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They're the tops

Oct 1, 2008 12:00 AM, By Jill Roth

Each year the National Assn. for Printing Leadership (NAPL) (Paramus, NJ) presents graphic communications companies with its Management Plus awards. In 2008, 18 were recognized with Gold, Silver and Merit awards. Management Plus allows a graphic communications company to analyze specific areas of its operation as a tool to judge individual management performance vs. industry standards. After completing

Where do GREAT pressmen come from?

Oct 1, 2008 12:00 AM, By Raymond J. Prince

Well, that title surely got your attention, didn't it? Currently they come from your local competition; you import them from another state; or, as one firm did a number of years ago, you hire a large number of journeyman press operators from England. Now all that costs a lot of money. Even with all this, you might be fooled by a great r or promises that are a bit wild, to say the least. Now for the

Perspective: Box office poison

Oct 1, 2008 12:00 AM, By M. Richard Vinocur

1977-1979: I learn about bad acquisitions that can cost companies real money Though we had turned Paper Trade Journal into a profitable property, Modern Salon, the magazine with which I had been affiliated when I joined Vance, had been losing market share. Its publisher had been drinking more and more. After an unfortunate incident at an industry reception, the magazine's editorial staff reported

Defining markets

Oct 1, 2008 12:00 AM, By Dick Gorelick

In the early 1960s, Printing Industries of America, with support from Harris Corp., commissioned a study by the consulting firm McKinsey & Co. to determine the characteristics of profitable printing companies. The research, though primitive by today's standards, was on the money. Only now have changing market conditions and technology started to make the McKinsey Report an anachronism. The McKinsey

I ought to be in pictures

Oct 1, 2008 12:00 AM, By Steve Johnson

I just bought a new digital press. As I'm a digital printer, this should come as no surprise. Whenever we install a new press (or new bindery equipment, or new software, or another building) we take pictures. Lots of pictures. Pictures of the equipment being rolled off the truck. Pictures of riggers putting it in place, and pictures of technicians assembling and installing the machine. Pictures of

Are you threatened, teetering or thriving?

Oct 1, 2008 12:00 AM, By Katherine O'Brien KOB@americanprinter.com

In my lifetime I have read thousands of books. Some of them I read with great reluctance, such as or One Hundred Years of Solitude. But I have a few favorites that I reread constantly. As a kid, my repeat shelf included Beautiful Joe, Black Beauty, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Instant Replay: The Green Bay Diary of Jerry Kramer. As unlikely as it may seem, every book in this eclectic collection

Going lean in any pressroom

Sep 1, 2008 12:00 AM, By Raymond J. Prince

We hear the hype of Lean Manufacturing and read about it in many articles across all manufacturing sectors. After reading most of the concepts, I realized that my father must have read all the books 50 years ago. He believed in 5S strongly and hammered it in to me. He ran a very clean shop and used, in his own way, the following lean tools: 5S sort, straighten, shine, standardize, and sustain and

Steps to greatness

Sep 1, 2008 12:00 AM, By Dick Gorelick

I've been privileged to serve on many boards of directors. Board meetings can be dull and perfunctory. Service on one board, a graphic arts company, was memorable. The chairman, inspired by the best-selling book, Good to great, by Jim Collins, declared an end to the traditional board meeting. Financials were distributed to board members prior to the meeting and questions about the figures would be

Are you ready for Intelligent Mail barcodes?

Sep 1, 2008 12:00 AM,

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has begun to implement its Intelligent Mail program to improve service and reduce costs. This program promises to improve readability, reduce returned mail, maximize delivery visibility and increase preparation efficiency. As part of this program, mailers will be required to apply the Intelligent Mail barcode (IMB) on automated mail as a replacement for the POSTNET and

When 95 percent customer satisfaction isn't good enough

Sep 1, 2008 12:00 AM,

In this example, the printer is running at 95-percent satisfaction in prepress, but still that means 20 unhappy customers, each month. Best-in-class printers set up a process to survey buyers right after jobs are delivered. Typically a well designed survey process will yield 30-percent response rates with 25 percent having detailed comments. Consider customer comments a gift. Be open to feedback,

The paper chase

Sep 1, 2008 12:00 AM, By M. Richard Vinocur

As a weekly magazine, Paper Trade Journal was being sucked dry by its comp and printing invoices, so I headed to Pennsylvania with our production manager, Rocky Romano, to visit with Russell and Dales Hughes of Hughes Printing. After crying poverty tears and some tough negotiations, we whittled our composition increase from 9 percent to 3 percent and our printing increase from 7 percent to 2 percent.

Would you like fries with that?

Sep 1, 2008 12:00 AM, By Steve Johnson

Tony Wochnik is a skilled and professional salesman of digital graphic arts equipment. Originally with Xerox, Tony has represented Ikon for many years. Although I've never spent a dime with him, Tony insists on taking me out to lunch once or twice each year to update me on his firm's innovations and his take on the advance of technology. His low key style and technical approach fit well with my attitude

Total productive maintenance

Sep 1, 2008 12:00 AM, By Ken Rizzo

Making equipment as efficient and profitable as possible. That's the premise behind total productive maintenance (TPM), a lean manufacturing strategy that optimizes preventive, corrective and predictive maintenance. Seichi Nakajima, a mechanical engineer, is credited with integrating preventive maintenance (PM) and total quality management (TQM) to create TPM. TPM uses small teams to achieve zero

Excellence in action

Sep 1, 2008 12:00 AM, By Jill Roth & Robin Schabacker

Becoming a Management Plus company is about more than just winning awards. It reflects a company's serious commitment to regularly monitoring the management and operational issues that most affect its bottom line, says Joseph Truncale, president and CEO of the National Assn. for Printing Leadership (NAPL) based in Paramus, NJ. In today's increasingly competitive and rapidly changing industry, management

Drawing conclusions

Aug 1, 2008 12:00 AM, By Steve Johnson

Barbara Carlson and her husband, Bob, sit in near me on Sunday at Southminster Presbyterian Church. Sometimes Barb hits me with her cane to get my attention. During the quietest parts of the service, she has been known to show me pictures of her cat. Have you seen my pussycat? she asks in a somewhat too-loud voice. Her favorite picture is one of her cat in the dishwasherbut I digress. I have never

100 Words or Less: What are the key factors to consider when moving or expanding a print operation?

Aug 1, 2008 12:00 AM, Bill Barta, president, Rider Dickerson Inc. (Bellwood, IL)

When planning and implementing our move, we focused on five main areas: Making sure our facility was convenient for our customers and employees. Discussing it with our major accounts to ensure they were aware of the move and to address any concerns they had. Ensuring we would have no downtime by simultaneously running in both facilities and then shutting down the old plant. Spending considerable time

How two printers maintain customer loyalty

Aug 1, 2008 12:00 AM,

This chart shows how two printers effectively implemented surveying using their print management system. The percentages represent print buyers likely to recommend the printer to a colleague. Printer 2 has grown revenues 6-8 percent each of the last four years and is on track to hit at least 6 percent in 2008. A difference of 3 percent loyalty over time can add up, as this example illustrates. Mailing

Litho is changing. What can a small printer do?

Aug 1, 2008 12:00 AM, By Raymond J. Prince

Recently a small printing company asked me what they could do to set themselves apart from others and truly impress buyers of print? The printer did not have much money to spend that was the challenge. My answer, after a fair bit of thought, was to go green and sell green. Why? Well, let's look at a few observations and facts: It costs little or no money to go green. Most print buyers are young people

Taking big steps

Aug 1, 2008 12:00 AM, By M. Richard Vinocur

Ken Grogan, who was the Modern Salon publisher, also had been made a vice president of Vance Publishing, but the staff was unhappy about his habits. At one industry conference, he dozed off and about a dozen industry executives were eyeing each other and stifling giggles. I was not one of them. Our editorial staff, entirely women, asked me to talk to Jack O'Neil, who had been made president of the

Sales challenges & considerations

Aug 1, 2008 12:00 AM, By Dick Gorelick

As I noted in my June 2008 column, Challenge or crisis? placement company Manpower recently dubbed sales representative the position considered the most difficult to fill. Hiring and developing salespeople is a universal challenge. The bottom line is that most reps' attributes and selling environment have undergone a sea change in recent years, but hiring criteria have not kept pace. Here's a partial