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Planning for Tax Reform

Posted Thursday, November 30, 2017 by Megan Moes, CPA, Falco Sult Supervisor.

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Source: PPI Partner Falco Sult

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It isn’t too late to save on taxes for 2017. However, year-end planning for this year presents a unique set of challenges for taxpayers. There are many uncertainties created by the proposed GOP tax reform legislation which could have significant effects on the current and future tax years. Tax planning in an uncertain environment is complicated, as you should consider current legislation as well as the potential scenarios if new regulations are enacted for the current tax year.

For individuals, the GOP framework calls for replacing and lowering the current individual tax rates with a new, three-bracket structure – 12, 25, and 35 percent. If you believe that the tax reform will pass for 2018 and you will be in a lower tax bracket for the next tax year, the standard tax planning advice continues to apply; defer income to next year while taking advantage of additional deductions in the current year.

The GOP framework, although not finalized and highly disputed, also eliminates all individual itemized deductions except for the mortgage interest deduction and charitable contribution deduction. On the assumption that any elimination or reduction of certain itemized deductions won’t be in place until 2018, acceleration of some of these items into 2017 seems to be a go-to tax strategy for this year-end.

Additionally, the GOP framework would limit the tax rate to 25 percent for pass-through taxable income reported on an individual’s 1040 from small businesses such as a sole proprietor, partnership, or S-corporation shareholder. For those currently in a higher income tax bracket with taxable income from a pass-through entity, a similar tax strategy deferring income to next year and accelerating deductions into the current year could be followed for small family-owned business as well.

The GOP framework calls for a 20 percent corporate tax rate. For year-end planning purposes, a strategy to defer income would only work for corporations currently paying the maximum 35 percent corporate rate. However, for small corporations currently paying an effective rate less than 20 percent, deferral of income might not be as effective for current year tax planning strategies.

Tax planning is not an exact science, and for 2017 with uncertainties of tax reform, year-end tax planning is especially challenging. As such, taxpayers must be prepared to implement timing strategies into late December if the GOP successfully passes tax reform legislation affecting tax years 2017 or 2018.

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Gravure Ed Foundation Joins Forces with PGSF

Posted Thursday, November 30, 2017 by Jules VanSant.

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PPI Executive Director, Jules Van Sant, is the current vice chair of the PGSF and excited at the expanded audience being served by this merger. As we focus again in 2018 on workforce development issues, funding and education of our future employees is a key component to success. PPI regularly promotes the scholarship program to the schools and educators we engage and encourage as the year rounds out our regional companies consider becoming a donor to continue the great work being done or to at least utilize the Amazon Smile program link where a small percentage of sales will go directly into the PGSF.

As part of an effort to act as a single voice to advance the future of the industry workforce, the Gravure Education Foundation (GEF) has transferred their funds and administrative functions to the Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation (PGSF). This combination now creates an endowed fund of over $9 million that is dedicated towards encouraging young people to consider the graphics field as a career and then assisting in their education process to facilitate that end.

Rod Sosa, GEF president stated “This is a once in a life time opportunity. To join forces with such an amazing group while ensuring that the Gravure segment continues to be represented in the industry. Growing the fund balance to over $9 million is an achievement that everyone that works in this industry should be proud of.”.

“This is an important step towards having a single source of promoting the industry and providing funding to students, which will benefit all companies” said John Berthelsen, VP-Development at PGSF. “We are broadening our scope of promotion and of providing support, just as service providers today are expanding their offerings.”

PGSF recently released new career materials that have been widely praised throughout the industry. Attracting youth, training new employees and replacing current workforce loses are major issues for companies of all sizes across the country. The Foundation is actively addressing these issues and providing tools for companies to enhance their own efforts in this area.

For information on how you or your organization can contribute to the future of the graphic arts industry, please contact John Berthelsen at jberthelsen@printing.org or visit the site at www.pgsf.org

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‘Trust in News’ Study Shows More Trust for Print Publications Than Digital

Posted Thursday, November 30, 2017 by Jules VanSant.

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Source: PPI Affiliate Visual Media Alliance Author: Ian Gibbs

Trust is the topic that won’t go away. On either side of the pond, leaders with very different temperaments are dealing with issues of declining trust in very different ways. Whatever their differences, however, the knock-on effect to mainstream media — tacitly held responsible for failing to fully represent shifting public sentiment when they aren’t being openly lambasted — has been profound. Or has it?

A new global research study from Kantar entitled “Trust in News” has lifted the lid on attitudes to news media among 8,000 news consumers in the U.S., U.K., France and Brazil. Key findings of the study include:

“Trust arguably transcends simple attention metrics.”

  • Traditional print and broadcast media brands have proven more resilient to accusations of “fake news” than social media platforms and digital news outlets.

  • News consumers are reading more widely and becoming more sophisticated in their engagement with news content, for example by independently fact-checking news they read.

  • The public believes “fake news” had an impact on recent elections but maintain that quality journalism is important for democracy.

The strength of trust in mainstream and traditional forms of news is notable. In fact, printed news magazines are the most trusted news source (72 percent rate them positively), closely followed by 24-hour TV news, radio bulletins and national newspapers. Conversely, just 33 percent agreed that social media “provides news I can trust.” Even the print versions of national newspapers are more highly trusted than those same organizations’ websites.

The Impact Of ‘Fake News’

Clearly, news accessed via social channels takes many forms — from the simple sharing of current news-related opinion and comments with friends, to the in-stream consumption of content distributed by mainstream news organizations themselves. What is particularly interesting, irrespective of the mode of social news consumption, is the impact of the pervasive topic of fake news on people’s trust in social news.

Again, social news has taken quite a battering. In the survey sample, 58 percent say that they will trust coverage of politics and election news less on social media as a result of fake news scandals. Mainstream news is by no means immune, either. A still-significant 24 percent report declining levels of trust in mainstream news, a smaller number compared to social. Tellingly, given that barely a day passes where President Trump fails to mention fake news in some form of other (he did popularize the term, after all), it is in the U.S. where respondents feel that fake news has had more of an impact on their own election than it has outside of their country. The same is true in Brazil. In the U.K. and France, respondents are more likely to feel that it has mattered more outside of their own countries.

So Why Is This Important To News Brands?

Fundamentally, this matters to news brands because a line can be drawn between trust and monetization. At a time when mainstream media is looking to protect, diversify and digitize its revenue streams, trust matters more than ever before.

While 29 percent of respondents say they have paid for online news in the last year — either as one-off payments or as part of an ongoing subscription — this figure increases to 42 percent for those who display high levels of trust towards newspaper brands. Similarly with print, 40 percent say they have bought a newspaper in the last week; among those who trust newspaper brands, 56 percent say they have.

The relationship between trust and monetization also extends beyond audience subscriptions to advertising impact. “For news organizations to position themselves as the trusted medium of choice, is to an extent to enable them to break free of the now much contested one-dimensional notion that ad spend should be a closely aligned function of time spent with media,” according to the Kantar report, which also says that trust may transcend simple attention metrics.

Meanwhile, research from TGI Clickstream suggests that those who trust newspaper brands are 65 percent more likely than the average British adult to agree that they pay more attention to advertising on sites that they trust. The battle of attention in the online ad market is fierce and the ability to prove a tangible ad impact multiplier to brands looking to maximize the efficiency of every penny of their online ad spend will become an increasingly important unique selling point for mainstream news organizations.

The relationship between news publisher and social platform has become an increasingly complex one over the past few years. The dreaded “frenemy” status that sees ad revenue increasingly gobbled up by Facebook and Google even as the platforms provide a vital traffic lifeline to news publishers has become more complex. Traditional news brands are already wary about their dependence on audiences driven to them by social, but when nearly two-thirds of social news consumers say they notice which news organization provides the content they are reading, news brands must also be cautious of any negative effect that declining trust in social news could have on their own brand.

“In a networked world, trust is the most important currency,” then-CEO of Google and current chair of Alphabet Eric Schmidt said at a commencement address in 2009. Almost a decade later that quote rings truer than ever. Trust was once a hygiene factor: the bare minimum we expected from mainstream news. Now it is a vital lifeline in a commercially turbulent world for news publishers.

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New Oregon Rules May Require You to Pay Daily Overtime after 10 Hours

Posted Thursday, November 16, 2017 by Jules VanSant.

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Source: PPI Partner Barran Liebmen

(PPI members receive an initial 15 minute consultation with a Barran Liebman attorney on any HR issue – contact jules@ppiassociation.org to get connected)

If there is interest in a more in-depth conversation about Human Resource issues specific to ANY state PPI serves let us know and we’ll pull together a conversation with our Legal / HR partners.

Do your employees use a machine to make a “new product”? Do those employees sometimes work longer than 10 hours per day or more than 40 hours in a week? If so, you may be surprised to learn that your company could be subject to Oregon’s overtime laws specific to mills, factories, canneries, and manufacturing establishments. While the definitions of mills, factories, and canneries may be straightforward, the broad definition of “manufacturing establishment” is forcing many employers to reevaluate whether these overtime rules apply to their businesses.

Oregon has long required companies employing workers in a manufacturing establishment to pay overtime for employees working over ten hours per day or forty hours in a week, whichever is greater. Those employees are also strictly limited to working a maximum of thirteen hours per day. However, recent changes from the legislature and a subsequent round of rulemaking from Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) mean new rules for employers effective January 1, 2018. We explained the details of the law’s new provisions in our July alert and highlighted that the law limits manufacturing establishment employees to working a maximum of 55 hours in a workweek and requires a ten-hour rest period between shifts. There are only a few exceptions to this 55-hour workweek cap, including obtaining employees’ written consent to work up to 60 hours in a workweek or qualifying for the limited undue hardship exemption for businesses that process perishable products.

The problem employers now face is determining whether their employees fall under these special overtime rules as the scope of which employers the law covers is less than clear. The law states that “no person shall be employed in any mill, factory or manufacturing establishment in this state more than 10 hours in any one day.” The law also broadly defines a manufacturing establishment as an establishment engaged in “the process of using machinery to transform materials, substances or components into new products.” BOLI has explained that this definition is broad enough to capture commercial bakeries and breweries, but does not include restaurants.

A new provision in the law exempts employees who are not “engaged in the direct processing of goods.” However, BOLI’s latest draft rules define the direct processing of goods as “the use of machinery in the production of manufactured goods.” If this seems like a circular definition to you, that’s because it is. While BOLI may be attempting to clarify the new provisions in Oregon’s manufacturing establishment overtime laws, unfortunately, most employers are left wondering whether the law even applies to them. We encourage employers to contact BOLI with their concerns as soon as possible, as the last day to offer comment on the proposed rules is November 24, 2017.

For questions on how the manufacturing overtime rules may affect your workplace and how to prepare for the January 1, 2018 enforcement date, contact Nicole Elgin at Barran Liebman: nelgin@barran.com or (503) 276-2109.

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Top Trends for Digital Wide Format in 2017

Posted Wednesday, October 25, 2017 by Jules VanSant.

Source: Keypoint Intelligence

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Read the full article Here.

Changing Wide-Format Printer Channels Favor a Direct Model

The complexity of the full system sales approach and the value-added process is squeezing low-end graphic sign dealers. The market is moving upward toward more sophisticated dealers, and this is cultivating larger system sales. Unit volumes for wide format printer products have been increasing, further impacting lower volume machines. System training and the growth of finishing in the “total product solution” sale/support model favors a direct selling model. The once-separate copier dealers are filling the gap, eyeing big-ticket wide format offerings and consumables to augment their sales.

PSPs Will Continue to Cross Boundaries

Print service providers (PSPs) continue to expand into the wide format market, and some have become very sophisticated in their offerings. For example, FedEx and FASTSIGNS are providing full-service wide-format printing on the spot with an increasing variety of substrates. Amazon is also getting into the game—in January 2017, Kornit Digital was selected to deliver a large number of on-demand textile production systems for the Merch by Amazon program.

POP as a Segue into Packaging Printing

Point-of-purchase (POP) and retail-ready packaging is enabling print providers with UV wide format devices to enter the short-run display/packaging market. There has been a lot of discussion about how wide format applications are crossing over into the packaging market. For example, the 2017 ISA Expo was co-located with the Collaboration in Packaging Production (CPP) converter show in April. This trend is expected to continue on a global scale.

UV Tabletop Printers Expand into Ad Specialty/Personalization

Last year, a number of smaller LED UV narrow format printers began to create a new wide format classification. Small, relatively inexpensive UV tabletop and some larger flatbeds can be fit with jigs to print on sundries like golf balls and tablet/smartphone cases. Larger flatbed UV printers can even accommodate sheets of plywood, cardboard, or any other material that fits on the print bed. The ad specialty area blends nicely with local silkscreen trophy shops. In addition to engraving a myriad of items, this includes adding photo-realistic personalized decorations. Vendors like Roland DG are offering 3D printers and engraving/milling machines, further expanding the possibilities.

Media Choices Reflect Durable Ink Sales

Textile media can be used to produce everything from wind feather flags to front and backlit media. Since these products now mimic the performance of translucent films, they are experiencing healthy growth. Textile vendors continue to expand their offerings, and many types of media (e.g., canvas, back/front-lit polyester, linen, felt floor mats, carpeting) are available for digital printing. Some digital print shops offer a variety of specialty media products, including window clings, floor graphics, metallic foils, and adhesive labels. As time goes on, specialty media printing will likely expand even further. For example, companies like Panel Processing now offer inkjet-treated wood products for inkjet printing.

“Industry 4.0” and Its Effect on Wide Format

Savvy equipment manufacturers are working to improve operational efficiency with tight integration between clients and print providers, linking all production elements into a dashboard and providing detailed information on quality assurance, production capabilities, and back office integration. The combination of big data and product automation will enable print providers to maximize profitability and improve client satisfaction. Cloud-based services support many wide format printing components, including media, design, and raster image processing (RIP). Functions such as finishing, tracking, archiving, and proofing can also be supported through virtual tools.

Finishing has become a Requirement

All shops are currently involved in some level of finishing, whether they handle it in-house or contract it out. Finishing has become more complex, and it can be a bottleneck if the shop’s printing equipment or staff members cannot keep up with the work. Many of today’s cutting/router tables handle contour cutting, wood/metal routing, and even creasing to create cardboard package designs. For textile/garment printing, calendar roll-to-roll heat presses and clam shells are required. The demand for sewing is increasing, but this can be addressed by hiring a seamstress or training someone in-house. Robotics are also beginning to support wide format media loading and unloading, and these technologies will likely have an increasing presence at major tradeshows.

The Durable Ink Battle

Innovations in latex, pigment, sublimation, and UV inks will likely reshape the wide-format market in the coming years. Developments in all of these categories will enable print providers to consolidate their production equipment while offering a broader range of applications. For example, the improved durability of latex ink will create more possibilities for high-permanency outdoor applications. New pigment treatments will enable material coatings like water repellency. New direct sublimation technologies will offer improved color saturation and reduced waste. Thanks to high elongation and reduced VOCs, UV inks combined with LED curing are becoming more widely accepted, offering an alternative to solvent inks. Meanwhile, the latest gel inks promise more vivid colors, lower ink deposition requirements, and lower costs.

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