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Roller care for a sheetfed press

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

Keeping in mind that there are 125 variables to control on a lithographic press, consistency is not easy to achieve. My prepress friends always tease me by saying they can output a digital plate within 0.5 percent constantly, while in pressrooms we vary all over the place. Why we vary is a complex issue, but we can control the press better by adhering to best practices and strongly insisting on process


Feb 1, 2008 12:00 AM, By Katherine O'Brien

Wednesday is InRegister day Editor's Picks features selected highlights from AMERICAN PRINTER's InRegister newsletter. InRegister is published on alternating Wednesdays. For a free subscription, see Want to comment on something in this issue? Drop us a line at We look forward to hearing from you! Something old, something new We print smarter, boasts

My school days

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

Shortly after being named editor of my junior high school newspaper, the Roosevelt Reflector, I visited my first printing plant. It was love at first sight. I'm still not sure whether it was the clack of the Linotype machine as the slugs exited or the smell of the printing ink that penetrated my nostrils, or maybe the process itself. I loved proofreading galleys, cutting them up and pinning them on

Survey says

Feb 1, 2008 12:00 AM, Michael Casey

In 2007, quick printers and small commercial printers continued to get strong quality satisfaction for traditional products and services, but be careful as you plan your diversification strategies. Non-traditional printer services, such as promotional items and online ordering, definitely could improve. Consider not only profitability as you ponder new services, but also your execution plan to produce

Twice as nice

Feb 1, 2008 12:00 AM, By Katherine O'Brien

The Second Annual Print Buyers Conference in Westford, MA, attracted 235 print buyers from as far away as California, New Zealand and Japan. According to Margie Dana, founder of Boston Print Buyers and senior contributing editor to PRINT & MEDIA BUYER magazine, the two-day event drew a total of 463 participants, which included 235 registered attendees, 201 exhibitors and 27 speakers and panelists.

Technology changes; information endures

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

We're in the 14th year since the introduction of variable-data color output devices, and the hype continues. Selling the output of this equipment requires a different type of salesperson, understanding of a customer's business objectives, the need to reach senior management, patience, and a host of other changes in mindset, expectations and operations. Where do we go from here? You say you want a

Happy Groundhog Day (again)

Feb 1, 2008 12:00 AM, By Katherine O'Brien

In almost 20 years of working on trade magazines, I have written hundreds of editorials. I like to think each of them was a little gem, an exquisite and original pearl of wisdom dispensed after careful deliberation. But upon honest reflection, I must concede this wasn't always the case. As Dave Barry has observed, the essence of journalism is writing authoritative stories about things you don't actually

Six decades of business lessons

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

Learning that this year is the 125th anniversary of AMERICAN PRINTER, I also realized 2007 marked my 60th anniversary in the work force. My motto always has been: Tell it like it is. I've decided to write an autobiographical expos of my business experiences, naming names and companies with whom I've been involved. I've seen company executives and organization managers implement strategies and policies

Going beyond price & product

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

Twenty-five years ago, I was asked by a well-known printing firm to look into the practices, strategy and market position of an intended merger partner. The latter depended heavily on publication printing and relied heavily on long-term negotiated contracts. It was aggressive in cutting price. Its logic: With a negotiated contract, there's no need to assign a salesperson to the account. A well-written,

PURLs of wisdom

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

To read this story, you must understand a few terms. If you are hip, high-tech or both, you may skip the over the glossary and dive right into the exciting part. URL is an acronym for Uniform Resource Locator. It is the address you type into your Web browser. Looking for me? My URL is PURL is an acronym for Personalized URL. If your name is Fred, I might mail you a Web address such

Making a customs declaration

Jan 1, 2008 12:00 AM, By Katherine O'Brien

Here's a quick quiz. Which of the following don't exist: a) Leprechauns. b) Unicorns. c) The Easter Bunny. d) Printing industry trade customs. e) All of the above. I'm sure some people will be surprised to learn that is the correct answer. Although trade customs for this industry technically ceased to exist in 1994, the familiar list of 23 points has the staying power of my Aunt Eunice when she has

What is print quality?

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

About every five years, someone comes up with the magic cure-all for printing and that a new print quality factor, if measured and controlled, will make all of our problems go away. In the 1960s it was process ink color; in the 1970s it was density; in the 1980s it was dot gain; and in the late 1980s it was trap. In the 90s it was spectrophotometry, and currently it is gray balance. It keeps changing.

And the survey says

Jan 1, 2008 12:00 AM, Michael Casey

In 2007, while working with dozens of printers, we asked their customers the following question: What are the two most effective ways we can inform you of our new products and services? The good news is that direct mail still is a very viable method. The print industry is alive and well. The question to ask yourselves and your staff is: How are we positioning ourselves to compete via e-mail marketing?

The I in team

Dec 1, 2007 12:00 AM, By Dick Gorelick

When it comes to sales rep trainers, you can find one of everything. There's someone who claims to have sold tens of millions of dollars of print. Another advocates making dozens of calls a day until there's a happy accident a buyer who recently had a bad experience with an existing supplier. Some advocate an activity-based formula. One industry trainer preaches that ingratiating one's self to a receptionist

Don't stop believing

Dec 1, 2007 12:00 AM, By Steve Johnson

Did you ever notice that if Ben Franklin, the patron saint of printing, wasn't bald and had sported a long beard in his old age, he would have been a dead ringer for St. Nicholas, the patron saint of this holiday season? I'm not sure what that means, but in the spirit of the holidays, I am sharing my printing industry wish list, in the form of an open letter to Santa. Dear Santa Claus I'm writing

Matching employees with the right jobs

Dec 1, 2007 12:00 AM, By M. Richard Vinocur

Contrary to the promotional tag line used by the nation's gambling capitol, What Happens in Vegas doesn't necessarily stay in Vegas, especially if there is an AMERICAN PRINTER columnist on hand. In October, I traveled to Las Vegas for the annual Digital Imaging Customer Exchange (DICE) meeting. As usual, Mike Vinocur proved he's a chip off the old block by running a well-planned and well-executed

How productive is your plant?

Dec 1, 2007 12:00 AM, By Raymond J. Prince

The amount of shared financial data in this industry is amazing. We have many financial benchmarks that are used to compare one plant to another. This effort has proved worthwhile. It is more of a challenge to measure plant productivity and have the type of data that we can do something. Printers have different equipment, run radically different papers and have unique customer requirements. If you

Embracing our digital age

Dec 1, 2007 12:00 AM, By Katherine O'

When I buy coffee at my neighborhood convenience store, several prominent signs remind me that, thanks to my birthday, I can buy liquor and cigarettes with impunity. You're already over the hill, is the implicit message. Why not drink and smoke all you want? Carpe diem! On my way to work, I pass a clothing store called Forever 21. There's no formal screening process no sales associates are checking

Show & tell

Nov 1, 2007 12:00 AM, By Courtney Charles

Every four years, an A-list of executives, techies, consultants and journalists descend on Dsseldorf for Drupa, the largest international graphic arts trade show. Drupa 2008 will take place May 29-June 11. For the consultants who attend, Drupa is a place to meet and greet both current and prospective clients. John Windle is a veteran Drupa attendee as well as president and founder of State Street

Why so cynical?

Nov 1, 2007 12:00 AM, By Dick Gorelick

Why do print buyers react poorly when asked to wait an hour to learn about the status of a job in production? The answer is simple: The expectation level has been established by FedEx, which can, within seconds, report the status of a package or envelope mailed to a destination anywhere on planet Earth. Given that capability and a print supplier's touting of computerized, integrated workflow, why