Mixed Bag For Otago /Southland Printing

3 09 2013

SONY DSCWell here we are at the end of what has seemed a very long winter. I for one am looking forward to shedding a few kilos of winter insulation, dusting off the bike, pumping up the tyres and getting fit for summer.

Of great interest is our long overdue consolidation of the two Dunedin sites. This was announced in June along with the plan to convert to a digital production platform. Although the new digital platform is a point of excitement and opportunity for the Southern region it has some casualties in the form of job losses. No doubt many Southerners will have read articles in the local paper that include Wickliffe amongst the handful of large layoffs Dunedin has experienced this year.

The news is not all bad for the region though. There is an undercurrent of positive business activity in Otago /Southland and many businesses are eying growth in 2014. Although most businesses have to keep an extremely close eye on the purse-strings there are signs of investment and risk taking. You only need to attend the local Chamber of Commerce networking meetings to feel the vibrancy and hear the positive chat from local business people.

Wickliffe Invests in Otago/Southland Future

Upgraded and Expanded Kaikorai Valley Office & Plant

RenovateWe are finally merging the two Dunedin sites into a combined unit. The Fairfield site (old Taieri Print operation) will be vacated while the Kaikorai Valley site (Glenelg Street) is being renovated and refitted.

Up until now we had only leased around 60% of the Kaikorai valley site, however, from the end of October we will take over the lease for the entire building. The extended building lease will accommodate the machinery and staff coming across from Fairfield. The refitting and renovation of the entire site is being undertaken whilst we continue to operate – so if its noisy when you call us over the next couple of months, or our team sounds a little frazzled, just picture them sitting in the corner while the carpet layer, builder or painters work around them.

A plug for our landlord and his very flexible team should go in here. If you need a quality site in Dunedin you should definitely talk to Chris at ADL Properties. Their team is doing a marvellous job in working closely with our team so that we can continue to operate at the same time as the building is spruced up.

Dunedin becomes Digital Hub with iGen 4 and more………..

We are very proud to announce the installation of the iGen 4 Digital Printing press in Dunedin. While you read this we are marking out the position where this large press will be placed in our Kakorai Valley site. This is no glorified copy machine. It is worthy of being called a printing press and can match offset press quality. It’s large sheet size of almost A2 means that landscape A4 and 3 panel A4 jobs can now be produced locally. We already have some customers who are interested in producing smaller runs of high quality publications to fit in with their reduced marketing budgets. This machine will change many people’s perceptions around the quality of digital print.

We will be retaining our existing digital presses and adding some redundancy to ensure that we can handle the South Island digital requirements. This positions Dunedin as the “digital hub” for Wickliffe in the South Island.

What will happen to Offset Production ??

Many of our customers have been asking if we will be able to continue to provide larger offset runs. Although we will retain a small offset facility in Dunedin – we will produce all larger runs in our Christchurch branch. Christchurch has very flexible offset capability with new A3, A2 and A1 Machines being installed after the earthquake and more recently, new folding, collating and binding equipment. Wickliffe Christchurch will take on the role of the “offset hub” for the South Island as we focus on digital in the deep south.

Extremely large offset jobs will continue to be manufactured in our Auckland A1 10 colour platform.

iGen 4 Press - coming to Dunedin this year

It’s all in the Finish

Traditionally, Dunedin offset printers have used print finishers in Christchurch to complete large runs of bookbinding, foiling, or other types of finishing work. This has always made a lot of sense as the capital cost of large-run finishing equipment was difficult to justify in the Southern market.

The result has been the shipping up of pallets of printed sheets to Christchurch trade finishers, the subsequent completion of any jobs in Christchurch and then return shipping the finished good back to Dunedin.

We see an opportunity for us to work smarter by increasing our ability to finish work in Dunedin. With investment in new finishing equipment for our Dunedin plant we aim to print large jobs in Christchurch and ship down to Dunedin for finishing.

This has many benefits: Not only reducing the carbon footprint around large jobs (only one freight trip) but also adding more capability to the local print market by proving a trade finisher in town.

We intend to bring more options to Otago and Southland customers regardless of the print run size.

Finally a Rebrand

With the rapid expansion of the Kalamazoo group over the past two years our branding has become a little confusing. I guess anyone can take a look at the plethora of logos on the back of my business cards to understand this statement. We were very proud of the acquisitions at the time – but now it’s time to bring them all together..

I can recount some very pointed (and often hilarious) comments from some of our customers in the design, marketing and agency sector. The good news is that we have been working on a new brand and we have chosen to consolidate under the “Wickliffe” Banner.

So no more Wyatt & Wilson / Taieri Print / Keeling and Mundy/ Astra Print / Kalamazoo / Print Counsel / Print Shop / Publishing Press and so on. We will all be Wickliffe with branches in Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington , Palmerston North and Auckland.

So look out for the release of our new branding & logo. We will take you through our thinking around the new logo and will be keen to receive your feedback once it is released.

Once again – please do not hesitate to throw some questions my way via the blog – or just go old school and ring me.

I look forward to catching up with you all as we head toward summer.





Lets Get Personal

9 05 2013

SONY DSCWell here we are heading towards winter already. We certainly can’t complain about the weather down here in the South. We had a cracker Summer.

We have recently appointed a new branch manager in Christchurch – so we welcome Brent Goldsmid into the team. I know many of you will have dealt with Brent previously as he has a huge level of experience within the print industry. I am looking forward to working closely with Brent around the South Island.

Personally I am very keen to get back into the Dunedin market, spending more time with the Otago team ( and my resident princesses) and spending less time traveling.

Short Run Packaging

We have some exciting news on the technology front – we are entering the small packaging sector with the purchase of an igen 4 digital unit with a Stora Enso Gallop finishing unit.
This means that we will be able to produce small runs of high quality packaging combined with variable information. It will be of particular interest to customers wanting personalised Xmas gift boxes, marketers of highly targeted campaigns and businesses looking for short runs of high quality packaging.
Until now, suppliers of small-sized products in small volumes struggled with the cost of packaging. Typically, a high quality, custom-made package would only make economic sense if volumes of well over 10,000 were purchased – well out of the reach (or requirements) of many small businesses. Most businesses opted for ill-fitting, generic blank boxes and simply applied a sticky label to the blank box.

Digital igen press with Stora Enzo packaging finishing - described by one of my favourite customers as "a nice looking kitchen unit"

Digital igen press with Stora Enzo packaging finishing – described by one of my favourite customers as “a nice looking kitchen unit”

Now, with our new equipment, we will be able to offer glossy boxes with embellishments such as blind embossing, UV embossing and metal foiling in volumes well under 10,000. The digital front end means that we can even change images or text throughout the run.
I have just had a look at this machine (it’s up and running – but still it the testing phase) – and can only say it is AMAZING.
We are working on pricing models now – so if you have any projects coming up – give me a call and we can discuss the possibility of applying this new and exciting technology. I have some neat samples available that your local rep will be happy to show you through.

For all of you techie guys – a good example of this solution is explained in the attached video link below.

http://youtu.be/cGPj_oxeNq4

More Inkjet News

We have more good news on continuing investment in technology with the installation of a third FX2800 Inkjet press in Wellington.

This is due to an increased demand in short run publications, variable data and mailing jobs. We have been pleasantly surprised with how designers have responded to the new inkjet technology and have some stunning examples of what can be achieved with good design.

I myself have the creative skill of a doorknob – so can really appreciate what a difference a good designer can make to that special printed piece. Please let me know of you want to have a look at some of the samples we have of the latest inkjet designs.

I am hoping that it won’t be too long before we see this technology on the mainland.

Plastic Fantastic

Our other new piece of kit (introduced in my post “Summer Sun” last November) is proving to be very popular for non absorbent (plastic) print jobs that were previously the domain of screen printers.

Plastic Labels, shelf wobblers, menus etc produced on the Genius waterless press

Plastic Labels, shelf wobblers, menus etc produced on the Genius waterless press

The KBA Genius Press offers the ability to print on PVC, polythene, and vinyl stocks. It uses a process known as “waterless offset” to print on non absorbent materials………. that basically means we can consider things other that paper for labels, menus and various other high quality and special pieces. The lack of water in the process also means that an extremely sharp image is achieved.

The Genius is also able to apply an extremely durable gloss UV coating that is an economic and fast substitute for gloss lamination. It doesn’t stop there – this kit just keeps giving. The Geniusis versatile enough to apply latex coatings to produce “scratchies” for scratch and win type products. Scratchies were previously very tricky to produce but can now be considered for smaller, quality campaigns and promotions through the Genius

I have some neat examples to share – so give me a call if you would like to check them out for that different or classy approach to your campaign or promotion.

Congrats

Congratulations to Forsyth Barr in maintaining a spot on the “Whats Hot” app list. Forsyth Barr released a finance app late last year to provide a tool that facilitates charts on ASX and NZX securities,  tracking of currencies and commodities, ASX stock research and even Forsyth Barr insights; all in one place on your iPhone/iPad (Android coming soon) .

This five-star rated app could be just what you need on the forthcoming  cold winter nights.

Download the app and check it out by clicking on the link below.

https://itunes.apple.com/nz/app/forsyth-barr-investment-insights/id582067715?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Well that was a fairly blatant sales blog this time – but we have so much new and exciting products to share – I just really couldn’t help myself.

I hope to catch up with you all over the winter season and look forward to providing some great solutions for you. All of this technology is very new to New Zealand (and some of it new world-wide) so we are on the lookout for new applications and ideas to challenge the capabilities of our new machines and solutions.

Take care and as usual – contact me any time for a catch up.





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.





Printed Magazines and Newspapers – Will there be a demand tomorrow?

6 03 2012

Someone asked me the other day if I thought newspapers and magazines would be around for much longer. As a printer I hope they will be ……….as a technology and gadget lover, I doubt it.

Large run daily newspapers and weekly magazines look set to come under threat as the next generation of readers matures. The main threat is the “touch revolution”. Readers such as Amazon’s “kindle” and the growing range of tablets that are available are already touting mobile versions of newspapers, magazines and comics. The increased connectivity that these devices offer and the variety of reader personalisation, is seen by some, to herald the end of the newspaper as we know it.

Like many of us, I do enjoy sitting down to read the newspaper. However, if I’m honest, it’s really only on the weekend that I have time to sit back, relax and actually read my way through a whole newspaper. Mostly, I quickly flick through a paper, scanning the headlines and looking for anything of interest. Wouldn’t it be great if I could get a “newspaper”, or magazine, delivered that only had articles and news on the subjects that I was interested in? Without all the extra pages of things that I am not interested in (and would probably never read). There are three quite different ways that this is achievable (and happening as you read this blog).

  1. Digitally Printed  Magazines & Newspapers – with inkjet digital printers and advanced web to print solutions now entering the market, it will become economic to print newspapers and magazines on demand. This means that “subscribers” will be able to choose topics, articles, products and events that they want to make up their magazine (from a list provided by the publisher). These newspapers and magazines can be printed on a digital press and each copy will be printed to the subscriber’s preferences – it is likely that each copy will have the subscriber’s name printed throughout it (for easy postage on the front and personalised advertising). This will probably be good news for many publishers as advertising can be matched to the chosen, products, services and particular interests of the subscriber – and many of the magazines will contain fewer pages (none of the stuff you normally skip).
  2. Mobile Magazines and Papers – Many applications are springing up that allow you to choose format, pages, topics and subjects that your subscription magazine, paper, comic or periodical contains………..and have it delivered directly to your mobile device. You can even choose the frequency you receive the publications. Software enabling publishers to mobilise (and personalise) their products are springing up regularly: (see Flipboard, Pulse, Zite, Livestand).
  3. News, blogs or social aggregators – aggregators are software that search and organise content on the web. You can choose broad concepts such as “latest news” or define it to particular topics. Similar software is likely to be developed and used by publishers to personalise magazines and newspapers for the extra connectivity required today. In effect, you can create your own daily news updates or magazines.

All this new technology could be good news for the environment.The print industry has probably taken up the environmental challenge better than most industries. Most paper production is become sustainable and forestry is being managed by most of the world’s major governments. The dirty manufacturing processes of paper and ink is fast becoming a bad memory and printing may soon even be responsible for a growth in forestry around the globe. Even so, it remains a fact that 40% of printed office material is trashed the day it is printed………..and the use of paper (printed in the office) has double twice since the 1980’s. So the possibility of reducing paper usage in high volume pulp users (such as magazines and newspapers) will prove to be very popular.

Apart from tablets and smart-phones there is some other interesting mobile hardware in development. One of the most interesting of these is the flexible video screen. Sony has put some effort into this and has come up with a working model. Right now it is not mobile – but I guess that will be available within a few years. This provides the potential to give us a reusable newspaper – simply roll the paper out each day and upload the latest copy and pics directly onto it. The idea behind this is that you will be able to get the feel of holding a “newspaper”  but the content will change every day. Something directly out of Harry Potter – but it could be here in a few years!

I guess that one of the clearest, loudest messages for the publishing industry is the news that Time Inc., the largest magazine publisher in the United States, would be run by Laura Lang. Lang was the chief executive of the digital advertising agency Digitas…………obviously some execs have a fairly pointed idea of where things are heading. At the same time big name developers are releasing software that enables fast, easy publication(of existing publications) to the web (see Adobe Digital Publisher and Apple Newstand) –  it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out where things are heading.

The bean counters amongst us (and the hardcopy diehards) will point to the news that the Australian print and publication industry reported a 3.5% growth last year. However, the largest growth was reported specifically in the packaging and digital print areas. Other interesting figures show US magazine circulation falling by 15% in the past two years (they stayed fairly static in the 18 years prior to that). In those same 18 years the number of US titles increased by 50% as publishers developed a successful strategy to keep numbers up. US newspaper ad revenues have also dropped 65% since 2002. Interestingly, on-line advertising has only made up for 10% of these lost ad revenues. So where have they all gone? Although reduced marketing budgets have probably been the main reason for reduced ad revenue, it is very interesting to note that mobile advertising has experienced exponential growth for the past three years straight.

So will magazines and newspapers be around tomorrow……….I think so – but – I think they will be a speciality/novelty item by the time my kids are my age.

As usual please let me know if you want any more information relating to anything in my blogs.

I also have some A2 calendars available free to good homes. They depict scenes of CHCH. Just let me know if you would like some and I will drop off for you.





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.





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.





DAM – What does it mean and do I need it?

29 11 2011

Digital PeasDigital Asset Management (DAM) never really took off in NZ. Part of the problem is that it’s one of those terms that seems to mean different things to different people. It seemed to segment itself before it really got started .

To most, DAM simply means, an on-line website or library to store all of your digital assets (images, document files etc). However, my mates in print production would refer to DAM as a  process (including software) that manages the ” digital asset” from creation to proof to press and then into storage. Our designers and agencies have even more definitions to share with us.

Around 10 years ago many DAM solutions sprang up due to the need for customers to manage their ever-growing digital assets. Many of these software solutions allowed the customers to manage files on their own servers. This started a shift from all assets being stored and owned by agencies to in-house file management and hosted storage. This was a (potentially huge) revenue loss for agencies who responded by developing even more sophisticated DAM systems. Tools that could provide collaborative on-line file editing and proofing, video and audio file storage and file format conversion. At the same time Google, Microsoft, Xerox and other giants have been developing document storage solutions that act as a DAM tool.

There is no doubt that ” digital asset” storage and administration has fast become a must for most businesses. Almost everything seems to a have a visual component now. With the rapid growth of social media through smart-phones and tablets (% of mobile phones in use that are smart-phones hit 20% last year. Australia is now at 37%) it seems that everything points to a website, You Tube video or just an image. This has led to a whole new need and term – re-purposing.

No longer are images required just for A4 printed pages and websites they are needed for smart-phone compatible websites, wide-screen displays, low resolution, high-definition displays, wide format banners and thumbnails. Images may need to be reformatted to suit the device they are being displayed on (or the purpose of the message). Some DAM software systems include conversion tools so that you can sent a provider the image in whatever format they require (Native, PDF, EPS, TIF, Gif etc). The alternative is to store different format versions on file – exponentially increasing the size of your asset list and the time required to admin.

DAM systems have generally proven to be difficult to use (if you don’t use them regularly), they are also fairly expensive. Many have a license fee for users and a monthly storage-space fee per Gig of data storage.

If this all sounds complicated – you can see why many customers still prefer their designers and agencies to manage their assets for them. So whats the point of DAM software if we can just leave it to the designers and agencies as we did in the past?

Well speed for a start – if you can handle the assets yourself you can save a lot of time and effort. From a printers perspective, we often get less time to print the job than it takes to get the finished file signed off (and into our eager hands). A customer may give us a heads-up on Tuesday that they are hoping to get us a file on Thursday and would like to take  delivery, of the finished product, on the following Monday. Most often, final sign off, proofs and delivery of the file to the printer  takes longer than expected and we get the file on Friday afternoon. So any tool that speeds up file delivery to us could, potentially, double our lead time.

Cost is also important in the current economic climate. Most designers and agencies need to charge fees of between $30-200 per file download depending on format, and amount of re-purposing required. This can add up to a lot of money over 12 months.

There is some good news though. There has been some development of open source DAM software recently. It will take a while to become really robust and bug free, but it will come; and will be particularly useful for smaller businesses when it does arrive. These open source software systems will also help drive down the cost of existing DAM solutions. The increasing acceptance of software and storage in the “cloud”  will also mean reduced bulk storage costs are just around the corner.

There is also a global move towards a standard file format. Adobe has always led the way with their PDF and JDF formats and I think it is logical to assume that we all move to complete file standardisation eventually.

Wickliffe has had fun over the past few years  developing a Digital Asset Management tool. Its called Digital Peas. We started off with a vision of developing a modular system that could be sold to customers in modules as best fitted their needs (including on-line proofing, advanced editing and complete agency style file converting )………then we ran out of money.

In a way, that was a good thing. Technology, the market and our customer’s needs have radically changed over the past two years. The Digital Peas that we have recently released is now a PDF based asset library. Best of all, it is free to customers who have awarded Wickliffe Solutions (or any other member of the Kalamazoo Group) preferred supplier status.

The main features of Digital Peas are

  • Simple hosted storage of assets in a library – keeping all your assets at your fingertips
  • Super easy Version Control and archiving administration
  • Category, attributes and tagging controls to easily find, track and group assets
  • Versatile user and asset permission controls to ensure strict control of asset sharing
  • Automatic Publication of images to our ECOS ordering site to link with print on demand ordering
  • A platform designed to easily adapt to the future

Who would benefit from using Digital Peas? Well the answer to that is easy; anyone who is asked to supply files to staff, suppliers or partners on a regular basis. Even small businesses would benefit from using Digital Peas for storing assets. You would be surprised how much time is wasted hunting for mis-filed files or arranging for someone to forward a particular file on.

If you want to have a look at our at our DEMO site (http://www.digitalpeas.co.nz/sign_up) – just send me your email address in the comments box and I will return the demo user id/email address & password.

Give me a call if you would like me to pop in and take you through Digital Peas in more detail. You are more than welcome to come into our office in Kaikorai Valley if you would like to see it on the big screen……….I’ll even make you a coffee and let you in on the secret of how we came up with the name.

Meanwhile, don’t forget to follow my blog to auto receive new posts.





Digital Printing: Order placed ……..Nek Minute…….Delivered

22 11 2011

Unlike 10 years ago, nowadays,  there is hardly a print shop that doesn’t have a digital printing device and offer “digital printing”. You probably have one or two digital printing devices at home – even the humble inkjet the kids use (that costs next to nothing to buy but a fortune to fill up) is a digital printing device.

I guess, as the digital print industry has now blossomed, the term “digital printing” is so broad that it is difficult for us to define precisely. By simplistic definition – digital print is any device that prints directly from the file without the need of any analogue transfer materials such film or plates. So this covers lasers, inkjets, liquid toner, die sublimation etc.

I thought the best way to handle digital print would be to answer a few common questions I have had recently

“In plain English – What is the real advantages and disadvantages of Digital”

The advantage = Low cost of set up, fast set up, fast turnaround, variable copy = Inexpensive short runs when compared to traditional offset printing.

Disadvantage = Slow machine speeds, higher per-piece rates = Expensive larger runs when compared to traditional offset printing.

In a nutshell if you want a short run, a fast turnaround or a variable copy (different text or images on every copy)  digital is the way to go. If you want pallet loads of same copy pieces – Offset is the way to go.

“Someone told me that digital printing is really just glorified colour copying”

Most light manufacturing digital machines are exactly that – and to be honest, they will do a great job on pieces that don’t need a high quality finish. Such as flyers and other jobs that have a short lifespan.

If you need a high quality finish (for company profiles, annual reports or images with skin tones etc.) you will need a provider with a Digital Press. These are around the same physical size as a traditional offset press and can produce results that are difficult to tell apart from a job produced on a high quality offset press. A good method of checking the quality of your printer’s digital machine is to ask for 4x test sheets. Each test sheet printed on  SRA3, 300gsm paper stock with one of the CMYK colours (as a solid colour) over the entire sheet. This will really test the press to the extreme. Lesser machines will produce distinct banding across the sheet. High quality digital presses will provide perfect solid colours or minimal banding.

“What is the cut off point between digital and offset – I seem to hear different stories from different printers”

That’s not really surprising – this is a moving target totally dependent on which digital and offset presses are being compared. It is also dependent on the specs of each job. However, as a rough guide, I would usually say to customers ask for a digital quote (as well as an offset quote)  for anything up to around 3000 pieces. To give you an idea of the pace of change – the crossover threshold I quoted around 8 years ago was a “few hundred” pieces.

The offset printing press manufacturers are busy making their “economic minimum run” smaller every year. They are focusing on technology innovations aimed at making their machines faster and cheaper to make ready. Meanwhile the digital  press manufacturers are focusing on making faster running machines so that they can compete on the larger print jobs. New models of digital presses are usually released by the major brands  every 12-24 months. Our state of the art fleet of Xerox C1000 presses, purchased only 12 months ago – will probably be superseded with more advanced models within the next 12 months.

“What do you reckon is the next big thing in digital print” 

Without a doubt inkjet.

Inkjet is already making huge advances in black and white. Most of our paperbacks and novels will be black and white printed on reelfed inkjets within a few years. When the colour inkjet speed, quality and running cost can be matched to offset we will see digital taking on the large run market. Already there has been amazing advances in the large format machines (poster, banner printing etc. )

The other big shift will likely be into value added features such as flexible toners and effects (such as Xerox’s “clear dry ink” clear overgloss effect). There has been talk for a while now about he ultimate in “hybrid” presses. These will , theoretically, have digital and offset components and be able to handle, small, variable and large runs. It hasn’t worked perfectly yet, but who knows what technology will bring us in the next few years.

“What should I look for when choosing a digital print provider?”

Flexibility is the key here.

If you can find a supplier that has a variety of machines – you will most likely get the best deal. There is no point printing a small quantity of low complexity flyers on a large digital press or attempting to print an annual report on a smaller , less capable machine. It can also be a good idea if you have  a supplier that can offer an offset option. This way you know that they aren’t pushing a solution as it’s the only capability they have.

Backing up is also important. I love digital print, but I have to admit that digital presses are ( like most electronic, computerized, devices ) more susceptible to service requirements than mechanical offset presses. How many times has your infrequently used photocopier, jammed when you need an urgent copy?? We get around this by preventative servicing and fitting out each of our branches with the same models (we have 4 x C1000 presses around the country). This gives us a high level of redundancy. We can flick files up to Christchurch or Wellington if our machine has a backlog of work or breaks down.

So digital print has brought us affordable colour, economic small runs and  much faster lead times. It is hard to believe that when I started out in print (in the 1980’s) standard commercial print lead times were around 2-3 weeks and forms and publication were around two months or more.

Drop me a line if you would like to visit our digital division in Dunedin or some more info about our digital capabilities.

Why not get your next project quoted to run digitally with variable text?  You could be surprised at how inexpensive your next marketing campaign could turn out to be.

C1000 Digital Press at Wickliffe Dunedin