Maria Raha

Maria Raha
Go Public

Leave your politics at the door. Whatever you might think of Congress’s productivity these days, the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) might be the most demanding and productive client—and the most diverse communications company—in the country. Between government forms, bound reports and books, promotional collateral and printing services for the federal government’s three branches, the GPO produced 100,000 jobs in-house and contracted out another 98,000 jobs in 2007, according to GPO public printer Bob Tapella. The in-house number is overwhelming—but, of course, the jobs up for bid are the most significant. And, those numbers don’t reflect an anomaly brought on by campaign season: due

The Key to Success

The first priority of advertising is establishing need. Even product lines offering unlimited market potential and movement require a little push to maintain sales quotas. The good news is, the function of some products enables them to sneak their way into virtually any market. Form/label combinations, for instance, can be sold to almost every business sector. And, while traditional forms business has hit a plateau in recent years, form/label combinations still indicate room for product growth. Any business with high-volume shipping; any company dealing heavily in consistent consumer response or one requiring the services of a two-in-one product can be targeted to expand form/label

Strength in Numbers

Corporate culture in 2007 can be summed up with a few signature words and phrases: downsizing, outsourcing and maximizing while minimizing. Of course, the printing industry has been experiencing these changes firsthand for years. To retain a competitive edge as companies across the board are swapped and sold, distributor networks are angling for successful approaches on an increasingly uneven playing field, aiming to maximize client satisfaction, quality control, and most importantly, profits. At the same time, corporations seek to efficiently expand market presence with branding, marketing and promotional campaigns in creative, standout ways—translating into new and challenging printing jobs and an increasing demand for

Resource Center

Without the necessary people power, a perfectly profitable company can easily flounder. In an era where benefits programs such as 401Ks are a priority for soliciting good employees, virtually every office requires knowledgeable management of benefits programs and the myriad of regulations accompanying them. Also, with more employees preferring to go wireless and work from home, companies must possess the ability to track employee performance remotely, and with ease. As a result, traditionally forms-driven human resources (HR) departments are turning to automation. A 2005 paper entitled “Talent Management Metrics: A Survey of Current Practices,” however, reported 75 percent of employers are opting for

Specifically Spec-ing

The old saying “the devil is in the details” applies tenfold to print production. However, knowing every last detail, or anticipating every problem, is essentially impossible—even for the most scrupulous manufacturing partner. Mustering all the possible job information for your manufacturer, even when the devil is nestled in it, will more than likely make you look rather angelic. Handling specs carefully can make for easier production, not to mention the possible polishing of your reputation as a thorough vendor. The more specific specs are, the more often you’ll appear as someone who has, to use another popular phrase, “all your ducks in a row.” Moreover,

Customizing Success

Amidst the mayhem of new media such as YouTube, iPods and blogging, using one advertising medium is rarely satisfactory. With consumers wading through an informational glut meant to provide ultimate personalization, marketers must pull out the big guns to ensure their messages are heard. E-mail, direct mail, television and website promotions are only a few of the ways to encourage an audience’s response to a campaign. It’s a delicate balancing act of maintaining enough presence to be seen, heard and responded to, without bombarding a potential audience into annoyance. In the case of direct mail, the most successful campaign is the one that nestles

Your Financial Future

The wobbly legs of the financial sector are difficult to ignore. In 2007, financial companies became constant bearers of bad tidings. Although the sector is generally exempt from such news, announcements of layoffs have streamed from the newswire throughout the year. According to Reuters, 2007 has seen the financial sector contributing heavily to a second-half upswing in unemployment. Among other companies, the following announced downsizing: Merrill Lynch, Countrywide, Citigroup and HSBC—mostly due to the year’s much-reported bursting of the real estate bubble. Considering the undeniable instability of the financial industry, Print Professional asked industry suppliers about this unpredictable marketplace to find out which products

Posting Profits

Technology has been both boon and burden to the printing industry. It has streamlined manufacturing and workflow, and has made many arduous and traditional press duties parts of the past. But, it has also aided quick printers in continuing to slip in and swipe short-run jobs, as more printing shops are closed, bought or sold every year. Clearly, we exist in a different, online world—sending some paper-based products the way of the dinosaur. Regardless, there are still a number of ways to increase profits. For instance, post-press services offer ways to secure client loyalty and increase efficiency. From folding to binding and gluing

The Continuing Saga

In February 1996, Print Professional, then titled Business Forms, Labels & Systems, profiled long-run manufacturer Datatel as its “Forms Pro” of the year. At the time, Datatel, based in Monaca, Pa., generated 75 percent to 80 percent of its profits on long-run business, a significant portion of which was attributed to continuous forms. Yet, it was 12 years ago, and paper was still the norm in almost all sectors. Furthermore, we as a culture hadn’t truly been digitized: the Internet wasn’t a must-have at work or at home, nor was it considered completely reliable for information or the passage of personal credit data. But,

Security Checkpoint

The con is everywhere. No matter what precautions are implemented, the digital world continues to pose new security issues to the identities of its users. And, while banks and financial institutions become more savvy about fraud and regulations, including 2004’s Check 21, the threat of check fraud remains. Due to heavier media coverage, it’s possible the majority of Americans might be more concerned with identity theft than they are with check fraud. Nevertheless, companies handling secure documents and manufacturing, such as Harvard, Illinois-based Ameriprint, continue to focus on check security. “Our most pressing concern is helping distributors convince their clients that they are potential

Vested Interest

The incentive business is booming. One would think the promise of cash is generally incentive enough for competitive salespeople to cross quota finish lines each year. However, businesses invest approximately $1 trillion per year in sales teams, reported the Forum for People Performance Management and Measurement’s white paper: “Making the Case for Sales Incentives to the Tune of 10% ROI.” Incredibly, sales incentive industry research indicates motivational programs such as gifts and trips are more effective than monetary rewards when it comes to companies seeing returns on their collective trillion-dollar investment. In fact, a 2005 study by the Incentive Federation titled “A Study Among

One-Stop Shopping

Lately, Tempting customers with the powerful phrase “buy one, get one free” isn’t only a strategy used to get shoppers to fill their carts. As creative and marketing solutions lengthen the list of print providers’ expected offerings, adding value is invaluable—no matter where one stands in the supply chain. In turn, the increasing demand for services means more automation, a flood of sophisticated workflow and management programs and plenty of features to handle the inevitable ensuing changes. For service providers such as the document management solutions market, the definition of “added value” has expanded to include seamless integration, security, flexibility and—much like the

Force of Change

In 1767, Anne Catherine Hoof Green became a widow—and the owner of her late husband Jonas Green’s printing press. Hoof Green ran H.E. Green Press, the 94-year publisher of the Maryland Gazette, until her death in 1775.* H.E. Green wasn’t the only 18th century woman-run printer, however. On July 10, 1776, Mary Katherine Goddard printed the Declaration of Independence in the Maryland Journal, according to the Library of Congress, which also recorded approximately 30 female printers in operation at the time. But, times change. And while women have always had a hand in the publishing industry (usually in creative or editorial capacities), their roles

Stand-out Mainstays

Necessity is frequently called the “mother of invention.” Even when new products evolve into cultural mainstays, there’s always room for improvement or repositioning in the marketplace. Breweries in the United States, for instance, have been up and running since 1663, when Nicholas Vartlett opened one in Hoboken, N.J., according to the Hoboken Historical Museum and Cultural Center. Almost 400 years later, companies making and marketing beer still seek ways to maintain market presence. And no matter how successful the daily deluge of direct mail continues to be, upping response rates by adding personalized notes and incentives has become an increasingly popular advertising technique. Liquid

Hit the Road

Whether revealed in the form of manifest destiny, the rite of passage associated with becoming a new driver or the long list of movies celebrating rebel wanderers, Americans have always abided a love affair with the road. For as long as the road intimates freedom, neither industry struggle nor national economy will deter the majority of American consumers from becoming car owners. 2006 was a case in point: even while domestic car sales were down, the year’s best-performing month reported 1.53 million vehicles sold in the United States alone, according to Regardless of what form they take in the future, cars