From Chaos to Calm: The Power of Print MIS

Pat McGrew
Jul 20, 2017

Power of Print MIS

If you come from the transaction side of production workflow, you have an array of business systems that control how jobs are accepted for production, when they are released into production, and how reporting is managed for compliance. If you come from the graphic arts side of production workflow, you have the same need to control job onboarding, the touchpoints of a job while it is in process, and to record the relevant information about the job all of the way to the point of billing. In some shops, the process is managed using a Print Management Information System (Print MIS) that integrates all facets of accepting and producing print work using software programs, data capturing tools, and reporting dashboards to ensure that all work is tracked and reported. On the other hand, in many shops some or all of these are activities achieved using sticky notes, whiteboards, projected spreadsheets, and envelopes with job notes carried from desk to desk and machine to machine during production.

If you are in that latter camp, this is a good time to start considering some automation. Many of your competitors are already adding automation to their business software portfolio to allow them to onboard and produce jobs more efficiently. This gives them an advantage at several levels. A good Print MIS program offers insight into the jobs that are onboarded, where each job is in production, what jobs are experiencing delays, job costs, and ultimately a view of the revenue. Most can generate e-tickets for job tracking, and even track waste data. Most importantly, a Print MIS becomes the system of record for all jobs, which means if job specifications change during job execution, the information is entered into the Print MIS and available to all departments immediately.

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According to Recent InfoTrends SMB U.S. Office Primary Research Study 46% of business content still remains on paper today

Barbara Richards
Jul 18, 2017

According to 216 U.S. SMB IT decision-makers surveyed, 46% of their business content currently remains on paper today. Nonetheless they are moving along the digital transformation path, if at a slower pace than larger Enterprises as they are more worried about the cost of conversion. Our study found that cost was the number one hurdle associated with converting to digital processes. Furthermore, SMBs main cost concerns are training, time constraints, legal requirements and IT resources. In addition, survey results also found that 32% of SMB decision makers indicted a preference for paper for business processes. This was most prevalent in the Manufacturing, Education and Prof. Service’s sectors.

What are the major hurdles to converting paper processes to digital?

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Bobst and Radex Announce Launch of Mouvent – a New Digital Print Focused Company

James Hanlon

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July 6, 2017 — Bobst and inkjet technology developer Radex, officially announced the launch of Mouvent, a new joint venture company that will become the digital printing competence center and solutions provider of Bobst. Mouvent to be led by the co-founder of Radex, Piero Pierantozzi, will bring to market 3 digital devices this year, two single-pass label machines and one multi-pass textile printer, with two additional textile printers to be announced later this year.

Radex was founded by Piero Pierantozzi, Peter Brandenberger, Marcel Galliker and Walter Urech, all of whom were also the founders of Graph-Tech AG, which was sold to Domino Printing Sciences in 2012. Mouvent, co-founded with Bobst in June 2017, has headquarters in Solothurn and Wetzikon Switzerland with 80 total employees. Mouvent shares are held 50.1% by Bobst with the remainder being heled by Radex shareholders.

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Three New Videos: One Book Review and Two on CMYK+ Special Effects

Jim Hamilton
Jul 10, 2017

I recently completed three short videos on topics of interest to the print community:

  • “Postcard Marketing in an Online World” by Joy Gendusa – Joy Gendusa is the Founder and CEO of Postcardmania. Her common-sense approach, numerous examples, and years of experience provide a fascinating look at the world of targeted postcard campaigns. Highly recommended, particularly for small and medium-sized businesses. Many thanks to Konica Minolta for providing this book to all attendees of the recent PROKOM user group meeting in Vienna.
  • CMYK+ Effects on a Calendar – This 2017 calendar was printed on a Ricoh Pro C7100 series digital color printer and sports foil effects produced on a Kurz DM Liner. This calendar is a fascinating example of the use of special effects beyond four-color, specifically white toner and metallic foils. Papers used in the calendar come from Favini, Arjo Wiggins, G.F. Smith, and James Cropper. The design work was done by Silk Pearce. The symbol on the front of the calendar box is from a font called FE203 that was designed by Craig Ward. Thanks to Andy Campbell of Ricoh Europe for sending the calendar!
  • Bennett Graphics ‘Senseational’ Sample KitBennett Graphics in Tucker, Georgia sent me this sample kit highlighting digitally-applied spot gloss and foil special effects. The kit was produced on an HP Indigo 10000 and a Scodix Ultra Pro. Each sheet also received a satin aqueous coating that was applied conventionally using an offset press. The resulting designs are stunning. Thanks to David Bennett for sending the kit!

My other videos can be found on the Jim Hamilton YouTube page. I have recorded over 100 print sample videos over the past five years. Other industry-related videos are also there.

DSCOOP EMEA 2017 – setting the benchmark for user groups

Ralf Schlozer

From June 7th to 9th Dscoop EMEA went into its 6th round at the Centre de Congres in Lyon. About 1,300 attendees from more than 45 countries joined the event.

HP went to great lengths to present the latest printing technology live and running to the attendees with four Indigo B2 devices printing at the site (two 12000, one 20000 and 30000), as well as the latest label presses shown in action – including an Indigo 8000 Digital Press. In addition HP shared some installation data, with currently 6,000 Indigo presses installed worldwide in commercial print and another 1,750 presses in label and packaging printing. This includes about 570 B2 engines. Large format latex printer installations amount to about 45,000 by June 2017, outnumbered by one million large format Deskjet devices installed. HP shared some information on the uptake of PrintOS as well and reported 5,560 registered users at 2,400 companies, with 1,700 of them using PrintOS weekly.

At the event HP announced some improvements to PrintOS: notably PrintBeat has a mobile edition now, which allows monitoring and benchmarking press performance from mobile devices. High definition imaging was presented at the event again and although it is set to go into field testing later this year, with general availability planned for 2018. Available now are several new screening options that will help in photo printing and high contrast images.

While pink fluorescent ElectroInk was introduced half a year ago, fluorescent yellow just became available to Indigo users. Fluorescent green and orange were shown at the event and are currently being field tested. Another new ElectroInk just introduced is “Light Light Black”, which is especially intended for smooth gradations in photo printing, underscoring that HP Indigo remains committed to be the leader in specialty colour choice. At drupa 2016 HP showcased more than a dozen of other specialty ElectroInks to gauge user interest – at Dscoop Lyon HP Indigo previewed some of these inks again: thermochromic ink (changes colour depending on temperature), heat seal (the glue is activated at high temperature) and release inks (e.g. for scratch cards), which are apparently moving closer to commercialisation. Additionally metallic ElectroInk was shown again, which should garner the biggest interest, but is likely to get a launch not sooner than 2018.

HP Technology Fair - with new EletroInk types

HP Technology Fair – with new EletroInk types

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Tuning up at GMC Analyst Day

Pat McGrew
Jun 30, 2017
Matt Swain and Pat McGrew

As analysts, we are often invited to meet with vendors for analyst events where we often don’t know what the announcements or focus will be. That was the case when we travelled to Nashville, Tennessee’s Sound Kitchen Studio last week for a GMC Software event billed as “Not Your Typical Analyst Summit!”

ScottDraeger

Scott Draeger opening the GMC Analyst Day!

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Interacting with Ricoh Customers!

Pat McGrew
Jun 28, 2017

When vendors decide to host user meetings they have two obligations: provide value for the time spent and help customers build a network. The Ricoh INTERACT meeting in Boulder last week met both requirements. The agenda was the best mix of technical education, market education, motivation, and fun for the attendees.

2017 Interact Template

It is a big request when vendors reach out to customers and ask them to leave their businesses for several days on the promise that they will learn things they can take back and use to grow their business. It requires a delicate balance between presentations and discussions. The INTERACT meeting hit the right balance by including several of their customers as featured presenters.

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Around the World in 50 Billion Customer Communications

Will Morgan
Jun 26, 2017

Some might call it overkill. We just call it being thorough.

When we set out to interview 50 key stakeholders in the customer communications space, most of our peers thought we were being too ambitious. Well, 60 interviews (and 250+ pages of notes) later, we had managed to gather insight from customer communications service providers and other stakeholders who represented over 50 billion printed, electronic, and mobile communications delivered in 2016.

Highlighted in a press release today to announce its publication, the resulting report, entitled Enterprise Customer Communications—Trends and Strategies from Around the Globe, includes perspective from some of the largest players in the customer communications market, as well as important smaller providers with deep vertical and regional insights.

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This 43-page analysis examines in detail the top ten trends driving enterprise expectations and aspirations for customer communications. Here is some insight into three of them:

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Are You Ready To Get Your SBB On?

Sheryne Glicksman
Jun 19, 2017

Our industry has officially adopted a new acronym called SBB and it’s here to stay! I believe SBB has the potential to be disruptive, in a positive way, in our market today. So, what exactly is SBB?

Managed Print

Before we define SBB, let’s go back to another acronym called MPS. Managed Print Services has evolved, changed, slowed down and started up again in the past five years. It has been defined, redefined, renamed, rebranded and relaunched. Regardless of how you define MPS or what you do with your program, you’ve probably had some challenges here. One of the challenges that many customers and dealers have with MPS is the ability to capture true output volume and track that volume on a regular basis. Read more »

For workflow, to scale or not to scale? That is the question!

Pat McGrew

It’s time to ask the question that is often missed in discussions about workflow – is the current workflow scalable? Scalable isn’t only a question of getting bigger; it is also a question of complexity. If your workflow was built to handle one type of job, like books or bills or bingo cards, and today you are handling magazines, direct marketing mailers, and posters, there may be a mismatch between your work and your workflow.

The mismatches often begin with how jobs are sold and onboarded. A common change in sales is the addition of a web-to-print solution to open your doors to a wider audience. When that addition happens, your scale of operation generally changes. Instead of sales coming in via relationships with your sales people, who know your capabilities, there are jobs coming in from customers who may not have paid attention to your website, and may not have followed your instructions. While most web-to-print solutions allow for rules-based interrogation of the incoming job, in many cases, contrary to how the systems are intended to work, someone in the shop is assigned to look at the jobs and determine if they can move into production. When you think about scalability, the more jobs that come in through a web-to-print application that require physical review, the less scalable that process becomes.

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