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Ink Jet. Ready For Prime Time?

Posted Tuesday, August 18, 2015 by Bob Lingren.

As the technology is beginning to prove viable in the commercial print space, primarily because of quality enhancements, more and more firms are exploring the potential of ink jet presses. Some look at the technology as opening doors to new business while others see it as a way to reduce costs.

Conventional thinking would suggest that firms must analyze costs prior to making the decision. While that sounds like obvious advice, it’s really not the first question that should be asked according to PIA Southern California’s Bob Lindgren.

link textAccording to Lindgren, the analysis should begin with identifying the work that will be produced on the new press. Are we looking at short run color, transactional B & W, variable data or a mix of all three? What comes next is a realistic projection of the volume of work and the price it would command, remembering that this is an exercise in value identification, not cost accounting. Variable data or specialized short run color creates new marketing power for the client, and given the capital outlay involved, pricing should be based on value - not costs.

Once we have a reasonable revenue projection, we can subtract the cost of paper, direct labor, ink and consumables to identify contribution to overhead. When we know this, we can see if the capital cost is justified for which discounted cash flow analysis is useful. Lindgren suggests a good rule of thumb is that the capital cost should not be more than three times the annual contribution to overhead.

The second scenario is that the ink jet press is a replacement for an offset press doing short run work or a toner based system doing variable data. In this case, Lindgren argues the revenue analysis is unnecessary as there is no reason to think that revenue will change because of using different hardware to produce the same work. In this instance cost savings need to be identified. These might include reduced paper costs in moving from offset because of the elimination of make-ready spoilage, or supply costs when moving from toner to ink jet. There may be wage cost reductions as well, but careful consideration has to be given to the question of whether they are realizable.

For example, if the work can be handled in two hours less per day, the same number of people are on the payroll and no savings has been realized. Because these cost savings are likely to be modest, they will not usually justify a significant capital investment. Lindgren maintains that if the business motivation in moving from offset to ink jet is to justify charging less, a better solution is to charge less in the first place.

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Free Community College Tuition - OREGON

Posted Thursday, August 13, 2015 by Association of Oregon Industries.

As we look to the future employee needs… now’s the time to be a voice for trade training and opportunities in PRINT.

Got a student heading to community college next year? Recently passed legislation may make it a little more affordable. Signed by Governor Kate Brown in July, SB 81, the “Oregon Promise” provides $10 million for tuition payments to students who complete high school in Oregon no more than six months prior to pursuing a certificate or degree at any of Oregon’s 17 community colleges. Approximately 4,000 - 6,000 students per year are expected to be served by the program, which will begin dispensing grants of $1,000 and up for the 2016-17 school year.

Although the statutory criteria for receiving a grant are not based on financial need, SB 81 does allow the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) to establish additional eligibility requirements by rule. The HECC may therefore direct funding to students in programs that improve academic success or address Oregon’s specific workforce needs, and may give preference to graduates of certain school districts or high schools. This rulemaking authority provides flexibility for the HECC to address the ever-evolving needs of Oregon’s student population. In following this rulemaking process, AOI will advocate for funding to be directed not only toward students with financial needs, but also to those pursuing degrees in fields critical to Oregon employers.

To be eligible, a student must:

  • Have been an Oregon resident for at least 12 months prior to enrolling in community college;

  • Have received an Oregon high school diploma or GED certificate, or completed grade 12;

  • Achieved a cumulative high school GPA of 2.5+ or equivalent;

  • Be enrolled within six months of high school completion, in courses at an Oregon community college leading to a:

- One-year curriculum for students transferring to another post secondary institution; Associate degree; or

- Program in career and technical education.

  • Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

  • and accept all state and federal grant aid offered.

A student will continue to be eligible for the Oregon Promise after the first year if he or she:Maintains a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or better;Makes satisfactory academic progress;Completes a FAFSA each academic year; andEnrolls at least half time each term for at least three terms each consecutive academic year.Full-time students (12 or more credits/term) enrolled for the full year (three terms) in eligible courses may receive grants covering up to the full cost of their tuition, although they will be required to pay $50 per term as a co-payment. Grants will be reduced by the amount of any state or federal grant aid received (e.g., Pell Grant, Oregon Opportunity Grant) down to a minimum $1,000 annual grant for full-time, full-year enrollment.

Even if a student’s tuition is fully covered by state or federal grant aid, they are eligible for Oregon Promise grants, which they may use for other costs such as transportation, books, and living expenses.

Information about the program will be available online at the Office of Student Access & Completion (OSAC) and the Oregon Education Investment Board (OEIB) websites.

Rulemaking is expected to begin this fall; for questions about the process, please contact Betsy Earls at AOI.

To view SB 81, you may go to the Oregon State Legislature website.

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Take Advantage of USPS Promotions in 2015

Posted Wednesday, August 5, 2015 by Jules VanSant.

alt textThe United States Postal Service has a number of promotions and incentives available to printers, particularly those that integrate direct mail with mobile technology. Each of the following promotions provide a 2 percent discount on eligible postage. You must register by November 30, 2015.

Color Transpromo Promotion

The Color Transpromo Promotion provides upfront postage discounts to mailers who use dynamic color print for marketing and consumer messages on their bills and statements.

Emerging And Advanced Technology Promotion

The Emerging and Advanced Technology Promotion encourages mailers to integrate direct mail with technology, providing an interactive experience for customers. Mailers who create mail pieces that use at least one form of approved emerging or advanced technologies will receive a postal discount.

Mail Drives Mobile Engagement Promotion

The Mail Drives Mobile Engagement Promotion provides business mailers with an upfront postage discount on Standard Mail letters and flats that include a mobile barcode or print/mobile technology that can be read or scanned by a mobile device and leads to mobile-optimized shopping website.

To register, CLICK HERE.

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SEC Proposing to go Paperless...

Posted Tuesday, August 4, 2015 by Jules VanSant.

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As you may know, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has published a proposed rule ( Rule 30e-3) that would eliminate the current requirement for important mutual fund information to be transmitted to investors in paper form. Under the SEC’s current rules governing mutual fund disclosure, investors already have the ability to opt-in to electronic delivery, yet only a small minority has chosen to do so.

By permitting funds to satisfy shareholder report requirements by making shareholder reports and quarterly portfolio holdings available only online, Rule 30e-3 would shift the burden on investors. Under the provisions of the proposed rule, investors would simply be sent a letter announcing the switch to digital delivery. A lack of response would be deemed “implied consent” to the switch. This has major implications to companies that print financial services material and to the ongoing efforts of the Federal government to “go paperless.”

Printing Industries of America and its allies in the Consumers for Paper Options are urging the SEC to instead maintain the spirit of the 1933 Securities Act to provide investors with all the reasonable information they need to make informed investment decisions and ensure shareholder reports remain accessible to all Americans. In other words, rescind or revise the proposed rule. Comments have been filed to this end (copy available here) and the industry is urging Congress to weigh in with the SEC to support our case. But this rule is moving fast (comments are due on August 11) and all hands are needed on deck to make the industry’s case.

Here’s how you can help our industry and your company:

1) a.) Register your opposition via public comments here by August 11; b) contact your Senators/Representative to register concern. A mass action alert is forthcoming this week from PIA national, but speed is of the essence and I urge you to move quickly.

2) Call into a conference call this week hosted by Consumers for Paper Options to learn more about the industry’s battle on the SEC issue. The call will be held at 3:00 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, August 6th. The call-in number is: (712) 775-7031; the passcode is: 975-183-691#. You can also learn more in advance of the call by visiting

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Who's your Champion?

Posted Monday, July 27, 2015 by Lisa D. Magnuson, Founder & CEO, Top Line Sales.

Do you have a champion in your key accounts? You know, the person that gives you a heads up on important company matters that might affect your business. Also known as a sponsor, supporter, or friend, this person is your advocate.

The champion relationship ranks as essential. It’s right up there in importance with your executive contacts and decision makers. Without a champion you can miss critical insights into game changing decisions, organizational shifts, potential new opportunities, and candid feedback. Top sales people can recount many sales situations where having an internal sponsor made the difference between winning and losing - sometimes equating to millions of dollars of top line revenue.


Once identified, keep all channels of communication open on an ongoing basis. Phone, email, drop by when you’re in their area (if appropriate), coffee, and lunch are all good opportunities for information exchanges.

Ask open-ended questions such as:

  • What new initiatives are in the works?

  • What have you heard about significant changes coming up?

  • What’s the general opinion of my products or services?

  • Can you counsel me on the best way to handle … (could be a problem or opportunity)

  • Could you help me with an introduction to … (could be a person or department)

  • How do you think I can do a better job with …

Be respectful of the relationship. Avoid asking for information that would be inappropriate for your champion to share. Show appreciation for all their help and insights and look for suitable ways to return the favor.

Good luck as you reap the benefits of greater client intelligence, leads and referrals, and the assurance of knowing that you’re “in the know” with your most important, TOP Line Account™ clients.

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