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MAY 2012

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General News Starts Here
and is for everyone:
Graphic Arts Dealers
and wideFormat-signSupply
Distributors


PUBTALK - oMike Fichera

Dear Editor

Product Focus
The Future of CtP for Dealers - Don Goldman, ConsultWare

Dealer Helpline

Bill Farquharson's Monthly Audio Sales Tip

Dealer News

Business News

Cold Call Sweeps - Bob Licari, Devlex Int'l

Wide Format? Not for us. - Bryan Sachs, Precision Graphics

Dealer-to-Dealer Used Equipment Mini Ads

National Yellow Pages

Dealer Communicator's Seminars In Print / For The CEO /
Understanding Cash In Your Business - Ruben Estrada

Marketing Tips For Dealership Owners - Jack Crowley

Career Opportunities

News For Wide Format
Sign Supply Distributors

Major Story - 12 BIG PIECES of Wide Format News From drupa 2012 - Tim Greene, Infotrends

Printing Direct to Magnet Creates Profitable Opportunities - Mike Gertz, Master Magnetics

Eligible sites for Inkjet Printer Equipment and Supplies

Sell Me A Printer....PLEASE! - If I were a wide format printing professional, Here is what I would want from my dealer - Dave King

Wide-Format Prints May Not Be As Lightfast As You Think

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Pub Talk

THE FOCUS, THESE PAST FEW DAYS HAS BEEN ON DRUPA...

and the new technology that we'll see in "live demonstrations" at Graph Expo and at SGIA in October . . .

The question I have asked after giant shows like drupa are over is how long will it take for the NEW technology to be modified and priced for the masses - - the small to medium size printer and the dealers that sell to them.

We don't know the day or the hour, but we do know that our industry is advancing at the speed of light (especially for 80 year olds like me), and what you young STALLIONS out there need to be doing is learning now, about the new technology before it hits our marketplace. Even if you went to drupa....let the knowledge sink in at GRAPH EXPO and at SGIA.

Please take note of the DEALER NEWS this month and in particular the AIMED and BINDRITE conference articles. Even in tough times, dealership owners are clear on what they need: Networking with Peers .... Meeting with Manufacturers .... Learning everything they can from industry gurus.

On that note, add to your things to do at Graph Expo/Chicago like attending one or more of the meetings scheduled for the GLOBAL DEALER SUMMIT, sponsored by Dealer Communicator and our UK partner Print Media Partners.

Don Goldman tore down all barriers to prepare a knowledge-building article on CTP.

And if you want your sales people to work the territory like a well-organized army, check out Bob Licari's "Cold Call Sweeps".

In the Wide Format Arena, Tim Greene delivers information about drupa 2012 to strengthen dealer knowledge and sales opportunities as the major story of the Wide Format Section. And also the Commander of Results, David King puts his Printer-Hat-On to tell you what you need to know to make more sales to printing customers.


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Dear Editor

To The Folks At Dealer Communicator It's been a year and 5 months since Karl Williams turned the reigns over to me and Jack Lomprez.

Picking up from your constant positive editorials, I'd like to report that we've increased the business 267%.

So Joining Dealer Communicator in its continuing message of hope, we would like to tell our fellow-dealers in the next Dealer News column there is life in the dealer business..... DON'T GIVE UP.


Matt Seei, Karl Williams Inc.

For The 500 xpedx People
Looking for Employment...
WE WANT TO HELP YOU...
Contact Pat Leavitt
Email: pat@dealercommunicator.com

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The reports have been consistent; offset printing is dying and long lives digital printing. In the words of Mark Twain, "The reports of (offset's) death have been greatly exaggerated".

There is no question that digital printing has changed many aspects of the printing industry especially for the quick or smaller printer markets. But once you get past a few thousand copies of a 4 or more page jobs, unless there is a need for variable imaging as part of a direct mail promotion, offset printing dominates. Yes, run lengths and turnaround times are shorter, all of which are having an impact on traditional printing methods. This does not mean that offset printing is going away instead the printing business is morphing into hybrid industry combining digital technologies with traditional printing methods where either the economics or delivery times influence the technology used to put image on substrate. It is interesting to note that the changes in the printing industry have been with us for a long time. Duplicators started to give way to copiers in the black and white world decades ago. The shift to color is more recent ­ not so much from a quality standpoint, although it has improved to a point where the printing method used is difficult to determine ­ but from a continuing reduction in per copy costs.

Yet, offset printing still thrives as the most efficient, least expensive and most flexible way to print multi-color, multi-page jobs. While the digital presses continue to increase in speed and size the cost of the toner or ink jet fluids are many times more expensive than printing inks or coatings. In a future editorial we will look further at the technology changes that affect graphic arts dealers and how they can capitalize on the change instead of getting caught unaware as the many dealers did in the 1990's through the early 2000's when prepress preparation moved from the light table to the computer and film gave way to computer to plate (CtP) technologies.

Computer to Plate is a bread and butter product in the graphic art dealer's product offerings. It is not just about imaging devices and plate materials but a series of products that are included in the workflow that puts an accurate image on a plate. It is interesting to note that all the components to CtP workflow up to the point of making the plates are identical to the workflow needed by digital printing. Imposition programs, RIPs, color management and proofing.

When CtP was first introduced in the early 1990's the focus was on the plate imaging but not on the workflow. Around the same time Ultimate introduced ImpoStrip an electronic way to do imposition replacing manual stripping methods ­ on a light table or computer screen. This innovation is probably the major ingredient to the acceptance and cost reduction potential of CtP. It put us on the right track. The other key element missing in the CtP workflow was the proofing step. Many customers or maybe it was the pressman did not want to see pixelated inkjet proofs (e.g., those from Iris) that did not have halftone dots. Consequently to support CtP workflow additional steps were often added to generate contract proofs often made from film or using a relatively expensive contract proofer like Kodak's Approval, DuPont's Digital Waterproof or 3M's Digital Matchprint. Today through innovations in software and inkjet color management proofing is fast and low cost. The third item in the workflow is color management. The printing industry was used to adjusting color by manipulating halftone dot sizes through so called dot etching techniques ­ manual and electronic which were both hit and miss and inconsistent. Each press could and did print differently and adjustments were often made on the fly with twists of ink keys yielding results that often could not be duplicated on re-runs or on other presses. Color management software that developed a profile based on a printing press's characteristics along with the stock used and desired color goals was the third element in the workflow that completed the elimination of film and made CtP the platemaking standard.

There were some other side benefits as well in CtP. Plate remakes were significantly reduced since there was no exposure or vacuum frame issues. Also, there was more care put into reviewing the proofs before making a final set of plates. Makereadies on press were quicker since the plates were automatically registered with the images always in the same position for each color plate and subsequent sets of plates. Remakes of plates due to last minute changes were completed in minutes reducing press down time.

CtP technologies have also evolved over the past 20 years. Initially two main CTP technologies ­ visible light and thermal were used. The appeal of thermal was that it was chemistry-free, process-free and did not require a developing or finishing step. But, initially it also needed energy eating pre-heating and post baking finishing achieving acceptable run lengths. Thermal platesetters were generally more expensive in both the equipment and operating costs. Visible imaging, today using violet light, were less expensive machines but required chemical based post processing equipment and had to be operated in a dark room environment. Over time the visible light machines have been moving towards processor-less technology eliminating the development step.

There have been other platesetting technologies used that have evolved. This includes plates made on poly materials for DI (Direct Imaging) presses from Presstek; paper/poly duplicator plates generated on toner based devices; and inkjet imaged plates. The inkjet platesetters are evolving into being a viable, low cost solution for generating plates for the 2 and 4 page presses along with making serious inroads in newspaper printing.

There have been some recent announcements from Epson talking about their inkjet plate technology using the wide format Epson 7990 CTP system plate maker. This machine uses treated metal plates in the inkjet printer. It can also be used for generating color proofs.

Also, offering inkjet platesetters is Glunz & Jensen (www.glunz-Jensen.com) through their iCtP product line. This company has been offering inkjet based CtP products for a number of years. Their products are sold worldwide with over 1,000 installations. To get an understanding of where inkjet plates fit into the CtP world and where this technology is going Dealer Communicator (DC) interviewed Mark Baker-Homes, G&J's iCtP Business Director.

DC: What industry segments are the best prospects today for ink jet CtP Technologies?

MBH: Small commercial printers, In-Plants, (especially gov., schools, universities, hospitals), military (used in containers for propaganda worldwide!) and small regional newspapers.

DC: Besides CtP devices what other supporting products are offered by your company?

MBH: Inks are a part of our iCtP product line. At Drupa 2012, the 4th generation Liquid Dot technology was launched. This fluid, is not a normal ink, it is a special fluid which is imaged onto G&J plates. When cured, the heating process causes a chemical bonding on the plate surface making the plate react on plate the same as any normal metal plate. Works with all fountain solutions including alcohols and most press inks including metallic, magnetic and UV. Plates are also part of the product line. They are a conventionally grained aluminum plate with a protective image forming treatment for the Liquid Dot technology. These plates are manufactured in 3 worldwide sites convenient to the markets we support.

DC: Workflow products like the RIP, preflighting, imposition, proofing and color management are needed for an efficient CtP installation. Who do you think should put the workflow together ­ Dealer, Manufacturer or Customer?

MBH:: I think this depends upon the market segment and the user in question. In a small print shop the user is not always aware of the solutions available. A dealer based solution may sometimes be the best, but often consists of parts from various suppliers, making the price unattractive and thus it is not adopted by the small user. In such an instance the manufacturer should be in a position to supply a workflow.

DC: What items should be in a workflow?

MBH: For smaller users, in print shops with fewer than 10 staff, efficiency needs to be coupled with affordability. So, we recommend a basic hotfolder driven, easy to use workflow, with PDF imposition, and the ability to softproof on the screen. Medium sized print shops, should consider pre-flighting, and hard proofs.

DC: What does Glunz & Jensen offer for workflow?

MBH: We are now providing an entry level workflow as an option for their entry level products. On the higher end iCtP solutions, the base part of the workflow will be provided free of charge with an unlock charge for more advanced options like preflighting. We also use a Harlequin RIP which means we can readily connect to any of the Epson proofers and the ColorPro options for color management. Softproofing is also an option with the G&J workflow. We also have our own range of imposition software that is expandable to a version for newspaper layouts.

DC: What trends do you see in CtP Technologies?

MBH: We see a movement in 8-up CtP markets towards low chemical solutions, such as provided by Fuji, many printers are consolidating, but for the smaller printer we see a split ... some go totally digital moving away from CtP, but we often find these to struggle... while others are purchasing CtP to avoid further hikes in film prices, and more recently we have seen a significant number of older polyester users start to replace equipment.

DC: What new things will we see from Glunz-Jensen in the next year?

MBH: Drupa has seen the launch of several new products, which will be available in the US in the next 60 days, including the PlateWriter8000, an 8-up capable platemaking solution, and the NewsWriterXL, a Landscape small format Newspaper plate solution.

At the conclusion of the interview, DC asked about Glunz & Jensen's selling practices. Mark said that they sell through dealers and have a strong dealer support program headed in the USA by Pat Dresser, (Pjd@glunz-jensen.com). At Drupa, they distributed to dealers a selling guide and have comprehensive CtP sales training materials. DC received a copy of the selling guide from Drupa and found it to be well put together and comprehensive in the sense that it not only discusses the G&J products but it provides some competitive analysis and case studies. The USA version will be available soon. Contact Pat Dresser to get a copy.

Dealers are looking for new products and markets to sell in the changing printing industry. Many of your customers have older CtP devices especially at the smaller machine end of the market and will need replacements. Where in the past Ink jet platemakers did not seem to have the imaging quality and run length capacities and were limited to 2 up presses it looks like this technology is evolving into a very viable solution for your customers. CtP is also sales building since it provides add on sales of workflow products along with the supplies like plates and inkjet liquids. Go for it! DC

Author: Don Goldman is the principal of ConsultWare, Inc. a Boston area based graphic arts management and technologies organization. He provides services to major printers, dealers and manufacturers in the areas of prepress technologies, digital printing, production management including estimating, scheduling and computer-based management information systems as well as overall information flow and operating proceedures. Don is a well-known speaker, author, and printing industry educator and is a recipient of the NAPL Technical Leadership Award. He can be reached at: consultw@aol.com.

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Dealer Help Line

53.7% Of All Dealer Calls To The Dealer Communicator Office Are For Help To Find Products For Their Customers ­ WE'LL DO THE SEARCH....YOU BE THE HERO. Email: helpline@dealercommunicator.com

* 15 SECOND SALES TIP Bill Farquharson's Audio Sales Tips are emailed weekly to subscribers. The Hot Link below will take you to this month's Sales Tip at the AspireFor, Inc. website. While there, enter a subscription to receive Mr. Farquharson's weekly editions. (Click Here To Listen To Audio Sales Tip)

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AIMED National Conference 2012

Over 120 dealers and vendors gathered in Annapolis MD from April 25-28 for the 2012 National Conference of AIMED, the Association of Independent Mailing Equipment Dealers. Among the conference highlights:
  • Members heard insights on the US Postal Service situation from USPS VP Jim Cochrane.
  • They were privileged to honor Henry Sanders as the newest member of the AIMED Hall of Fame.
  • They heard the latest on the Pitney Bowes dealer channel from PB VP of North American Dealer Operations, John Vavra.
  • Attendees learned about new revenue generating ideas ranging from electronic payment processing to document management solutions to new product announcements from Omation & Postmark.
  • Thirty four vendors demonstrated products and services at the Product Showcase.
  • Industry insights were shared by Bob Goldberg and Jim Kahrs.
  • Ruben Estrada shared strategies from his successful battle with cancer that can be applied to the changes that we all deal with in our businesses.
  • And best of all, we were privileged to witness Oscar worthy performances from members of our Board as they participated in the Pirates of the Chesapeake Murder/Mystery during the Friday night gala dinner!

Make sure that you mark your calendar for their next conference ­ October 8-9 in Chicago as part of Graph Expo. And mark the dates of their next National Conference ­ April 24-26, 2013 in the exciting city of New Orleans, Louisiana.

Conect Enterprises Joins The HP Family
Conect Enterprises has been appointed by HP to distribute the full range of HP Latex and Production Wide Format Printers, including HP's highly successful Scitex FB500 and FB700 UV Flatbed Printers. Shane Lucas, Director, HP Graphic Arts South Pacific says the appointment will bring HP Wide Format technology to a much wider audience across South-Eastern Australia. "Conect is a long established and trusted supplier to the sign and wide format market. Their customers will have access to the full complement of HP Latex Printers up to 3.2 meters wide. Paul Coniglio, Marketing Director at Conect comments: "2012 is our 25th year in operation and it is only fitting that Conect joins forces with HP, a truly global icon, and begin providing our customers with a full line of solutions." Started in 1987 by Pam and Tony Coniglio, Conect has evolved as quickly as the signage market that it supports. Conect distributes some of the best known supplies brands in the market. Conect added Digital Printers and Cutters in 2002, and now has 2 locations in Victoria at Carrum Downs and Croydon, with a 3rd office in the wind.

White Horse Machinery, UK, Moves To Larger Quarters
In order to accommodate a larger selection of presses and to have the larger space to do work on larger equipment, White Horse Machinery recently moved to a larger, more modern factory and office facility near Leeds in the North of England. The benefits of this relocation gives them the ability to do extensive equipment refurbishing. The new location is right for the worldwide trade in which they are engaged.

Florida Graphic Supply Inc. Takes On Mimaki Line
Florida Graphic Supply Inc. (FGS) located in Clearwater, FL, is now an authorized Mimaki dealer serving all of Florida and the greater Southeast wide format printer market, including the Caribbean islands.

New York Business Systems Takes On Intec
New York Business Systems (NYBS) Garden City Park, New York, is the latest company to become an Intec partner. Vice President of the copier company Tai Kim is optimistic about the new relationship between his company and Intec. NYBS was established as a copier company in 1983 and its customers are based throughout the New York Metro Area.

INX Digital Announces New Southern CA Partner
INX Digital International has announced that 360 Digital Imaging Solutions is now a new authorized partner. The newly formed, San Diego, CA-based distributor offers a wide format line of Triangle-branded ink to customers in the Southwestern U.S. Products for Hewlett-Packard, Mimaki, Mutoh, Roland, and Seiko printers include HPS, MLD, EDX, JVV, JVS, and DTX.

Global Imaging To Distribute Full Line Of HP Printers
Global Imaging Inc., a leading value-added reseller and integrator of wide and grand format printing systems, based in Louiville, KY, announces that it will now distribute the entire line of HP Latex and UV large-format printers and presses. The portfolio of HP large-format solutions distributed by Global includes the HP Scitex FB500, FB700 and XP5500 industrial printers and the HP Scitex FB7600 and TJ8600 industrial presses as well as the entire, successful line of Latex printers ranging in size from five to 10 feet wide. Global will also offer HP ink and media. "We are proud to be able to offer our customers the full line of HP printers from small equipment to industrial presses,"says Greg Lamb, CEO of Global Imaging.

Laird Plastics Joins Growing Number of Companies To Support SGP
Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP), a non-profit organization providing sustainability certification in the graphic communications industry, today announces the Gold Patronage of Laird Plastics, the largest independent plastics distributor in North America. Laird recognizes that when leaders of various industries come together, they can collectively raise the bar for all. By supporting SGP, Laird is aligning with an organization and its patrons that are devoted to encouraging and promoting participation in the worldwide movement to reduce the environmental impact of printed materials and increase social responsibility. Sustainable distribution and industry stewardship is important to Laird Plastics. The company has been involved with several associations and their environmental committees for years, including the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA), International Association of Plastics Distribution (IAPD), National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors (NAW), and the American Chemistry Council (ACC). Laird is committed to sustainable supply chain dynamics, and believes it has a responsibility to validate manufacturing claims for the end user, while passing consumer concerns back upstream.

Modular Document Solutions Acquires Ultimate Solutions, Inc.
In a report from Prosperity Plus Management Consulting, Inc. Modular Document Solutions, LLC has acquired Ultimate Solutions, Inc. From its executive offices in Fort Meyers, Florida, Modular Document Solutions currently operates a statewide office technology distribution network, providing sales and service to clients throughout the state. Ultimate Solutions, a copier, MFP dealership headquartered in Port St. Lucie, FL, has been serving all of southeastern Florida since 2005. When asked about the sale, Marna Rudicel, the owner of Ultimate Solutions, was quoted as saying, "The entire team at Ultimate is pleased to join forces with Modular Document Solutions. Modular and Ultimate share the same passion for top notch customer service." Day-to-day operations at Ultimate will be transitioning over to Modular and will continue under the guidance of the Modular management team. Specific terms behind the acquisition were not disclosed. Prosperity Plus represented and guided Ultimate Solutions throughout the transaction. For more about about this acquisition contact Tim Votapka, Vice President, Prosperity Plus Management Consulting, Inc., Ph: 631-382-7762 or by email: tvotapka@prosperityplus.com.

Dixie Reproductions Celebrating 40 Years in Business! Founded in 1972 by Jack Oskin, Dixie Reproductions is a recognized leader in the printing equipment industry. From their 22,000 square foot facility in Springfield, TN, Dixie specializes in turnkey installations, buying and selling printing equipment worldwide. Please visit Dixie's website, www.dixiereproductions.com. If you need equipment, or have excess equipment to sell, contact Jack or Brad Oskin at 615-382-6311, or email them at presses@bellsouth.net. They will work hard to find the right press for you. When a desired press is located, Jack or Brad will accompany you to the press demonstration, completing a 50-point inspection in your presence. If you have equipment for sale, Dixie will aggressively market it at no charge to you. "Dixie's long-term experience in the industry grants our clients the benefit of our extensive knowledge - printing press sales is what we do. I promise that when you purchase from Dixie, we eliminate worries and concerns. There is great peace of mind in turning over the liability and responsibility to a dealer who is competent and experienced in protecting your investment during the entire acquisition process. No one can do a better job than Dixie." Jack Oskin

BindRite's 21st Annual Conference Highlights Green Button Technology
The BindRite Dealers Association held its 21st Annual Conference and Trade Show, April 28-30, 2012, at the JW Marriott Resort in Palm Desert, CA. Forty-four of 48 member companies attended the meeting for the purpose of evaluating product demonstrations from thirty-four key vendor exhibitors. The conference theme focused on the emergence of "Green Button" technology incorporated into equipment recently introduced to the print finishing industry. The Green Button touch screen operator interface was demonstrated in automated laminators from DryLam; a fully automated cutting/creasing/scoring/perfing unit from MBM; a simple but effective table top creaser from Count Machinery, a tape binding system from Powis Parker and a two sheet, two envelope folder/ inserter from Formax. According to BindRite executive director Al Boese, more Green Button finishing equipment will be rolled out at Drupa and Graph Expo later this year. The keynote speaker was Hewlett Packard's Scott Swanson, who presented a view of the Future of Printing and Print Finishing. That presentation was followed by a panel discussion including the keynote speaker and three key vendor representatives from MBM, Powis Parker and PVC Spiral Supply. The BindRite Dealers Association welcomed Arctic Office Equipment of Alaska to the growing and substantial network of dealer/members which now numbers forty-eight. The network covers all 50 United States, all Canadian Provinces , Puerto Rico, and Guam. Providing deep coverage in these markets, BindRite members represent binding and other print finishing solutions from the world's leading equipment manufacturers, as well as maintenance, printing and creative services. To learn more about BindRite, visit www.bindrite.com or contact Al Boese, Executive Director, al.boese@bindrite.com or Phone 847-283-0970.


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Printing Research, Inc. New Appointments

Printing Research, Inc. of Dallas, TX announces the appointment of Arnold Cooper as the Director of Super Blue Division. Arnold has served as National Account Manager with PRI since March of 2011 and brings a strong and solid background in many areas of the printing industry including technical service and sales management while working closely with dealer distribution organizations throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. In addition to the appointment of Arnold Cooper, PRI has brought Bill Fortney on board as our National Sales Manager and Assistant Director of Super Blue Division. "I feel very good about these appointments," states Howard DeMoore, Owner. "This will put us on the right track to better support our Dealer network with sales, service, and technical support, and to develop new and better products to secure both our future and the future of dealers and printers alike."

TAGA Announces Two Distinguished Winners Of The 2012 Michael H. Bruno Award
The Michael H. Bruno Award 2012 was presented to James C. King and John E. Warnock, two distinguished individuals whose significant contributions to the printing and graphic arts community were recognized at the 64th Annual Technical Conference of the Technical Association of the Graphic Arts (TAGA) in Jacksonville, FL on March 20, 2012.

Printing Industries of America Celebrates 125 Years
In January, Printing Industries of America, formed in 1887, announced that 2012 marks its 125th anniversary as an association. To help celebrate this milestone, a new logo and webpage were created. The webpage will highlight not only the history of the organization but also the future of print and Printing Industries. Video and audio pieces featuring industry experts will be developed to capture their view of print's past and its future. Celebrations will take place throughout the year, including one at Printing Industries of America's booth at GRAPH EXPO 2012 in Chicago.

An Email...
from a past member of the channel, Mort Goodkin. In the days of Graphic Arts Cameras, Mort was the President of Goodkin Enterprises. Mort, now in his 80's resides in South Florida with his wife Lois and both are tennis buffs. Mort went a step further and won honors in the USTA 80-85 year old tennis tournament. Starting May 5th he will be in the New Jersey Super Senior Tournament with his partner Mark Byron. Mort can be reached by email: nikdoog@gmail.com

Kodak Recognizes Frank Romano With Print Ambassador Lifetime Achievement Award At drupa 2012
Kodak presented the Print Ambassador Lifetime Achievement Award to Frank Romano in a ceremony at its stand at drupa 2012 today. Romano is the third recipient of the award, which was established as a way to honor those individuals who demonstrate a passion for advocacy and education in the printing industry. Active in the print industry for more than 50 years, Romano has worked for industry suppliers, written dozens of books and articles, served as a professor in the field, addressed professional groups around the world, and consulted with most of the major suppliers in the industry.

In presenting the award, Kodak's Chief Executive Officer Antonio M. Perez noted, "Frank has played a key role in helping us all understand the dramatic shifts in technology that have occurred over the last few decades. He has a unique gift for helping us see how the past is influencing the future, and why that future is so exciting."

Romano is recognized as a leading authority on graphic arts technology and trends, and in 1977 founded TypeWorld (later Electronic Publishing), one of the industry's leading trade publications throughout the desktop and digital printing revolution and went on to launch other magazines.

He has been quoted in the The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Times of London, Forbes, and many other newspapers and publications, as well as on TV and radio. As Professor Emeritus, he continues to teach courses at RIT and other universities and works with students on unique research projects. "The term "Print Ambassador" certainly fits and reflects his personal and professional commitment to advancing the medium of print", concluded Perez.

2012 SGIA Expo Show Floor Is 87 Percent Sold Out!
We're already in May ­ the 2012 SGIA Expo (October 18­20, Las Vegas) is five months away, and the show floor is already more than 87 percent sold out! Specialty imaging's most innovative marketplace is back in Vegas! Don't miss the Expo-exclusive Zones, located directly on the show floor. Whether you need more information about the latest digital technologies for garment decorating, or hope to achieve PDAA Master Certification, SGIA's Zones will host free educational sessions from seasoned experts to help you get the job done. There are five: Digital Apparel Production Zone, PDAA Graphics Application Zone, Color Management Zone, Screen Printed Apparel Training Zone Industrial & Printed Electronics Zone Join SGIA this fall for their one-of-a-kind, premium educational program, crucial networking events, and maybe even a little Vegas sightseeing. Register now at SGIA.org.


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"COLD CALL SWEEPS"

A Technique For Equipment Dealers To Motivate Sales People and Make More Sales
Cold Call Sweeps! I have no doubt that most all dealership people understand this term. But for the new-comers.... it's a technique that brings the whole sales team out in the field where they search ­AS A TEAM­ for prospects in specific sections of the company's territory.

I want to tell you that Team-Sweeps is one of the most successful methods I have employed for the 35 years I managed sales teams for others and in my own businesses. I know it works! Whether you own a business or are managing a sales team, you know how difficult it is finding sales people who have the full set of skills in all the areas that make a truly successful Top Performer. I discovered when I was first training sales reps to sell tabletop folding and inserting machines along with addressing & mailing equipment that there were many more good people who can be developed to become efficient in sales then the "One Guy Does It All Super Sales Person." It was at this time that I realized why many new reps did not last or just failed.

The first, most common challenge a sales person faces is actually facing themselves by overcoming fears of rejection, increasing self-motivation and organization as well as becoming informed about their industry.

BEST WAY TO BEGIN THE TRAINING PROCESS
Encourage team spirit and united sales efforts between your reps. This gives the new sales people an easier way to get the education they will need to sell your line of equipment. Training by seeing and doing works 99.9% of the time!

You will find many sales reps who have the desire to sell but lack the polish and experience to be efficient closers. They "wound" but never "kill", so they will starve. I suggest that you approach these people differently to bring out their ability-to-succeed and create profit for your Dealership not to mention, a good income for themselves.

AN IDEA TO EXPERIMENT WITH
Pair your sales reps into teams. In my case, we researched concentrated areas where our prospects were likely to exist, such as the larger industrial developments. Cold Calling, which is an art in itself and, in particular the lifeblood of mailing equipment sales organizations, is a reliable source of leads. The Cold Call technique will produce sales that may not have happened if you had to wait for the prospect to call you.

Be aware....most sales people fail miserably here. Begin your team sweeps at one end of the Commerce Park and systematically canvas each building in teams of two. Each rep will learn to work with the other, increasing the knowledge base and effectiveness of both partners AND....preventing lost sales. Ignore the "No Soliciting" signs and if confronted by building security, simply state that you thought the sign was referring to prostitutes !! Then move on !

Let's focus for a moment on your TOP PERFORMERS. They're out there making business happen. They're creating.....following up and carrying the sales process up to the sale! But not everyone can do that. As we've been discussing, you can get the most out of a motivated sales person who has little experience with COLD CALL SWEEPS.

If you're a dealership owner, here's a benefit for you. By having your teams focus their canvassing in productive areas, they save on fuel and driving expenses. You are allowing each person in your team to maximize their sales strengths, helping them to work together eliminating the fear that keeps sales people at their desks Where They Do Not Belong! This type of Team-Work teaches confidence and skills and delivers more sales.

To conclude: Do Sweeps. Keep only people who want to improve. Train and keep training. And see for yourself that in the beginning, Duo-Team effort outperforms sending new reps into the field by themselves. The results: More Top Performers. DC

Author Bob Licari says this about his cave.... "It's not such a scary place if you have the right guidance. Come and let me lead and show you the way!" Bob has served the Mailing, Fulfillment and Packaging Industries for over 35 years. He can be reached at boblicari@devlexintl.com.

Wide Format? Not for us.

As graphic arts dealers, we spend a lot of time preaching to customers the need for them to adopt, upgrade and remain fluid in this constantly changing industry of ours. That shoe obviously fits on our foot, too, as we are always looking for a new wave to ride. Like our customers though, it's important not to become a jack of all trades and master of none.

In considering our entry into the market we did our research and due diligence before making a decision. We spent considerable time speaking with a particular wide format manufacturer that ultimately, we were not impressed with for a variety of reasons. What we felt were their weaknesses would surely have become our own in the eyes of our potential customers for the product. You can't pass the buck when the "you know what" hits the fan. We also asked the opinions of a couple of our closest and most established customers (our pseudo Board of Directors) who concurred with our assessment of the overall opportunity.

Every dealer has their own unique needs, resources, market, etc. What works for some dealers, clearly isn't right for others. Wide format is indeed a huge business and an excellent, profitable fit for some, but in the end, it just wasn't right for us.

AUTHOR: Bryan Sachs. Partner. Precision Graphics, covering all of Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula with complete digital print and finishing solutions. Tel: 262-677-3500. Email: bsachs@Precisionwi.com


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Dealer-to-Dealer Used Equipment Mini-Ads

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Heidelberg ECO 80 Folder Gluer ­ 4 Gun PVA Glueing system, Presentation folder attachment. J. E. Halliday Sales, Inc. · 714 903-0608 · info@hallidaysales.com

AAA Mailing is now wholesaling to the print shops nations wide. Incuding Mailing machines, Folder inserters, tabbers, and addressing machines. Be the first to diversify. 561-685-1991. AAA Inserters and mailing, FL and NC 200 Mitsubishi DPX 2 CTP ­ 20" Polyester Computer to Plate, includes Harlequin RIP, 2 Online Casettes, and Landscape Punch. J. E. Halliday Sales, Inc. · 714 903-0608 · info@hallidaysales.com

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Sell your used equipment to other dealers. $5 per machine listing. 25 words including phone & contact info. Special 3 month agreement ­ $3 per listing per month. Change your listing every month if you want. Email: pat@dealercommunicator.com

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Understanding Cash In Your Business

by Ruben Estrada ... CEO Coach

It is said over and often that, in business, cash is king. Without cash, the business comes to a screeching halt. That being a reality, why is it that so many businesses pay so little attention to developing sound cash management and cash flow analysis systems? That remains a mystery to me. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard from a business owner during a coaching session, "I am running out of cash, what should I do?". Well, here is a simple rule to live by, "No Cash is a symptom, not a cause". Accepting that simple business rule demands we learn to understand cash at a root cause level.

For example, I once met a business owner who manufactured outdoor barbeque grills. Their custom design allowed them to manufacture with nice gross profit margins and grow at a steady pace. Then one day they were approached by a large big box retail chain to distribute their product. The owners saw dollar figures in place of cash flow and after three years of selling to this big box retail chain they were out of cash and subsequently out of business. How is that possible you may ask? Here are the factors that eventually led to their demise.

They were given a production quota of manufactured and delivered grills and were paid on consignment. The manufacturer had to absorb the cost of goods for gross quantities and was not paid until 60 day after month closing for product sales with no cash allowance for inventory on hand.

The big box retailer required the manufacturer to reduce their pricing by 10% every year. Thus eroding an already tightly negotiated gross profit.

The big box retailer had a "No questions asked" return policy for their customers and the manufacturer had to absorb returns as 100% losses. Miss handling, abuse/damage of warehouse inventory and simple "buyer's remorse" drove a 15% quarterly average on returns. (Prior to the Big Box experience, the manufacturer had NO returns).

These factors, plus the reality of limited cash reserves to begin with, eventually put the company into a cash negative situation and shortly thereafter put them out of business. Had this company followed the 5 simple steps below, they may still be in business today.

5 Steps to understand cash in your business are:

1). Establish and enforce minimum/maximum payment terms that allow the company to realize a predictable flow of cash through the business. Ensure your payment options have the greatest opportunity for you to expedite cash payments at the lowest cost and closely manage your companies cash deposit systems. Over and over again we find gaps in controls and/or systems in one or more of these cash management steps of a business that often reveals loss of revenue or, worse yet, losses due to theft. Here is a brutal fact, "Your employees are only as honest as the opportunities you give them to be dishonest." PUT IN THE APPROPRIATE CASH MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS!

2). Set hard line gross profit margins and always remember that it is gross profit, more so than revenues, that DRIVES net income.

3). Implement systems that track invoicing for all work shipped. Although this may be an obvious statement for most, I have seen many instances where a business owner cannot demonstrate to me that all work produced were invoiced. TRACK IT! As importantly, implement sound systems to accurately track accounts receivables, accounts payables, short term and long term debt. With these few numbers in hand one can crudely forecast cash.

4). Track net income and clearly know if cash comes from inside or outside the business. Living off a line of credit or credit cards with increasing debt balances is an indicator that cash for operations is coming from outside the business. I have also see instances, especially during the recession of 2008, where a business owner was putting money into the business checking account monthly to meet payroll. That is NOT the way it is supposed to be!

5). Establish some simple cash ratio's for your business that can be indicators for cash flow. There are literally hundreds of examples, from very complex to simple ((Cash+AR)-AP) formulas. If you do not have such a ratio or formula, ask your business coach or business banker for some examples. Once you find a formula that works for you, create a custom report in your accounting system to provide you with that information on a weekly, if not daily, basis.

As a CEO Coach I completely understand that implementing the systems and control's described above are not as easy as explaining them, but that does not negate the importance of doing so. So if you find yourself needing to implement better cash flow systems but lack the "Know how" or simply need someone to hold you accountable to get it done, give your Estrada Strategies CEO coach a call or visit www.EstradaStrategies.com to find an Estrada Coach near you. DC

Written by: Ruben Estrada, President/CEO Estrada Strategies Franchise Inc. A National Network of CEO Coaches. We help the small to mid-sized business owner to think, act, and perform like successful CEO's. www.EstradaStrategies.com - or - 909-476-3510


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What is your "Ideal Customer Profile"?

Although we all want to increase sales, not every customer is a good customer for your organization.For eample, have you ever had a customer that wasn't a good match for your core competencies as an organization?

By mismatch, I mean a customer that was a drain on your resources and ultimately a mismatch on your expectations as well as theirs. For example, a company that is too small can drain your resource just as much as a company that is too large for you to fulfill their expectations.

Most businesses have an ideal customer. One of the first steps we like to do is ask questions thatuncover what your ideal customer looks like so we can build a profile and ultimately narrow your target market to a specific group of people so we can customize our campaigns and communications to them. When you take the time to outline your IDEAL CUSTOMER PROFILE you help your company and your customers match expectations with results.

As an example, I will outline our ideal customer profile:
Ideal Customer Profile for our "Turnkey System to Increase Sales" Score (1-5)
  • President or VP of Sales
  • No in-house marketing department
  • No annual marketing plan
  • Sees the value of an annual or multi-year marketing plan & system
  • Have 3+ sales people

You can score each sales opportunity to see how well that opportunity is a match. If you have thediscipline to analyze each opportunity with your ICP your customers will get the results they expect and your company will yield more sales, testimonies and ultimately run smoother. If it's a poor match you should really consider moving on and focusing on prospects that meet your ideal customer profile.

If you need help with developing your ideal customer profile, feel free to contact us.

John R Crowley Jr, 800-488-4852, Salesforce Consultant - Turnkey System to Increase Sales - Free Trial

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Career Opportunities

Manufacturing Company seeks strong sales individual who understands computers and printing systems and has recorded sales experiences. We are a sizeable, 20+ year old business and care about the people we hire. Knowledge and experience are critical as is an attitude of becoming part of our organization. If you fit these qualifications, we'd love to see your resume. Mail in a double-sealed envelope to JOB SEEKER-1, Dealer Communicator, 1919 North State Road 7, Suite 202, Margate, FL 33063.

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To Strengthen Dealer Knowledge And Sales Opportunities . . .
12 Big Pieces of Wide Format News from drupa 2012

As I write this, many leading printing equipment and supplies manufacturers are exhibiting their latest and greatest in Dusseldorf Germany at the drupa trade fair. Wide format digital printing isn't the primary technology on display at drupa, however there are some interesting announcements in the wide format sector, for which I keep my eyes peeled. As an aside the headline technologies for drupa overall are a new printing technology called Nanography developed by Benny Landa, the inventor of one of the first color digital printing presses, the Indigo, which is now part of HP, and B2 digital presses, some of which are based on inkjet technologies so familiar in the wide-format market.

The following is a list of wide format print developments at drupa listed alphabetically.

If you are selling alternatives to Durst you want to know that it has launched the P10-series of high-speed wide format UV-curable printers. These printers, which come in 2-meter, 2.5 meter, and 3.2 meter widths, are equipped with new 10-picoliter print heads that enable higher image quality.

At drupa EFI launched the QS2, a next-generation version of the mid-market hybrid QS platform. It also launched its first high-end industrial device, the HS100 and a new "operating system" for its wide-format line. This is software, firmware and hardware that enables improvements in quality, productivity and integration and full-support for greyscale printing.

At drupa Epson extended its SureColor range launching three high-speed, 4-color aqueous printers for CAD, GIS and POS applications. The SureColor SC-T7000, SC-T5000 and SC-T3000 are 44-inch (1,118mm), 36-inch (914mm) and 24-inch (610mm) wide respectively and use a new UltraChrome XD ink.

The printers feature small footprints and are operated from the front to allow convenient placement against a wall, controls are at the front, media is fed in at the top and finished prints are stacked at the front. Features include automatic photo and matte black ink switching, and media barcode printing recording remaining media. The SureColor eco-solvent range. Introduced earlier this year with the SC-S30600, a four-color 64" device was extended with two more signage machines. The SC-S50600, a four or five-color machine, which features 50m2/hr throughput and an option for white ink. The SC-S70600 is available in eight- or 10-color configurations. The eight-color adds light cyan, light magenta, orange and green inks. The 10-color boosts application flexibility with simultaneous white and metallic ink.

Fujifilm launched the Inca S40i Digital printer, which supersedes the S40. This high-end device produces at up to 470sqm per hour and uses a new Uvijet ink with improved adhesion. The S40i will be available this summer. Fujifilm also showed the recently launched Acuity 1600 UV LED, an eight-color roll-to-roll UV-cured machine with optional tables for rigid boards, which it is targeting at packaging prototyping in addition to signage and display graphics.

Matan Digital Printers launched the 8-color Barak 8Q superwide printers in 3 and 5m variants. High productivity and high print quality are claimed through the combination of 8-color printing with Matan's PDS technology. PDS technology enables printing of 20pl (pico-liter) and 40pl drops in the same printing pass. The 20pl drops enable fine detail and smooth gradation while 40pl drops achieve ink coverage and density, ensuring productivity of up to 353 m2/hr (3,800 ft2/hr) the Barak 8Q also includes productivity features, such as automatic double-sided printing, an automatic flatbed loader and un-loader and inline slitting. The Barak is also sold by Fujifilm as the Uvistar.

HP is showing a white ink kit and automatic loading for its Scitex FB7500 and FB7600 industrial presses and a new cloud version of SmartStream Production Analyzer. Since launching latex large-format at drupa 2008, HP says it has installed more than 11,000 latex printers worldwide, which have produced more than 54m m2 of print. HP added a platen cover for the Designjet L26500 and L28500 ­ that improves loading of textile media. Drupa was a milestone for memjet with two roll-fed technology demonstrations based on the shown by mainstream wide-format suppliers. Oce showed the Velocity, while Fuji-Xerox showed an unnamed prototype churning out in excess of 500m2/hr. These two devices herald the creation of a new-class of high-throughput aqueous machines, and attracted strong interest due to their combination of throughput, quality and flexibility.

Mimaki launched the JFX500-2131, a 2.1m x 3.1m LED UV-cured flatbed that prints at a speed of up to 60sqm/hr in four-color, or 50sqm/hr with white ink. Mimaki is also displaying the JV400-LX, its first latex printer, and the solvent UV ink-based JV400-SUV for durable outdoor prints, which were launched at Fespa. It claimed that due to strong demand for the JV400 family release had been staggered, with the SUV following later in the year after initial orders for the LX had been fulfilled.

Ricoh enters the wide-format production market with the Ricoh Pro L4000 latex machine. Built by Mimaki and based on Ricoh's piezo-electric print heads with durable latex ink in seven colors; CYMK, light cyan, light magenta and white. It will be available in North America and Europe in the first quarter of 2013.

Roland DG introduces Versa Art 64" eco-solvent printer, which promises high-speed and a wide color gamut at an affordable price. It uses an eight-channel mirrored dual CMYK ink configuration (CMYKKYMC) for color consistency, and it is claimed that image quality in high-speed mode equals that of the previous model's standard mode.

Screen Truepress Jet W1632UV 1.6x3.2m flatbed UV-cured wide-format printer. Designed to meet demand for a machine capable of high throughput and high quality. Built in the UK by Screen's subsidiary Inca Digital this printer provides a throughput of 94sqm (1,012 sqft) per hour while the use of 12 politer droplets produce sharp text and smooth vignettes. Screen's Truepress Jet W1632UV, a new high-quality high productivity flatbed made in the UK by its Inca subsidiary.

Seiko I Infotech Inc. (SIIT) previews fluorescents and bulk ink supply. NEON inks - the first solvent-based fluorescent inks - are available in yellow and pink for the ColorPainter W series and can be printed as spot or composite colors with CMYK. Results are bright under normal lighting, and glow under black-lighting. Bulk-ink for the ColorPainter H2 provides 6 liters of ink for each color for the round-the-clock production; in addition the H2 is also available in an eight-color configuration adding gray and light grey to the CMYK, LC & LM.

Key wide-format themes to emerge from drupa 2012 were around application flexibility, quality and productivity as shown by the developments listed. It is notable that most launches incorporated technologies that enabled a single device to produce at both high quality and high speed, albeit not necessarily at the same time. It is also clear that with extended gamut systems, whether it be, white, metallic or fluorescent that vendors are working hard to fill in the remaining capabilities in digital's arsenal to ensure printed graphics can provide extra pop. DC

Author Tim Greene, Director of Wide Format Printing Consulting Services, InfoTrends, will field your questions, comments or arguments by email: tim_greene@infotrends.com


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Printing Direct-To_Magnet Creates Profitable Opportunites

by: Mike Gertz, Master Magnetics

Keeping wide format printers busy is a primary key to your customers' success. Offering them the right flexible magnetic sheeting opens up entire new channels of business that they may have been missing. From vehicle signs for contractors, realtors and restaurant delivery vehicles, to P.O.P. retail signs, calendars and local sports team schedules, there are an endless amount of items that make printing on magnetic sheeting a very profitable segment of your customers' business.

Some printers are reluctant to take advantage of these opportunities because they feel that the traditional two-step process of printing on a substrate and laminating to the magnet, or printing on unmagnetized material and then magnetizing it, is too time consuming and not an efficient process. Printing direct to magnet avoids these extra steps, saving time and money. With good quality magnetic sheeting, excellent high resolution printing results can be achieved with solvent, eco-solvent, UV and latex ink systems. For aqueous inks, you can get magnetic sheeting already laminated with a paper topcoat for one-step direct to magnet printing.

A major reason cited by your customers for resistance to printing on magnet is the concern for running magnetic material through their printer. A common problem may be if the platen is metal, which would restrict the smooth and even flow of the magnet being fed into the printer. This is easily overcome by covering the platen with styrene, chip board, vinyl or duct tape, or anything to create an air gap between the metal platen and magnet.

Other issues, such as print head height adjustment, ink saturation, or other metal parts of the printer that the magnet will come in contact with, could be answered by their printer manufacturer and referring to the printer's profiles. "Everything you run through a printer requires a unique set-up for optimal performance and quality, and magnet is no different," said Ralph Terramagra, Mutoh Eastern Regional Sales Manager. "The platen and post heater on most Mutoh printers are made of aluminum so they will not cause a problem with the magnet. There is a steel piece across the back where the media feeds in that will need to be covered as explained earlier. Basically, if you keep the magnet from sticking to metal it is really not much different than printing on vinyl. That being said, remember it is much thicker so keep your head height in a higher position, and it is also heavier so your print feed will need to be adjusted," explained Terramagra.

The extra revenue generated by printing on magnet helps your customers pay for their existing printer and contributes to their ongoing success and growth.


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Sell Me A Printer.... PLEASE!

If I were a wide format printing professional, Here is what I would want from my dealer....

First off, let me tell you that I have spent a lot of years looking at all the different wide format printers out there. When it comes down to it, what most all of your sign making printers need is a good printer that puts ink on paper/vinyl/fabric and it looks good. Sure the printers are all different but let's look at a few very real facts:
  • All printers today print so well that no one can complain about the print quality.
  • Printers print on just about anything.Printers cost about $.30 per sq. ft. for ink.
  • Just about all printers are 60" wide or wider.
  • Most media is 60" wide or less.
  • There are only two types of adhesive backed vinyl (cast and calendared), so it should be easy to make money with the printers you sell.

So now what is the difference here? Ok.... with my "Printer Hat On", I expect you, my dealer, to help me make money with my printer. NO DO NOT SELL ME EVERYTHING you have in your inventory, help me make money with this machine. Show me how to use your materials, explain what materials are best for the different applications. Help me understand how to make pole banners, floor graphics, wall wraps, vehicle wraps, backlit signs, etc. Help me understand how to use my laminator and when should I laminate and with what kind of laminate. Show me how to mount graphics, do high volume jobs, and how to offer new ways to finish my graphics.

In essence, I'm asking you to be my champion-dealer-of-choice. I need to trust you, I need to ask you questions and get back the best answers for my situation. I need you to be there for me every day, on every job, and for every situation. If you do this for me, I will do one thing for you ­ BUY MOST EVERYTHING I NEED FROM YOU!

Thank you for helping me make money!

Good luck, be in service to your dealers, and I will see you on the show floor!

Dave King is "Commander of Results" at MarketKing, the master of printing and graphics that offers the Print Shop Make-over. This program is designed to teach business owners how to be successful with large format digital graphics. For more information, go to: www.TheMarketKing.com

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Market Intelligence: A brief, but informative article from I.T. Strategies about eligible sites for Inkjet Printer Equipment and Supplies in the US

A perennial question asked by all wide-format printing equipment and supplies manufacturers (and distributors as well) is what is the eligible market size for my wide format products? This has always been a difficult question to answer, and it is getting more difficult to answer due to the rapid turnover in print service provider businesses.

There are several ways to estimate the eligible market for wide-format printing equipment and supplies in the US market (note it is almost impossible to size the opportunity with any level of confidence on a worldwide basis, since even fewer credible data sources are available). This analysis looks just at eligible sites among print-for-pay service providers for eco-solvent, latex, and uv-curable inkjet printers.

Sources:
Trade Organizations:

There is no single class of wide-format graphics printer users. There are screen printers, photolabs, reprographers, commercial printers, tradeshow exhibit builders, fine artists, and many others. Dedicated trade associations that follow their craft serve most of these tradesmen. All of them face the challenge of sizing their sector on the basis of extrapolating beyond their membership. A trade association may have as members around 15 percent of the base they are serving. Based upon its best estimate of members it has captured, it extrapolates their industry size.

Government Sources:
Government sources also attempt to size the number of sites by type of business. The US Census is able to provide a detailed look at various types of printing and publishing activities, but most often the Census can be 10 years out of date.

Directories:
When all fails, a search of the Yellow Pages directory (the online version, not up to 12-month old printed version) will typically result in creating a list of print-for-pay businesses by region, state, or major metropolitan area. The catch is that many of those that advertise may be involved in activities related to wide-format printing, such as print brokering or providing supplies, rather than actually printing. Therefore, a Google search or Yellow Page directory search needs to be manually followed up with verification calls to be sure the business is classified correctly.

Trade Magazine Lists:
Trade magazines rarely profess to be able to size the markets they serve, but frequently do provide top 100 lists. Often the data in those lists is self-provided by the print-service-provider, since most of the companies are privately held. This means that, in some instances, the owners of privately held companies do not participate, since they want to keep their financial data private. The lists however do provide insight into the relative scale of the print service providers.

Substrate Suppliers:
There is one constant among wide-format graphic print providers: they all need substrates to print on. Distributors of substrates often have daily contact with those print-for-pay suppliers and have a good idea of how many sites there are in a given region they serve. There is the catch: there are few if any true nationwide substrate dealers that cover the range of wide-format applications that exist. A LexJet may capture professional photographers, but will likely miss most screen printers. The same holds true for a Nazdar or Pitman.

There is information about the channel of offset dealers that are shifting to wide format sales and about the channel of wide format-sign supply distributors available from the Dealer Communicator. Their Statistics Report contains information about number of locations in the U.S.

CONCLUSION:
Another way of looking at this data is that about 1/3 of all print service providers in the US had some type of wide-format inkjet printing technology in 2011.

From an installed base perspective of solvent, latex, and UV-curable printers in the US, the average wide-format print service provider has about 1.6 wide-format printers installed per site. Is there a margin of error? Yes. How large is this potential margin for error? We don't know and can't prove it, but we believe there is no better way to size the market unless one has the resources to comb through every Yellow Pages directory and individually verify the activity of the sites listed.

Of course, that data would be outdated immediately upon completion as businesses merge, go out of business, or alter definition of who they are. Ultimately, it is not the numbers that are important but the trend and relative context those numbers provide about an opportunity.


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Wide-Format Prints May Not Be As Lightfast As You Think According To New White Paper From Seiko Instruments USA

Seiko announced today that it has published a comprehensive lightfast study of wide-format printer inks including Hewlett Packard Latex inks, Epson GS inks, Seiko I Infotech ColorPainter low-solvent GX inks, and the new ColorPainter HAPs-Free IX inks. This study was conducted to provide digital printers, sign shops, screen printers, custom vehicle restylers (car wraps), and fleet graphics producers scientific data about the longevity of their prints from popular wide-format color inkjet printers.

The lightfast testing of 4 leading wide-format printer inks show that some ink color densities decay as much as 94% in 18 months (fading), while others decay very slowly ­ only 3% in 18 months. "While many printer manufacturers promote their inks and prints as lasting up to 3 to 5 years outdoors, this test data clearly shows that for long-term outdoor graphics, some of these inks simply may not last that long," explains Pat Ryan, General Manager of Seiko Instruments USA ­ Infotech Division.

"Customers using these printers and inks may be at risk for customer replacement claims in the future if they over-promote the output's actual outdoor performance in sunlight and near-window applications. It is important for everyone in our industry to understand and know how long various inks last under various conditions, so they can use this information when comparing printers. By publishing our lightfast test results, we are helping customers and potential customers make better purchasing decisions using scientific data instead of relying on unsubstantiated sales claims."

This new data is included in a white paper that identifies 23 reasons why the ColorPainter W-64s may be a better printer than the HP Latex printer for companies producing outdoor graphics such as signs, banners, backlit films and fleet graphics. The white paper includes comparisons of important print metrics such as color gamut, ink lightfastness, gloss levels, print-to-print color consistency, print speeds, ink usage, print head replacement rates, and overall running costs.

Interested parties can receive a copy of the white paper electronically, or by traditional mail by contacting Seiko Instruments USA directly at colorpainterinfo@seikoinstruments.com. DC


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