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.





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.





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.





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