Maggie Dewitt

Maggie Dewitt
An Industry-Wide Headache

Everyone, it seems, loves inkjet technology. It’s efficient, easy on the budget and there’s certainly no denying the benefits of inkjet when it comes to personalization. Bottom line: inkjet-enabled solutions offer one of the rare growth sectors for an industry grappling with decline in many traditional products. So, the realization that inkjet-printed paper isn’t the most recycling-friendly is cause for some concern.

Climate Changes

When addressing attendees at the Sustainability in Printing conference held at the Doubletree Hotel in Philadelphia last June, Gary Jones, director of environmental, health and safety affairs for The Printing Industries of America, Sewickley, Pa., stressed there would be a culture change going forward. Instead of a policy, he cautioned, businesses of all sizes will need a formal management system, along with continuous improvement measures, put into place.

Tickets, Tags and Labels Shine in ’09

The economic downturn could actually mean an upswing in sales for some traditional products. Just think of all the reduced-price tags and tickets retailers need and the labels for liquidated items, not to mention going-out-of-business signage.

Time Zone

This month’s featured item combines innovation and technology with practical convenience for a product that’s sure to generate some buzz in the marketplace. Today, consumers of all age groups are infatuated with technology and gadgetry, and this revolutionary contactless payment system doesn’t disappoint.

Two Roads to Market

It was a classic, unassuming whiteboard with erasable markers that helped Indianapolis-based Integrity Document Solutions blaze new trails. Meanwhile, at InnerWorkings in Chicago, sophisticated software and highly specialized databases forged the way to a unique business model. Representatives from both companies discussed journeying through uncharted territory to find their unique paths to profitability.

Avoid Middle Child Syndrome

Remember that show, Malcolm in the Middle, where the lead character sort of ran interference between his older and younger siblings? Malcolm’s predicament was a lot like that of distributors who work with manufacturers to serve end-users. On the show, Malcolm’s angst could be instantly communicated—and dispelled—by simply glaring directly into the camera. In reality, the drama needs to play out before the happy ending. Particularly with a worsening economy, stress and frustration can lead to dysfunction within the supply chain. What’s ironic is that an industry whose very soul is rooted in printed information often fails to communicate to resolve its issues.

Grassroots Ecology

When it comes to eco initiatives, the real challenge isn’t devising sophisticated plans like wind energy programs, observed Gale Ward, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Minneapolis-based ecoEnvelopes, it’s developing practical, everyday products that help reduce our overall environmental footprint. This is exactly what Ward’s business partner, Ann DeLaVergne—ecoEnvelopes’ founder, CEO and president—did when she designed an efficient reusable envelope. A former organic farmer and beekeeper who cares deeply about the environment, DeLaVergne was in the habit of saving large envelopes for reuse—despite the complex camouflage they required to be mailed a second time. Then, one day in 2002 while sorting mail,

Making it Personnel

Talk about multitasking! Human resources professionals spend their days boosting employee morale, increasing productivity, limiting job turnover, providing training and development opportunities, improving business results and controlling costs. This, of course, is in between recruiting, hiring and orienting new staff while strictly adhering to ever-changing labor laws and efficiently maintaining records. But, who’s there to pump up stressed out HR pros and ease their workloads? Perhaps the most qualified candidates are distributors with solutions to the unique challenges human resources departments handle on a daily basis. And, as luck would have it, a product from Houston-based Apex Business Systems provides solid, on-the-job training

The Password is “Mobility”

Distributors must be more enterprising than ever these days. Finding new opportunities through innovative products and emerging markets is essential to their success. Consider this month’s mystery product, for example. It’s a perfect combination of wireless technology—which is becoming increasingly more available and affordable—and value-added paper and label products. Check out the following clues to guess what the product is: • It involves a commodity product which enables mobile printer technology to get the job done. • It typically generates repeat sales. • It offers end-users convenience and efficiency to conduct remote applications. mystery product revealed Indianapolis-based Printing Technologies,

Forming the Future

How will the audible gasp on Wall Street heard round the world last month further impact the beleagured business form? What could the current fundamental financial funk mean for sales professionals trying to offer business forms to customers scrounging for business band aids? It’s the nature of forms to correct business woes, and many manufacturers are confident forms will simply continue to morph into marketplace-relevant products as needs are reevaluated. Here, two forms manufacturers offer their insights on evolving product lines. At Harleysville, Pennsylvania-based Alcom Printing, web offset work is holding its own, reported Sal Caimano, director of business development, but digital capabilities are

Long Live the Green

The January GreenPiece debut column contained a sidebar featuring a few suggested websites for learning more about green initiatives. A recent visit to two of the sites uncovered information addressing carbon emissions and green designing—both noteworthy issues. Carbon Emissions’ Calculated Risks Researchers at Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Mellon University’s Green Design Institute posted an article on the Printers’ National Environmental Assistance Center (, calling for more stringent measures for calculating global warming-causing carbon emissions. An edited version of the article is reprinted here with permission. There is no universally accepted way of calculating carbon footprint. Many accepted frameworks rely on “tiers” of increasingly

Smart Cards for Dummies

True or false: Smart cards are the same as RFID cards. The correct answer is false, although many people use the terms synonymously. Headquartered in Princeton Junction, N.J., the Smart Card Alliance (SCA) is a not-for-profit association working to promote understanding and widespread application of the technology. Randy Vanderhoof, executive director, acknowledged the tendency to categorize contactless smart card technology as RFID causes confusion and complicates efforts to educate the marketplace. “It has become a large market with diverse products and capabilities. There is no singular definition that satisfies all the different technical variations, form factors and uses,” he observed. What’s What RFID uses

Standing Their Ground

1. The Defending Champions Midlothian, Texas-based Ennis has much to celebrate—perhaps most importantly its repeated procurement of the winning spot in Print Professional’s top 100 manufacturers list. The company attributes its success to product expansion and national branding efforts. Acquisitions, in particular, give the supplier prime positioning to accomplish such feats. Most recently, Trade Envelopes, Carol Stream, Ill., Phoenix-based B&D Litho of Arizona and Skyline Business Forms, Denver, have been added to the Ennis catalog. “Since the acquisition, we have expanded Trade Envelopes’ envelope conversion capabilities. We have also added envelope converting equipment in Calibrated [Forms], and coupled with our existing Block Graphics

As the World Turns Green

A recent seminar on green initiatives had some distributors and suppliers in the audience seeing red—and others, gray. The occasion was Indianapolis-based IBSA’s 2008 Conference, held July 21-23 at the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis. While industry professionals certainly support the sourcing of fiber from well-managed forests, they are less than thrilled with the thousands of dollars associated with obtaining chain-of-custody (CoC) certification. Some wondered where the money was, in fact, ending up. Others complained end-users—the group driving certification in the first place—will frequently opt for non-certified stock after realizing it can increase costs. Still, others pointed out that projects printed on CoC-certified stock can ultimately

Star Performer

Whether people are purchasing season tickets for the opera or the Knicks, they are putting out the same discretionary entertainment dollars for a leisure activity, observed Gregg Emmer, vice president, chief marketing officer for Batavia, Ohio-based Kaeser & Blair. This is one reason he tends to group sporting events in with the entertainment industry. Another factor is the rigid scheduling demands he and his colleagues experience when providing merchandise for occasions such as auto races, as well as for bands and singers on tours. “Entertainers on tour and race car drivers following a show circuit both provide a logistical challenge—their souvenirs and promotional merchandise