Digital Printing Dominates at Print 17

Posted on by Dave Erlandson | No Comments »

Once again digital printing dominated the show. Booths from Xerox, HP, Canon, Konica Minolta/MGI, Ricoh, Screen and Fujifilm were prominent. And offset stalwart Komori was showing off the Impressia I29, their version of the Accurio KM-1, a B2 digital inkjet press. Graphic Systems North America (GSNA) brought the only offset press (RMGT Series 9 LED UV Press) to the show.

OverviewPrint17 CanonRicohKM

In addition to walking the floor, I had the chance to attend numerous press conferences to hear about what’s happening.  Here are the highlights: Read the rest of this entry »

Hands-On Instruction Will Jumpstart Your Sales Prospecting

Posted on by Christine DeLooze | No Comments »

The advantages of a good sales prospecting program are clear – increased sales, lower expenses, improved productivity and improved relationships with customers. But how do you actually conduct an effective prospect search? What are the tools that are available to the average printer and what are the best practices for using them?

John-Leininger-titleI spent some time talking with Dr. John Leininger, professor in the Department of Graphic Communications at Clemson University, and he has some answers that he will be sharing in his upcoming PODi Institute course.

According to John, the strongest printers are using a vertical market strategy. While most print and marketing services executives know this, very few have actually applied it to their businesses in a meaningful way. One reason for this is that they’ve been told what they need to do but not taught how to do it. Read the rest of this entry »

KODAK NEXPRESS Presses Drive Long Term Customer Relationships

Posted on by Dave Erlandson | No Comments »

Over the last 10 years there have three main players in the very heavy duty cycle, high quality production color cutsheet market: Indigo, iGen, and Kodak NEXPRESS.  With Print 17 coming up it’s a good time to catch up on new developments. In this blog I’ll focus on the NEXPRESS.

The NEXPRESS was originally designed for high volume production and today there are many NEXPRESS customers who focus on traditional 4 color work.  For these customers it is common for presses to routinely run over 1 million impressions per month and some run as much as 2.5 million impressions per month.

However, while many customers are cranking out huge volumes each month other customers are leveraging the high value-added features and are making money with volumes as low as 150K per month. Features such as dimensional, clear, and additional colors enable customers to focus on niche markets that can be very profitable. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Service Providers Optimistic about Growth of Color Digital and Offset Printing

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With page volumes up by 15% in 2016, digital color printing continues to be a top growth opportunity for print service providers. This marks the fifth year in a row of annual growth between 12% and 18%.  Contrast this with offset printing where print volumes declined again in 2017 and over the last five years page volumes have declined by 21% or about 4% per year.

Caslon surveyed print service providers at the beginning of 2017 to get insight into how they thought their print volumes will change in 2017.  The survey was for companies in the production printing market which includes applications like direct mail, collateral, catalogs, magazines, books, manuals, transactional (and 10 more) but does not include packaging, newspapers, and wide format.

Presented here are survey results for three different segments of the market: commercial printers with more than 10 employees, quick printers and small commercial printers, and digital printers (companies with no or very little offset printing).

In all three cases the survey respondents are expecting good growth in color digital printing.  80% to 90% of the respondents are expecting growth.  Roughly a third of the PSP’s expect color digital printing to grow by more than 10%.

color digital page growth


As for offset the responses weren’t as positive with only 10% to 15% expecting to grow offset pages by more than 10%.  However commercial printers are still optimistic with nearly 60% expecting to grow their offset business by 1 to 10%.  Quick printers weren’t as optimistic with roughly 25% expecting offset volumes to decline.

offset pages

Overall the results show digital color printing continues to be a growth area and for many print service providers and offset printing is expected to grow too – a welcome change from previous years.

Inkjet Printing Driving Growth

Posted on by Dave Erlandson | No Comments »

Digital color pages continue to grow nicely, up 15% in North America in 2016.  Looking at the growth in more detail, one can readily see the page volume growth is being driven by high speed continuous feed color inkjet. Pages produced on web-fed presses have been increasing at ~20% per year in recent years, double the rate of growth of cutsheet pages resulting in half of the total volume being inkjet output.

So what’s being printed on these inkjet web presses? The common denominator is documents on uncoated stock and that don’t require high quality images: transactional documents, direct mail letters, and books. The economics of transactional printing and direct mail letter printing now favor white paper feeding a full color inkjet web press versus preprinted forms with mono laser overprinting. And for books the focus is shifting from the print cost per book to the cost of books sold.

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Offset Printing Trends

Posted on by Dave Erlandson | No Comments »

A recent Caslon survey shows offset run lengths are stabilizing. The graphs below show results from two segments: Commercial Printers with more than 10 employees and Quick/Small Commercial Printers. In each case the majority of respondents indicated that offset run lengths are not changing and in each case the number of respondents who reported increasing offset run lengths exceeded the number of respondents reporting declining run lengths.

Note – this data is from mid and small size offset print shops.  It does not reflect what is happening with the large magazine publishers as they are seeing significant declines in print volumes.

offset run lengths commercialoffset run lengths quick

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How will printers grow their businesses?

Posted on by Dave Erlandson | No Comments »

In 2016 production print service providers had a good year. In our recent Caslon survey, more printers reported increases in annual revenues than declines by at least a 2 to 1 ratio.

As such, they bought more color digital print engines and produced more color digital pages than ever before.

Each year Caslon surveys the printing market either in North America or W. Europe.  This year in North America we surveyed printers in seven segments and in this article we are sharing some of the results for two of the seven segments.

Caslon’s survey of commercial printers with >10 employees shows that approximately 70% of the companies grew their revenue in 2016 and 85% expect to grow revenues in 2017This is consistent with an analysis of Printing Impressions data that was published earlier this year.

Com Print Rev Growth

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Digital Publishing – A New Revenue Opportunity

Posted on by Dave Erlandson | No Comments »

Most publishers have seen a steady decline in print volumes of their publications due to a shift towards delivery via various digital and online channels. This in turn has led to declining revenue streams for publication printers. The old saying “If you can’t beat them, join them” now applies to publication printers who are adding digital publishing solutions to their offerings. New digital publishing solutions enable printers and marketing service providers to offer a complete publishing solution, add new revenues, differentiate and become more “sticky” with customers.

The first digital publishing solution was the PDF. Still quite popular today due to simplicity and low costs, PDFs are used by companies to provide electronic versions of magazines, newsletters, sales collateral, spec sheets, etc.  While reading a PDF on a PC is viable; reading PDFs on tablets and smartphones often is cumbersome as the content is not formatted for the device. Nor is it easy to augment a PDF with video.

Digital publishing

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Should You be Considering RICOH TotalFlow Prep?

Posted on by Greg Cholmondeley | No Comments »

by Greg Cholmondeley, Workflow Practice Director, Caslon & Company

TotalFlow PrepI recently did a PODi Product Briefing on Ricoh’s TotalFlow Prep and was very impressed. Ricoh’s developers have done an incredible job at bringing their solution’s capabilities up to and, perhaps exceeding, other make-ready solutions on the market. The user interface is well organized and provides pretty much all the make-ready tools that most general commercial printer prepress departments need. It also seamlessly links into Ultimate ImpoStrip and allows operators to save automation templates for often-performed tasks or job types. I’ve looked at earlier versions of this solution and, as I say in the videos, comparing this release to those is like comparing Windows 10 to DOS.

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Retail value of color digital printing grows again

Posted on by Dave Erlandson | No Comments »

The retail value of digital pages was up 3% in 2016 to $34.7 billion. The increase was driven by color page volumes, which were up by 15%, however, just like in 2015, most of the increase in print volume was from transactional and direct mail inkjet pages, which have a lower price per page than the pages produced in prior years. And finally the growth in value of color pages was partially offset by a 1% decline in the value of monochrome pages and some price pressure. The chart shows 78% of the retail value is coming from color pages.

retail value  2016

Direct Mail is now the most valuable digital, followed by sales collaterals. Revenue from color transactional print and books are also growing more quickly as digital color adoption via high speed continuous form inkjet presses occurs.

The retail value is represents the revenue derived by print service providers when they sell their printed output. Since 2004 the retail value of color digital printing has increased each year and remains a bright spot in the overall printing market.