Brilliant, but cancelled: a consulting career 

Aug 01, 2006

Bravo, the cable channel, has been airing a series of television shows that have been cancelled or were pilots that never ran. These shows have, for the most part, received critical acclaim, yet for one reason or another, network executives have seen fit to cancel them. It's much like my career as a consultant. I've written about my stint as an advisor to publishers in the mid-1980s. Though I made

The variety of variable printing 

Aug 01, 2006

Gutenberg didn't actually invent printing, but he did invent variable-data printing (VDP). I hear you cry, Variable-data printing is brand spanking new! It is the salvation of print. With variable, I'll amaze my customers and charge them any price I please. The salesman who sold me a $500,000 digital press last week told me so! Prior to Gutenberg, printing by any process meant the creation by hand

The bottom line 

Aug 01, 2006

Properly used, management information systems (MIS) are the keystone of a successful printing operation.

Direct mail delivers 

Aug 01, 2006

Among all the bad news for print markets, direct mail remains one bright spot. Annual spending on U.S. direct mail advertising is approximately $60 billion a year, and it's growing at a healthy clip: seven to eight percent a year. In 2005, companies and other groups sent out 100 billion pieces of direct mail, up 16 percent from 86 billion pieces in 1999, according to the United States Postal Service.

We're all for it, but 

Aug 01, 2006

There has been a growing appreciation of the value of understanding customers' perceptions of a particular print company. It's dangerous to devise a business plan without first having feedback about customer plans, needs, and perceptions. Many readers of this column will agree. The idea of actually conducting a survey, however, evokes fear and loathing on the part of some owners and managers who have

Going with the flow 

Jul 01, 2006

Associates Graphics Services embraces lean manufacturing, the team-base systematic approach to identifying and eliminating waste. The facility was designed to streamline the movement of jobs through the plant. Potential bottlenecks have been eliminated, and there's almost no inventory sitting on the floor.

Quick fixes 

Jul 01, 2006

A modern printing press has three times more electrical components than platforms of just a generation ago--far too many to cover with on-site diagnostic visits. Hence the necessity of remote diagnostic support.

Great expectations 

Jan 01, 2006

Many graphic arts CEOs don’t spend much time worrying about manufacturing, reasoning “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But in many plants, the manufacturing is broke and it does need fixing because it isn’t producing the results a company needs to be competitive and profitable. Merely producing jobs correctly and delivering them on time isn’t good enough.

8 habits of highly successful CEOs 

Dec 01, 2005

What don't they do? (and why you shouldn't either).

7 days in September 

Nov 01, 2005

On Sept. 17, 2004, the last remnants of Hurrican Ivan spawned 50 twisters in a single day. At approximately 6:30 p.m., one of those tornadoes struck United Litho's Ashburn, VA, facility. None of the 22 employees in the plant will forget that day--or the remarkable events that followed.

They came, they managed, they conquered, Part 1 

Aug 01, 2005

At a special banquet during it's Top Management Conference, NAPL presented 21 graphic communications companies with 2004 Management Plus awards. AMERICAN PRINTER talks to winners Friesens, Omaha Print and Pacific Printing.

They came, they managed, they conquered, Part 2 

Aug 01, 2005

Management Plus allows graphic communications companies to analyze specific areas of their operations as a tool to judge individual management performance against industry standards. AMERICAN PRINTER talks to The Sheridan Press and Western Graphics.

Is RFID in your future? 

Feb 01, 2005

Printers looking for new revenue sources are increasingly hearing that radio frequency ID (RFID) tags, hailed as an eventual replacement for today's ubiquitous bar codes, may be the answer they've been seeking. The key word, of course, is "maybe."

December Cover Story: Will you survive in 2005? 

Dec 01, 2004

Even before the catastrophe of 9/11, our industry was showing the effects of unrelenting competitive pressures, which have only gotten worse. Since 2001, about three-quarters of the firms reporting their results have disclosed they’re earning little or nothing—and definitely not enough to stay in the game for the long term. But the results are even worse than reported, because the firms in real trouble (or just embarrassed by their performance) aren’t reporting their results at all.

What would you do? 

Nov 01, 2004

In AMERICAN PRINTER's May issue (“Avoiding ethical meltdowns,” page 52), I posed a management dilemma that generated a firestorm of readers' e-mails and letters. The case involved a printer who was offered a job highly suggestive in its sexual content. His dilemma: To accept the job to keep the presses running for the benefit of all employees, or refuse the job because a minority of employees would find the work offensive.

MIS: Large and in charge 

Aug 01, 2004

In our April issue, we presented some tips for selecting a management information system (MIS) geared for midsize operations as well as some recent product introductions. This article highlights new developments for larger printers, a segment served by vendors such as CRC, DiMS!, Globe-Tek, EFI, Primac, Prism, Radius, SAP and Streamline Solutions. Large printers share many of the same MIS requirements

PROCESS AUTOMATION Part 3: A progress report 

May 17, 2004

PROCESS AUTOMATION Part 3: A progress report

PROCESS AUTOMATION Part 2: JDF & the supply chain 

Apr 23, 2004

PROCESS AUTOMATION Part 2: JDF & the supply chain

Would your customers recommend you? 

Apr 01, 2004

Early on I discovered that the secret to being a good journalist is asking the right questions and understanding your subject is the key to knowing which questions to ask. The same can be said of research. You can't get the answers that will best direct your future actions without asking the right questions. Last month I wrote about the film festivals that my wife and I attend. Because I sit in the

Management must be earned, then learned 

Apr 01, 2004

I'm working with a client who is frustrated by a problem common to small, entrepreneurial firms: His managers have not been trained to manage. He's refreshingly candid in taking responsibility for the problem. I promoted each of my managers based on their performance as technicians and operators, he says. What I failed to recognize is that raw talent doesn't compensate for deficiencies in a manager's

MIS selection tips 

Apr 01, 2004

Finding the right management information system (MIS) isn't an easy task. Profectus Consulting (Sarasota, FL), a national print consultancy, has compiled more than 1,000 functional requirements for companies to consider when reviewing MIS options. According to president Craig L. Press, the midsize printer should consider at least 400 of these. Press suggests a three-step process for matching your

Mid-American: marketing, mail and more 

Apr 01, 2004

Mid-American Printing Systems (Chicago) got its start as a print brokerage in 1985, when president Jerry Freund crashed his brother's apartment and set up shop. Freund found success by going out of his way to fix customers' problem files. Within two years, the brokerage invested in a press and a space of its own. Over the years Mid-American has added graphic design, mailing and fulfillment, and on-demand

PROCESS AUTOMATION Part 1: JDF and process automation 

Mar 18, 2004

PROCESS AUTOMATION Part 1: JDF and process automation

Take my advice: Deliver what you promise 

Mar 01, 2004

Take my advice: Deliver what you promise

Diecrafters, Inc.: the finishing touch 

Mar 01, 2004

Spotlight on Diecrafters, Inc. (Cicero, IL), a finisher of print products