Printing Industries of America Blog

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  • 01/08/2014 by Ms Megan Flynn

    Where can business leaders find a blueprint for transforming their company through continuous improvement? As Executive Director of one of the most prestigious Lean awards in the country, The Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence, Robert Miller has seen leaders build lasting cultures on the valuable concepts of The Shingo Model.

    We asked him for advice he would give business leaders within the graphic arts industry on beginning a continuous improvement program. Of course, like anything worth accomplishing, building a successful program comes with intrinsic challenges. Robert also offers some tips on how you can focus and prepare for these challenges and get on your way to creating a prosperous Lean organization.

    …Or maybe even receiving the next Shingo Prize?

    Q: What is the first thing that leaders need to start doing in order...

  • 12/18/2013 by Mr Samuel G. Shea

    This article is contributed by guest writer, John Compton, Principle, Compton & Associates, and long-time supporter of the Continuous Improvement Conference.

    "In my 40 years of attending and presenting at a variety of conferences, I’ve yet to find a conference where the openness and sharing equals that which occurs at the CI Conference."

    It’s no surprise to me that we are preparing to hold the 25th annual Continuous Improvement Conference. Why the longevity? It’s simple: the people and companies attending over the years have greatly benefitted from the learning and sharing that occur every year at this conference.

    No Secrets among Friends

    From the beginning, the purpose of the conference was to provide a venue for people to learn about quality improvement...

  • 11/26/2013 by Ms Megan Flynn

    The following blog post has been contributed by Patrick Sweeney, President, Caliper.

    Leadership is constantly evolving, whether it’s how to strategically lead a business into the future or how to innovate in a digital world that is changing by the second. But there is one facet of leadership that remains the same—the importance of being inspirational.

    Employees are what drive a company forward, and if they aren’t inspired or they don’t feel motivated by their leadership, both leaders and their companies will ultimately miss the mark.

    An inspirational leader starts by listening, then engaging, and then developing their people.


    Listening is the key to truly connecting with employees. And from listening, trust develops. Leaders have to take a moment to step outside their own roles and understand what it is that...

  • 11/19/2013 by Ms Megan Flynn

    You have big goals for your company. How much do you know about your customers, your products or services, your competitors, and the market you serve? There’s a high value in big data insights that provide a clearer focus, helping you determine where your company stands and where you need to go. Yet, if you are like the majority of companies, you don’t have professional custom surveying, analyzing, and reporting capabilities in-house. That’s why more and more companies are turning to our Economic and Market Research department at Printing Industries of America for custom market research services.

    In this market research case study, learn how Magner Sanborn, a full-service advertising and brand design agency, worked one on one with...

  • 11/19/2013 by Ms Megan Flynn

    The latest Custom Market Research Case Study told how the Printing Industries of America Economic and Market Research team developed, analyzed, troubleshot, and delivered solutions for Magner Sanborn, a full service advertising and brand design agency. Fully aware of the value of big data insights, Magner Sanborn “wanted to leverage their client’s brand, but first they needed to know where they stood in the market,” according to Ed Gleeson, director, Economic and Market Research.

    Jill Hulswit can tell you how she and her associates did just that. As account supervisor at Magner Sanborn since 2008, she is responsible for maintaining client relationships and managing projects internally for her company. The goal was to determine the current market awareness of their client’s digital...

  • 11/12/2013 by Ms Megan Flynn

    “I wish we would have saved our pieces!” We occasionally hear this exclamation as the BIA Product of Excellence Awards draws nearer (the 2014 entry deadline is February 21, in case you were wondering!)

    Aside from forgetting to save your year’s best examples of flawless postpress craftsmanship, many of you in binding, finishing, and custom lose-leaf manufacturing have questions about how to submit your entries. So, we have put together seven mistakesthat can bemade when entering the 2014 Product of Excellence Awardsand how to avoid them.

    We can’t wait to see your entries! Here’s hoping your craftsmanship is deemed the “best of the best” in 2014!

    #1: Not checking the production date
    Only submit pieces produced between February 2013 and February 2014. If they were not produced in this time frame...

  • 11/12/2013 by Ms Megan Flynn

    Creating a high-performance culture and an active program of continuous improvement results in better quality, efficiency, and a competitive advantage that’s hard to match. It can also earn you a 2014 Managing for Improvement Award. For Western Graphics, a 50-employee commercial printing company in St. Paul, Minnesota, and its CEO and owner, Timothy Keran, performance excellence is never an afterthought. Its constant striving to get better is what has allowed the company to prosper.

    An innovator who has spearheaded his company’s successful CI efforts, Keran was recently honored as the 2013 recipient of Printing Industries of America’s Managing for Improvement Award for creating real and lasting improvements for Western Graphics. 

    How can executives lead their companies to higher performance levels? Here are...

  • 11/06/2013 by Ms Megan Flynn

    Interview with Erica Aitken, President, Rods and Cones, Inc.

    Color workflow innovation is one of Erica Aitken’s main focuses as founder and president of her company, Rods and Cones. We asked Erica, one of our featured speakers at this year’s Color Management Conference, about some of the challenges her clients face with color management today, as well as her insights and recommended solutions.

    Q: Erica, with today’s technologies rapidly changing, our daily workflows are being affected. Where can print and graphic arts professionals find solutions? What are the resources you recommend most often for those beginning their search for the perfect color management system?

    Erica Aitken: I have found webinars to be efficient and very beneficial resources. Workshops and conferences can offer great hands-on...

  • 11/06/2013 by Ms Megan Flynn

    We’re all trying to adjust to color standards updates, new automated workflow systems, and a steady flow of emerging technologies. Everyone in the workflow is responsible for ensuring that the color of a printed piece is accurate and consistent all the way from concept to customer.

    If you’re like Elizabeth Nolden, a production manager at Sign-Zone, Inc., you are looking to stay competitive in today’s market and find the latest information on color technologies and trends. As a long-time attendee of the Color Management Conference, we asked her how this particular event helps her stay fresh in her career.

    Q: As a printer aiming to stay up-to-date on color management tech, why is this conference unique in the industry, and why is it important for workflow and production?

    Elizabeth Nolden: This conference is unique in a sense that it gathers all print professionals together to talk about one issue they can...

  • 10/31/2013 by Ms Megan Flynn

    Even when dealing with top-line challenges with help from the Printing Industry Financial Executives (PIFE) group and other professional resources, firms can still greatly improve profitability. How do you step up your game? In this article, adapted from “Boosting Your Bottom Line” by Dr. Ronnie H. Davis, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, Printing Industries of America, learn how to improve your financial performance from the bottom line up.

    How’s your company ranking on the profitability playing field? If you’re looking to boost your firm’s bottom line and gain competitive advantage, sales, cost, and pricing have the biggest impact on performance and profitability. The 2013 Ratios survey showed a major financial performance gap between profit leaders and the industry average. For you, this indicates there are many opportunities for increasing...