Archive for October, 2011

  • New blood for Galley Club

    Ending a five-year tenure as president, Michael Schulz handed over the reins to first time meeting attendee, Keith Robinson.

    According to Robinson, BPA Print Group’s new digital print BDM, one of the reasons he had turned up to the AGM on Wednesday was to become a major part of the Club. “They were looking for somebody and I was happy to throw my coin into the hat.

    “I think the first thing I’ll do is try to take off from where Michael left, as I don’t want to disrupt any of the hard work he has already done.

    “The Galley Club held the first print awards I went to in Australia in 2007, after coming over from the UK the year before, and I’ve been to others since. It’s more of a family friendly atmosphere than some of the major ones, and I’m happy to be part of that,” he says.

    With 20 years experience in print, Robinson is relatively new to this side of the industry, joining BPA in September after four years as a strategic accounts manager at Océ Australia.

    Pictured: Passing the torch, former president Michael Schulz (left) next to Keith Robinson.

    Also appointed at the AGM held at the Harbour View Hotel in Sydney was Jon MacDonald, director at Xou Creative, as the new secretary and interim treasurer Rajkumar Rajendra from 10 Thousand Trees.

    Michael Schulz, former president and CEO of SOS Print and Media, says his term at the head of the Club has been fun but it was time to bring in some new blood.

    “My time with the Galley Club was great, but it needs somebody with a new approach because there are so many good opportunities and things that can be done. It’s time for the new committee to grab the club by the horns.

    “Keith has a fair bit of experience on the supplier side and he now works for a printer, so he has already seen two sides of the industry. It’ll take him a little while to get used to the role, I’m sure he will do a great job and I’m really happy that this club will continue to run,” he says.

    Staying on as a committee member, Schulz will help the new president find his feet one how to run awards and find venues. Joining him on the committee will be Tony Bushelle of Anthony Bushelle Graphics, Robert Stapelfeldt, BDM at McPherson’s Printing Group, and Penny Martin, senior acquisitions editor at Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

  • Come to the UK to do better business

    Over $100k in prizes is up for grabs for Australian and New Zealand companies looking to expand into Europe.

    The UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) has opened the field for businesses on either side of the Tasman wishing to establish a foothold overseas. Just by entering, companies of the creative and technical persuasion go into the running for a $25,000 prize package.

    Three winning companies from Australia and one from New Zealand will each win British Airways return airfares to London, meetings with potential business partners, client contacts, and a free limited company.

    According to Richard Morris, director general of UKTI in Australia and New Zealand, the UK is the easiest place in Europe to do business and has the least barriers to entrepreneurship in the world.

    “Just as Australia can be a gateway to Asia, the UK is the gateway to Europe and a combined population of around 500 million people.

    "It doesn’t matter what your line of business, any Australian company thinking of establishing themselves in the UK should enter Go UK,” he says.

    Entries for the Go UK business plan competition close 3 February 2012. Finalists for each region and category will be announced shortly after, with a cocktail reception held in March to award the Australian winners their prizes:

    • Sydney (covering all NSW, ACT and WA entrants)
    • Melbourne (covering all VIC, SA and TAS entrants
    • Brisbane (covering all QLD and NT entrants)

    UKTI says in the past year it helped over 40 Australian companies establish themselves in the UK, and around 1,000 are already set up and doing business in the region.

  • IPMG picks up Australia’s 1st 96-page heatset web

    Big, fast and effective, the manroland LITHOMAN is the core technology for the Greenfield Hannanprint site set to open at Warwick Farm next year.

    (The announcement of the initial 96-page press was swiftly followed by PMP’s purchase of a similar unit for its West Coast operation.)

    The IPMG twin 48-page webs that produce 96 pages through eight printing units in a stacked configuration are part of the A$90 million relocation project resulting in a new production site in Western Sydney.

    According to Steve Dunwell, managing director of manroland Australasia, Warwick Farm is planned to be one of the most advanced and automated sites in the world. “We are happy to play a major role here and are very confident Hannanprint chose the right strategy,” he says.

    Australia’s new LITHOMAN will be one of only a few presses in the world capable of printing 96 pages in one pass. It is the second LITHOMAN in stacked configuration and the first to be operated with the manroland autoprint technology. It is equipped with the AUROSYS fully automatic reel transport and reel store administration system.

    Gerd Finkbeiner, CEO of manroland, says the manufacturer has had a great relationship with IPMG since they bought their first LITHOMAN press in 1999. “We are very proud to be associated with the new Warwick Farm site as it will become a showpiece for the entire printing industry on its completion,” he says.

    Instead of investing in gravure presses as originally planned, parent company IPMG decided in favour of commercial web offset. This decision was due to assessments of future requirements including run length, the ability to blend other sections produced offset, and that Hannanprint has some of the best trained printers and operators already very familiar with the offset process and LITHOMAN technology.

    The new Warwick Farm production site will replace the one in Alexandria, which will be closed by mid 2013 and the property redeveloped. Three web presses will be moved to Warwick Farm within the next 18 months: two 48-page LITHOMAN and a 32-page ROTOMAN in stacked configuration. They will also be upgraded by adding inline density control systems and fully automatic reel-splicers.

    Hannanprint is setting up its new plant to be as energy efficient and environmentally sustainable as possible, from air conditioning of all production areas to the heat recovery from press dryers.

    Once the new rail line is completed, paper transport will be handled via rail taking the rolling stock directly into the paper store, thus eliminating up to 19 truck movements a day. IPMG does most of the News Limited and Fairfax externally printed newspaper inserted magazines and consumer magazines under long-term contracts.

  • Digital and screen awards party with a smile

    SGIAA is a flurry of activity this week as screen-printing members claim the remaining seats for the upcoming awards night on Saturday, at Luna Park Sydney.

    According to the associations federal president, Clem Johnson, the biennial awards night is the only one to cover the screen-printing and digital sector. “Over 200 people will be attending the night, and we’re very happy with that number,” he says.

    Companies will be competing over 23 categories from digital to screen and two student awards from Recognised Training Organisations (RTOs), plus an award for project management.

    The ultimate prize of the evening is the President’s Award, which will go to the entry judged to be the most outstanding use of both screen and digital print.

    “We have also run a peoples choice award through Facebook, with people voting on favourites. It’s something different to get people involved who otherwise wouldn’t be able to, sometimes people further down the line from the owners miss out on what’s going on.

    “We are trying to get the younger generation of the industry involved. They are the future of the industry, and I think we have a broad demographic coming on Saturday,” he says.

    The People’s Choice Awards winner will be announced in conjunction with the other categories. Gold sponsor, IMEDIA, will be on hand to present some awards.

  • DIC opens doors of secure ink plant for LIA tour

    LIA members explored the ink manufacturer’s Auburn site last night in a behind-the-scenes tour, covering production of its export business.

    Stepping from room to room, four tour groups were guided through plant operation by DIC staff to examine ink production from raw materials to lab R&D, mixing and distribution. The manufacturer exports around 60% of the plant’s total colour production to Asia Pacific.

    Each group got a chance to see how the company produces its array of heatset, coldest, solvent flexo and solvent-based gravure inks. It even makes buckets of ink for overseas newspaper printing.

    According to Ian Johns, managing director of DIC Australia, the Auburn plant currently exports around 600 tonnes of ink a month to Asia Pacific.

    “We have been growing in South East Asia for newspaper inks for some time now. The ink we make in Australia is already sold in China and is now being exported to Japan, a market strongly focused on quality.

    “With around 230 sites around the world, DIC is now a US$10 billion global company. Over half of that is the DIC graphics business for inks, and the rest is the trading arm dealing with chemicals,’ he says.

    Pictured: LIA NSW president David Wells (left) with DIC’s technical services manager for web Stephen Packham and Ian Johns, managing director.

    The Auburn site is currently commissioning a new bulk white ink manufacturing plant to support the flexo and gravure industry, which DIC hopes to have up and running before Christmas.

    David Wells, president of LIA NSW, says there was a strong turnout for the event that encouraged a younger crowd to explore the inner workings of the industry.

    “Each tour had their own DIC guide and technical people to explain the technology involved in making the ink, preparation for export market, to the zoning of manufacturing for particular colours.

    “As an association we are delighted that closed doors to other parts of the industry are open to us, because we represent the industry and technical experience of our members. They in turn come out to these functions to learn, see, and better understand their industry,” he says.

  • Letters, feedback, get it off your chest: 26 October 2011

    This week’s postbag begins with a Finsbury Green response to public questions about its Vic Gov PMS contract.

    Re: Letters, feedback, get it off your chest: 25 October 2011

    Dear John,

    If only you had communicated your feelings to us, we may have avoided this. Instead you chose to publicly share them.

    Point One – the process began with an RFI that was made available to the market on the on the 2nd June 2010. This included an open invitation for interested companies to attend a briefing session with the Victorian Government. At the conclusion of the RFI process, an RFQ was provided to the companies shortlisted. I am unsure how you came to the conclusion that the contract was awarded without going to market.

    Point Two – the provision of an independent print management solution is central to our solution to Victorian Government. Nothing has changed since the first print management contract and Finsbury Green will continue our contractual obligation to provide an independent solution.

    Point Three – the current Whole of Victorian Government Print Management Services contract is mandated for 11 departments and the Victorian Police. There are a large number of other departments and outer government agencies that are not part of the contract who buy print. We do sell our products and services to those departments and agencies as we operate in a free market. If any department or agency that is not currently mandated under the print management services contract choose to opt into the contract then our manufacturing division is excluded from the panel of suppliers.

    Point Four – is it really unethical when we tell a prospect that you are a supplier of ours, when we have requested and received a quotation and subsequently placed an order with your company? Our focus is to ensure incumbent suppliers are provided every opportunity possible to retain business.

    Point Five – our suppliers are required to breakdown their pricing in order for us to provide data to our client.

    Point Six – We are not sure what behaviour or conduct we have displayed that has been anti-competitive, but surely the implied notion that we should not be allowed to sell to “your client” is a clear display of an anti-competitive view.

    We understand that there will always be differing points of view, but actions speak louder than words. It is through our actions that we intend to demonstrate to our client that the solution we offer will benefit all stakeholders involved. We respect that it is your decision whether you wish to be a part of the process or not.

    Peter Orel
    CEO – Finsbury Green

  • Get up and go – GAMAA launches overseas internship grant

    The new-look Graphic Arts Merchants Association of Australia is putting its money where its best intentions are to help develop industry education and leadership.

    A $15,000 GAMAA Industry Overseas Industry Grant is now available to qualified industry applicants. Designed to help professionals further their career and education by working with relevant businesses around the world.

    The Grant covers such categories as marketing/promotion, new media, print, graphic design and independent research. It is open to Australian residents 25 years and over (up to 55 years) who are working in the industry. Applicants must also have the support of their employer.

    Pictured: The GAMAA Group (l-r) Stephen McRobert and Kelly Bourke (past scholarship recipients) with Ian Martin, and Meredith Darke.

    According to Ian Martin, president of GAMAA, the new Grant is an extension of the association’s highly valued leadership program and reflects its commitment to working towards a sustainable industry.

    “Over the past eight years GAMAA has awarded 38 further education scholarships and conducted more than 20 industry- dedicated workshops focused on fostering leadership skills in our industry.

    “If Australia is going to compete in a global economy =we need to continue to invest in people to ensure we’ re at the leading edge and with world’s best practice. There is increasing focus on the importance of further education, not only for our industry, but also in relation to the entire Australian economy.

    “GAMAA believes the launch of this new internship grant will enable a dedicated and focused analysis of trends and opportunities that will assist in adding to the body of knowledge of our industry,” he said.

    The new grant was announced last night at the unveiling of GAMAA’s new branding look (pictured).

  • The Merchant’s Tale – Print21 magazine feature

    Paper merchanting in Australia is undergoing a tectonic shift following the takeover of CPI by New Zealand merchant, BJ Ball. Depending who you believe, it is either the beginning of a stable period of rational business practices in a sector that has often seemed self-destructive, or it is the harbinger of even more crazy pricing and market share jockeying. Simon Doggett, managing director, KW Doggett, is hopeful of a return to an era where solid business principles held sway. He talks with Patrick Howard about his engagement with the industry and the future of his company.

    As of this year, Simon Doggett set about changing the emphasis of the family-owned paper merchant. He employed four business development managers to explore new sectors of the ever-
    changing printing and paper industry.

    Between them the quartet are responsible for developing the packaging, digital, label and self-adhesive, and corporate print buying businesses. At a time when much of the industry is hunkering down and waiting for the wind to shift, the move is a positive indication of the long-term strategy that empowers KW Doggett Fine Paper.

    As the eldest of the eponymous second generation, Simon Doggett is managing director of the paper merchant. He has worked in the business since graduating as a chartered accountant in the 1990s. Brother Nathan is the national sales manager, sister Catherine is the core of the company’s high-
    profile marketing identity, and youngest brother, Heath, is Victorian sales manager.

    During his time, Simon Doggett has worked his way through every aspect of paper merchanting before taking the MD chair six years ago. Confident and relaxed in the role, he is quick and constant in emphasising the importance of the two company founders, his uncle John Doggett and father Ken. They are, he insists, still the public face of KW Doggett as well as its ethical and pragmatic foundation.

    “When I was starting, I remember my uncle John coming around telling me that if I really wanted to know the business to go out and sell some paper to a customer. ‘Customers make us who we are,’ he said. It was the best advice I ever received.”

    Simon Doggett is proud of the family background as well as grateful for his own finance qualifications. “KW Doggett Fine Paper is a good family business. Ken and John are the foundation of the company and we remain true to their values… respect your suppliers, meet your own credit terms and remember that staff are part of the family.”

    Pictured: The new generation of K.W.Doggett management; (l to r) Simon, Catherine, Heath and Nathan Doggett.

    In the past five years, the company has grown, fast. It expanded from offices and warehouses in Melbourne and Brisbane to also being a major force in the Sydney market and then again in Adelaide. It has grown from a $40m business to one that turns over $160m. In Doggett’s terms, “it has become a significant business.”

    Steady as she goes

    Expanding a business to four times its size is not easy and often derails a company’s ownership. Keeping control of the finances and HR while building a wider infrastructure requires sophisticated manage­ment, IT and marketing skills. For most companies it would also require outside investment but for KW Doggett, years of conservative operation left it with sufficient capital to fund its own expansion.

    “Ken and John always left the profits in the business so when there were openings we were able to grow. The money is there for a rainy day. We are able to take advantage of the opportunities that become available because of the available capital as well as the quality of our service offering.”

    The recent turmoil in the industry may have opened the way for the company to expand but it is not something that has much traction with Simon Doggett. He concentrates on operating a sustainable business rather than driving for growth. “It’s not about market share, it’s not about growth. We are focused on sustainable returns. We know the grass roots of the trade. I believe if we focus on doing what we do well, growth will come. It is important to respect the value offering of paper merchants,” he said.

    He is looking for a return of solid business principles in paper merchanting, principles the sector has occasionally lacked in recent times. Bad credit practices and cutthroat price competition badly damaged the industry and contributed to a number of corporate failures.

    While recognising that “someone will always get caught” when printers collapse, he is determined to reduce the company’s exposure. KW Doggett plays third in size with 15 per cent market share behind the two largest paper merchants —BJ Ball and PaperlinX at 35 per cent each. It is not a bad position, especially for a merchant mostly committed to the commercial offset sector.

    “I spend a lot of time with our suppliers to make sure they know where we stand. Simultaneously we maintain a strong relationship with the printers. The trade wants three good channels in the market space.

    “Paper merchants are very important to the supply chain, we provide a valuable service. It takes eight weeks to get paper from Asia, ten weeks from Europe. Not too many printers are capable of holding stock, they need strong paper merchants.”

    Many of KW Doggett’s customers are small-to-medium sized, owner-operated businesses that comprise the majority of printing companies. While there is undoubtedly some fellow feeling for another family-owned enterprise, Simon Doggett recognises printers will only buy when the price and the service offerings are competitive. Part of that offering is being able to judge when to extend credit and by how much.

    As a financial professional by training, he is often staggered by some of the accounting practices endemic in the industry. “I’m amazed at how many printers don’t know all their costs. They over-inflate the value of the machinery, don’t calculate leave entitle­ments and super contributions, and only cost their operations once a year. You’ve got to know your cost base.”

    Not surprisingly, under Simon Doggett, the company leads by example. In the past 12 months it has revamped the credit department, hired a new credit manager and instituted strict credit procedures and policies.

    Much of it was fired by the need to source a new insurer but it has paid off in much tighter credit control. “I know every cost in the business. We can adapt to changing circumstances very quickly,” said Doggett.

    The company’s new credit regime means that printers are must satisfy a number of credit procedural checks, including in some cases a review of current financials. Most are happy to do so and it can be argued that such financial discipline is good for the entire industry. While paper merchants have traditionally played the role of banker of last resort to printers, that is changing as a result of some spectacular failures in recent times.

    Paper to the mill

    There is no doubt that the overall amount of printing paper being consumed has fallen. Industry figures place the drop in imports as much as 25 per cent year on year. This is placing further pressure on paper merchants, especially in high-end papers.

    “It’s shrinking market. I believe there is a fundamental shift away from print. The decline in offset printing volumes has not been replaced by digital. There are shorter runs, shrinking volumes. Overall it’s a smaller pie, but we have to support the same cost structure.

    “The strong Australian dollar is significant, although we buy in foreign currencies. Printers think we should be able to land the product cheaper but prices have never been this low. I’m afraid of an Australian dollar collapse,” said Doggett.

    Competitive pressure leads merchants to play the price card but there is a limit to how much cost can be taken out of the supply chain before the service offering on which the industry depends is irreparably damaged.

    Part of the value offering from paper merchants is making a range of papers available to the industry. This involves careful stock control and nurturing good relationships with mills around the world. It also requires just-in-time delivery. The 35 brightly coloured company trucks are a common sight around the industry, as well as representing a major cost and investment.

    “Mill relationships are significant. Any brand we take into our portfolio we commit to a significant marketing campaign. Our results are proven; mills know we deliver,” said Doggett. “It’s a challenging side of the industry. There is consolidation in Europe and the US. We only deal with strong mill groups such as Sappi, Central National, Mondi, M-real and Arjo Wiggins.”

    Pro bono industry

    Simon Doggett is not only passionate about his business but also deeply engaged with the industry. As an active member of the Printing Industries board, he also encourages the involvement of KW Doggett with the design industry, pointing to the iconic student-designed calendar as a continuing commitment.

    “We talk to design and advertising students, have an annual competition to design our calendar that goes to different universities and colleges with a design course. We also support the National and State Print Awards.”

    He is concerned about public and government misappre­hension of the industry, especially its environmental credentials. For KW Doggett, the environmental profile of the mills with which the company is engaged is paramount. Good environmental practices are integral to the relationship as well as to the validity of the entire product portfolio.

    He attributes the lack of a strong united voice for allowing important decisions about the industry’s future to be taken without due regard to their impacts.

    “The industry needs a united voice to talk to government and the community. Look at when the government changed rules on having to opt in for annual reports. We should have been able to influence that decision.”

    The failure of paper merchants to push through price rises for paper is also a concern. He sees Australia’s reputation with overseas mills in jeopardy if it comes to be regarded as a low price market. Mills may look around for other more lucrative places to sell their paper.

    “There are big structural changes happening to the industry. We must keep the mills involved. Paper merchants have an educational role to play. It is important that we continue to have the ability to attract capital.”

    At a time when the printing and paper merchanting industries are under extreme pressure, the steady progress and expansion of KW Doggett is a textbook case study of how continuity and professional management can define and contribute to the long-term success of an enterprise.

  • Grooming new managers – in three days

    Up and coming printing industry managers will have the chance to hone their skills at an intensive three-day Dynamic Leadership Skills course in Sydney during November.

    According to Ian Walz (pictured), national manager of learning and development at Printing Industries, the course was ideal for staff earmarked for management positions or existing managers needing to top up their skills and knowledge.

    “It’s not often the industry has access to such focused courses, but this one, previously piloted in Melbourne, has been successfully tried and tested for the printing industry,” he says.

    The course covers the new Three Dimensional Leadership System (five leadership styles); management of self and leadership of others; effective communication; problem solving and decision making; time and stress management; project management, presentation skills and good governance; how to sell yourself and your team; motivation of self and others; managing difficult situations and handling conflict; team building fundamentals and business agility; keys to effective change management; benchmarking; and the world’s leading business trends.

    Walz says one of the skills shortages experienced by the industry in recent times has been in finding suitably qualified managers. “The industry does well with its technical staff, but often business management is not high on the priority list.

    “It’s difficult and risky hiring new managers, but what we have been able to do is develop a course than can take good internal people with management capability and help turn them into confident, well trained management staff able to value-add to the business. This course is the way forward for companies to achieve the quality of management they need,” he says.

    The course will be held from 15-17 November at Printing Industries Auburn office.

    For information contact Ian Walz on (02) 8789 7362 E-mail: or Mark Tolentino on (02) 8789 7388 E-mail:

  • Letters, feedback, get it off your chest: 25 October 2011

    This week’s postbag is dominated by a strong response to Finsbury Green’s Victorian Government print management contract, and the green group criticism of the PEFC standard as greenwash.

    Re: Transparent Gov print tender breaks new ground

    I’d be interested to know how this model is “more transparent” than the Stream model? It’s a bold claim, not supported by any information in the article.

    Keith Millar
    Business Development Manager ACT
    Toll Priority


    Where is the transparency?

    1. How was this contract awarded without going to tender?
    2. At the initial Government Outsourcing a briefing a few years ago, which was eventually awarded to Stream Solutions, it was categorically stated that “a Printer would not be awarded this contract” due to conflicts of interest. What has changed to allow this horrendous decision?
    3. The contract Finsbury has with the State Government only covers 10 departments, which they are not allowed to print themselves directly. In contrast Finsbury are in fact selling their services to all Government, Semi Government and Government funded organisations under the guise of this contract. When in fact at a later date Finsbury can redirect all this business to their own printing company.
    4. Finsbury have already contacted some of our clients under the guise of this contract. Even telling our clients we are one of their printers. This is unethical and we are not one of their printers because we printed a job, which happened to go through the Finsbury Books.
    5. Under the Finsbury system we as printers are expected to break down our costs, giving our opposition full knowledge of our pricing structures so they can target all our clients. Even without the breakdown, as a printer it would be invaluable information to know where all your opposition sits in regards to pricing on different styles of work.
    6. Under the previous system you had to pack jobs in Stream cartons, which was an insult in itself. Under this new contract as printers we are expected to pack our product in the oppositions cartons. Are we are now expected to advertise our print under the Finsbury banner?

    The whole contract should be deemed invalid until reviewed by the ACCC, due to its anti-competitive nature and the anti-competitive conduct of Finsbury.

    John Edwards
    General Manager
    Adams Print


    Re: Greens attack printing paper standard as greenwash

    The joke here is that the spokesperson is supporting FSC, the ‘rival certification program’, but is able to question PEFC’s credibility unchallenged.

    As an industry, we are not served by having multiple standards applying to chain of custody.

    Paper manufacturers and printers should lobby for a single international standard that is not aligned with either the forestry business or the wilderness / wildlife / green agitators.

    Brian Robson
    Sales Operations Manager


    Re: Australian Forest Standard draws Green fire

    I think it would be a worthwhile exercise to look at who exactly is behind the FSC organization – I understand some of the world’s largest consumers of Palm Oil are represented, Mars Confectionery and Coca Cola, which if true also represents a conflict of interest.

    I think this discussion can be taken much further, including a closer look at where the money comes from for the WWF.

    However, this planet certainly needs bodies such as FSC and PEFC. We just need to make them better, because timber is a renewable resource and the world is becoming very crowded.

    Tony Haag
    National Commercial Analyst – Strategic Business
    GEON print & communication solutions

  • Business information needs survey

    Printing Industries has launched a gap analysis survey seeking industry help identifying information not currently available but needed for business planning.

    According to Hagop Tchamkertenian, Printing Industries national manager for policy and government affairs, having relevant and timely industry data was critical for both business decision-making and strategic planning.

    “This survey seeks to confirm the specific data needs of industry members and identify any gaps in industry data availability by comparing what is being sought to what is currently available,” he says. Adding that present industry data was provided by both official and non-official sources.

    “At the official level data is provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and covers sales and profit data; gross value added; capital expenditure; employment; industry related expenses; trade data; and the number of establishments. Some of this information is also available on a geographical basis. Non-official data is produced by a number of sources including Printing Industries.

    “Our economic surveys cover industry indicators such as production and sales; employment and overtime; capital expenditure; production costs; debtors; capacity utilisation; and production barriers,” he says.

    Tchamkertenian (pictured) notes that unlike official data, Printing Industries data could be segmented on the basis of industry process and product.

    “There are also some shortcomings with the official data, for example the aggregation of industry conditions. While some official data is released on a regular basis, other official data is released less frequently which compromises its usefulness."

    Non-official data also has its shortcomings, according to Tchamkertenian, such as the inability to provide market size estimates of industry sectors. “While this can often be addressed by special industry commissioned studies, these tend to be irregular because of the associated high costs of research,” he adds.

    The short survey will close on 28 October 2011. It can be accessed via the Printing Industry Data Needs survey link.

  • Fuji Xerox’s 700 press successor on the horizon

    The digital press maker expects a good take up of the new version of its popular mid-range printer when it is released here in January next year.

    According to Mark Williams, product-marketing manager for Fuji Xerox Australia, the 700i follows its predecessor’s three-year rein that saw 850 machines sold nationally.

    “Users can now be more productive, through broad stock handling and the ability to reach the right colours every time,” he says.

    FOGRA VPS (Validation Printing System) certified the new digital press supports Fuji Xerox’s updated colour controllers and Adobe PDF Print Engine 2. It is also licensed for spot colour matching to the Pantone matching system, Pantone Goe and Pantone Plus.

    Williams says the 700i is a little bigger than its predecessor due to the inline finishing capability, but because its built on the same platform its almost identical in its footprint. The new model can print up to 70ppm across a broad stock range, with a duty cycle of 540,000 images per month.

    “Since the 700i was announced at Graph Expo 2011, overseas orders have been rolling in. There was a lot of interest in the showcased model at the show and its extended capabilities are obviously of great interest to many printers. Australian orders will start to come in around January when it goes on sale nation wide,” he says.

    For greater flexibility and customised performance, printers can choose the server that best suits their particular print applications. The choices range from the Xerox FreeFlow Print Server and EFI Fiery powered EX Print Server, to the Creo powered CX Print Server and Integrated Fiery Colour Server.

    “The new model allows printers to expand their product offerings with GBC Advanced Punch inline finishing, and produce double sided print up to 300gsm,” he adds.

  • GASAA prepares printers against crisis

    Casting the spotlight on contingency plans, the Federal Government is funding free GASAA education sessions from February to March next year to help printers stay in business through a disaster.

    According to Garry Knespal, executive officer of GASAA, the ‘Continuity Planning in Print’ sessions are a result of the Government wanting to help companies impacted by the Queensland floods and Victorian fires.

    “There were many businesses that had no plans in place should they be impacted for any period of time due to natural disasters. Whatever you consider a crisis in your business, natural disasters, health or misappropriation, these sessions will help printers uncover what needs to be done to run a business with as little interruptions as possible,” he says.

    Over a six-week period, GASAA will hold 13 free educational Spotlight Sessions across capital cities and major regional areas. Sydney has already played host to five pilot sessions, modelled on the ABC TV program Q & A hosted by Tony Jones.

    Knespal (pictured) will assume the role of session moderator, as floor discussions stimulate the key concerns of regional to city-based businesses.
    “To be held from 5.50 to 8pm it’s not a lengthy evening, but an open forum for people to brain storm about what they would do if faced by a natural disaster. That is what the government is keen to support through its $50 million a year initiative, Enterprise Connect.

    “We are delighted to receive the support of the federal government through Enterprise Connect, and to work with industry partners to bring this ‘grass roots’ industry engagement to multiple venues early next year,” he says.

    Businesses of all shapes and sized should not only plan for success, but also have measures in place should natural, economic or personal disasters strike.
    The national Spotlight Sessions will be held from:

    February 2012

    • Adelaide – Wed 8
    • Perth – Thu 9
    • Brisbane – Tue 14
    • Gold Coast – Wed 15
    • Morwell – Mon 20
    • Melbourne – Tue 21
    • Bendigo – Wed 22
    • Hobart – Thu 23

    March 2012

    • Canberra – Tue 6
    • Bathurst – Wed 7
    • Sydney – Thu 8
    • Newcastle – Tue 13
    • Sydney – Tue 20
  • The winds of change: 25 October 2011

    This week’s movement in the printing industry sees David Hill elected chairman of FIPP, Ern Pope retires his seat as a director of Amcor Limited, and John Adamson joins the Halifax Vogel Group as its NSW State Manager

    FIPP elects new Chairman and board members
    David Hill, president and CEO of US-based IDG International Publishing Services (International Data Group) has been elected as chairman of FIPP, the worldwide magazine media association.

    The association chairmanship passed to Hill after Aroon Purie, editor-in-chief of the India Today Group, completed his two-year term. Hill has been a management board member since April 2002.

    Hill says he is a believer in the power of sharing ideas worldwide, which is the ore concept of FIPP’s current mission. “IDG has a presence in 95 countries, making us one of the most global publishers on the planet. In my travels, I’ve come to understand the benefit of sharing ideas across multiple borders – both geographic and line of business.

    “As what I believe is the first FIPP chairman from what is primarily a B2B publisher, I hope to foster a spirit of collaboration and knowledge-sharing across countries and between companies in B2B and consumer industries. We can learn from each other,” he says.

    FIPP also announced that Fabrizio D’Angelo, managing director of Hubert Burda Media Holding, Germany, becomes vice-chairman of the association.

    Further board appointments include:

    • Anders Malmsten, president, Bonnier International Magazines and Vice President, Bonnier Magazine Group, Sweden
    • Michelle Meyercord, SVP, International & Corporate Development/ General Manager, Eat This, Not That!
    • Ken Whyte, president, Rogers Publishing, Canada

    Amcor board changes

    Ern Pope has retired his seat as a director of Amcor Limited following the recent annual general meeting.

    The directors have expressed their sincere thanks to Pope for the valuable contribution he has provided to Amcor over the past six years.

    HVG appoints new state manager

    John Adamson has joined Halifax Vogel Group’s senior management team, stepping into the role of NSW state manager.

    According to CEO, Bruce Rayment, the addition brings a wealth of leadership and management experience to the group. “I know he will be a valuable asset in forging high level relationships with customers and influencers in the purchase of our products,” he says.

    In his new role, Adamson will be charged with leading and managing the NSW branch, delivering both top and bottom line results and developing new business opportunities. He previously served as national BDM for Talsico and ran his own management consulting business.

    Adamson says he is up to the challenge of developing new business opportunities for HVG’s diverse product range. “I’m fortunate to be joining HVG during a period of significant growth and investment for the group and I’m excited about the opportunity to work with a strong team to further increase the profile and presence of our products in NSW,” he says.

  • Online breathes new colour into Lexel Paper

    Specialty paper merchant, Lexel has modernised its online presence to increase customer interaction.

    According to director, Herbert Eibach, the new web site has been designed facilitate continuous change over the next two-to-three years as offset and digital products are added to the portfolio.
    “The new site gives designers and printers clear product information, plus colour references. This should be enough to get people inspired and ask for a real paper sample.

    “There are a lot of changes happening in our industry, and we had to revamp the whole webpage to bring it up to modern standards. Compared to previous years, we are seeing our sales grow every other month.

    “About a third of our business goes to printers with flat folio sheets for design; another third goes to the same clientele as envelopes, and the remainder would be taken up by retail stores,” he adds. “Our latest product, Rendezvous, delivers the same print result on either a HP Indigo or offset. This gives printers the ability to switch devices depending on job sizes, and always get the same result."

    Sydney-based Lexel’s paper stock is available in VIC, QLD and NSW. With representatives in each state on call to help customers match paper to projects.
    The new interface offers easy access to product information including paper -weight, size and grain direction. Digital to offset, the suitability of each range is covered to the point degree of what finishing techniques it can handle.

  • If paper didn’t grow on trees – James Cryer commentary

    Paper is dammed annoying. If only you could dig the damn stuff out of the ground. Governments would actually encourage you to do it – as they do with coal or uranium. Or, if it came from the sea, you could fish for it quite happily to your heart’s content until you’d practically exhausted the supply, without restraint, just as Chile has done with the Patagonian toothfish.

    Why, oh why does the damn stuff we like to scribble on have to come from trees?

    Is it that the stately trunk and limbs send primordial echoes down our spine whenever we see a chainsaw being applied to their bark?
    But some trees are regularly massacred in a ritualised frenzy of threshing, where not a blade is left alive but devoured by a cruel metallic monster who shows no mercy as it tramples remaining shoots into oblivion. But nobody emits a cry of anguish or rushes to these trees’ defence.

    Why? Because this is wheat – and we’ve been taught from an early age that it’s OK to chop down wheat.

    So what’s the difference? None really – trees, wheat, harp-seals, foxes – they’re all God’s creatures but mankind decrees that it’s OK to kill, maim, wound, injure some, but not others.

    Trees – or at least tall ones – seem to have been imbued with sacred properties that make it impossible for people to see them as crops. And we will never be believed as an industry until – somehow – we can ring-fence plantation forests from old-growth ones.

    It is into this collision of conflicting passions and emotions that the newly formed Australian-chapter of Two Sides is plunging. It’s enemy is that most elusive of antagonists: pre-conceived ideas and ingrained bias.

    In fairness, it’s not seeking to stem the gradual long-term decline in the use of paper. Its goal is to tackle head-on the use of misleading information often peddled by large vested interests – be they government departments or large financial institutions, who advocate the use of electronic media for environmental reasons.

    For centuries print has enjoyed being top dog in the food chain, with no natural predators. Inevitably, we now face a period of re-adjustment where print may not necessarily be the most appropriate medium – such as annual reports, junk mail, telephone books – and even for paying bills. We must accept that consumers now have choices and some prefer to receive these documents electronically.

    I suspect Two Sides is being realistic in not trying to push print for print’s sake as the default option – it’s merely seeking to dispel the myths put about by some groups that print is bad for the environment.

    Casting themselves as latter-day myth-busters, they’ve identified six furphies all of which need de-bunking. To me the most important one is the link in the public’s mind between paper and logging in old-growth forests (be it Brazil, Indonesia, Siberia or sadly, Tasmania). It doesn’t matter that only about 11% is used in paper. The great – and almost insurmountable – problem is how to prove that the paper in the book you’re holding did in fact come from approved plantation sources.

    I know we’ve got any number of accreditation bodies, but with paper’s supply-chain being so long and complex and often snaking back to the remotest corners of the earth, such verification is virtually impossible.

    We accuse the other side of sometimes greenwashing, but we have to be careful to avoid such accusations: open any book these days and you’ll see the FSC tick. But read the fine print and it’s usually so wishy-washy (referring vaguely to approved sources, mix and blended) that you could drive a proverbial logging-truck through the specs.

    We live in an imperfect world, where illogicality and inconsistency go hand in hand – why else would we have a carbon tax that doesn’t tax petrol?

    Two Sides is an attempt to re-balance the fight, in the battle for the hearts and minds. That’s the first stumbling block – to take aim at such a broad constituency, as prejudice inhabits all sectors of society: the man in the street, government departments, school-kids – even print buyers.

    But to it’s credit, it derives legitimacy from its position representing all steps along the graphic communications value chain – selling the sizzle and the steak – which may have been lacking in the previous Paper – a part of everyday life campaign.

    In my view, it’s a worthwhile vehicle upon which our industry may begin its journey – it’s first faltering steps in self-promotion, something we’ve never been very good at.

    I think it deserves to succeed, given the following observations –

    It must recognise is that print is not always the optimal communications response and that print must always pass the fitness for purpose test. In more and more cases (e.g. electronic billing) it may lose the race, but…

    Vested interests can’t be allowed to use environmental concerns to justify electronic options. In most cases, e.g. annual reports, the real reason is simply that companies wish to flog off the cost of printing to the end-recipient. In fact the carbon footprint may be bigger if people are forced to print out pages on their copier.

    Proper emphasis must be given to print (the sizzle) versus paper (the steak). There’ll always be an inbuilt tension between paper-merchants and converters, where the former can be accused of just wanting to keep the mills full. But the future fortunes of print and paper will start to diverge as the focus shifts to small-run, high-value printed matter, where the actual paper content becomes relatively low. We can’t be tempted to advocate a return to the good old days of vast volumes of paper, just for the sake of churning out more phone books and newspapers.

    The funding model is always a popular topic – on how to handle the questions of simplicity, transparency and equity? For printing companies (I can’t speak for paper-mills or publishers) there can really only be one answer that satisfies all the above, and that is a levy charged on paper consumption. A miniscule amount (e.g. $1 per every $2,000 paper purchased) that falls across all printers in proportion to their paper usage is the ‘only way to kill the cat’. The money thus collected is paid into the fighting fund.

    Don’t forget the kids.
    We can all cite cases where well-meaning teachers have preached the evils of paper being damaging to the environment. The Brits have already implemented a program for school-kids, which works within the curriculum, delivering an introduction to printing from a practical perspective. It’s called ‘Print-IT’ and it does all the things we hope Two Sides will do: to provide a better understanding of print as an environmentally friendly process.

    We could do worse than adopt and adapt it (especially after they’ve done all the hard work)

  • Trends in large format printing make a big impression – Cary Sherburne drupa article

    Many industry pundits spoke of drupa 2008 as “The Inkjet drupa,” and in many ways, it was. Following drupa 2008, a number of vendors brought to market four-color high-speed inkjet solutions that were shown at drupa in product or concept form, and those products are still coming to market. Cary Sherburne explores drupa 2012 technologies that will drive market change.

    Once again, we can expect to see a significant position for inkjet in the array of new technologies exhibitors have on display. This time, however, while there will still be a large presence in the production sector, we can also look forward to a “big” presence in the large format market as digital offerings in that sector continue to mature, improve in price/performance, and displace conventional analog sign and display graphics technologies, such as screen printing, for many applications.

    The Large Format Market

    Digital large format printers are not new to the sign and display graphics market. What is new is the rate at which the technology has advanced in terms of quality, speed and the range of applications that can be addressed using digital—rather than analog—manufacturing processes.

    Just as the offset printing market has seen demand from buyers for shorter runs, faster turnaround times and more relevant content that drives production to digital processes, the same transformation is occurring in the large format market. And the technology is there to deliver against those demands.

    Innovation continues as well. For example, EFI claims its new LED “Cool Cure” curing for its VUTEk line operates at the same speed as UV lamps but with decreased power consumption, ability to print on thinner, less expensive substrates due to reduced heat, and less cost due to no bulb replacements.

    Scott Schinlever, EFI’s senior VP and GM of Inkjet Solutions, expects to see other suppliers come to market with LED by drupa, saying, “There is not a lot of downside to LED curing if done without compromising core functionality.”

    FujiFilm Graphic Systems has introduced a product that could be viewed as a cross-over between commercial printing and the signs and display graphics market. The FujiFilm J-Press 720, a half-size (29”) sheet-fed inkjet press is designed for commercial print applications, but its sheet size and quality also make it suitable for smaller signs and display graphics, especially point of purchase (POP) materials.

    This type of approach may be an easier way for commercial printers to enter the signs and display graphics market, since the press can also be used to produce traditional short run commercial print products as well. In addition, FujiFilm is the exclusive distributor of Inca Onset printers in the U.S., and offers its own Acuity Series flatbed/roll-fed UV printers and UVISTAR Series roll-fed printers worldwide.

    Much of this technology advance is driven by market requirements. In June 2011, research firm InfoTrends completed a study designed to collect more information about the buyers of large format products. The study was designed to both gain an understanding of wide format graphics buyer requirements and to track changes in those buying patterns since the previous study conducted in 2009.

    Although this is a North American study, it highlights buyer requirements that are likely to be similar around the globe. More than 300 buyers responded to the survey that was the basis for the study.

    Applications and Buying Patterns

    The study revealed that banners, posters and signs remain the leading large format applications, with photography gaining an increasing share as compared to 2009 (in 2011, 42.6 per cent of respondents reported purchasing photography applications, compared to 30 per cent in 2009). Drawings, proofs, flags and textiles showed sharper declines, with other applications remaining relatively stable.

    On average, respondents reported purchasing large format applications 5.4 times per year, a slight increase in frequency over 2009. In the 2011 study, the average number of prints per order reported was 36.5, a number that favours digital production over legacy analogue processes.

    Quality, price and speed are the three key drivers for selection of a signage and display graphics print provider. In 2009, price was the top selection criterion. This shift was also noted by Linda Bell, CEO of Inca Digital Printers, who said, “There has been a definite shift. Customers are more familiar with the technology, and more demanding about what they want the technology to do.

    They are interested in having different types of print and finish and a higher quality output than we have seen in the past. Because they already have a certain expectation about speed, it is now less about speed and more about quality.” To that end, Inca has recently introduced higher quality printers with slower throughput; the S20 and S40 models also offer a choice of gloss, satin and matte finishes. Bell adds, “If you can push quality up to offset levels, it will open an even wider market for large format.”

    Speed is still important, however, and most suppliers to the market continue to increase the equipment throughput with wider print beds and faster speeds. EFI’s Schinlever said, “For print heads and the printing systems themselves, price/performance is increasing exponentially. For printer vendors such as EFI, Durst, Inca and others, it is not far-fetched to say that we will ultimately have something as fast or faster than a full-blown screen press–which will make integrated workflow solutions beyond the printer all the more important.”

    Enhancing Signage with QR Codes

    One of the more interesting findings in the InfoTrends buyer research was the fact that 20 per cent of large format signage and graphics buyers have used QR codes and other interactive media elements in their large format graphics, and of those, more than 90 per cent plan to continue the use of interactive elements.

    Seventy percent of buyers would consider using QR codes or other interactive elements in their large format graphics. This presents a huge opportunity for print providers in the large format graphics market to both educate buyers on the value of interactive elements as well as add this service to generate more value for the buyers and new revenue streams for themselves.

    Digital Displays Not a Threat

    One perceived threat to the sign and display graphics market has been the emergence of digital (electronic) signage that many feared would displace printed signage. That transition, however, has not occurred, according to the InfoTrends study.

    Only 11 per cent of respondents have purchased digital displays, although 38 per cent indicated they plan to. These purchases, however, appear to have little impact on printed large format graphics, with 76 per cent of respondents indicating that they use digital displays along with printed large format graphics.

    The Digital Technology Mix

    These digital dynamics are driving a wedge into the traditional screen printing market at an escalating rate, and many screen printers are adding digital technology to their production portfolios. Just as in offset, there will be applications suitable for screen printing for the foreseeable future that are just not practical to produce with digital technologies.

    But the range of applications that can now be produced digitally is increasing exponentially. Many believe that the only applications screen printing does that can’t be done digitally revolve around use of niche specialty inks such as metallic and fluorescents, which are not likely to be available for digital for some time. In terms of specific applications, apparel will be the last big one to fall in terms of transitioning to long-run digital.

    Ink Types

    One way to segment the large format market is to examine the various types of inks used. InfoTrends segments inks into three major categories:

    • Aqueous, which includes durable aqueous as a subsegment, such as HP’s Latex inks
    • Solvent/Eco-Solvent, once owning the largest share of the market but being eroded by durable aqueous and the third category, UV curable inks.
    • UV Curable has captured the market and UV printers represent the lion’s share of shipments of new equipment in the large format market as print providers migrate from solvent.

    UV is gaining ground faster in Europe than in North America, but less quickly in emerging markets such as China and Latin America where regulatory control is less strict. InfoTrends’ Tim Greene says, “In North America, digital large format is still a fairly high margin business as compared to China, where solvent is the technology of choice and printers are paying one-tenth the price for a liter of ink than a North American printer would pay. The Chinese have driven price down, selling large format for as little as 35 cents per square foot, where it used to be as much as US$3 to US$4 per square foot.”

    Greene also points out that printers in highly regulated markets such as Western Europe and North America are using what he calls cross-shoring to meet certain customer requirements, perhaps ordering printing produced in a less environmentally sustainable manner in Poland with the end product being shipped to the UK. In this case, the printer meets both the customer requirements and regulatory requirements, since the print is not being produced in the UK.

    “China started with solvent inks, while North America and Western Europe started with aqueous inks,” Greene adds. “Solvent looks to remain the primary technology in China and other emerging markets due to lower ink costs, while developed markets are moving away from aqueous and solvent to UV and—as the technologies mature—we expect to see durable aqueous making significant inroads as well.”

    One technology to watch is durable aqueous. While HP has a leading position in that segment with its Latex inks, Greene reports that similar formulations are being developed by companies such as Sun Chemical and Sepiax, adding, “These inks are good for use with some Epson piezo-based printers, and that includes many Roland DG, Mutoh, Mimaki and Epson devices in the market. Many of these devices could be moved to durable water-based ink, replacing eco-solvent, simply by flushing the system and changing the print heads.”

    Durable aqueous inks could be a game changer that could slow the growth of UV, while accelerating the decline of solvent inks. It will bear watching to see whether leading service providers ultimately find value in migrating their systems to durable aqueous as this technology matures.

    Interestingly, in a joint FESPA / InfoTrends study conducted in 2011, the most common type of equipment in use by printers surveyed was still solvent, and only a third of respondents reported having aqueous technology. This is despite the fact that the trend worldwide has been a move to UV curable inks.

    According to Roland DG’s Andrew Oransky, Director of Marketing and Product Management, “While UV technology promises to eventually replace solvent for many applications, it will be some time before the price points of UV printers match the levels we are seeing currently for solvent inkjet printers. For this reason, solvent inkjet printers will continue to be in demand, especially from small to mid-sized shops where an investment in UV technology is too cost prohibitive.”

    Prints Aren’t Finished Till They Are Finished

    Finishing is also an important aspect of large format production and can add both margin and value to an otherwise mundane project. For example, adding grommets to vinyl banners can add US$1 per square foot to the value of the project. Savvy large format providers are doing installation including backlit applications, and using laser die cutting to finish point of purchase materials, vehicle wraps and more.

    They are also applying different finishes to the piece, either through lamination or using technology such as offered by Inca Digital that allows a choice between matte, satin or gloss finish. Although these more complex operations can be harder to manage from a cost and profit standpoint than a “print, stack and ship” approach, a print provider who can offer this full range of services stands to grow both revenues and profits as well as build market differentiation and customer loyalty.

    For most operations, printing and cutting are two distinct processes. Roland DG offers a unique patented print/cut platform that combines digital printing capabilities with a contour cutting mechanism to streamline the production process, allowing graphics to be produced from design to finished print in an automated manner, eliminating several otherwise manual steps. Its new VersaStudio 20-inch desktop printer/cutter allows graphics professionals to access the technology for less than US$10,000 and is ideal for producing fully finished one-off samples or mock-ups.

    Market Share

    Global market share ranking for vendors by ink type showed:

    • The global market leaders in water-based or aqueous inkjet are HP, Canon and Epson. HP is the only big brand in the latex market and has sold more than 5,000 latex-based printers, according to InfoTrends.
    • In eco-solvent, Roland DG is number one, with 2X the market share of everyone else in North America. Mimaki and Mutoh hold global market share positions 2 and 3, respectively. Roland DG’s Oransky reports that Roland DG’s global market share in eco-solvent is 41.9 per cent, with a global UV market share of 5.6 per cent.
    • UV finds Océ with the lead in global market share, followed by Mimaki, HP and EFI. One advantage of UV printing using a flatbed printer is the ability to print directly to rigid substrates up to 2 inches thick, eliminating the need to later mount and laminate output. UV printers are available in flatbed, roll-to-roll, or hybrid models that easily convert from one to the other.

    These suppliers will be well-represented at drupa 2012, but visitors should also take the opportunity to visit smaller manufacturers, such as Czech-based Grapo Technologies, as well as look for innovative new products and technologies on display in larger vendor stands.

    Evolving Markets Driving Change

    One thing is clear: the large format market is evolving and successful players are driving that evolutionary change on two planes, according to the FESPA / InfoTrends study.

    The study reflects that service providers can develop strategies to evolve in two directions: “On one side is the ability to improve their operational effectiveness, to develop greater speed, improve image quality, gain efficiencies, reduce the environmental impact, and improve their customer service standards. On the other side, strategies could be developed to help create new services, build new products, engage new customers, and set up new business models.”

    Evolutionary Strategic Directions

    The strategic decisions these companies make will impact the types of equipment, customers and applications they will choose to pursue. In addition to the quantitative data acquired by surveying large format service providers, this study also presented case study examples of companies that have chosen these evolutionary paths.

    Three of these, representing market entry from three different starting points, are summarized here as examples of the evolution the industry is undergoing in terms of both technology and the competitive playing field.

    Devising New Revenue Streams

    UK company Alderson Print Group is an example of a non-traditional competitor in the signs and display graphics industry, an increasingly common phenomenon. In the case of this commercial printer in business since 1963, large format was perceived as a growth strategy to compensate for declining offset revenues.

    In 2009, the company established a dedicated point-of-sale division utilizing a combination of a KBA sheetfed offset technology and a range of HP roll-fed wide format digital inkjet equipment.

    Alderson used this new division to garner more revenues from existing customers, becoming more of a one-stop supplier, as well as an entree to gaining new business with new customers. Since the division was established, it has doubled year-over-year sales and now accounts for 20 per cent of the firm’s £30 million in sales.

    This 20 per cent of revenues is generated by a headcount of 30 out of a total staff of 236. A key challenge for Alderson, as for many commercial printers who choose to take the large format path, is the need for significant additional space to accommodate production and finishing, as well as for fulfillment and distribution services these new customers demand.

    Massive Graphics

    Located in New Brunswick, Canada, Massive Graphics is a digital shop with seven employees driven by an innovative leader. The company uses three large format printers, two Mimaki eco-solvent printers and one Agfa flatbed printer, and does work in the exhibition and retail markets.

    In 2010, Massive Graphics saw an opportunity to integrate QR codes into its offerings. Although the company does not sell QR codes at an extra charge, its customers recognize that using QR codes in their signage and graphics campaigns is more effective. QR code expertise also positions Massive Graphics as a consultant to its customers, frequently helping clients on the design side to make effective use of QR codes on large format printed signage. QR Codes also make it easier to provide a link to information on the Internet in multiple languages—a requirement and often a challenge in French- and English-speaking Canada.

    QR codes also deliver metrics. Companies want to know they are getting a direct response and QR codes are a great way to deliver that intelligence since accesses to the codes are tracked.

    In a very short timeframe since this large format company began offering QR codes, it has come to be seen by its customers as capable of producing much more comprehensive and effective campaigns, elevating its value, and with little risk, since the addition of QR codes requires little additional investment on the part of the printing firm.

    BIG Opportunities for Making a Big Impression

    Large format inkjet printing is an exciting segment of the printing business. It is growing, it can offer higher margins than many other segments, and the technology continues to evolve to allow even more innovative customer solutions.

    drupa 2012 will be an important venue for print service providers of all types to investigate the full range of options for entering this lucrative market space. Visitors should take full advantage of the opportunity to educate themselves about equipment, inks, finishing solutions, applications and more as they seek the best path to profit for a new business opportunity, or look for ways to enhance their existing large format services.

    Visitors should also look “beyond the box” at tools and solutions that will help streamline their operations. Most, if not all, suppliers to the large format market offer a wide range of prepress, workflow and finishing solutions that make the large format printing process more efficient and cost-effective.