Mar 13, 2017
Over the past several years, marketers across all industries and categories have become obsessed with Millennials—what are the best ways to reach them and help them form meaningful connections with brands? Because Millennials have a unique sense of self and a non-traditional approach to life stages, marketing to this captivating generation has been a challenge. Marketers are only just beginning to understand Millennials, but there’s a whole new game in town with the rise of Generation Z. This is the first generation of consumers that was born into a digital world, and these individuals don’t know life without the Internet, smartphones, tablets, and social media. What are the best ways to engage with this up-and-coming and always-on generation?
Although generational start and end dates are imprecise, Millennials—also called Generation Y—generally include those individuals born between the early 1980s and the mid-1990s. Meanwhile, Generation Z individuals—also called Post-Millennials or the iGeneration—were born after 1995. As yet, there is little consensus about ending birth years for this group. Millennials were coming into young adulthood at the turn of the century, and the oldest of this group are now about 35. Some have been in the workforce for quite some time and have already begun to reshape Corporate America. The oldest Gen Z individuals are only beginning to graduate from high school/college and enter the professional workforce, so only time will tell what changes this group will bring to the workforce of tomorrow. Gen Zers may be too young to have affected the workplace as yet, but they are already having a profound impact on family purchasing habits and the retail marketplace.
In January 2017, IBM and the National Retail Foundation released a report entitled Uniquely Generation Z: What Brands Should Know About Today’s Youngest Consumers. This report surveyed over 15,000 Gen Z individuals between the ages of 13 and 21 and also conducted interviews with 20 Senior Marketing Executives to determine how these consumers engage with brands. As this generation continues to come of age, they will have a major impact on future communication strategies. Read more »
Mar 10, 2017
Mal Baboyian has 45 years of industry experience, an extremely long job title, and a lot of responsibility at Canon. He’s the Senior Vice President of Canon U.S.A.’s Business Imaging Solutions Group for Océ Product Marketing and Support. This covers a wide range of Océ-branded products, including two exciting new devices: the ProStream continuous-feed color inkjet printer and the Colorado 1640 64″ wide format UVgel roll-to-roll printer. This week at the One Canon press/analyst event in Boca Raton, Florida was the worldwide unveiling of the Colorado 1640 and Baboyian thinks it is Océ’s most important wide format graphic arts product introduction in 25 years. To say that he’s excited about this product would be an understatement—and this is a man who has seen quite a few wide format products. For one, he has helped Canon Océ to reach 6,000 unit placements worldwide in the very successful Arizona product line.
Here’s a quick summary of why Baboyian is so excited about the 1640. First off, it is very fast and quite affordable (MSRP, $58,000). Ink consumption and overall running costs are projected to be at quite attractive levels. In addition, the new Canon-developed UVgel inks have a large color CMYK gamut, give off little or no odor, dry immediately, and use low-temperature LED curing. Some very innovative supply and quality control features (to be explained shortly) top off the list.
Canon Océ Colorado 1640
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Mar 8, 2017
At this time of year vendors and users of digital print technology have a spate of events that qualify as vendor-specific tradeshows, ones hosted or sponsored by individual equipment suppliers. Among the best known are two that just took place, namely Hunkeler Innovation Days (February 20-23 in Lucerne) and Dscoop (March 1-4 in Phoenix, Arizona, for HP users). A third event, coming soon, is a pure play in digitally printed packaging and well worth visiting—the Xeikon Café that will take place in Belgium on March 27-30.
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Feb 21, 2017
Continuous feed colour inkjet has put its mark onto digital print for a number of years now, but it has been slow to escape the confines of transactional printing, despite some success in direct mail and book printing. While transaction print is set to decline, the much more attractive market would be moving into commercial print and converting portions of the immense offset print volume to digital. That is easier said than done however, with the demands for print quality and paper range being much higher in commercial print, compared to transaction print. Several devices have been launched to target this market, but success so far has been limited.
With its latest announcement on the 17th of February Canon plans to take advantage of this opportunity with a new product called Océ ProStream. The ProStream supports a print width of 540 mm, a maximum speed of 80 metres per minute, and a duty cycle of 35 million A4 pages per month. The printer is targeted to offer high print quality on a large range of substrates. Canon cites four major reasons why the ProStream should finally be able to gain a larger portion of the commercial print market:
– New 1,200 nozzle per inch Kyocera piezo drop-on-demand inkjet heads
– A new high-density polymer-based ink system – including ColorGrip primer
– A new, non-contact “flotation air” drying system
– A new usability concept supporting native PDF and PDF/VT Read more »
Feb 7, 2017
On February the 3rd Epson launched two new colour inkjet MFPs: the LX-10000 (with a 100 ppm speed) and the LX-7000 (with a 75 ppm speed). The launch is interesting from several points of view. It is the first venture of a major inkjet office device vendor into the 100 ppm colour speed class. It also demonstrates Epson’s strategy to replace toner with inkjet in high end office printing. The most significant announcement is however that Epson plans to target the device not only at office, but also at the light production market. Epson does have a foot-hold in production print via its label printers (SurePress Series) and some large format printers are used for poster or proofing as well, but so far has not targeted the mainstream production print market yet. Read more »
Feb 2, 2017
Today Xerox and EFI announced a move that extends their longstanding partnership: Xerox is selling its FreeFlow Print Server digital front end business to EFI. EFI will manage production and support of the existing FreeFlow Print Server and later will integrate it with EFI’s Fiery digital front end.
This next generation digital front end will integrate with EFI’s Productivity Suites, including print management information systems such as PACE, PrintSmith Vision, Monarch, and Radius ERP. It will also integrate with Xerox FreeFlow Core and XMPie workflows as well as third-party prepress solutions from Agfa Apogee, Heidelberg Prinect, and Kodak Prinergy. There is also the future opportunity to leverage JDF more effectively. EFI reports that its Fiery DFE is currently the only JDF certified digital front end. This opens the opportunity, through an API, to allow integration to any other applications.
Xerox Trivor 2400 with an EFI Fiery digital front end at drupa
Some who hear this news may be confused by a quirk in the nature of Xerox’s FreeFlow branding Read more »
Jan 22, 2017
This is the seventh time that I have recorded a video blog review of all the corporate greeting cards I received during the holiday season. This year I highlight cards I received from three different types of providers: technology/systems, support services, and printing/marketing. In this video you’ll see premium substrates, dye cuts and folds to create structural pieces, dimensional effects and foils, as well as eye-catching design and innovative personalization techniques.
If you have an interesting greeting card you’d like to send me, my address is Jim Hamilton, Keypoint Intelligence/InfoTrends, 97 Libbey Industrial Parkway, Suite 300, Weymouth, Massachusetts 02189, USA
If you would like to see the previous videos, here are the links:
Jan 13, 2017
There are still a few more items in the Workflow Quiz to work through before we can say that every stone has been turned over in the quest for optimization and documentation. In this segment it’s time to look at what processes you have that might qualify as islands of automation that should be linked together.
Most print shops have some automation in place. Tools are purchased to meet a specific need, and sometimes suites are brought in to automate specific sets of processes. What tools and suites have you brought in over the years to automate? Web-to-print solutions? Order entry and management solutions? Job tracking? Are your production processes linked to your accounting processes?
Workflow Automation orchestrates the handoffs between processes to eliminate human intervention and create seamless activity from the start of a job to delivery. It may include automation of resource allocation, flow control, and consumables ordering, but always includes reporting as each step is completed.
Over the years I’ve visited shops with some amazing automation. Some was bought, some was assembled from a variety of software sources, and still other solutions were written in-house. In most cases the teams working in the shop started their automation out of a need to streamline multiple job onboarding processes or tie multiple touchpoints into a single process. The goal is always to move jobs through faster. Read more »
Dec 20, 2016
The fifth item in the Workflow Quiz is where the business of making money begins. Up to now we’ve looked at processes and tracking, but now it’s time to take a critical look at what happens when a customer wants to place an order and you want to accept that order. In a sense we’re coming back to the beginning now that you’ve named all of the steps in the workflow and have a good idea of the paths that jobs take through your shop.
Onboarding is the set of processes the start when a customer places an order and ends when the job is in the production workflow. It includes acquisition of the final job specifications, print files, associated data and resource files, job ticketing, logging the job into the accounting system, establishing proofing requirements, defining delivery requirements, and defining the payment methods.
How many ways can a customer place an order with you? Are customers required to have a sales person, or is it possible for anyone to place an order over the phone, via fax or email, or using a web-to-print or web-to-order process? How the orders are received and verified drives many of the next steps.
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Dec 12, 2016
We were in Japan last month and as luck would have it we were there at the same time that Komori held an open house to showcase its newest digital print solutions. This international event took place at Komori’s facility in Tsukuba, Japan and drew hundreds of attendees from all over the Asia Pacific region. It provided the opportunity to showcase Komori’s Impremia IS29, a B2-format, sheet-fed, UV inkjet printer capable of speeds up to 3,000 simplex sheets per hour. Also on display were a six-unit, 18,000 sheet per hour, B1-format Komori Lithrone GX40RP H-UV offset press running UV inks and a Komori Apressia DC105 die cutter. Komori’s recently announced sales partnership with Highcon was clear to see through the demonstration of the Euclid II+ during the open house. Horizon, also a Komori partner, showed a saddle stitcher.
The theme running across all of the products shown was a demonstration of a hybrid workflow for test marketing a national campaign for a cosmetic product. Read more »