Archive for September, 2011

  • 200 million digital labels per month – new record

    Worldwide users of HP Indigo’s WS6000 press collectively surpassed 200 million impressions in August, raising the bar on monthly production of labels and packaging.

    According to the VP of HP’s Indigo division, Alon Bar-Shany, this new single-month record reveals the increasing demand for digital production in the packaging industry. “The HP Indigo WS6000 Digital Press helps customers be more competitive in a very challenging economic environment.

    “The value our customers gain with its productivity and quality is shifting more labels and packaging production from analog to digital systems and creating new opportunities for our customers to grow their businesses,” he says.

    The monthly production record ties with the launch of the next generation Indigo models that will be showcased at the upcoming LabelExpo Europe. The new WS6600 press is capable of printing more than 40 meters per minute in full colour, eclipsing its predecessor’s 30 meters.

    HP is also introducing an entry-level solution for digital labels, the HP Indigo WS4600 Digital Press, which can run 21 meters per minute in full colour.

    Shane Lucas, director of graphic arts at HP South Pacific, says this year has seen the tenth installation of a WS6000 into Australia and New Zealand, with three sites already running second presses.

    “Feedback from customers, agencies and consumers has been very positive. We are seeing large print volumes from the growth in digital in the areas of labels, flexible packaging and folding cartons on these machines,” he says.

  • Seven tests for private equity – Print21 magazine feature

    As the industry focuses on the result of the Blue Star bondholders vote, James Cryer sharpens his pencil and tallies up the scorecard for private equity’s involvement in the printing industry.

    Private equity has been grabbing industry headlines recently for all the wrong reasons. Once touted as encour­aging survival of the fittest, their modus operandi was to divest extraneous assets, re-invigorate the business, inject new capital and know-how, and flog it off at a huge multiple of the purchase price, typically within five years.

    But recent collapses of well-regarded retail brands, such as Borders and Colorado, have reminded us that the embrace of the PE monster can be the kiss of life—or death. So, with the fifth anniversary of their arrival in the printing industry coming up, how do the PE gurus rate on the scorecard?

    First test: did they buy poorly performing assets in need of a re-vamp and thorough overhaul?

    No, amazingly they chose the pick of the bunch among printing companies, the vigorous, the strong and the healthy, immediately setting an impossible bar against which to extract improvements.

    Second test: did they buy cheap?

    Remember this was an era of easy credit that fuelled a feeding-frenzy. The largest single PE purchase, Promentum (aka Penfold-Buscombe, bought for $127 million), was bought at the top of the market, again making it virtually impossible to extract any upside.

    Third test: did they destroy brand value?

    The golden rule of any takeover is to build, not dismantle, any goodwill embedded in the brand. So, did they preserve the intrinsic value in famous names such as Dynamic Press, AP Mail, Graphic World, Agency Printing, McMillans, et al? Not really.

    Fourth test: did they become role models in showing the rest of the industry how to be good corporate citizens?

    Back in 2007, Gresham PE said: “… as a brand GEON is strategic, visionary and progressive in scope and will… move forward with a unique offering.” I may be wrong but I see a narrower offering from GEON than from a lot in the industry.

    Fifth test: did they show the rest of the industry how to manage for improved results and deliver improved sector profitability?

    Both Blue Star and GEON are groaning under massive debt burdens, only recently alleviated by their long-suffering rich uncles.

    Sixth test: did they become good corporate citizens by being part of the industry?

    Where are the scholarships? Where are the apprenticeship training programs? Where are the leadership roles and participation in industry associations? As a serial event attendee, I don’t see much evidence of their involvement.

    Seventh test: did they develop a good exit strategy?

    As everyone in the industry knows, there is an inherent tension within the PE model. It seems almost inconceivable that CHAMP or Gresham will see any sudden or dramatic upturn in profitability, given the intense competition they find themselves encountering. Treading water may be a more apposite term, aided only in their survival by the generous tax concessions they enjoy on their interest costs.

    Another PE fund, Helmsman, has already exited after a very unrewarding relationship with Chippendales, licking its wounds, and probably with a sigh of relief.

    Optimal print size

    How has it come to this? There are probably many lessons we can learn, but one recurring thought springs to mind. I suspect there is an optimal size for a printing company, and it’s a lot less than the bean counters would like. It may range from 40-80 people, reflecting the fact that the printing process is highly dependent upon a lot of mutual, and often quite personal, interactions between individuals, all acting within a highly-integrated environment.

    Often the financial engineers who drive these mergers/acquisitions don’t see or at least don’t put any value on this need for team-mindedness. It’s old-fashioned, irrational, and can’t be measured. But we’ve all seen the alienation, the loss of team spirit, and the loss of belonging that arises within those organisations of accountant-lead amalgamations.

    So there’s my version of the PE Report Card. Make of it what you will. The one enduring mystery is this: if the printing industry is such a primitive backwater capable of a quick-fix and an easy buck, why haven’t there been more takers—especially recently, when the asking price is a lot lower than five years ago? If you were in the industry long-term, wouldn’t you want to buy a few more bargains to offset your poor judgement earlier on?

  • NZ’s Speedy Signs gets its first HP latex printer

    Sign-a-Rama’s New Zealand chain installs its first Designjet L25500 in South Auckland, seven months after adding the printer to its start up kit with an international HP deal.

    According to franchisee Brent Neighbour, the decision to install the East Tamaki-based company’s first HP large format printer was influenced by the franchise group’s decision. “We’ve used a few other brands and when our last machine came to the end of its useful life we decided to look at the HP Designjet.

    “We print a large volume of vehicle graphics on self-adhesive vinyl. Having the print come off the printer dry makes an enormous difference to turnaround times as we can apply the graphics immediately. This can literally save us days on each job,” he says.

    The new printer, installed in June by HP channel partner Jenrite, will enable the franchise branch to expand beyond adhesive vinyl products into new areas, such as wallpapers.

    Brian Pretorius, director of operations at Sign-A-Rama Australia, says there are currently 15 Designjet L25500 printers throughout the franchise group this side of the Tasman. He expects another five to be taken up by new or existing local franchise owners by the end of the year.

  • NIPPA – networkers dream for some

    News coverage of NIPPA’s 2011 Print Managers Conference will be restricted. The trans-Tasman body of professionals has taken the extraordinary step of barring all media apart from one industry publication. But nonetheless you can be assured Print21 will bring you as much information as we can.

    This year’s conference from 5 to 7 October at the Rydges Lakeside Hotel in Canberra, will be a networking smorgasbord for those lucky enough to attend. Market professionals and partners, offering a gauge on what it will take to be successful in the coming years, will provide insights into where the print industry is heading.

    The conference will also feature several roundtable events and networking opportunities enabling attendees to join the discussion, trade ideas and best practices, and meet both old and new friends.

    Speakers include special guests Paul Bishop from Sheffield University and a member of UPMG (University Print managers Group) in the UK, Susan Heaney from Heaney’s Performers in Print (HPIP) and a member of Women in Print, Judy Berghan from Sydney University and our Keynote Speaker Ant Williams, and there will be sponsored presentations from our Sponsors Konica Minolta, Ricoh, Canon and Oce.

  • Letters, feedback, get it off your chest: 28 September 2011

    Strong response to our publisher’s letter this week, as Patrick Howard’s reflection on private equity within the industry draws quick reaction.

    Re: Equity is a broad church – Letter from the Publisher – Patrick Howard

    What is Patrick Howard smoking?

    Is he on the pay roll of the big equity companies in their spin department? The equity companies and privately owned companies are like chalk and cheese. A dose of reality is that the big equity companies have destroyed medium-size companies in a way that no other has, recessions included.

    Firstly, pricing strategies with them, it’s easy as the money is borrowed. The consequence of not really doing well is that it is not their money; it’s someone elses. Just a Dear John letter and move on to the next bunch of suckers.

    Whereas an owner-operated business puts everything on the line, a lifetime of work, and his own private cash. When he goes under everything is gone, not like equity companies that close up shelf-company 268 and move on with your other bits and bobs.

    The other side of the coin is because of slimmer margins; the first thing that goes is training. No more taking on apprentices and trainees, as you just can’t afford them anyway. There is plenty of redundant print staff looking for a job.

    All print, no matter what you are in, requires investment into an updated front end, MIS systems kept up to date, and new technology. We would all love the new Komori coming out with UV drying and the latest Fujifilm 720 ink jet machine, along with the new Indigo 7500.

    But guess what Patrick, you have to charge enough to pay for them. We don’t have access to interest free loans, and the possibility of $104 million dollars of bondholder’s money free of charge to fritter away at our leisure. If we did have it, the above would be on my shopping list.

    Phil Jones
    Managing Director
    Thames Publications Ltd
    Wellington, NZ

    —————————————-

     

    Phil Jones’ sentiments, robustly expressed in his letter, are felt widely by sectors of the industry, in particular:

    • SME printing firms with sensible pricing structures trying to compete with quotes that defy financial rationalism.
    • The unfortunate ‘no-man’s land’ investors who bought bonds, but whose voice was shouted down by the more powerful PE clout.
    • Those who have lost their jobs in what were previously well-run and profitable family companies, either closed down or savagely downsized by PE razor gangs.

    But there’s good, bad and indifferent PE money just as there are good, bad and indifferent privately owned printing shops. I think Patrick Howard’s article was bringing this out, rather than flying the flag for PE as Phil Jones thinks.

    What he may not know is that in the same printed-version of Print21 magazine was another article on PE written by James Cryer "Seven Tests for Private Equity." Phil Jones might find Cryer’s position a little more aligned to his own views, and yet it was published and vetted by the same person he accuses of being in-league with PE supremos. Such is life in the media.

    What stands out, as a serious flaw in the printing industry on both sides of the Tasman is a lack of clear, cohesive Succession Planning. So, when a PE-backed outfit comes along waving wads of cash in the face of a 60-something business owner whose kids are not interested in taking over and whose staff can’t afford their own MBO, the temptation to take the money and run is overwhelming.

    This is what happened from 2003 on when the Kiwi-led, (by Geoff Wilding of Pacific Print Group), PE deals started in earnest.

    Phil, I don’t disagree with some of the things you wrote but I think you misread the meaning of Patrick’s Publisher’s letter. Oh, and I happen to know he’s a non-smoker.

    Andy McCourt

  • Lateral thinking for wide-format printing

    Art students thinking outside the box are putting an Océ Arizona 350 GT flatbed inkjet printer through its paces at the University of South Australia, as they experiment with unconventional substrates.

    According to workshop technician, David Gordon, students quickly develop interesting uses for the course equipment when uninhibited by traditional processes. Though not always a success, such as printing on filo pastry, the school discourages its use for mundane tasks.

    “This was the case with the Arizona 350 GT. When they realised it could print on virtually anything, they came forward with a variety of fascinating techniques and substrates. We have used it to print designs on hand-formed glass, wood, doors, all forms of plastics and metals such as corrugated iron.

    “Their use of the printer for fabrics has been interesting too. They have used it on cotton, silk, lace and even hessian, often stretching the material for ultimate effect. One student mounted leaves onto a backing board and printed on those,” he says.

    Pictured: David Gordon inspects a piece of art printed on a ceramic substrate on the Arizona 350GT.

    Encouraged to put aside established methods of print, these Uni students are testing printing equipment in ways that would surprise many industry veterans. This type of experimentation is exactly the kind of creative expression the School of Art, Architecture and Design wanted to bring out with the purchase of the printer.

    “Quality equipment that is used in industry, such as the Océ Arizona 350 GT, is an excellent recruiting tool for the University. Particularly when prospective students see the quality of the work that can be produced on it,” says Gordon.

  • DES steps into Supply One’s shoes

    Taking on the mantle of MACtac Australia’s new coloured film distributor, DES has come to the rescue for wide-format printers after Supply One’s shock closure.

    According to DES’ managing director, Ian Clare, the company has already taken delivery of a number of stock lines as it gears up for its new role.

    “The MACtac range of products is a perfect complement to our suite of technologies for the wide-format and digital print sectors, and we’re looking forward to pursuing further growth in the Australian market together with MACtac.

    “As part of our commitment to our new partners, we have undertaken to maintain the full selection of MACmark coloured vinyls, including the 9800 PRO Series, Premium Performance Polymeric Film and a comprehensive range of IMAGin digital print media and Permacolor laminates for the wide-format digital print market,” he says.

    Over the coming weeks DES will be contacting MACtac customers to discuss ongoing supply requirements, as it works to maintain the supply line.

    David Worth, BDM for MACtac Australia, says the unfortunate closure of Supply One provides the opportunity to take advantage of DES’ established nationwide network.

    “We are sure that our customers will find DES a highly professional supplier of our products, and we look forward to helping their business achieve continued success by providing high quality and innovative graphics and decorative solutions for many years to come.

    “MACtac would also like to sincerely thank our existing distributors, BJ Ball Papers Australia and Celmac, for their outstanding support during this challenging period. Our thanks also go to Q1 Media for their assistance,” says Worth.

  • Candidate of the week: Printing Managment Role, Australia/New Zealand

    Professional profile
    A proven professional with outstanding business acumen, including management and consultation, with a focus on improving results and a high level of expertise in buying, production and purchasing within the Printing industry. Demonstrates the ability to lead and motivate a team effectively while implementing various initiatives to continually increase turnover and improve efficiency. Quick to grasp new ideas and concepts, and to develop innovative and creative solutions to problems. Possesses excellent negotiation skills and is able to build and maintain effective relationships at all levels.

    Objective
    Seeking a challenging new Senior Management position, which will make best use of existing skills and expertise whilst offering opportunities for further personal and professional development.

    Career summary
    2006 – Present Director & Business Consultant, RED FOX


    Achievements:

    • Recently leading a large tender for TUI, winning a contract worth more than £1.5 million
    • Successfully selling the company to KF Group and subsequently performing a business consultancy role
    Responsibilities:
    • Currently managing the acquisition and implementation of a new MIS and accounting system for the company in order to improve overall efficiency
    • Previously acting as Managing Director and CEO with responsibility for buying, having established and built up the business with colleagues over a period of 4 years

    1994 – 2010 HALCYON

    2009 – 2010 Group Buyer
    • Working with the CEO to improve the company’s bottom line, achieving an increase from 18% to 24% within the year

    1994 – 2006 Director/Partner
    • Overseeing the print production operation, maximising efficiency while minimising costs in order to deliver an annual turnover of up to £6 million
    • Managing the print buying process, including liaising with suppliers, negotiating prices and ensuring the highest levels of quality
    • Working with a business partner to develop a highly successful organisation while supporting all recruitment activities, sales and marketing initiatives and financial management

    1993 – 1994 Print Buyer, CENTURION PRESS
    • Assisting with all purchasing activities within a new team under the supervision of Richard Evans
    • Liaising with suppliers, negotiating prices and ensuring appropriate delivery terms to satisfy the requirements of production

    1984 – 1993 Production Manager, PADDON AND BROOKS (NEXUS)
    • Coordinating all print buying and production on behalf of all four divisions of the company, with a total value of up to £4 million


    Education and qualifications

    OND: Hotel and Catering Operations (1977)
    7 CSE/O Levels: Including English & Mathematics (1974)
    Key I.T. skills
    • Word, Excel, Outlook, Entourage, Photoshop, MYOB and Internet

    References are available on request

    email.  jon@redfox.cc

  • All the many glittering prizes – James Cryer

    Alison Stieven-Taylor, in her comments about the recently held Printovations Awards, has correctly identified an issue, which tantalises and beguiles us at least once every year. Are there too many print awards?

    Well, it depends how you count them, but a quick roll-call of all the States’ PICA’s awards reveals an average of 40 different award categories per state, with Tassie winning the Grand Slam with 58! The Printovations awards consisted of only half-a-dozen awards but even so, Alison reported a "clinking of glasses" and impatient "chatter." We’re a hard mob to please!
    But her question is a valid one.

    May I be permitted to re-phrase the question, to, "are there too many quality-based awards?" In that case the answer is unequivocally, yes!
    Putting aside our nationalistic fervour, let us turn to the British print industry and their peak-body, the BPIF to see how they wrestle with the same problems, i.e., the optimal number of awards and how to reward other aspects than just quality.
    It can be argued that an awards programme is like a mineshaft that drills down through the surface layers of an industry revealing its core values.
    The Brits have in fact done a worthy job in identifying those areas of endeavour they regard as vital to future success and which should be rewarded.

    Part of this process has involved weaning themselves off the bloated carcass of ‘quality’, the rich nutrients of which have sustained our industry for decades, if not centuries. It’s a hard habit to toss, particularly when, as tradespeople from birth, we are taught that quality is next to godliness, and anything else is heresy. Counter-intuitively, the British printing industry appears to defy logic by not officially acknowledging ‘quality’ per se, in their awards, favouring instead other measures of corporate good business practice.

    Their awards philosophy is to become a celebration of business excellence, where, in tough economic times a printing company should be encouraged to focus on the quality of all its business practices. Their awards reflect that, including marketing, health and safety, training, technical innovation and environmental responsibility. Furthermore, they have recognised that different dynamics exist within large and small companies, and have split many of the categories according to the number of employees.

    We could do worse than investigate the British response to the problem, where they’ve recognised four categories ¬¬– ‘Good Employer’, ‘Good Business Manager’, ‘Good Manufacturer’ and ‘Overall Winner(s)’.
    Exclusive reliance on ‘quality’ is like feeding a sumo wrestler a diet of Smarties. It’s seductive but not sustaining. Quality has become a chimera, a distraction, a seductive feel-good remedy that imparts a temporary feeling of well being. But the rest of the world has moved on.
    An adaptable, responsive industry needs to ingest the multi-vitamins contained in a broad-spectrum diet as demonstrated by the British Excellence Awards – a diet that addresses a whole range of muscle-building programs including innovation, health and safety, the environment and staff morale. These are the drivers of long-term viability and the dimensions by which a successful company should be measured.

    So, to get back to Alison’s question: "Are there too many awards?" It depends. With over 200 awards given out nationally through the PICA’s program, predominately rewarding quality, compared with the Brit’s 13-odd awards – none of them based on quality – the answer is YES.
    If, however, innovation is regarded as one of the proteins that any vibrant industry needs flowing through its veins – to have only six categories, the answer is NO.
    Hope that helps.

    James Cryer,
    JDA Print Recruitment

  • Super Drupa 2012 deal ends this Friday

    If you are planning to visit drupa in 2012 some limited offer early bird specials are available as part of the Printing Industries Get Ready to Succeed drupa tour.

    Japan Airlines has released a very limited special on Business Class return flights to Germany (Frankfurt) via a Tokyo stopover from only $5300* – the catch is that it must be booked by this Friday 30 September. But if you are prepared to suffer Economy class Emirates can get you there (Dusseldorf) and back for $1887*.

    You can also get a tour package from $3487.00* per person based on twin share for seven nights or simply opt for an accommodation only booking from a choice of three Düsseldorf hotels starting from as little as $1,600 per person for seven nights which also includes an Aussie Night dinner ticket and Happy Hours.

    For more information, bookings or advice call Marty or Sonia – Printing Industries official Get Ready to Succeed drupa tour 2012 agents on (02) 9388 0666 or 1800 634 714. E: estclovelly@optusnet.com.au

  • Star deal for Roland DG

    Starleaton is set to run far and wide with its new nationwide distribution agreement for the entire range of Roland DG hardware and consumables in the Australian market.

    According to director, Garry Smith, the deal immediately opens up the roll-fed UV sector with both print-only and print and die-cut models for labels and decals. The distribution agreement adds 28 unique hardware products Starleaton’s offering, plus inks and consumables.

    “We have been looking at the eco solvent and UV market for some time, and Roland DG by far offer the best products and opportunities coming down their pipeline. In turn they are hoping we are able to take their products into newer markets, apart from their traditional signage market.

    “This agreement improves our one-stop-shop offering to customers, by adding products from a supplier who is already seen as one of the market leaders within the wide format industry,” he says.

    Smith believes this agreement has changed Starleaton as a company, as it has not just added another brand to its range, it has extended its product and service offering to an already wide customer base. “Roland DG’s build and reputation sits well with Starleaton’s philosophy and we already supply a lot of media to Roland DG users.

    Pictured: (l-r) Director of Starleaton Garry Smith, general manager Ben Eaton, Roland DG sales director John Wall and Starleaton chairman Peter Eaton.

    “It’s a great fit in with our hardware range and enables us to offer signage and display total customer-care packages including hardware, Rip, ICC profiling, inks and media. We’re very excited about the possibilities,” he says.

    The distribution deal will see Roland DG sublimation printers such as the VersaArt and Hi-Fi Express paired with Starleaton’s Neschen textiles and soft signage range.

    John Wall, sales director at Roland DG Australia looks forward to working closely with Starleaton’s sales and support teams as they push its brand into new markets.

    “We are selective whom we appoint as dealers and following meetings both here and at overseas events, we are comfortable that Starleaton will be a valued long-term channel partner for Roland DG products,” he says.

  • SGP delivers competitiveness

    As the final round of Sustainable Green Print (SGP) training courses are set to begin in NSW and Victoria, a recently certified NSW company has given an invaluable insight into what motivated them to go down the certification path.

    Operations manager with Auburn’s Bell Press, Chris Cloran, says the motivation began as a way to become more competitive in gaining work. “It used to be OK just to write ‘working towards’ environmental accreditation but in today’s world of accountability, claims are required to be validated by external auditors.

    “Environmental requirements will only grow in significance and given the lead-time involved in bringing about cultural and procedural changes as well as documentation it became essential to make a start and Printing Industries’ SGP program allowed us to do it in bite size chunks,” he says.

    Cloran says Bell Press, which has just completed its SGP Level 2 certification with Printing Industries, had come up against the need to be green as a differentiator when seeking work with Federal and State Government agencies and via contract holders such as Finsbury Green and Ergo Asia.

    “Our distributors and other print managers are also looking for competitive advantages and in some cases it is a prerequisite when dealing with large corporate organisations,” he says.

    Pictured: (l-r) Managing Director John Bombell and Chris Taylor proudly display the Bell Press Level 2 Sustainable Green Print certification.

    According to Cloran, a side benefit had been the enthusiasm and participation of the Bell Press staff that contributed ideas and appreciated the opportunity to be part of an environmental program.

    “It has been a source of discussion and pride for the company and its employees. Not to forget that we are also in a market niche with two other companies who both have SGP Level 2, so we are now equal to them in this regard,” he says.

    Printing Industries
    Victorian office begin the two- day Level 1 and Level 2 training courses at their Mulgrave office on Wednesday 5 October and Wednesday 12 October. To enrol or to find out more please contact Bruce Lowery on (03) 8541 7304 or bruce@printnet.com.au

    Printing Industries NSW Level 1 and Level 2 courses will be run on Thursday 10 November and Friday 11 November respectively at the Auburn office. Bookings and inquiries should be directed to Ian Walz on (02) 8789 7362 E-mail: ian@printnet.com.au

  • Secure Your Speedmaster SM 52 for $259.00 per Day

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    Faster and more lucrative with four-color printing

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    Prepare for every eventuality with the extended Performance Package.
    The Speedmaster SM 52 combines top-quality printing with an excellent price-performance ratio. Our extended Performance Package allows you to minimise production times while significantly enhancing your productivity.

    The Prinect Press Center Compact, the ergonomic operation center, is the ideal tool for controlling your Speedmaster SM 52. The innovative process-oriented operator guidance Intellistart can boost the productivity of the printing press quite significantly. AutoPlate and programmable washup devices enable you to reduce makeready times by simplifying operations.

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    The integrated reporting tool generates an online overview of operating data – such as machine status, job status and shift evaluation – on a stand-alone computer. Prinect Color Assistant enables the precise and continual optimisation of ink presetting on the press.

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  • PMP Digital covers its backend with EskoArtkwork

    Streamlining packaging production with new 3D design, prepress and workflow tools, PMP Digital’s recent software investment aims to get client’s products to the market quicker.

    According to PMP Digital’s national manager, Justin Davies, the new lineup of backend tools will enable the company to leverage existing capabilities in packaging and other areas into the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) space.

    “In the increasingly competitive climate we need to ensure our service models and infrastructure is going to help clients to grow their revenue by enabling them to get products to market faster and by reducing operational and fixed costs.

    “As the best-in-market technology solution for packaging, Esko was the obvious choice. Furthermore, one of our key customers has also adopted Esko software for the physical design of cartons,” says Davies (pictured).

    Purchased to support the prepress specialist’s packaging service model it allows a broader reach across that entire market segment, moving beyond just carton folding into flexo in the near future.

    “Integration of digital workflow solutions like Esko and our retail, corporate and advertising workflow solution, DMarketer helps to bridge operating platforms and communication cycles to improve visibility and control throughout the briefing and creative process, and define standards for approvals and collaboration.

    “This improves reporting and ensures jobs are produced according to specifications and that any risk is minimised. In basic terms, this means faster and more flexible concepts, less time to apply the concepts to artwork and in prepress production, plus fewer errors and rework,” he says.

    PMP Digital onsite staff or nationally deployed at client sites will use the EskoArtwork solutions to integrate company processes and methodology with client systems. The online collaboration tool, WebCenter acts as a workflow hub for all parties within production to work together with transparency. 

  • Indonesia cries foul over green claims

    Critical of how its environmental record is portrayed in the media, the Indonesian government hosts a forum in Sydney in an attempt to balance the narrative about its forestry industry.

    Over three hours and lunch at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney, the Indonesian Government ran the gamut of propaganda and PR to push back against what they consider to be unfair reports of their enviro record.

    According to Indonesian trade minister, Dr Deddy Saleh, paper bans are sometimes paired with incomplete information from NGOs and governments. "We think this treatment is unfair. That’s why we are trying to counter [mis-information] about the compliance of our product to regulations and commitment to the environment.”

    Discussions from the top table ran the gamut of its national forestry standards (LEI) versus international groups (FSC) and disputes with environmental NGOs. At no point was there any mention of the Sumatran tiger incident that brought Indonesian paper manufacturer APRIL into the spotlight and caused it to lose Fuji Xerox and Office Works as customers.

    APRIL is currently in damage control as it meets with paper merchants and print industry players to convey its side of the story. Also feeling the pinch is rival APP as retail chain IGA boycotts its tissue paper products, a move orchestrated by Greenpeace.

    Pushing forward the country’s environmental initiatives, Hadi Daryanto (pictured), secretary general to the Ministry of Forestry, outlined the plans for the forest industry’s future, including a 26% greenhouse gas reduction target by 2020. Indonesian paper exported to Australia has risen 2.46% year-on-year to 2011.

    Panel speakers addressing the forum included Dr Saleh and the Ministry of Forestry’s secretary general, Hadi Daryanto alongside Australian Forestry Standards CEO Kayt Watts and Bernard Cassell, ex-CEO of paper merchant group CPI.

  • Equity is a broad church – Letter from the Publisher – Patrick Howard

    In recent weeks the industry has been focused on the public travails of Blue Star as it reorganises its finances in order to stay afloat. The sacrifices asked of the holders of $105 million in bonds were stringent, to say the least. Their agreement was crucial to the continuing operation of the company and despite calls for a principled stand from some bondholders, economic reality won the day.

    Poring over the result led me to wonder if it is not time we all got passed labelling private equity as a peculiar form of investing. On some level, since the demise of Government Printers, all printing equity is private. We are the ultimate private equity industry with the vast majority of companies owner operated.

    What has changed in recent times is the entry of large funds to buy up and consolidate lots of printing companies with the aim of launching as public stock companies. However attractive that may have appeared in the heady days of easy credit, there is little appetite now in the market for such risky IPOs. Champ, which now owns Blue Star, is having to tackle the challenges of running a printing company, one moreover with a mountain of debt and a wide geographical spread. Gresham, which owns GEON, has to do the same. (Opus is slightly different having with a restrained appetite for debt, but nonetheless it also has an innovative business plan that ultimately involves a share market play.) Good luck to them.

    If they do succeed in convincing the investing public to buy into their strategy the face of the industry will certainly change, but not by that much. We already have publicly traded companies, such as PM and others that move in and out, such as CPI, which was taken private by its new owners. There is IPMG, the second largest printing company in the region, which is held tightly by the Hannan family. But no matter who owns the shares and the bonds in the large companies, or the invested stakes in the privately held entities, all the equity is private, there is no tax-payer funded government money involved here.

    Which makes the current demonization of the owners of Blue Star and GEON singularly inappropriate. Many appear to think these companies are bad for the industry. The vitriol is impressive, much of it personal and a lot of it wildly inaccurate.

    Now that the latest round of refinancing is over, everyone including management and the competition should calm down and get on with the business of transiting the printing industry into the new communications age. Yes, there have been some fairly controversial decisions, some of them mind-boggling wrong, many with painful consequences in terms of employment and destroyed equity. Some printing company owners have exited the industry with payouts beyond their dreams; others have had to deal with the hangover of price-cutting and a drive for market share.

    But the market will eventually decide who will win and who will lose. It is the same for the largest investor and bank supported companies as it is for the average printer. Well-run companies survive and thrive; others go to the wall, no matter how large they are. The main downside from the pain the banks are suffering in dealing with the struggling large companies is the reputation they conceive of the industry as a whole. If the Bank of New Zealand is taking a hit from Blue Star and the RBS is getting it in the neck from GEON, their experience will colour others to be more cautious when assessing requests from printers.

    But it serves no one to wish for the failure of these printing companies. Apart from the dislocation of workers and the damage to the industry’s reputation as a worthwhile sector in which to invest, the loss of money by suppliers in bad debts weakens the infrastructure of the industry.

    There is a great shake out underway in the printing and graphic arts industry. Technological forces are turning our industry upside down. Anyone who thinks there is a short cut to creating a well-managed and profitable printing company is delusional. The same goes for those who think the industry would be better off if some of our largest companies were to fail. We all have a stake in the well being of the printing industry.

    That’s our shared private equity.

  • Bookings close today for lunch with print guru

    Bookings close today for the final 2011 NSW CEO Forum featuring international innovation and manufacturing guru Professor Goran Roos.

    According to national communication and technical services manager for the Printing Industries, Joe Kowalewski, two days after the NRL Grand Final the ANZ Stadium will play host to Prof Roos for his address to industry leaders.

    “We hope the positive aura and enthusiasm associated with Grand Final time spills over to motivate business managers to attend and have their own win from the important learnings and advice that this key world authority presentation will provide.

    “Many printing businesses are grappling with the challenges of process, product, customer and technology change and the pressure of understanding the transitioning process from a purely manufacturing model to a services provision model,” he says.

    Can they or should they make the change? What does the future hold and how do they navigate the journey?

    The theme behind Prof Roos presentation, ‘The New Print Paradigm: "What you should know to get involved or to get out’ will provide a frank assessment and advice that is certain to provide much ongoing discussion.

    Kowalewski says Prof Roos was instrumental in the development of the Australian printing industry’s Print21 Action Agenda and Business Diagnostic Tools that have become a hallmark of success for many print industry businesses.

    “His no-nonsense, outspoken approach has attracted extensive media coverage during his time in Australia providing commentary on Australia’s economic and manufacturing direction,” he said.

    During PrintEx earlier this year Prof Roos had some sage advice e for the industry. ‘The Consequences of deploying technology and modifying the business model and getting it wrong is bankruptcy. The consequences of getting it right is dramatically increased profitability.’

    Prof Roos also forecast a growth in ancillary services print industry companies should be leveraging over the next five years including digital printing, graphic design, fulfilment management, warehousing, electronic file management, e-books, database management, digital print libraries and multimedia services.

    Göran Roos has completed a role as the South Australian Government’s Thinker in Residence setting future directions and raising the profile of the manufacturing industry.

    A world leader in business model innovation in manufacturing, Professor Roos is Honorary Professor at Warwick Business School in the UK and the founder of Intellectual Capital Services Ltd., a leading think tank on technology and business futures.

    He is also visiting Professor of Innovation Management and Business Model Innovation at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, and visiting Professor of Intangible Asset Management and Performance Measurement at the Centre for Business Performance at Cranfield University UK.

    In his academic and professional work Professor Roos has advised government bodies in UK, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Spain, Austria and Australia on issues relating to strategy, research and development, national and regional innovation systems issues, knowledge management and intellectual capital.

    The lunchtime presentation will be held on  4 October in the Platinum Lounge at ANZ Stadium, Homebush. Bookings can be made by calling Mark Tolentino on (02) 8789 7388 e-mail: mark@printnet.com.au or by downloading the Registration Form here.