Archive for August, 2014

  • PMP generates cash but little profit

    The directory business of the regions largest printer crashes as volumes dive by 72% while catalogues hold the line.

    Despite sales revenue falling by 7.8% to $899.2 million and print volumes declining by 9.8%, PMP’s results illustrate the cash generating potential of print with free cash flow of $44 million, up from $27.5 million the year before. It posted a statutory profit of $3.4 million.

    In a changing market PMP is focusing on lowering its debt, which is now at an all-time low of $51.7 million. This is due to the completion of Phase 3 of the Transformation Plan that saw the company reduce capacity and employee numbers as it rationalised production facilities. However, there was little good news in the prospects of the company’s core printed products.

    Magazine volumes followed circulation with a drop of 5.3% with the company blaming weak consumer spending and industry over capacity for the impact on its heatset printing. It is trying to reduce its reliance on this traditional market segment.

    In a report to the ASX it highlighted improved results from Gordon & Gotch and the book printing Griffin Press division while the distribution business went gangbusters with unaddressed marketing material volumes up 12%. Overall PMP NZ performed better than its Australian counterpart improving its results by 2.1% to $160.9 million as opposed to a drop of $53.7 million (10.9%) in sales revenue across the Tasman.

    Despite the tough result management is confident the reduced cost base and lower financial risk means the company is well underway to building a more profitable and sustainable PMP. Its primary ongoing focus is to be a retail catalogue specialist with expanded digital marketing while developing ever more targeted versions.

    At 46.5 cents per share the company is continuing its slow climb back in sharemarket value. It listed its assets at $502,654 million, down from $549,208 million last year. Guidance of the company’s plans and future directions will be given at the AGM in November

     

  • Save on health and safety with new self-compliance test and tag service

    A new Printing Industries service will cut a workplace health and safety compliance cost for members by allowing them to do electrical test and tagging in-house.

    Electrical test and tagging is an OHSW responsibility to ensure portable electrical appliances are regularly checked and tested and safe for use to Australian Standard AS/NZS 3760 and 3012. It involves visually inspecting and electrically testing in-service electrical equipment for personal safety, a task usually carried out by an electrical contractor or specialist test and tag company.

    Printing Industries National Director, Communication Technology and Creative Service, Joe Kowalewski, (right)  said the new service, available through the Association’s Better Business website (www.betterbusiness.net.au) provides a day’s training for a nominated staff member, appliance tester and associated equipment for companies to begin their own testing.

    “Many companies don’t realise that testing and tagging can be conducted internally and may not require the services of an external provider,” he said. “With some basic training, internal staff can carry out testing and tagging in your own workplace to the required Australian Standard. Not only does this save costs through self-compliance, it can also be advantageous to productivity by allowing the work to be done in specific areas of a printing company at a time most suitable to production requirements.”

    The training is available through Printing Industries‘ Better Business partner Tag & Test Training, a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) in Australia and New Zealand and supplier to the electrical safety industry.

    “Our members have available a specially discounted package of training and equipment to get them underway. In business all avenues to reduce costs have to be explored and this is one of the many services Printing Industries has that can help improve bottom-line performance,” he said.

    Printing Industries will feature Tag & Test Training in its webinar program on Wednesday, 10 September 2014 at 1pm (AEST). Click here to register for the 30-minute webinar which will explain test and tag WHS obligations and illustrate how companies can do their own testing.

  • ‘Keep us posted’ – Printing Industries leads the charge against Australia Post

    An unlikely coalition of business groups and unions is demanding the restoration of ACCC oversight over bulk mail price increases and no change to the monopoly’s community service obligations.

    According to Bill Healey, CEO Printing Industries and spokesperson for the alliance, Australia Post is being less than honest about the effectiveness of mail. “It is time Australia Post worked with industry stakeholders and the community to develop a clear strategic direction for the future of mail services rather than misleading the Australian public on the continuing effectiveness and demand for traditional mail,” said Healey.

    “Greater oversight is required of the management of Australia Post to ensure that a significant public asset is not irreparably damaged. Australia Post has failed to outline a clear strategic direction on how it intends to deal with the challenges resulting from the emergence of the digital economy. To make matters worse, it is deliberately ignoring the views of the Australian community and the findings of its own research.”

    An Australia Post consumer survey found that:

    85% of people read their mail on the day it is received.

    98% of people open their mail compared to only 20-25% for email.

    67% of people still prefer to get their bills and bank statements through the mail.

    The alliance is calling on all Members of Parliament to support:

    • The retention of all of Australia Post’s existing community service obligations.
    • The restoration of ACCC oversight of price increases in bulk lodged mail and the monitoring of service standards, as is currently the case of with Post’s community service obligations.
    • The establishment of a bipartisan round table also involving all industry stakeholders to examine options for Australia Post’s future with oversight of proposals and outcomes by the senate communications committee.

    Not left out in the cold, the alliance members (from left) Michael Tull - CPSU; Lorraine Cassin - AMWU Printing Division; John Mathieson - AMWU Retired Members; Angela Cramp - Licenced Post Office Group; Andrew Hirst - Licenced Post Office Group; Bill Healey - Printing Industries Association of Australia; Martin O'Nea - CWU.

    Alliance members will meet with key independents and senators in Canberra this week to set out their vision for Australia Post’s future. “Our organisations have come together to voice our concern about the future of Australia Post,” said Healey.

    The alliance brings together business groups representing printers and mail houses – Printing Industries Association of Australia – Licenced Post Offices (LPO Group) and unions;  the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU), Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) and the Communication Workers Union (CWU).

     

  • Landlord shuts the doors on TLC Print Finishing

    Four years on the troubled Silverwater business is again in hot water as the company is locked out and employees look for alternative employment.

    After rising, Phoenix-like, from the ashes of a failed business, The Laminating Company (NSW) in the same suburb in 2010, TLC Print Finishing appears to have ceased trading. Although there is no record of it going into administration or a liquidator being appointed, the doors of the factory have been closed and adorned with a sign ‘Landlord in possession’.

    Disconsolate employees have been approaching opposition companies in Sydney looking for work as they have not been paid for a number of weeks, nor received any entitlements. Without the company going into administration they are unable to access the Federal Government compensation scheme.

    There is no obvious means of contacting the director, David Rogers, or shareholder, Samantha Rogers, who was operating the business. Her brother, Darren Falla, is also a shareholder. What equipment remains inside the factory is held by Mamers Investment Pty Ltd, of which David Rogers is also a director.

    [Samantha Rogers has since contacted Print21, here.]

    Other finishing companies in Sydney report fielding some extra work from former TLC Print Finishing customers, although amazed at the prices they’re being asked to match. Sources indicate that the company was hit hard by the recent failure of Focus Print.

    It should be pointed out, again, that TLC Print Finishing in Sydney has no connection with TLC Digital in Victoria.

     

    Edio

     

     

  • Avon Graphics moves into wide format – for trade only

    Broadening its range of products and services to the trade, the Melbourne-based print embellishing company picks Vutek and Mimaki to kick start its new venture.

    Three new Mimaki wide format inkjets – two LED UV flatbeds and a roll fed eco-solvent printer –  along with a Vutek QS 2000 and a Summa cutter have transformed the Avon Graphics business in Melbourne. In its first move into digital technology, one of Australia’s most recognised trade suppliers of specialized processes is looking to embellish its own reputation as a wide format supplier.

    Better known for its award winning foil stamping, embossing, laser cutting, laminating and texturing, Avon Graphics addressed its ‘slow-process’ market by looking to see what else it could offer its customers. According to Tate Hone, national sales manager, wide-format printing for ‘trade only’ proved to be a logical step.

    “We‘re excited to be dealing in the digital market. We looked long and hard at different options and spoke to a number of our customers before deciding wide format was a service we could provide,” he said.

    With the first Vutek going in late last year the uptake has exceeded expectations. The plan was to double capacity within 12 months but the business is now up to four inkjet machines already. Speed to market is a major factor in the new enterprise.

    “It’s been great for us. We set up a special department where clients can come and print their own samples to show customers. They still place orders with the same staff. They know us.”

    “We are very excited to be working with Avon Graphics through our reseller Spicer’s Sign and Display," said Brad Creighton, National Sales & Marketing Manager, Mimaki pictured (right) with Tate Hone.

    Hone believes the industry trusts Avon Graphics as a ‘trade only’ wide format supplier building on its reputation over many years. It is an extension of the type of service the company has  fulfilled for many years.

    He is full of praise for the Mimaki LED machine. “We felt that the Mimaki technology allowed us to produce the quality that printers expect. The variable ink droplet size meant that we could offer the best quality while still maintaining the speed needed to meet market demand.

    “The LED cold cure system allows us to run stocks like polypropylene without having to worry about heat curl, which has been an issue in the past. Also, the taint or smell of the inks with conventional UV has sometimes dictated that in store prints had to be laminated. The LED cured Mimaki inks have no odour,” he said.

     

  • West Melbourne snaps top spot at this year’s franchise awards

    A triumphal tour of the major centres had Snap franchisees cheering for their peers at one of the industry’s most significant award fixtures.

    With awards ranging from the Mover and Shakers of the year, to the new franchise owner of the year, up to the ‘Oscar’ of the franchise system, the Paddy Thompson Award for Franchise of the Year, this year’s competition was well attended and keenly followed. As Steve Edwards, CEO, travelled around the states, handing out plaques and certificates, the strength of the franchise system was on display. The strong small business ethos behind the ambition of the participants was palpable as the winners took to the stage to celebrate their own success.

    The winners of the Paddy Thompson Award: Al Babicka & Peter Pawelzig, Snap West Melbourne.

    According to Stephen Edwards, CEO, the Snap franchise is growing strongly and moving into new products and services. “I would like to congratulate all the owners nominated and our award winners. It was also great to see many of our 21 new franchise owners for the past 12 months attend. We also had our gold partners attend and we really had a great vibe at all the events,” he said.

    “Next years incentive trip was announced and all this coming years sales winners will be off to Tahiti. Business is still out there and many of our franchise owners continue to buck the doom and gloom of the industry.”

    According to Raeleen Hooper, general manager franchise services the winners exemplify the core values of Snap, commitment to the Snap transformation strategy and dedication to the growth of the network and the brand. “We couldn’t be more proud of all the 2014 Snap Awards winners. It’s great to see so many of our franchisees excelling across in print, design and websites and we look forward to another great year.”

    Other winners were:

    Sales Achievement Award

    National Winner
    Snap Wynyard

    Regional Sales Achievement Award
    Snap Wollongong

     State Winners
    NSW – Snap Wynyard
    WA – Snap Osborne Park
    VIC – Snap West Melbourne
    QLD – Snap Rocklea
    SA – Snap Adelaide Flinders St

    Non Print Sales Award
    Snap Eastwood

    Sales Person of the Year
    Shane Bertolotti – Snap Toowoomba and Dalby
    Gina Turner- Snap Burwood

    Movers and Shakers
    Snap Homebush Bay
    Snap Geelong
    Snap Toowoomba
    Snap Payneham
    Snap Mandurah

    Community Achievement Award
    Caroline and Richard Fyffe – Snap Melbourne, Flinders Lane

     New Franchise Owner of the year
    Wayne and Jo Moir – Snap Hilton and Parkside

     Multi-Franchise Owner of the year
    Sanjay Siva and Sandeep Raikar – Snap Burwood, Surry Hills & Kingsgrove

    Hall of Fame Inductee
    Rod and Julie Harrington, Snap Laverton North

    rod-julie

    Picture 1 of 8

    Rod and Julie Harrington, Snap Laverton North, were inducted into the Hall of Fame.

  • Issue 645 – 27 August 2014

    The Business Transformation briefings come to Sydney today and tomorrow at the offices of Printing Industries in Auburn. A little over half way through the national tour they’ve been very well attended with over 60 printing businesses signing on for further one-on-one development. With Sydney, Perth and Adelaide again to come, there’s still time to join in in.

    You’re one of almost 8000 industry professionals across Australia and NZ subscribed to Print21.
    And remember, keep those news stories coming through.

    Patrick Howard
    Publishing editor

  • Hannapak upgrade sparks packaging equipment sell off

    A new Bobst diecutter leads the revamping of packaging equipment at the country’s largest independently owned packaging printer, spilling a wide range of second hand kit onto GraysOnline.

    The continuing investment programme at Hannapak has seen it install a new manroland R706 LV HS six-colour press in February this year, one of the fastest and most automated models in the world. It takes its place alongside six other manroland presses at the North Richmond plant.

    The increase in productivity has required an upgrade in downstream processing equipment, notably the installation of a new Bobst 106 Mastercut to keep pace with the work. According to Sam Hanna, the Bobst is ’the highest efficiency die-cutting system anywhere in the world.’  Linked up to a Bobst Masterfold straight-line folding and gluing system it is one of the fastest packaging lines in the world.

    The new equipment has made some of the company’s existing stock redundant and part of it has been assigned to GraysOnline Auction for sale next week.

    “I think people will understand that this is exceptionally well-maintained equipment from Hannapak. We have a reputation for not only quality printing and packaging but also in the way we maintain equipment,” he said.

    Among the items going for sale are:

    • Bobst 1080 diecutter with stripping
    • Heidelberg platen diecutter
    • 2 x Heidelberg cylinder diecutters
    • Roland Favorit 2-colour press

    A full list is available on GraysOnline. (search sale number 5011297)

    For further information contact:
    Kirby Yates
    graysonline
    Mobile: 0429 912 489
    Email: kirby.yates@grays.com.au

     

     

     

  • Management team sticks with Mark Andy buyout

    Former CEO, PJ Desai, comes back with a buyout offer too good to refuse for the US-based label and package printing equipment manufacturer. He has the support of the current management who will be part of the purchase.

    There are over 10,000 Mark Andy and Rotoflex machines currently installed around the world with a replacement value of over $1 billion. The company represented by Aldus Engineerinrg, has a large installed base in Australia and New Zealand, second only to Gallus. Mark Andy, which was owned by a private equity group, has enjoyed considerable growth in recent years. Its presses are mainly flexo technology but like every other player it is addressing the shift to digital with the launch of an inline hybrid inkjet solution.

    “This was an outstanding opportunity to purchase an established and innovative company with a strong core business of equipment, consumable products and services for the label market, as well as several exciting new products in the pipeline, including our new Digital Series inkjet press,” said Desai, who served as Mark Andy’s CEO from 2012-2014.

    The move was welcomed by Kevin Wilken, current CEO who said; “The combination of dedicated owner-managers and P.J.’s expertise and strategic thinking will continue driving Mark Andy’s success and long-term growth strategy.”

    In the local market Mark Andy has long been represented by Aldus Engineering, headed by Ian Guanaria. It is recognised for providing complete and customised systems in the labelling and packaging sector.

    Mark Andy is one of a number of traditional narrow web press suppliers, including the Heidelberg-owned Gallus, that are trialling inkjet hybrid presses. To date the quality issues and the limited substrates that are suitable for inkjet have restricted the uptake, but the use of UV drying is making inroads in solving these problems.

    Long-term digital sector leader is HP Indigo with its toner-based electro ink. Screen and Epson are both active in the shift towards digital label production with new presses introduced this year.

     

  • The Price of success – one year on

    PaperlinX claws its way back towards profitability through a combination of cost cutting and focusing on margins in sustainable businesses.

    A statutory loss after tax of A$63.6 million for the year ended 30 June 2014 may not seem like good news but it is when compared to the loss of A$92.8 million for the previous year. That’s the situation with PaperlinX one year after Andrew Price took on the role of CEO and moved to London to sort out “the mess.”

    It’s been a year of rationalisation, savage cuts to employee numbers and taking on the entrenched and generous employment benefits that bedevil continental Europe. According to Price, in Sydney to present the annual report, the actual situation on the ground when he arrived in London was worse than he imagined.

    Andrew Price, CEO, PaperlinX

    “It’s surprising how bad it was on the inside. It came after years of neglect. The company was in deep trouble and heading for a dark place,” he said. “It’s been a hectic year, full of change. A lot of people could not see that the old ways of doing business were over. Many could not accept that.”

    Far from cavalier about the cost cutting, Price recognises that many of the employees he let go were, “good people who did a good job. It wasn’t their fault, it was management failure.”

    However he is confident the turnaround has begun, nominating the task of instilling belief and convincing people within the company and the shareholders that it could be done as the hardest challenge. Morale is now coming back as the results come in.

    Price claims the situation for PaperlinX is a microcosm of the whole printing industry. “We must have belief in ourselves and our future. We can’t just do more of the same,” he said.

    The company press release said, Worldwide, trading conditions in our established paper markets remain challenging and changes in the competitive landscape further reinforce the need to redefine our merchant model and focus on growing our diversified businesses as part of our longer term strategy.

    The company’s Canadian and ANZA operations are “the jewel in the crown,” according to Price. The profitable local company continues to improve under local management guidance and initiative. Much of the future development will come from outside its core paper products. In the statement the company said, In response to the declining demand for commercial print, mainly due to the impact of technology on a global basis; generating growth through diversification remains a key objective going forward.

    This includes a development of packaging materials supply as well as wide-format equipment and substrate sales. In Canada there is also a sound printing plate and consumables business.

    The company also reported a reduction in net debt of 24% since June 2013 and a 2% increase in sales revenue. Working capital balances were significantly lower than last year, a positive change that has seen an inflow of operating cash flow of A$50.7 million.

    Despite continued challenging trading conditions in the UK, Benelux and Germany; the Group’s performance in Europe significantly improved. Underlying EBIT loss was reduced by 44%, from €(28.6) million in FY13 to €(16.0) million. And the company says that it expects to see the full benefits of the cost savings achieved through its restructuring activities, particularly in the UK, the Netherlands and Germany flow through in FY15 and beyond.

    As a result of the positive cash flow for the year, largely due to a significant improvement in working capital management and improved earnings, net debt at year end was at a historical low.

    Price is heading back to London over the weekend to tackle the ongoing restructuring of the business. “It’s more of the same, no different; its a focus on profit, margins and the cost base.”

  • Issue 644 – 19 August 2014

    In this fast moving world there is a trade off between keeping up to date and wading through unwanted emails.

    Here at Print21 the choice is yours. News is updated on the website every day. If you want to be informed whenever a new item appears we’re happy to send you an email or a Tweet on a daily basis.

    Otherwise we’ll be here  in your in-box every week with a round-up of news and the most important events.

    The choice is yours, here.

    You are one of almost 8000 industry professionals across Australia and new Zealand who get their news from Print21.

    Patrick Howard
    Publishing editor.

     

  • Five new Heidelberg presses stoke offset revival

    ‘A return to the industry status quo,’ is how Richard Timson describes the surge in offset press investment over the past two years.

    Top of the range offset presses going in to commercial and packaging printers  will boost productivity in a sector that cannot be serviced by digital technology, according to the managing director of Heidelberg Australia and New Zealand. He was commenting on the most recent press announcement of a highly specc’d Heidelberg XL six colour with UV drying to go into the new Print Bound factory in Melbourne before Christmas.

    "We believe our technology is superior," Richard Timson.

    The press is destined for the old GEON site in Mount Waverly as Print Bound moves from its current Oakleigh premises. This follows the Print Bound takeover this year by Indian entrepreneur, Naresh Gulati, who vowed to revolutionise the printing industry in Australia through his company BPO Intelligence and reclaim work that was lost overseas.

    The investment in the customized XL signals the move of the supply chain business to seriously address the packaging market. According to Timson the press is top-of-the-range technology that will substantially add to the firm’s current line-up of a Heidelberg 102 12-colour and a Heidelberg A2 five-colour with aqueous coater.

    “It’s a new generation press, very fast and productive and equipped with the most sophisticated controls,” he said. “It’s part of an investment cycle of printers who are upgrading their machines in an area where there is no digital alternative.”

    He nominates four other recent press sales in addition to Print Bound, including one in New Zealand that cannot yet be identified:

    • Packaging and label printer, Abaris in Melbourne’s western suburbs, bought a second XL 106 six-colour with double coater.
    • The Van Dyke Press in Brookvale, NSW is trading out its Komori for a Heidelberg XL106 seven-colour with a CutStar sheeter.
    • Lighthouse Press in Caringbah put its hand up for an XL 57 five-colour to go in over Christmas.

    He believes the current buoyant market is underpinned by the need for printers to reinvest as their presses become older. The new presses are many times more productive across a range of measures, including short run and quick change over than previous equipment. This expands the range of work and the variety of print runs.

    A refocusing from the fascination with digital is also part of the equation as he maintains that market is reaching saturation point. “Investment goes in cycles and commercial printers need to get the balance of investment right. Interest rates are pretty good as is the exchange rate. It’s a good time to invest.”

    This is looking at being the second year in a row where the local Heidelberg business (HAN) has beaten its budgets and returned a profit. Plus there will be “a couple of other deals over the next few months,” said Timson.

    Good offset sales are also reported this year by Rayne Simpson, Ferrostaaal, with five Komori most with UV drying and at least the same number of Ryobi by Cyber. KBA recently installed a major press in Perth while manroland started the year with two serious installs. It all adds up to an estimated $40 plus million investment in offset presses. Who said offset was finished?

     

     

     

  • Gopher Graphics pops up again in time for Father’s Day

    The company behind Hurslton Park printing business, Gopher Graphics, stopped trading in March and had liquidators, SVPartners appointed in July with debts of $291,754.54. But Gopher Graphics is still in business.

    Ironically, the company trading as the failed Sydney business, Gopher Graphics, started life as Commercial Debt Collection Services Pty Ltd in December 1993. It changed its name to ACN 062 895 774 Pty Ltd in 2000 and continued trading as Gopher Graphics until March. The company was operated by Ed Jones and focused on supplying printing and graphic services to registered clubs.

    According to the liquidators total debts amount to $292,111.06 while there are no realisable assets. A number of printing companies including SOS and Elders Print are among the creditors owed many thousands of dollars.

    It came as a surprise to at least one of them to learn that Gopher Graphics was still trading, running a Father’s Day special on its Facebook page. Ed Jones said there was ‘nothing uncommon’ in the matter, that there were three companies in his group that have been reorganised. He said, ‘these things happen from time to time’ and confirmed that Gopher Graphics was continuing to trade.

    A meeting of creditors has been called by the liquidators.

    According to a statement to creditors, the liquidators said The Company’s business had been declining due to the competitive nature of the industry it was competing in. The director has advised that a downturn in the printing industry combined with discounted pricing offered by competitors led to the Company having insufficient funds to meet its tax and other liabilities and hence he determined that the Company should be placed in liquidation.

    Among the various printing and mailing companies listed as creditors the Australian Taxation Office is listed as being owed $116,088.93. According to the administrators an investigation is being held into whether assets of the business were sold prior to liquidation, to whom and whether they were at a fair value. They are seeking the books and records of the company in order to compile a comprehensive report to ASIC.

     

     

     

     

  • Geoff Selig steps up as Executive Chairman of Blue Star

    Look out for more takeovers and  buyouts from Blue Star as increased focus on carrying out the company’s strategic plan will see him working ever more closely with Graham Morgan, head of alliances and acquisitions.

    … the pre-eminent print communications business in the country: Geoff Selig

    The move triggers a domino effect among senior Blue Star management with Warwick Hay, currently the Chief Executive of Webstar, taking on the role of Group Chief Executive Officer. He comes to the role after five years with Blue Star, having lead the Webstar business both in Australia and New Zealand for much of that period. We are indeed fortunate to have someone of Warwick’s outstanding calibre stepping into such an important leadership role at this time, said Selig.

     Just two years after the Selig family took over the business and months after the aborted attempt to merge with IPMG into the largest printing company in the region, Blue Star is again looking to new horizons.

    According to an internal communication, Selig believes the company is the pre-eminent print communications business in the country. For all of us the past couple of years have been both demanding and highly rewarding. I am strongly of the view by continuing to perform well that we are uniquely placed to leverage our market position to further strengthen and secure the business over the years ahead.

    As we look to continually evolve our business, and also to enable us to pursue the multitude of opportunities that lay ahead, it is really important… that our organizational structure adequately supports these endeavours.

     A series of appointments and shuffles will change the structure of the company from1 September including:

    Matt Aitken, currently group general manager, Print and Mail, will move to the role of group chief operating Officer with responsibility for all of the manufacturing operations of the Group, including Webstar. Darryl Meyer, currently operations manager will take on the role of general manager, Webstar.

    Guy Watson, currently group business development manager moves to the role of general manager, Retail Display (STI).

     

     

  • Paper prices plummet in decade – Pulp & Paper Edge

    Even as paper volumes are stable or growing the prices being paid for Australia’s printing and communication papers are in free fall. Recent upwards movements reflect only the impact of the depreciation of the Australian dollar.

    On a searching examination of the growth of the Australian Balance of Trade Deficit in Communication Paper, industry bible, Pulp & Paper Edge, suggests that only where there is local manufacturing are prices stable.  TIm Woods, publisher writes that, regardless of where you stand in the trade, there is not a lot to enjoy when we lift the veil on Australia’s troubled balanced of trade deficit for printing and communication papers. [There are]no winners in expanding deficit.

    The survey comes at a time when estimates to the end of 2017 are that consumption of printing and communication paper in North America will decline at an average rate of 4.1% per annum and by 2.5% in Western Europe. Growth in Asia (inclusive of the mature Japan and Australian and New Zealand markets) is forecast to be 1.5%, with the rest of the world averaging 1.8%.

    P&PE addresses concerns about the lack of local production to act as a balance against a purely price-driven import mechanism.  It maintains that a healthy paper price is good for all sectors.

    'A healthy market includes a robust interplay between domestic production and imported supply.' Tim Woods

    Underscoring the importance of domestic production, import prices for … light-weight coated or LWC mechanicals, which are used in catalogues and many magazine applications, have experienced the biggest real price decline over the last decade. Importers have routinely expressed the view that Norske Skog’s Vantage product may well reintroduce differentiations into the market that will result in improved prices for quality products and services.

    The statistics indicate just how different areas of printing and publishing are doing. While imports of uncoated mechanical grade for printing directories and lower grades of catalogues fell by 9.2%, imports of coated woodfree papers for publications and higher grade magazines increased by 5.3% to 293.4 kt.

     Tim Woods writes … A healthy market includes a robust interplay between domestic production and imported supply. Both bring different features that can add value built on dynamics including global innovation and local market services. On their own, each is destined, and the foregoing evidence shows this, to compete on price alone.  When that occurs, all value is ultimately left with the buyer. That is in no one’s interest.

    Subscribe to Pulp & Paper Edge here.

  • The pitfalls of going paperless – Print21 magazine

    Paperless Schmaperless. After being given the ‘we don’t do paper’ line by none other than Adobe, Andy McCourt gets out his big pen and notepad to write a riposte to all those digital evangelists, drawing on the ancient wisdom of the Bible to help prove his point.

    “Paperless” is a slogan worn as a badge of honour and environmental responsibility by many organisations as if a heavenly host of angels will start applauding once the statement “we’re paperless” is uttered.

    Organisations that, surprisingly, have gone paperless include Adobe – a company founded on software for graphic designers who create files for printing. A recent attempt to get a few brochures from Adobe for their new 3D Printing software in order to hand them out at a seminar drew a blank. “We simply don’t have any – it’s all on the web,” was the startling response.

    Adobe’s CS6 is the most widely-used creative software with over 8 million users worldwide. From the middle of last year, Adobe began shifting CS6 users to a subscription model where all the software is accessed via Creative Cloud. There will be no more development of CS6 ‘in a box’; if you want the latest updates you have to subscribe. Already, according to Adobe, 1.8 million creatives are using Creative Cloud, and the graph is heading north. It’s been a success.

    The trajectory of Adobe and companies like it is clear: abandon print and paper and become exclusively a mobile, tablet and online business. Adobe is going beyond this with the launch of ‘Marketing Cloud’, for which Creative Cloud is the on-ramp. Marketing Cloud includes analytics, strategy planning and even campaign execution – including print, even though you can’t get a brochure out of Adobe. A request for a simple A4 sheet listing the website links to 3D Printing features was also denied, so the 3D Seminar information packs went to delegates with no Adobe content, but plenty from their print-literate competitor, Autodesk.

    Clever catalogues

    This just one example of where print can not and should not be replaced. Catalogues are another well-documented example. The latest Australian Shopper Intent Report, compiled by centre owner AMP Capital Shopping Centres, confirms that consumers like to be ‘omni-channel’ when it comes to shopping research but that printed catalogues remain the number one influencer.

    “The medium with the highest level of influence on shopper purchases remains the colour catalogue, which was preferred by more than a third (37 per cent) of respondents. This was apparent even among younger shoppers, with 28 per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds and 30 per cent of 25- to 34-year-olds nominating the catalogue as their first preference,” says the report.

    Where groceries are concerned, the impact of printed catalogues is even more profound, with 68 per cent of households that have received and read grocery catalogues making a purchase as a result. An organisation called the Commercial Economic Advisory Service of Australia releases an annual report, the most recent showing that 60 per cent of retailers’ total advertising budgets are still spent on printed catalogues. Why is this so? Because they generate sales; on average, every dollar spent on a retail catalogue generates $14 in sales… sometimes as high as $40.

    Even online retailers find catalogues boost sales, such as Las Vegas-based apparel gurus zappos.com: “Average per-transaction sales from Zappos.com’s print catalog, Zappos Life, is consistently twice what it achieves online.” (source: Australian Catalogue Association website.)

     Loyal legal docs

    Another area where paper proves its worth is in the legal system. While there are very advanced document management systems for courts and law practitioners, paper remains intrinsic to the effective prosecution (as in the carrying-out sense) of the law. The Michigan Bar Association even warns its members against going totally paperless as it may expose them to malpractice suits. Issues with indexing, document retrieval and security abound. Given the susceptibility of even the most secure systems to being hacked, what do you think a determined plaintiff or defendant might do to win a case involving millions of dollars?

    Ironically, it is the existence of paper and the thoroughness of archivists that makes the legal system function, even in a quasi-digitised environment. Were it not for all of the stored and scanned documents stretching back scores or even hundreds of years, retrieval of vital matters in law would not be possible.

    In the UK, most defence lawyers have simply refused to go paperless when asked by the Crown Prosecution Service. In a letter to the Director of Public Prosecutions, the 30 largest criminal firms, accounting for over 10 per cent of the criminal legal aid budget, gave notice that they will not take part in the scheme until concerns over costs and workability have been addressed. “We have drawn the line,” one signatory said.

    Surety of statements

    In the finance world, netbanker.com lists no fewer than 12 pitfalls of ‘going paperless’. These include:

    • Statements and notices lost in overflowing email in-boxes
    • Email address changes that are not communicated to the financial institution
    • Spam filters trapping financial notifications and alerts
    • Hard drives crashing and erasing records
    • New computers being installed and records lost in the process
    • Laptops being stolen along with the digital paper trail
    • Computers infected with viruses rendering them inoperable or, worse, sending financial data to the thieves
    • Stress at tax-time trying to remember web addresses and login credentials to access last year’s financial info
    • Forgetting to rebalance your investments because you never take the time to login and look at your online statement
    • Forgetting to report investment income/losses on your taxes because you had no paper trail and forgot about the account
    • Trying to explain to the tax auditor that you don’t have paper copies because you “are saving trees” (which you are not of course)
    • Back-up files being lost, forgotten or corrupted.

    As if that’s not enough, in the UK for example there are 7.1 million people who have never used the internet and a further 16 million who are less than computer-proficient. What to do? Send them to a taxpayer-funded boot camp or consign them to a scrap heap of non tech-savvy human detritus?

    Bonza books

    For eBook zealots and pseudo ‘save the planet’ delusionists, printed books are the inconvenient truth that just won’t go away. The eBook has done so much to promote print. EL James’s mum-porn story series 50 Shades of Grey began as an eBook only, going on to sell over 100 million copies in print (I personally preferred the pastiche 50 Sheds of Grey, it takes erotica to a new level with lines such as: “I lay back exhausted, gazing happily out of the shed window. Despite my concerns about my inexperience, my rhubarb was coming up a treat.”)

    As American comic book artist and writer, Brian Haberlin, says: “Printed books are for people who love printed books. Digital books are for those who love digital books.” Haberlin co-authored Anomaly, a sci-fi extravaganza of a book costing over $50 with a downloadable app that scans the pages and makes them jump out like 3D. He articulates why books will never die better than I can, saying: “Books are cool! I love print, always will. I love digital, always will. But they will continue to be different experiences. It’s a different texture, a different experience and that alone warrants their existence.”

    This omni-channel, multiplexed media approach is where informational and entertainment print fits in, now and in the future. Just as our five senses exist independently, and yet work together, so print works with all other media.

    A famous authoritative quote regarding the human body goes: “If the foot says, ‘Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,’ it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, ‘Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,’ it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?” (1 Corinthians 12:16).

    So it is with print and other media; there is a place and function for it all and it is about time the paperless mantra was consigned to the… err… waste paper basket? I haven’t even touched on the myth, nay the lie, of saving the planet by going paperless. I would hope that all of the published evidence and discrediting of misinformation has got through to people: that managed forest plantations producing pulpable fibre for paper actually lock in carbon, sustain watercourses and generate oxygen. After that, the product thus produced – paper – can be recycled and used again.

    Spent energy used reading online or on mobile devices can never be recycled and the carbon it emits has to be dealt with at some future stage by the trees that make the paper, which then gets recycled…

    No apologies for that inconvenient truth.

  • My 45 minutes as economic advisor to the Treasurer – James Cryer.

    Industry seer and gadfly, James Cryer, took up an invitation to meet Treasurer Joe Hockey to talk over some points in a ‘Budget Review’ at his North Sydney office. Here is how it happened and, for those with a taste for it, the original communication between the two.

    Democracy is, no doubt, a flawed notion. We whinge about it, but like the weather, nobody does anything about it. And worse than that, we don’t bother to assert our rights as citizens, maybe with good cause, as we’ve been battered and bruised for so long by politicians who are indifferent, incompetent or just inappropriate!

    It was into this murky world that I ventured some months ago, when, as an ordinary citizen (is there any other kind?) I was so put out by Joe Hockey’s recent budget that I fired off a salvo telling him exactly what I thought of his budget. While that gave me a warm inner glow, one doesn’t usually expect a response from our political servants, much less when you’ve told them what a lousy job they’re doing!

    So imagine my surprise when I got a call from his office saying that the Federal Treasurer wished to see me. This could only mean one of two things, either I was going to be met by men with machine-guns or he was going to appoint me his next economic advisor.

    Luckily for me and the country neither option eventuated. Instead, he gave me a decent chunk of his time and a fair hearing.

    I must say, Joe and I agreed to disagree on a few things  and no, he didn’t agree that everyone in the printing industry should get a generous tax break. One thing I must say to his credit is that he agreed to meet me and allowed me to put my case.

    Most pollies when confronted by a 1,100-words attack on their brand new baby (in this case his first budget) would have taken the easy option; ignore it and it’ll go away!

    So now, not only do I have a warm inner glow but I can tell my grandkids that, for a few fleeting moments the country was being run by some nonentity from the printing industry!

    Democracy doesn’t get any better than this.

    James Cryer

    JDA Print Recruitment

     

    'I am what you may regard as a rusted-on Liberal.' James Cryer with Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey.

    The 2014 Federal Budget Review – and a Few Constructive Suggestions

    Greetings Joe – we’ve not met but as a Castlecrag resident I’m in your catchment area, so I hope you’ll do me the courtesy of a well thought out reply to the various points I raise. None of these points are particularly original – they’re simply a reflection of the general clamour arising in protest at your first budget. It’s not enough for you to say, I’m right – and everyone else is wrong! It seems undeniable there does seem to be a serious groundswell of opinion, that you’ve missed the boat in terms of achieving what you lead us to believe you were seeking to do – ie, to bring the axe down evenly upon ALL sectors.

    I am what you may regard as a rusted-on Liberal. For my sins I was once president of the Lindfield party (mid-1980’s) and you may have even met my father (Wal Cryer) when he was president of the Chamber of Manufacturers (as it was then, at the time of the bicentenary celebrations, in1988).

    So it takes a fair bit to get me agitated, as I am fairly forgiving of the sins on our side”of politics. I have never written to a federal Treasurer before, so you can make of that what you will.

    But you have managed to do the impossible with this budget – proclaim to do one thing and in effect achieve the exact opposite.

    I listened patiently to the audio of your talk to the Sydney Institute last week, where your theme was attempting to hose down accusations that your budget was unfair. You even had a shot at Ross Gittins, which was probably unwise as he has a loyal following on BOTH sides of politics. I know he’s also labelled your budget as scoring badly in term of equity – but why should you go on the attack? He may have a point.

    Your speech was liberally sprinkled with the suggestion you or “someone” had to take the lead in arresting the over-spending of the other mob. Fair enough – nobody has a problem with that.

    But in going on that morale crusade you built up everyone’s expectations, that finally, the heavy-hand of tax reform would fall equally across all sectors of society.

    But it hasn’t and you know how I know? You’re getting inundated with middle class punters telling you they would have been quite happy to pay something but you completely missed them in your so-called desire to share the burden! You failed to adopt one of taxation’s oldest rules: levy the burden according to the capacity to pay.

    You’ve committed the crime of omission, by not doing something you should have, i.e. not taxing a large chunk of people who would have willingly coughed up! How silly is that?

    The full unexpurgated text of James Cryer’s letter to the Treasurer is here.