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
Printing technology manufacturers have achieved advancements that raise print quality to high levels across all press formats and, consequently, from one commercial print business to another. In a recent edition of his PrintForecast Perspective e-newsletter (http://pfcperspective.blogspot.com), industry commentator Dr. Joe Webb notes, When we talk to print buyers, they claim that they see all printers
Is a nerd born or made? I can only go by my own experience as the youngest of seven siblings. I don't think any of us qualified as genuine geeks. Most of my siblings were excellent athletes, and while several were exceptionally smart, we had no chess enthusiasts or Star Trek fans. But even by 1970s standards, we were a nerdy looking bunch. My brother Peter looked a lot like on My Three Sons. And my
The Digital Solutions Cooperative (Dscoop), an HP Indigo users group, recently held its inaugural meeting in Ft. Myers, FL. More than 330 attendees were there, including both current and prospective Indigo customers, 70 Hewlett-Packard executives and technical experts, and representatives from 34 HP vendor partners.
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
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.
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.
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.
What don't they do? (and why you shouldn't either).
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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
PROCESS AUTOMATION Part 2: JDF & the supply chain
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
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
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 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
Spotlight on Diecrafters, Inc. (Cicero, IL), a finisher of print products
Is your company leaking profits?