and cost savings that may arise as a result of having the equipment in place. Likewise, Shakespeare says Heidelberg doesn’t demand security such as ‘fixed and floating’ charges and only in rare circumstances does it insist on security such as family homes.

    “That’s really indicative of our better understanding of the industry because, although we do operate exactly as a lender and have the same information requirements and approval process as a bank, we can interpret the data better due to our knowledge of the industry,” he says.

    Heidelberg Print Finance is only available in a handful of countries around the world including Germany, the US, South Korea and Eastern Europe, and it reports directly to Germany rather than to its local units. Shakespeare says the fact that it operates here is an indication of the lack of competition between lenders and, consequently, a smaller appetite for risk.

    While the original motivation behind setting up Print Finance was to enable Heidelberg to present a single point of contact for all sales transactions, including financing, its role has continued to expand and develop. Now, after 11 years at the helm, Shakespeare is handing over the finance role to Con Xanthos, commercial manager and company secretary, later this year. Xanthos says the company has the full support of Heidelberg in Germany to maintain its vendor finance role.

    “It’s an integral part of the sales effort in this market and will continue to be here,” he commented.

    More than just finance
    So is the growth of vendor finance simply a response to a shortage of lending options in Australia or does it serve other purposes too?

    In the digital sector, vendor finance is well-established and is accepted as a normal part of doing business. Simon Lane, national manager, graphic communications at Fuji Xerox Australia, describes it as being “in our DNA”, pointing out that from the early days of Xerox in US, vendor finance has been a key part of growing the business. Today in Australia, the majority of Fuji Xerox’s sales are financed through its own finance operations.

    “It’s a really critical piece of our offering to the market,” he comments. “It’s a key differentiator for us. We’re one of only a couple that offer our own finance operation and it does potentially give us flexibility that other vendors might not be able to offer.”

    Stephen Doherty, manager of Fuji Xerox Finance, says competition from the banks has dropped off over the past 24 months and while major customers always remain attractive to the banks because they are perceived as being more secure, at the smaller end of the market, it is often only the vendor who is prepared to take the risk. In part, Doherty says, this is because vendors are aware of the opportunities to sell additional services to the customer other than just financing.

    “For a vendor finance company, there are three or four reasons to do a deal with a customer whereas a bank has only got one reason,” he comments.

    In part too it is a reflection of the rapid development of technology in this sector. The payback period for digital equipment is generally much shorter than with offset machinery (although even here it is becoming much faster) so the question of refinancing is never far away. The need to upgrade equipment is a constant factor, particularly in production colour. In that regard, Doherty says vendor finance is a good option as banks will typically want to see out any lease arrangement to the end and may impose penalties for early termination. In contrast, vendors can afford to be more flexible if it involves refinancing in order to upgrade equipment.

    “One of the advantages of vendor finance is that we make it fairly easy for a customer to do that,” he explains.

    Ultimately though says Doherty, it’s not just a lack of third party options or the ease of refinancing that makes vendor finance the preferred choice amongst digital printers. It’s also because, when the going gets get tough, there’s an expectation that the vendor is more likely to support the customer than a bank will.

    “It’s our job to work closely with our customers through these tough times to try and get a better solution for us and the customer at the other end,” he comments.

    While the banks may appear to be giving the printing industry the cold shoulder at the moment, this is more a reflection of the banks’ appetite for lending post-GFC than any indictment of print. In these times of need though, it’s useful to know who your real friends are.

    Terms and conditions

    There are as many ways to finance capital equipment as there are ways of separating a feline from its fur. In part this reflects the variety of equipment that is available to buy, from a simple desktop spiral binder up to multi-million dollar presses. In general though, the two main methods of financing a deal are hire purchase or leasing.

    HIRE PURCHASE: With hire purchase, the borrower actually owns title to the asset and pays it off over a set period of time while claiming depreciation on the asset. Typically, hire purchase is used for larger items with a longer service life. At the end of the hire purchase agreement, the borrower may have to pay a residual or balloon payment, or they can make higher repayments and end up with no balloon.

    Maurie Shakespeare says the majority of deals with Heidelberg are hire purchase with a maximum length of seven years with no residual. Where possible, shorter payback periods are supported.

    “Yes, we encourage shorter terms but as with any investment it’s always a balance between affordability and cash flow and future upgrade path,” he commented.

    Fuji Xerox also offers a hire purchase option which was introduced at the time of the government’s investment allowance incentive a couple of years ago. Stephen Doherty says that for the period of the incentive (which required a hire purchase or chattel mortgage arrangement), it was a popular option but has dropped back since then.

    “The investment allowance period certainly helped to close a lot of deals that would have taken a lot longer in that period.”

    LEASING: This is a bit like a rental agreement whereby the finance company buys the asset and the borrower pays the financier for the use of it. Unlike rental however, ownership of the asset transfers at the end of the lease term when the borrower pays a residual amount that represents a realistic value of the used item. Typically the monthly payment can be claimed as a tax deduction.

    “This is probably the most used product in the graphics industry,” says Stephen Doherty. “It gives customers more control over their equipment than a straight rental.”

  • Come visit the HP Indigo Digital Supermarket at Labelexpo

    Labelexpo Europe is the world’s largest event for the label, product decoration, web printing and converting industry. Held in Brussels from 28 September to 1 October.
    With less than a month to go, the exhibition is already larger than the previous one and organisers are expecting all six halls to sell out. This will make the show the largest ever label event.

    HP Indigo Industrial presses will be demonstrated at Stand 9G65 with a wide range of applications being printed live on the presses at the booth, endless samples, and partners’ solutions—workflow, finishing, and media.

    The HP Indigo “Digital Supermarket” will feature hundreds of consumer items with labels and packaging printed on HP Indigo digital presses by customers from around the world.

    There will be technology workshops where you will be able to see how different digital printing presses compare as the same label job is run, using three different technologies. The Technology Workshops will take place in a especially dedicated feature area in Hall 9, across from HP’s stand.

    Mark Daws (pictured), Manager of HP Indigo Industrial Solutions at Currie Group was excited about the upcoming exhibition “As always we expect a great turnout from the ANZ converters. It’s a fantastic opportunity for them to see the latest developments in technology, particularly digital printing.

    "The availability of new end-to-end workflow streams including enhanced MIS integration and hybrid converting solutions have not only made digital label printing easier than ever before but also made it a far more economical way to produce the majority of today’s print runs“.

    Visitors to HP’s stand will have the opportunity to see labels, flexible packaging, shrink sleeves and folding cartons produced using the latest HP Indigo presses and finished with end-to-end solutions from HP partners to create high-value products for consumer and industrial markets.

    Among HP partners on the stand are EskoArtwork and A B Graphic International who will be presenting digital prepress automation and modular finishing solutions respectively.

    To pre -book a private demonstration, compare costs of one of your real jobs on conventional vs. HP Indigo digital press and discuss any specific business needs please contact

    Mark Daws
    +61 411 755 400
    markdaws@curriegroup.com.au

    To learn more about the event please visit the official website www.labelexpo-europe.com

  • Digital dreams – connecting to the digital network in Singapore

    Dscoop Asia, the HP Indigo users co-op, held its annual meeting in Singapore last week. Patrick Howard went along to hook into the energy.

    Singapore is on the equator, well it’s 137 kilometres to the north, but it might as well be right on the line. It’s hot, it’s steamy and when you step outside Changi airport into the night air there’s a redolent smell of lush vegetation with just a whiff of tropical decay.

    Singapore is the first stop, the nearest destination to Australia and New Zealand where anyone would want to stop off, apart maybe from Bali. Many of us only see it in transit on our way to more traditional destinations, a legacy of our European heritage.

    But the world spins and dynamics change and now Singapore is exercising its own power of attraction. The airport taxi to Sentosa Island Resort drives through an almost futuristic metropolis, elegant soaring skyscrapers and arching freeways against a background of multi-coloured light. It is the 21st century writ large, gracing the antipodean visitor with a sense of being nearer to where the action really is.

    The Fiesta Hotel at Sentosa Resort World is a family affair, not your usual business-class accommodation. My family room has an additional bunk bed, there are lots of swimming pools shining in the night below the window, while the shipping container terminal over the highway bustles on, arc lights and huge cranes processing the endless lines of ships at anchor out in the dark. The breakfast queue the following morning is filled by Singaporean families with lots of children. The noise over the noodles and eggs is deafening.

    I’m here to attend the 2nd Dscoop Asia annual get together in the convention centre next door, so it is an early start. Three escalators down into the air-conditioned conference spaces and all sight of tropical Singapore is gone.

    There are lots of people milling around, over 1300 according to the organisers, up from the thousand or so at last year’s gathering in Seoul. Business Beyond the Ordinary – Your opportunities, Your connections, Your way; the conference theme is projected in multi-media around the walls.

    The registration counter is a Babel, a mix of Malay, Philippine, some Euro faces and, of course, lots of Singaporeans. Smooth and efficient handling of the various languages is impressive. The Chinese have their own Mandarin and Cantonese desks, as have the Japanese and Koreans.

    Along the sides of the foyer HP Indigo partners are setting up tabletop displays. Some are more elaborate, such as the shower recess with digitally printed tiles. The HP executives are easy to pick out in the mix; they are the guys in the dark suits, white shirts and ties. Blending in they’re not.
    I move into the conference hall, easing through the throng to a front row seat. It’s an old behaviour of mine; better sit up near the teacher if you want to learn anything.

    I spot David Minnett, (pictured) owner of Group Momentum, North Sydney, the chairman of Dscoop Asia. We shake hands. Over the next day and a half he is going to be everywhere, opening the conference on behalf of the committee, responding to accolades, doing his own presenting and always urging the delegates to “get involved.” He is one of those people who puts a lot into anything he commits to. At this stage he is focused, a little nervous about the opening session but taking it in his stride.

    The conference opens with a frenetic bunch of drummers pounding away onstage. It’s a trans-cultural thing; who doesn’t get drumming? Then we’re into the introductions. David Minnett is on stage to make the welcome speech. He does well. It’s a fine line, emphasizing the user group’s autonomy and independence, while giving due credit to HP, which meets most of the bills. There’s no doubting the enthusiasm of the crowd, even with half of them plugged into Chinese, Japanese and Korean translations.

    First speaker is Chris Thomas, Chairman BBDO/Proximity Worldwide, an advertising heavyweight talking about the vital element of creativity in building brands. It has nothing to do with printing, but everything to do with marketing service providers, which is what these people from Dscoop are aiming to become. It sets the tone for the conference.

    Next up is a hard-talking American, James Lafferty, CEO of Coca Cola West Africa. He treats us to a potted bio of his start as a gym trainer, before a decade with Proctor and Gamble and then Coke. He is big on the dynamics of FMCP (fast moving consumer products) with a very American presentation about Building Your Business Beyond the Ordinary. It’s good motivational stuff with a notable quote that the customer is the CEO of your company, but I’m not sure how it plays in translation. Halfway through my thoughts drift towards the lunch break.

    As the audience streams out to the buffet, I take a burl around the partner stands. Familiar faces are deep in earnest conversation with prospective clients. Roland Schmidt (pIctured)  is extolling the benefits of Direct Smile software to a focused group from Kula Lumpur. Next door, Joe Manos, Mindfire, is well into his pitch. Along the corridor Mondi Paper and Mohawk Papers are doing good business.

    There are 39-trade partners here covering everything from finishing with c.p. bourg and Hunkeler to Taopix for photo album portals. I hear from David Hawkinson, executive director Dscoop that in the USA trade shows are unhappy with the number of exhibitors scaling back their involvement because they prefer the more targeted audience at Dscoop. It makes sense.

    Dscoop is a strange hybrid, part printing show and part marketing co-op. Buy a HP Indigo and make the transition to the future of printing, seems to be the ground plan. I bump into Richard Bailey, honcho of HP Imaging & Printing in Australia. He tells me there are almost 40 locals here and he seems well pleased with the whole affair.

    After lunch it’s time to decide between four streams of presentation. The emphasis is to share experiences. I sit down for Dr Rüdiger Schmidt, owner of family company Bosch-Druck in Germany. Everyone from Germany seems to over qualified and credentialed but Rüdiger is a down to earth fellow, detailing how his company has moved into high-volume web2print digital.

    But I’m waiting for the next presenters, rooting for the home team of Andrew Durrans and Sam Carter of GEON. They present together, showing how the largest offset sheetfed company in the region has moved strongly into digital. According to Andrew, GEON now produces 10% of its volumes on a variety of digital engines. He reckons without it the business would have suffered even more during the GFC. Sam Carter talks about how the mix is changing – 20% of the digital print is variable. During their session it strikes me that the local industry is a leader in the use of digital technology. It’s always good to learn, but we also have a lot to teach.

    Then the bell goes and we shuffle out and I’m looking around for the next local here, who turns out to be Andrew Smith, Albumprinter from Melbourne (pictured). This is good information for anyone wanting to get into the hyper competitive world of photo books.

    He shows how low-cost aggressive commodity producers are attacking the market. His solution is to maintain a brand strategy, provide the peak quality at the best price point. Albumprinter, an affiliate of Bruce Peddelsden’s On Demand, uses HP Indigo, naturally, along with Taopix and runs a constant evolution of its website. It seems to be working. Smith says, “the re-buy rate is wonderful.”

    Quickly following on is Joe Manos of MindFire (below). Joe has been doing this for more years than I care to remember. He’s an easy confident performer, full of anecdotes about the benefits of MindFire cross media software. He is the ultimate marketing services guy, a good asset to anyone looking at entering the sector.

    I finish off with a session given by Thomas Stevenson, a dry mid-western American who runs his family’s fourth generation printing company. “If you’re not growing you’re dying; there’s no in between,” he says by way of introducing a presentation on transforming a dyed in the wool high-end offset printer into a digital house. He shows a photo of a six-colour offset press on the print floor. “I’ll never buy another one of these,” he says. He used to do art prints, running them through the press six, seven times. No more. Now he is a full-service packaging and retail services provider, a HP Scitex wide-format machine is the moneymaker.

    This is the type of information you don’t get at ordinary trade shows. These are people who are presenting to others who might be competitors. But it doesn’t seem to matter, they’re here to share knowledge and experience. It’s what Dscoop is about.

    By now jet lag is starting to blur my focus. Singapore is only a couple of hours out of Sydney but it does make an impact. I head back up the escalators and blink in the heat and sunshine. If I’d time I go for a swim in one of the many pools, but there’s only enough for a brief room break. We’re back on in half an hour for a night at the Warner Bros theme park.

    You‘ve been there. You know what it’s like. Picture the Gold Coast with tropical heat. Fake Marilyn Monroe mouing with visitors for the camera; people in penguin suits; no, I mean, real Penguin suits. Charlie Chaplin wheels by, sweating. At least there’s plenty of beer.

    I hook up with Michael Mogridge who has parted ways with HP after many years. Michael’s always a good guy to hang out with. We both know where the bodies are buried.

    Soon we’re in a theatre for the presentation of the 4th Asia-Pacific and Japan HP Digital Print Awards. It’s packed. Awards are not the most exciting spectator sport, but what can you do? I sympathise with the judges. I was one myself a few years back. The HP suits on stage hand out awards over 18 categories and everyone gets a photo opportunity.

    Australian companies get a few mentions, including one for David Minett’s Group Momentum but the only winner is Datem from NZ, which picks up the DM category for the second year in a row. They’re not here to receive the trophy. Considering the number of awards it all moves on fairly well and then we’re out for more food and beer along the phoney Hollywood studio streets. I meet up with an old friend, Prof André Economou, who is a solutions architect for HP in Singapore. Nice guy, brain the size of a small planet and a wealth of industry experience. We go back a long way. He lives in Singapore now after many years in Australia.

    The night draws late and eventually after lots of food I make my excuses and leave. It’s been a big day.

    Press conference in the morning

    A good thing about Singaporean timelines is that you wake early, but not too early. Time for a few laps in the pool before it clogs with families. As I said, it’s not a business class hotel.

    This morning there’s a press conference with Chris Morgan, (pictured) head of HP’s Graphics Solutions Business. He’s a big fish in this pond. HP is seemingly hell bent on making good its goal of becoming the leading supplier to the printing industry. We laughed back in 2000 when the company first made known its ambitions, but no one is laughing now. Chris Morgan is the guy driving the train.

    I get chatty from my front row seat. Gido Van Pragg, HP Asia, (seated on left) sets out the company’s relationship with Dscoop and why it values the user’s group. The indefatigable, David Minnett, joins us after his presentation in the main room.
    For me there is only one question. HP‘s CEO has just announced the company is considering getting out of PC manufacturing. This from the largest PC maker in the world! Its share price takes a hammering.
    Does this mean HP is going down the IBM route of becoming a software IT company?

    In a word, the answer is No! according to Chris Morgan, who gives a spirited explanation as to why printers and especially commercial printing equipment is integral to HP’s market offering. He comes across as a bloke without obvious hype, earnestly seeking the right explanation for the company’s actions and motives.

    He acknowledges it’s a fair question, but as far as he is concerned, HP is in the printing equipment business for the long haul.

    Then it’s to the grand ballroom once again for the wrap up session and the inimitable Alon Bar-Shany, HP Indigo, who gives a typically entertaining and informative update on the state of the industry. There are winners and losers; offset press manufacturers and film companies are losers; digital transformers such as Google and Apple and of course HP, are winners. In the $600 billion print market only $20 billion is digital but it’s on the rise. There are 3,403 HP Indigo customers in the world in 120 countries, 568 of them in Asia/ Pacific with an average of 1.4 presses each.

    He tells the story of the Rabbi and the Goat.

    We’re coming close to wrap up time. David Minnett takes to the stage again, this time with David Hawkinson and Yuki Okamato, the conference chairman from Japan.

    Valedictory speeches all around; it’s been a great conference and for my money, that’s true. Many people are thanked, including HP for picking up the major cheque. By this time David Minnett is an old hand at this stuff. He’s relaxed and smiling on stage, to the manner born.

    Dscoop Europe will be launched at the upcoming Labelexpo in Brussels and next year there will be a major Dscoop, possibly the first worldwide meeting, around drupa. For a user’s group Dscoop has a lot of momentum and energy. I expect the USA, Europe and Aisa forums to become fixtures on the industry calendar.

    But for now, I’m out of here. There are a few hours before QF4 takes off to Sydney and I intend to take advantage of them by chilling out in the tropical heat.

  • PICA Awards – Queensland

    Entries close September 9, 2011

  • PAGE Awards – ACT

    The ACT Awards were rebranded the PAGE AWARDS. The name stands for Print and Graphic Excellence and aims to capture the imagination both of traditional print and new media professionals in a celebration of collaboration.

    The partnership between client, agency and supplier, and the efforts that are required to deliver truly successful projects.
    While the traditional award categories are still offered, the PAGE AWARDS establish a range of new awards to reward innovation, environmental responsibility, great partnerships and the special achievements of the industry’s young achievers.

     

  • PICA Awards – NSW

    The theme for 2011 is “The Timeless Integrity of Print”. Feel it, fold it, turn it, smell it, anytime, anywhere – its real. When you commit words and images to paper, you make a statement.

    In addition to the Awards for business innovation and outstanding print production, long standing NSW members of Printing Industries will be acknowledged on the night.
    We recognise and applaud those businesses with 10, 25 and 50+ years of Printing Industries’ membership. With 33 printing categories, 4 business excellence categories (representing small and large printers), an emphasis   on
    creativity and innovation and recognition of membership service awards, we are expecting some 500 guests to celebrate NSW’s highest achievers.

  • PICA Awards – South Australia/Northern Territory

    The aims of the PICA Awards 2011 are to

    • Emphasise the impact, appeal and effectiveness of well designed printed material of the highest quality as modern sales, communications and educational media in the South Australia and Northern Territory Business Environment.
    • Publicly recognise and appropriately honour South Australian and Northern Territory companies for their ability to create, design and produce printed material of outstanding merit and distinction.
    • Publicly recognise and appropriately honour South Australian and Northern Territory companies who demonstrate leadership in improving workplace health and safety.
    • Publicly recognise and appropriately honour South Australian and Northern Territory companies who demonstrate leadership in improving workplace resource use efficiency.
    • Provide entrants with industry recognition and company promotional opportunities which help develop extensive customer satisfaction.

  • PICA Awards – Victoria

    2011 Awards

    Some of Victoria’s best competitors are expected to line up in the starting gates this year for a chance to win gold at PICA Victoria 2011, the State’s richest prize for print excellence, and to secure their place as a starter in the high-stakes National Print Awards in 2012.

    With the season about to kick into full swing, anticipation for this year’s PICA Victoria is high with an outstanding field expected to enter the State’s premier race, including familiar names which are sure to attract the attention of punters, together with well-rated outsiders eager to prove they have what it takes to pip the favourites at the post.

    The entrants in this year’s race have overcome enormous challenges just to make it to the track. Short deadlines. High quality expectations. Tight margins. Technological change. Yet each has overcome the odds to take their place…and you can line up beside them.

    Are you prepared to test your mettle against the best the industry has to offer? Will you take a punt on your craft, your people, your business? Do you have what it takes to be first past the post?

    Whether you rate yourself a shoe-in favourite or an outside chance, experience shows this race is full of surprises…and the only reliable bet is that you have to line up at the starting gates to have your chance to win!

    Don’t miss your chance to lead the field home this year – submit your entries now and we’ll see you in the Winners Circle!

  • Variety Bash Car 15 report – day 5 to 8

    Patchy mobile service caught the team out of communication range over the weekend as their fundraising efforts take them over $31K.

    According to Currie’s Phillip Rennell, the team will keep raising funds for the children’s charity until the end of the Bash.

    “We had a very eventful trek down the west coast from Smithton to Strahan on Friday. There was a lot of slipping and sliding on the dirt roads; it was pretty hairy for a lot of the way.

    “The guys took the car around Strahan on Saturday for a bit of local touring and arrived in Hobart on Sunday afternoon.

    “Today we have been around the southeast coast of Tasmania, leaving Hobart via Kingston and Oyster Cove. We went into the Tahune rainforest for the airwalk, and came back into the Hobart at 5pm via the Mt Nelson lookout.

    Car 15 has been running stable since its last bout of mechanical hiccups, but fatigue has set into the crew.

    “Our bodies are coping from the challenges posed by a lot of driving and a reasonable amount of drinking. Fatigue set in about the fifth day, but we are now all feeling better this afternoon after the rest stop at Hobart’s Wrest Point casino.”

    Click here to donate to the cause, and you can follow the team’s progress on Facebook so updates can be followed.

  • Supply One founder signs off

    Busted buyout deal sends industry supplier into voluntary liquidation after 29 years. $1.2 million in stock to be auctioned.

    The failure sees 26 staff lose their jobs across Supply One’s NSW and Queensland branches. According to David Worth, BDM for Mactac ANZ, the company is taking urgent steps to find a solution for customers’ supply needs.

    “Supply One was our only supplier of coloured film in the Australian market, without them we have to find alternates. In the interim we are working with existing supply partners to provide computer cut rolls and digital printing products from Sydney in the coming days.

    “We apologise for any delays and inconvenience caused and ask our loyal customers to please bear with us whilst we implement a suitable solution.

    MACtac found out about the liquidation on Friday, and has been on damage control ever since. It is currently working to find a new distribution channel to maintain supply to those customers affected.
    Liquidation specialists, Worrells will be auctioning off around $1.2 million in stock, all plant equipment and assets of Supply One in the next few weeks.

    “IMAGin digital print films and Permacolour laminating products will continue to be available for shipping from our current distribution network with minimal disruption. For MACmark coloured films there will be limited access to stock in cut size rolls but most full rolls will be able for prompt delivery,” he says.

    From start of business this morning Worth has taken well over 200 calls regarding the closure, and around 100 went through the company’s 1800 number to New Zealand.

    Gary Reynolds, owner of Supply One says a deal to acquire the business fell through at the last minute. “When that happened I couldn’t see any way forward and went into voluntary liquidation. I have been on the market for the last six months, trying to sell.

    “I could keep up with the demand from customers, and unfortunately when you run out of product people go elsewhere, and it’s hard to get them back,” he says.

    In a letter to the industry Reynolds writes:

    I would like top sincerely thank you all for the support given over the last 29 years, and to leave with pride and appreciation to the people that allow me to be part of their lives. Suppliers, customers and even opposition that I have had, I thank you all.

    I apologize if we have let you down in any way, and let you know that this was never my intention. Sometimes beyond my control, but the buck stops with me, and again my sincere appreciation and apologies.

    They say that everything that you do comes to an end in some shape and form, down to the most unimaginable situation of closing the doors, and telling your hard-working loyal staff, there is no more work, and they need to find a new job.

  • Industry group goes to Grange

    Departing from industry tours for an evening, the LIA will host a Penfolds premium wine tasting night for members at Castle Hill on 29 September.

    On hand for education and palates preparation for the Penfolds Grange 2005 will be wine experts Brian Howard from Vintage Cellars and Jonathon Molloy, product ambassador for Penfolds.

    According to the LIA, the premium wines will be accompanied by a selection of the Blake’s tasting platters, finishing with King Island cheese platters, Penfolds Port, coffee and tea.

    Members and guests in attendance will be in the running for a bottle of the 2005 Grange and the traditional LIA raffle will be for a bottle of Penfolds RWT.

    Vintage Cellars will offer special prices for any of the Penfolds premium wines purchased on the evening. Purchasers will also be entered into a draw to win a second bottle of Penfolds Grange.

    • LIA Members -$110 & Non Members -$120
    • Numbers are strictly limited to 60 places
    • Book now! – Ring Mike Williams on 0417- 458 – 032
    • RSVP – 23rd September or when tickets are sold out.