Another Win for EFI As It Acquires Xerox DFE Business

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By paying $22 million over the next 18 months EFI recently announced the purchase of Xerox’s DFE business. This is a nice win for EFI and likely a win for anyone who competes against an end to end Xerox workflow.

The win for EFI is removal of a top competitor and increased market share in the production digital printing space. While EFI has long been the market leader with over 70% share in light and mid color digital production they were in much different position in the heavy duty cycle segment of the market.  HP Indigo, NexPress, Xeikon all have their own controllers and do not offer Fiery.  And while Xerox offered Fiery their preference was to sell Xerox FreeFlow servers. In this segment Caslon estimated FreeFlow servers, HP Indigo servers and Fiery were all in the 25% to 30% share range. Now Fiery’s share in the heavy duty segment will double and their share in the light and mid production segments will climb up another 10-15 points.

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EFI Productivity Suites on Display at Connect

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Just last week I attended EFI’s Connect conference. It’s their annual conference where EFI customers can come and learn how to better utilize their existing EFI products and find out what’s new for 2017. A record crowd of roughly 1000 customers was on hand.

With revenues of $1 billion EFI is a great success story. Known for their leading DFE’s (Fiery) they branched out and corralled nearly all the key software players in the MIS space and then added in critical workflow elements such as web to print and cross media. Then they decided go “all-in” on inkjet; which has led to a string of acquisitions of inkjet manufacturers for wide format and several industrial printing markets including textiles, ceramics, and labels. The most recent inkjet press (Nozomi) is for the corrugated market and was developed internally. The end result is an industry powerhouse with lots of momentum.

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How a Commercial Printer Entered the Label Business in a Big Way

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by Greg Cholmondeley, Workflow Practice Director, Caslon & Company


ColorZone LogoI know it’s a slight departure from my usual focus on workflow software, but I wanted to share this conversation I had with Joshua Feller, owner of ColorZone (www.colorzone.com) in Benicia, California. We talked about the innovative ways they are using their EFI VUTEk and Jetrion printers along with their experiences working with EFI. This guy really understands how to stay ahead of the curve and make money at it.

I’ve attached my PODi Case Study video of the interview so you can hear Josh’s story in his own words but I’ll warn you, he sounds like an EFI shill because he seems to love the company and their products so much. He has good reason, though. He’s used their technology to dramatically grow his business and to enter into the completely new business line of high-volume label production and is busy working multiple shifts to handle all the new business. I’d be happy too.

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Top Printing Companies see Growth in Packaging, Direct Mail, and Commercial Printing

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In December of 2016 Printing Impressions magazine published its list of the top 400 printing companies in North America.  The ranking includes the most recent annual revenue figures and the previous year revenues. The ranking also provides information on what segment or specialties the companies produce such as commercial print, direct mail, packaging, business forms, etc.  Many companies list more than one specialty.

I thought it would be interesting to see how the revenue changed year over the year by segment. It’s an interesting way to see how the upper echelon of the industry is doing. Read the rest of this entry »

New PRISMAsync Version 5 Gives Operators Real Power

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by Greg Cholmondeley, Workflow Practice Director, Caslon & Company


PRISMAsync Blog ImageCanon certainly doesn’t waste any time releasing improvements to their software! It seems like I just reviewed the new G7 color management capabilities in PRISMAsync and they already have a new major release. This one is called PRISMAsync Version 5 and it has a lot of feature enhancements for end users as well as some major changes under the hood.

Go ahead and view the three videos in my Canon PRISMAsync Version 5 Product Briefing to see it, but here are the key elements in a nutshell:

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Is it a Magazine, Direct Mail, or a Catalog?

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I’m always on the lookout for interesting print applications.  And last weekend I unfolded my copy of the Wall Street Journal and found a 68 page publication called The Wixon Experience.  The publication is a cross between a magazine and a direct mail piece, with elements of a catalog as well. Wixon Jewelers is a local jewelry store and this is the fourth year they’ve published this informative and promotional piece. Read the rest of this entry »

Tis the Season for Print

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The holiday season is a great time for print. I know that for our family it’s the peak demand for purchasing printed products. We give photobooks and calendars full of family photos as gifts.  And we send out Christmas cards featuring photo of our family. We really like to receive Christmas cards with photos and a (often cheesy) family letter.  We’re doing our small part to participate in the photo merchandise and related industries which is now, according to Shutterfly, $30 Billion in the U.S. alone and a great market for digital printing.

shutterfly market slide

As industry leader Shutterfly states, their business is all about capturing the memories from life’s most important events. The way memories are now being captured and printed, due to the ability of digital printing combined with online composition and ordering, has led to the creation of the photo book and photo merchandise industry.

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What makes RICOH Color Management Different?

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by Greg Cholmondeley, Workflow Practice Director, Caslon & Company


RCMSEvery manufacturer has a color management strategy, right? And they’re all pretty much the same, right? WRONG! I’ve had the opportunity to review several offerings from different vendors in the production space and each has taken different approaches with different benefits and limitations. Some leverage internal press knowledge and embedded spectrophotometers to speed up processing, which is great for shops which only use that manufacturer’s presses. Others provide suites of tools on popular digital front ends which support many, but not all presses. Recently I reviewed Ricoh’s color management strategy and they’ve taken an even broader approach.

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What if clients could order entire marketing campaigns as easily as business cards?

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by Greg Cholmondeley, Workflow Practice Director, Caslon & Company


XMPieImagine anyone, say a store manager or dentist or a franchise owner, being able to tailor and order an entire marketing campaign through a web portal as easily as they order their business cards. Let me be clear, I mean an entire, multi-touch, multi-channel marketing campaign – not just some post cards. Well, it turns out that XMPie has a way to do that with a solution called Campaigns on Demand.

Here’s the concept:

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Studies Highlight Value of Direct Mail as Production Shifts to Color Inkjet

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US Mail VolumesIn North America the trend for Direct Mail print volume (primarily Standard Mail) has been flat for the last several years. Data from the USPS for the first half of 2016 shows the trend continuing.  Direct mail volumes have been holding steady while first class mail and periodicals continue to decline.

It is becoming well accepted that, although advertising spending is trending towards mobile and online, direct mail remains a key part of the media mix. There are numerous studies and examples that bear this trend out. A few of them are presented here.

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