Should we recycle our paper?

29 02 2016

PaulI can hardly believe that Xmas has come and gone and Summer is all but over.

Being in sales, and in particular the print industry, means that you come into contact with just about every sector of the market. The print industry may have shrunk – but it still touches every business that I know of in some respect.

Last year proved to be a very successful year for us. We managed to more than double the modest 2014 sales total and we are off to a cracking start for 2016. Mike and I are now the Dunedin Branch (as opposed to a franchise) and we are looking forward to a lot of positive changes during 2016.

Keeping it Green

green_bannerWe have noticed an increase in our customer requests for information about recycled paper. Most are surprised when we explain the answer to going green is not always as easy as just buying paper that is marketed as recycled.

Over the last decade obvious climate change and pollution levels have seen a growing awareness of our environment and the impact we have on it. My teenagers know a lot more about conservation than I did when I was 30.

Recycling paper became very popular in the 1980’s with the first recycled “fine papers” becoming readily available in the market around that time. These papers were used for letterheads, business cards and other office stationery. Prior to this recycling was mainly  used only for downgraded products e.g. fine paper would be recycled into kleen-saks, brown paper bags and packaging. New technology allowed fine papers to be recycled back into fine papers. Sometimes rags and cloth fibers would  be added to give a visually “recycled” look.

As a young sales rep in the 1980’s I thought that recycling would really take off. Especially with my “hippy” customers.

In those days I literally sold tons of “lineflo” for dot matrix printers (now almost made extinct by laser photocopiers). Many of my customers showed extreme interest in the slightly creamier recycled lineflo when it was first introduced……………that was until they saw the price of recycled products.

In the 198o’s and 90’s recycled paper was a flop due to the comparative high cost .

Fast forward to the last decade. Opinions in the  print and paper industry are divided as to whether recycling is actually good or bad for the environment. Even last year there was a fairly heated bit of banter in one of the leading printing industry magazines between the opposing factions.

Carbon Sequestrationers

In the blue corner we have those that believe that the best way of handling paper is simply to bury it.cellulose-aerogel-1

Simplistically, the contention is that it takes more energy and creates more pollution to recycle paper than it saves -when you take into consideration all of the energy required to de-ink, clean, pulp and then reform the paper (there is a substantial amount water, chemicals and energy in the way of heat, transport, power and by-products used to achieve this).

If we simply bury all waste paper this prevents it from being burnt and thus carbon entering the atmosphere. I guess it would eventually end up as coal and petrol after a few hundred millennium buried underground, although by that time we will probably not require fossil fuels or even be on this planet. We may have set off for greener pastures.

Proponents of burying paper waste tend to be also more focused on where our paper comes from. They advocate the “chain of custody” method  – where emphasis is on providing managed forests specifically planted, grown and managed for the production of paper. This makes a lot of sense as it protects against deforestation which arguably causes more damage and climate change than pollution.

Recyclers

In the red corner we have the Recyclers. Very simplistically Recyclers  believe that the energy required to grow trees, harvest them and manufacture in paper mills is too great and should be reduced by recycling paper. Less virgin paper production also equals more trees. Recycle

The newer generations of buyers and organisation leaders are willing to sacrifice brilliant whites for their branding – which paves the way for  less processing and for the use of rapid growing plants such as hemp – to be considered for paper production . Great advanced are being made with the production of hemp and recycled pulp papers. Hemp can provide long fibers that can be mixed with short fibers (from recycled pulp for example) to produce high quality paper for a fraction of the energy and water cost of virgin wood pulp paper.

Hemp b

Hemp can be used as a rapid growth paper source

Is our paper green now anyway?

The printing industry  has come a long way in the last 20 years. Printing was one of the dirtiest/polluting industries just a few decades ago. The printing industry has really put a lot of energy and effort into cleaning up its act and, compared to many other industries, it can now claim to be one of the most environmentally conscious.

Highly toxic heavy minerals and dioxins were used in ink manufacture. Almost all have now been replaced by vegetable dyes and water based inks. Bleaches, chlorine and corrosive chemicals used for paper whitening have been replaced with oxygenating techniques and newer technologies.

Most paper forests are now managed tightly with only a few rogue nations needing to be pulled into line to prevent deforestation continuing.

The theory of “managed forests” for paper production is very compelling and the associated certifications of FSC, PEFC, EnviroCert etc continue to grow and become the standard. We just need them to become a world wide legal standard.FSC

Technology 

The Recyclers may yet have their way through technological advances. Epson has announced plans to release an in-office recycling machine called PaperLab this year.

This machine is designed to sit in the basement of large office buildings and recycle paper previously destined for the shredder or dump. About the size of a large photocopier/digital printer the PaperLab  cleans and restructures used paper into various colours and thicknesses.

PaperLab claims to be able to recycle 14 x A4 sheets per minute – that’s almost 2 reams and hour – depending on colour and weight selected. It apparently does not require water to be added though details on the process are not yet clear.

Epson's Paper Lab A4 paper recycler

Epson’s Paper Lab A4 paper recycler

Epson could be onto a real winner if it carries the concept through to completion. It would certainly prove attractive for security reasons and silence many arguments against recycling. I guess it would be kind of neat to have a steady supply of paper on the shelves too.

Meanwhile if you want to “go green” on your print requirements – you are welcome to call into the studio and talk with us. We are going to have a lot of changes in studio this year and will be “going green” in a very different way soon.

 

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A Brave New Year

11 03 2013

The SwamiThe year seems to be sprinting ahead with the new financial year just a few short weeks away already!!!

2012 ended up being a “full on” year for the entire Dunedin team and, I for one,  was really glad for the Xmas break when it finally rolled around. This will also be an interesting year for me on the home front. With my youngest princess becoming a teenager – we now have a household containing two teenage girls. Everything has suddenly become a hell of a lot more complicated.

Just over a year ago I posted a blog predicting some events in the print industry (see Nov 2011 – Merry Xmas – New Year Picks) I thought it is probably  worth taking a look at those predictions to see how many were proven accurate and also making some more predictions for 2013.

Pick Number One: Digital print will move into the rotary phase

OK – I had a bit of a heads up in this one knowing that we were going to order two rotary inkjet digital presses. However, the impact of rotary digital really did take off during 2013. Apart from our purchase of two Fuji Xerox FX2800 inkjets other transactional and mailing organisations (such as Datam and HP) have also commissioned rotary inkjet presses. Rotary technology has impacted the billing and mailing market so much so –  that there has been some large staff layoffs recently. A trend that looks set to continue in the mailing industry.

I think we are only just getting started with inkjet technology and beginning to understand the possible benefits and application. There are already obvious advantages for short run newspapers, newsprint mags, catalogues, variable data work  and any other application where large page count, small run size items are required.

Pick Number Two: The “Touch Revolution” will continue to grow and develop – especially in Video

There has certainly been an increase in the use of smart phones with mobile plans steering more toward data usage. My predicted drop in tablet prices hasn’t really  come about yet but there are signs of it being just around the corner. As a footnote, the above mentioned teenage daughters both have smartphones and NEVER use them as a phone. They text, kick, chat, google, tumble, listen to music and play games ……..but never use the devices as a phone. Are we seeing the beginning of the end of the voice call?

We have certainly seen the on-line market eat into magazine publication numbers and volumes with many customers trialing on-line publications and measuring results/ROI against printed publications.

Pick Number Three: Social Media and mobile will continue to eat into print’s share of the Marketing Spend

There is no doubt that SM is effecting the way marketers think about, conceive and execute marketing plans. We have identified the need to re-skill our sales team to understand the new needs of our customers – particularly the way our customers communicate with their customers.

Pick Number Four: The Print Industry will merge locally and fragment nationally

Well I nailed this one. In Otago we acquired Taieri Print, in Manawatu we acquired Keeling and Mundy and Print Council in Auckland. All this moves the Kalamazoo group to 4th largest Printer in NZ overall and largest privately owned print organisation.

Nationally we have seen BlueStar sold and Geon Group enter receivership. I think this year will see further fragmentation or consolidation of these two groups capacity (perhaps moving us to number three).

Pick Number Five : Print orders will increasingly be placed by a new breed of “broker”

There has been a definite rise in print consultants and brokers in the market. This is partly due to many struggling print firms focusing on survival – which often means that they become less innovative when offering solutions to customers. This opens the doors to experienced brokers.

From my experience this situation occurs during periods of industry unrest and turmoil and lasts for some years until the cycle continues and  printers again begin to focus on service and innovation.

It’s my pick that web-based solutions will rise in the next few yeas to offer a reduced cost of serve and reduced price for smaller jobs. Leaving consultants/brokers focusing on the large run, complex and big ticket items.

Pick Number Six : End to end Process Automation will become an essential part of print

This has proven key to survival for printers in the print industry. The challenge is for printers is to adapt to the ever decreasing print run volumes and still make a profit. One way to do this is to make the business of supplying print very fast and very efficient.

We have done some very interesting work in this space and will be showing our customers some of the new tools we have developed during 2013.

So what will this next year bring us in the print industry?? I have fewer picks for this year but here goes

Social-Media-MarketingNo 1: The Print industry will start to stabilise

There has been a real shake out over the past three years with many of the less adaptive and financially stable players falling by the wayside.

Hopefully, we will see NZ’s print capacity become more aligned to the market size and some more effort go into customer needs analysis as opposed to survival. This will, in turn, lead to innovation and the print firms once again developing their role in marketing and communications.

N0 2: Printers will embrace integrated marketing and become more than just printers

You won’t readily find a printer now that will argue against the speed of uptake that marketers are converting to on-line publishing,  social media and the touch devices that support this.  Most printers are now moving away from the denial phase and into begrudging acceptance that the future is less around heavy metal and more about data and value added products.

I believe 2013 will see more printers move into acceptance of this and many into active participation. This could be the game changer the industry needs to revitalise itself – especially for small regional print firms.

No.3: Many printers will become more automated

Achieving profit will become more about reducing the cost of serve and the ability to charge for more value added services and products. Automating the basic processes such as quoting, input and workflow will allow printing organisations to become more nimble and change faster. This will enable more time and resource allocation to innovation and research.

I will revisit these in 2014 to see if any of these prediction hit close to the mark.

Meanwhile feel free to contact me or your rep if you would like any more information on any of the above topics or products.





Autumnal Update

15 05 2012

It has been a very busy time for the Kalamazoo Group so far this year. As predicted, the print industry continues to change at a fast pace in NZ and the KZ Group is leading the charge locally. We have a few of the team at the Drupa Print trade show as I sit and write this blog – hopefully they will bring back lots of goodies for me to share with you in the next blog.

For Christchurch customers I will be splitting the my time between the Dunedin and Christchurch offices during winter, so let me know if you would like to catch up for hot coffee at any stage.

Meanwhile, this blog will serve as a quick group update for all those interested.

Otago News

The merger of Wickliffe Solutions and Taieri Print in Dunedin is going well. As with all big moves, there is always some project task that ends up much more expensive than first anticipated. In our case we have had some “extra” costs for machinery moving and on-site power supply – so we will continue to operate out of two sites for the short to medium future. Production will be based in the Fairfield site while the Sales Team , Call Centre, e-Commerce team, Supply Chain heads and admin will remain at the Kaikorai Valley site at 11 Glenelg Street. The Mosgiel Warehouse remains at Factory Road.

I have received many questions from customers asking about how many staff and what equipment we will be retaining. We will be retaining all equipment that is not duplicated. Unfortunately this means that we have lost some staff as a result of quitting some equipment (and other efficiencies achieved due to the merger). This is a difficult time and we appreciate the concern and patience shown by our team and  customers. I am committed to growing our Otago business and, with local support and investment in technology , I am sure we can do this in a very short time frame.

Meanwhile, if you need fast turnaround commercial colour print , digital print, wiro-binding, flow-wrapping or distribution and storage solutions  – give you sales rep (or myself) a call.

New Team Members

In early May – we acquired Keeling and Mundy Print (K&M) in  Palmerston North. This gives the group a strong presence in central North Island and adds further commercial offset colour and finishing capability to our total offering. K& M have been particularly strong in quality A2 Colour Printing and finishing. The KZ group now has the most wide-spread footprint in NZ giving us the ability to print and supply locally wherever our customers have branches or sites based.

Zoomit……………Web-Fed Inkjets

We have named our new division (that started with the acquisition of two Fuji Xerox CF2800 Inkjet web presses and Hunkeler finishing units) Zoomit. This new division is offering cutting edge technology for the print industry and represents the next phase in the evolution of digital print. It is amazing to think that these machines can run at 200m/minute printing both sides simultaneously with variable data. Keep a look out for more details in our press release later this month.

Both inkjet presses have completed the installation and testing processes and are now up and running in our Mt Wellington, Auckland plant. Andrew Healy, who heads up this new division, will be collating samples and videos highlighting all the benefits of Zoomit, his new team and equipment. This is very exciting stuff and is a first for New Zealand. We will be in touch in the near future to talk about how your business can benefit from Andrew and his team’s new technology and solutions.

As a teaser – take a look at the video above. There is sure to be a valuable application for this within your organisation – call your rep or myself and we will be happy to discuss this with you…………or if you are visiting Auckland on business you ar most welcome to call into the plant and take a look at these machines in operation.

Flat Bed Wide Format

We have installed a wide format/ flat-bed printer in the North Island. This is particularly useful for large posters, billboards etc and can be used on a variety of substrates such as corflute, rigid signage and much more. I will gather some info on the capabilities of the new machine and share in the near future. In the meantime – if you have any requirements for large format printing let us know what your needs are and we will supply a cost-effective solution.

Skinart Tattoos

For your next marketing campaign or public event consider getting a tattoo !! Seriously – our Christchurch branch can produce temporary tattoos that are safe, effective and limited only by your imagination. These are produced with a special process right here on the mainland – so we can guarantee the safety of all materials and process of manufacturing. Skinart has proven extremely popular with kids and families in public, sporting and fund-raising events. For more information check out this site http://www.skinart.co.nz/index.html , give me a call or contact your rep. We have samples of the jobs we have produced over the past few years if you want to some ideas or inspiration

On The Cards……….

The group is looking at some new investments later on this year, in particular we are investigating heat-set offset print (think magazines and large run publications) and beefing up our mailing, inserting packaging and distribution capabilities………..watch this space.  The variable, short run packaging market has been tagged as a growth area here in NZ and overseas –  and will fit nicely with the personalised capabilities that we have been building on with our digital platform of laser and inkjet presses.

Well that’s all the news in brief, I’m sure that there will be even more to share over winter. Meanwhile, please call me if you want to discuss any of the information in this blog or would like samples of any of the new products and services.





Great News For The Otago Print Industry

21 02 2012

Well last week was awash with a buzz of excitement when the  announcement was made that Taieri Print was to join the Kalamazoo Group.

Taieri Print will join Wickliffe Solutions in the Kaikorai Valley site to form the largest and most capable printing outfit in the Otago/ Southland Region.

This is really exciting for me as, finally, we have a local med- large run colour offset capability in the group. Although Dunedin has always had access to other parts of the group for colour offset, having a local machine is sometimes more expedient and fits better with the local needs.

Taieri Print, on the other hand, will now be able to offer more complex solutions to their customers through the group’s digital, supply chain and technology divisions.

Anyway we look at it – the move is great news for the Otago Print industry. It keeps machines and jobs in the region and allows our sales team to provide a better offering to our Southern customers.

So – for Wickliffe Customers – what exactly will improve? For years Wickliffe has suffered from a lack of colour offset machinery in Dunedin. Taieri comes equipped with a 10 – colour press and complimentary finishing equipment.  This means that many of the medium to large brochure jobs we previously manufactured in other branches – can now be done right here in Dunedin. All of you who have needed a “next day” or urgent turnaround will know the frustration of having to wait for out-of-town deliveries. Taieri also brings across some neat flow-wrapping and spiral binding finishing gear. Most exciting of all though is the experienced staff and new potential that this will bring to the Dunedin manufacturing unit.

What’s in it for the Taieri customers?  Wickliffe’s Dunedin branch has focused more on digital print and supply chain over the past few years. This means that Taieri customers will be able to consider supply solutions for print (or non print) projects that require rapid, complex or national distribution. Taieri customers will also be introduced to print on demand, web to print and other web-based print solutions. There is also a peace of mind element for Taieri customers now, with back up for the 10-colour press available through the group’s presses in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland. Very short-run print jobs will be available through the Wickliffe digital print fleet of 7 Fuji -Xerox machines in Kaikorai Valley.

Although it is very early days, we intend to move fast to get Taieri Print and Wickliffe under the same roof. Some details are still being worked through – but please call me or your account manager if you want to discuss how changes may affect your organisation.

New Equipment

It seems like good news is coming in pairs at the moment. Steve D’Souza announced , in conjunction with the Taieri Print merger, that we will be bringing in two new inkjet digital presses – the first of their kind in New Zealand. The two CF 2800 presses from Fuji Xerox are reel-fed inkjet presses. I won’t bore you all here with the technical specs – just that they are FAST.

The CF 2800 is aimed at the direct mail and trans-promo market. Let me translate “trans-promo”: think invoices, statements, reminder notices etc (transactional print),  with a promotional element on them – say a voucher or advertisement on the reverse. This is nothing particularly new, but with smart customer information, the CF 280o can make each promotional piece relevent to the recipient. Promotions can target the products and services you know the customer buys and uses, or alternatively, cross sell services they may not be aware that your offer.

2800 Continuous Feed Colour Inkjet Press

This continuous (reel) fed inkjet could also herald the end of base-stock requirements for many jobs. Typically, it is more economical to run off large volumes of coloured base-stock and over-print the transactional information, in black only, as required. The CF2800 is able to print both sides simultaneously with static and variable information. This moves the transactional print model closer to a single process, print on demand model.

Variable direct mail and trans-promo print are considered to be important emerging markets for New Zealand. Kalamazoo is in the process of recruiting specialists in both areas and we look forward to introducing them to you in the near future. Once the new team ( and  machines) are on deck, I will be in touch with how this technology may have possible application in your business. Meanwhile, please feel free to ask any questions.

These are exciting times. Please feel free to comment or sign up for auto updates on this blog.





Happy New Year – lets stick our heads in the cloud?

1 02 2012

Janine Dunlop

I hope everyone had a relaxing and rejuvenating break over Xmas. I think many of us needed a good break after what proved to be a dynamic year in the print industry. I can hardly believe that we are into February already.

This year starts off with changes for the Dunedin Sales team. We welcome Janine Dunlop and Phil Thornton to the fold as we bid a sad farewell to Leanne Downie after almost 8 years in sales support.

Phil Thornton

Both Janine and Phil have extensive experience with our logistics division and will bring that knowledge and experience  across to sales in 2012. I will introduce Phil and Janine to many of you over the coming few weeks, but let me know if you would like a priority intro and I will arrange this for you.

We are also hoping to bring you some good news regarding  upgrades in machinery and technology early in the new year……………….watch this space.

So all in all, a very exciting start to 2012.

Cloud Computing

The “cloud” seems to be on lots of “things to find out about” lists this year.

You have to chuckle at some of these IT terms. IT folk just seem to revel in coming up with terms that evoke mystery. Put very simply “the  cloud”  just means that data, software or IT  is located outside you business (or personal computer if you are operating from home) and accessed via the internet.

A good example, of a simple cloud based solution, is google’s Gmail. In fact, google offers a bunch of cloud based software such as google docs, google sites, google reader etc that are all cloud based and free. Microsoft is also getting on board with MS Office Web apps  – which is a free version of the popular Office suite (although all are cut down versions). This blog is written with cloud based software (the wonderful WordPress) and past posts are stored in the cloud.

Of course the idea of off-site software, data storage and IT is nothing new……so why all the recent fuss. Well, again, it’s largely due to our good friends the smart phone and the ipad. These devices have really made data much more accessable over the past two years. People want to access applications and files wherever they are and on a variety of devices. If your data is stored in the cloud – then it  can easily be accessed from any of your devices (laptop, desktop, ipad, smart phone). There is no need to synchronise files every time you get back to your desktop.

This has  also driven a demand for multiple presentation formats of the same data. For instance, a web site may look great on a desktop screen, however, could need to have a completely different design to make it easy to read and navigate on a smart phone or other mobile device. This is driving a whole new field of opportunities for IT developers and web designers.

Many people (and businesses) are opting for cloud based software as it also removes a lot of the hassle around maintaining software and hardware. Just think – no more expensive upgrades to keep up to date, no more hanging around waiting for the back up tape and dropping it off somewhere safe. No need to buy or replace servers to keep a handle on the ever-growing amount of information that businesses store and transfer today. The software is upgraded in the cloud without a technician in sight and there is an unlimited supply of storage available ( you just pay for the amount you use).

Cloud based software also allows for rapid deployment and lower risk when considering major software changes. With much lower capital investment required, the cost of change is reduced and major change can, at least, be considered (where previously it may not even have made the table if a whole infrastructure change was involved).

As more software organisations are offering cloud-based options we will likely see the following trends:

  • The quick reduction in the cost and availability of data storage……..How much does a 500G external hard-drive cost compared to two or three years ago?
  • Subscription based “cloud” versions of software offered as an option to buying a full license CD or download to your desktop or server.
  • Free subscriptions to cloud applications used as teasers for hardware sales (good news if upgrading your hardware).

So is there a downside to this cloud technology? There has been some discussion around compliance of data stored in the cloud. For example, data held on cloud storage servers in Germany by a New Zealand organisation may need to comply with data storage legislation in both countries. However, if the data was held in China it may only need to comply with NZ legislation. Then there is the area of property and piracy legislation to consider (lots in the news around this at the moment). To say this area is “hazy” is probably an understatement. My personal opinion, is that this will sort itself out as a matter of momentum.

I hope this gives at least a broad understanding of “cloud” computing. Just contact me if you want any more information around any of the subject covered in these blogs.

PS: As part of our sustainability programme – we have converted some waste material into memo cubes which are available, free of charge, to our valuable customers (while stocks last).

I also have some reduced size computer desk pads (with calendar) available – also while stocks last. Just let me know if you would like any of these and I’ll drop off.





Merry Christmas – New year Picks

20 12 2011

"Has anyone seen my glasses?"

Well with the Christmas break just around the corner – its time for a few predictions.

I will make like Nostradamus, polish the crystal ball and take a shot at what I think will happen in the print industry locally, nationally and further afield. Some are fairly obvious, some will be contentious – have a read and let me know what you think.

Pick Number One: Digital print will move into the rotary phase

Offset printing press technology cycled from sheet-fed print in the 1950’s to reel-fed (rotary) in the 1960’s and 7o’s ……….and then back to sheet fed in the 1990’s and 2000’s.

Now it’s digital print’s turn to move into the reel-fed /or rotary press phase. The big names are making huge strides in rotary press manufacture. HP. Xerox and Kodak have made some amazing leaps over the past few years and now some of these machines are really quick and impressive. Take a look at this press release from Kodak from last year – claiming to get publications printed quicker that offset up to 7000 units/books http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=E4KZ5xa1Hrs

The ushering in of the rotary digital cycle will also see inkjet technology begin to replace laser in sheet fed digital presses over the next few year .

This will probably see magazines, books and other publications revert back to the craft they were in the past. We will likely see huge value add and aesthetic input such as embossing, gilt edging, case binding along with variable print.  A real work of art: leaving the mass consumer publications to be handled by the new touch/digital revolution.

Pick Number Two: The “Touch Revolution” will continue to grow and develop – especially in Video

Smartphones are set to make up over 50% of all phones next year – and almost all of them will be touch phones. The competition for tablets is searing hot,  which will make next year ideal for buying that android or i-pad that you have your eye on. TV’s are already starting to communicate with the internet and your tablet is set to become your new “house” remote.

What has this to do with print ?? Well – magazines, newsletters, novels and periodicals are going to be more likely to be read  on a touch-screen than a hardcopy in the future……………and I reckon we will see the big shift to this accelerate next year.

Pick Number Three: Social Media and mobile will continue to eat into print’s share of the Marketing Spend

As social media channels increase in number and usage – Marketing managers are going to be looking at spending more of their budget on campaigns that involve more SM and other web components and less of their spend on print.

This is not a prediction of the end of print – just a metamorphosis into a different application and use of printed product. I do predict that printers are going to need to re-skill their sales teams to fit with new customer needs.

Pick Number Four: The Print Industry will merge locally and fragment nationally

It is likely that many smaller printers will feel the pinch even more as they struggle to adapt to the new market in 2012. One way of survival will be to team up with competitors to help reshape and adapt to new conditions. At a local level with small businesses – this is a good strategy. Especially for specialists or between printers who have complimentary capabilities.

On a national level though, I think the very large, generalist printers will very likely split. Considering, that our largest printers were created out of the consolidation of a bunch of small to medium printers, this is just coming full circle. 2012 will probably see the larger printers split into “autonomous  business units” or branches before splitting completely in 2013.

Pick Number Five : Print orders will increasingly be placed by a new breed of “broker”

As print continues to take a smaller part of the “marketing pie” people and organisations skilled in cross-channel marketing will  be tasked with placing print orders related to campaigns.

For larger organisations and corporates – this will probably remain the responsibility of in-house, marketing or procurement staff. However, small to medium organisation will very likely outsource the print buying. Unless print shops up-skill, train or recruit knowledge around new channels – we will see a return of the print broker /buyer in the NZ market. Transactional could also default to the print buyer along with the marketing collateral.

Pick Number Six : End to end Process Automation will become an essential part of print

This goes hand in hand with the touch and mobile revolution. The ability to get instant quotes and job placement will become a standard for customers in the near future (automated input process). The production process continues to get more automated year by year and despatch delivery and billing processes are already automated to a high level.

This will serve to reduce lead times down to an ever nearer “next day delivery” as standard.

These are my predictions – and it will be interesting to see how many prove accurate at the end of 2012. As usual, feel free to make a comment or contact me to discuss anything mentioned in any of my posts.

Meanwhile, I sincerely hope that you all have a wonderful festive season and manage to take some time out to relax with friends and loved ones.

I’ll start blogging again in mid January, until then…………………….MERRY XMAS.





Print On Demand – The Future Standard?

13 12 2011

Print On Demand (POD) is another one of the print industry’s terms that seems to be on everyone’s lips at the moment. It is also another piece of lingo that means different things to different people. Sometimes, I think the print industry deliberately invents ambiguous terms just to fool people into thinking print is complicated.

This one though, is fairly easy to dissect and explain.

Print on demand has been around for years as a concept. It was spawned out of the “Print Management” concept that was popular around 10-20 years ago and worked as follows.

Your Print manager (Sales Rep) would visit your premises once a month and physically count all your printed items (good ones would actually tidy up and organise your store-room or stationery cupboard for you). Over time, they would  calculate the usage of each piece and recommend when and how much stock to re-order. This made sure that you would never run out of your printed items.

The Print Manager would also store larger runs at his place and “top up” your stationery cupboard, after his monthly stock check or, on request. This was the first print on demand solution. It was driven  by the need of business form manufacturers requiring long lead times, customers requiring larger print runs and the print industry having a very large slice of their customers marketing budget.

POD today could probably be better described as “instant printing”. The advent of the internet and digital print (described in an earlier post) means that lead times can be reduced to a fraction of the time they were in the past. Proofing times are being reduced by file portability and there is no need any longer for lengthy film and plate processes.  We have been using this POD process for years in Dunedin for some large Corporates and Government  departments. Lists of files are sent to our Dunedin plant every night via our on-line solution. We then collate the orders from all the customer’s branches and then group run all the jobs in the morning, ready for despatch the same afternoon.

Why produce in Dunedin if many of these corporates are in other centres? Well it’s still true that good old Dunners enjoys some of the best small pack carrier rates in NZ. It’s due to many factors unique to NZ, such as the population spread and shape of the country. You can still overnight a pack to Wellington from Dunedin, at less cost than it takes to send a package across town in Auckland – go figure.

The latest incarnation of POD has been the placement of a file directly onto the Digital Press by the customer………..true print on demand. The ability to do this has been around for 10 years or more. So why hasn’t it taken off and everyone started submitted files along with the job online?? I guess it has been a mix of a general lack of trust in new processes and that printing is fraught with risk. Almost every single job is a custom-made piece and  if it’s printed incorrectly there probably isn’t a use for it anywhere else. This was the reason that hard copy proofs were standard practice in the past.

Nowadays, proofing is often handled by the customer and a soft copy PDF supplied for print. The print supplier, in this scenario, is only responsible for ensuring the file is not corrupted or changed before printing ………….and that the  printed piece is matched to the file supplied. This has morphed POD into a new term…………..Web to Print.

Web to print solutions attempt to provide the ultimate in POD – Same day or next day delivery by using web-based tools to speed up quoting, input and order processes. I had to chuckle when I read the latest lingo for web to print. Our North American cousins just couldn’t leave it as (the already broad and multi meaning) “web to print”: that was becoming too easy. Now the concept is known as “web enabled marketing supply chain management”…………..I’m sure that there are folk in this industry whose sole job is to make these terms up.

At Kalmazoo we have a variety of POD processes in operation and under development.

Manual POD

An FTP site is set up for customers to deposit files in.

Orders are placed via email and file placed on FTP site by customers. We use this to place a job into the system and complete as normal. This is still favoured by organisations that want to print large volumes and want an initial, small volume, despatched on production (POD) and balance placed into stock for future distributions. A good solution for group running jobs from multiuple branches on weekly or daily basis.

Online POD (Static)

This solution provides a simple POD solution where items are ordered as required through our ECOS ordering solution. We set up a file in our DAM system and a price per finished piece is set up for billing. Your nominated staff are given online access and can order up to a set maximum. Jobs are instantly routed to the press queue. This solution allows organisations with multiple sites to arrange next day delivery to any branch. The need for printing  large volumes and storage is removed.

Online POD (Variable)

Used mainly for business cards, envelopes, letterheads, compliment slips etc – where an online template form  is populated by the user and merged into a PDF to complete an on-line proof.

Once the proof has been completed the user chooses quantities, billing and delivery details, from a predefined list, and the job is then queued to the printing press.

This can be used for completely digital jobs  or overprinting base stock. Again, this solution most beneficial for organisation with multiple sites requiring fast or next day delivery.

Online POD (Upload)

Similar to static online POD – but here the printing file and the database, or customer lists, are uploaded by the customer at time of order. Our Digital Asset Management tool (Digital Peas) can publish direct to ECOS – so any customers using Digital Peas will only need to upload the database for any POD jobs.

Again the value of this solution is a very small order to distribution timeframe.

Where will all this lead to ??

My pick is that as print volumes reduce and printing becomes a smaller part of marketing campaigns, clever printers will branch out into other parts of marketing. Wickliffe invested heavily in the logistics part of our business with the development of on-line tools and the purchase of warehouses. It would make good sense to look at placing our customer services and POD units into the warehouses. This model would allow other (non print) components of a campaign to be carried out in the same building and for teams to share information quickly.

For example a campaign may involve a text messaging promo and distribution of prizes – then be followed up by a direct mail campaign to respondents. These type of integrated marketing campaigns could be best handled by a mix of call centre/POD digital print shop and warehouse facilities. Stocklink (Kalamazoo’s Logistics Arm)  is currently involved in producing on-line loyalty software and providing the purchasing, storage, customer service and other logistics solutions in maintaining loyalty schemes.

I guess time and the market will ultimately tell us what the future printshop will look like .

Let me know what your view of POD is or contact me if you would like any more information regarding any of my blogs………..and don’t forget to stick your email address in the box on the right to receive updates automatically.