Connecting Your Business with the Industry’s Best
Print Access Find the right printer for the BEST results.
print Access

Printlandia - The Blog

WASHINGTON STATE: Election and Special Session Update

Posted Friday, November 8, 2013 by Jules VanSant.

alt text

From PPI / Visual Communication Industry Representative in Washington State, Bill Stauffacher, Stauffacher Communications

Election Day in Washington proved to be one of the strangest on record for the Evergreen State. For most voters the 2013 election was an uninspiring off-year ballot. However, for Olympia’s political establishment two races captured plenty of attention and financial support:

1) An apparent Republican win in a Democratic-held state Senate special election race that will give the GOP-backed Senate Majority Coalition Caucus a two-seat majority in Olympia.

2) Senate Democratic leader Ed Murray’s election as mayor of Seattle, which moves into high gear the internal Senate Democratic caucus fight to select Murray’s replacement.

But Governor Jay Inslee’s surprise Election Day announcement calling the legislature into special session beginning this Thursday to pass a “save Boeing” incentive package was the political buzz at election parties throughout the state. The special session announcement comes on the heels of a landmark long-term agreement between Boeing and the aerospace machinists union to build the next generation 777x in Washington. As part of the deal, Boeing extracted significant benefits concessions from the union in exchange for job security.

But now Boeing and Inslee need the legislature to act on a number of policy issues – including passage of aerospace-related tax exemptions, a statewide transportation infrastructure funding plan, water quality and land use flexibility and certainty, and labor-related policy changes. Inslee says the special session – 30 days by law – should only last about a week. However, enough complicated issues are in play that lawmakers could be in special session for a full 30 days.

Here’s a quick summary of results from around the state:

Legislative Races

· Senate – 26th District: In the most expensive legislative race in state history, Republican state Rep. Jan Angel has a 51.4-48.6% lead over Democratic appointee Sen. Nathan Schlicher. Presently the Republican-dominated Majority Coalition has a one-seat 25-24 majority in the state Senate. An Angel victory increases the majority to two seats, 26-23, and gives the coalition some breathing room on critical policy votes and overall management of their caucus. Schlicher was appointed to the seat earlier this year to replace now-U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Gig Harbor) after his successful 2012 congressional campaign. A 30-year old ER doctor who also earned a law degree, Schlicher benefitted from record-spending independent expenditures funded by environmental- and labor-backed interests. As the Republican candidate, Angel suffered from voters looking to blame the GOP for the D.C. government shutdown and debt ceiling fight.

· Senate – 7th District: Republican challenger Brian Dansel is winning 53.8-46.2% over GOP-appointee Sen. John Smith.

· Senate – 8th District: GOP-appointee Sen. Sharon Brown clobbered Republican challenger Phil Lemley with over 75%.

Statewide Initiatives

· I-517: The Tim Eyman-backed “initiative on initiatives” is losing 60%-40%.

· I-522: The initiative to require labeling of genetically engineered foods is losing, with the no vote receiving just under 55%.

Local Races and Ballot Measures

· Mayor of Seattle: Ed Murray defeated incumbent Mayor Mike McGinn with about 55% of the vote. Murray is a practical progressive Democrat who is best known for leading the successful initiative to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington. Murray is also a regionalist, which should improve the city’s ability to engage with other Puget Sound-area county and city leaders, the state legislature and federal congressional delegation.

· Port of Seattle: All Port of Seattle commissioners on the ballot won. Commissioner John Creighton clobbered his challenger, Auburn Mayor Pete Lewis, collecting over 68% of the vote. Commissioner Tom Albro earned 57% of the vote against challenge Richard Pope. And recent appointees, commissioners Courtney Gregoire and Stephanie Bowman, won easily.

· Port of Tacoma: Commissioner Connie Bacon won another term, defeating former Port of Tacoma employee Eric Holderman.

· Tacoma Utility Tax: By a 59%-41% margin, Tacoma rejected Prop 1, a 2% increase in utility taxes to fund neighborhood road improvements.

Have a voice & GET INVOLVED: PPI supports Print & Industry friendly candidates inWashington. As an election year drawing near, we are seeking contributions to be used in the 2014 election cycle. Read more & complete a pledge form HERE.

Thank you for your consideration & support. Any questions contact jules@ppiassociation / 503-221-3944 or 877-762-7742

Permalink to this entry

Where is your quiet island?

Posted Friday, October 18, 2013 by Jules VanSant.

A quick case study brought to you by Teri LeVine — Contributing Writer, Marketing Maven, consultant to PPI, and owner of MC2 Marketing.

We’re surrounded by mind-boggling technology and communication tools that rarely allow us to break away and sit quietly. Think. Ponder. Dream.

Then, in the midst of the sensory overload of the SXSW Music Film Interactive 2013 trade show, one exhibitor dared to create a quiet island and captured its charm in this engaging video.

I applaud PaperBecause for daring to be different and proving how awesome it is that they can stand apart. The humor is subtle and the irony so creative. PaperBecause points out that we take ourselves very seriously as we seek the latest, greatest, and most innovative, but miss out on the pure pleasure of our oldest communication medium… ink on paper (I even feel I should whisper it). They successfully illustrated that we still have a relationship with paper… holding a REAL book, indulging in artistic expression, sharing stories, and dreaming.

As a marketer, I am inspired to focus more on how my clients can differentiate their brands in unique and memorable ways – from their identity to their hot websites to how they approach to social media. The goal is always a positive lasting impression that motivates purchase and loyalty.

PaperBecause… I’m sold!Teri LeVineMC2 Marketing ~ consultant to PPI & the Northwest Printing IndustryLIKE US on FacebookConnect on LinkedIn- See more at: http://ppiconnects.org/blog/index.php/page/3/#sthash.Qa6VoNwT.dpuf

Permalink to this entry

Deal Breakers of the Decade!

Posted Thursday, September 26, 2013 by Jules VanSant.

PPI Association Partners MargolisBecker | New Direction Partners share their insights on how to increase Sales & Profits in print production. Their extensive experience with the PIA Ratio Studies and in working with numerous printing firms in the US makes these advice nuggets worth a chew!Join Peter Schaefer & Paul Reilly from New Direction Partners in Seattle Dec 3rd & Portland Dec 5th for an M&A breakfast discussion. Check out the PPI Website for more details.Stu’s View

Stuart Margolis Becker PPI Association

Stuart Margolis, Margolis Partners LLC

Peter Schaefer, New Direction Partners

Contributing Editors: Peter Schaefer,New Direction Partners and Stuart Margolis, Margolis Partners LLCIt is an absolute truism “we learn from our mistakes.”

Learning from the mistakes of others can prove prudent as well, especially in matters involving big money and high risk. In effort to help you avoid some common mistakes in Merger and Acquisition (M&A) activity, we’ll review some common pitfalls.

Skeleton in the Closet

M&A deals can be tedious. They are complex negotiations with many moving parts including matters of personal relevance and strategic business importance. Sometimes owners are uncomfortable disclosing information that could negatively impact the deal, so they omit telling it. Our advice: Disclose.

If you are worried about “how to say it”, “when to say it” or “what to say”, it is a good idea to talk to your M&A Advisor about it. Chances are they’ve been down the road before and can help strategically communicate the information. When buyers find out about negative situations on their own, trust is diminished and salvaging the relationship can be difficult. When buyers find out about negative situations at settlement (even from the seller), deals can go south quickly. Top sales people sometimes leave a company, accounts get lost after negotiations begin, production hiccups occur. Own up to issues and deal with the consequences honestly and openly.

Silence is Golden

Upon making the decision to buy or sell, who should you tell? The answer? Noone (or as few people as possible). It is impossible to gauge how people will react to the change. As an owner, your perspective and sphere of influence are different than that of your employees. Anyone who will be affected by the change will have an opinion and a perspective on it. It is a shame to see employees jump ship pre-maturely and then the deal not go through. There will be a right time to disclose plans. 

Game Changer

We had a situation in which a deal was moving along successfully. Parties were working together to negotiate. A respectful agreement was on the horizon. Suddenly the tides changed as the seller decided to hike up the sales price of his company by $1 Million. Needless to say, it was a Game Changer, even if the company really was worth $1M more. The deal never happened. Within months the market changed and opportunity was lost.

Look Both Ways Before Crossing

Most owners rely on trusted advisors when engaging in M&A activity. However, when the trusted advisor does not want the deal to happen, has ulterior motives or conflicting priorities, beware. Deals have been killed by actions or inactivity of sales and plant managers in fear of losing their job after the acquisition, or attorneys and other advisors weary of losing a client after the transaction. If you sense a conflict of interest, follow your instincts. Question it. Most owners will say that “if a good deal presents itself, I’m on board 100%.” Make sure everyone on your team has your same level commitment.

Taste Testing

A merger or acquisition is a big change requiring some attention. Owners wishing to explore and “see what’s out there” should be prepare for the divergence. Preparationforsale,entertainingoffersandnegotiatingtermscan take time. Even if you’re “just exploring opportunities,” prepare a plan to make sure important matters are taken care of at the company if you must take your eye off the ball. Careful planning can prevent unnecessary loss.

Overall, it is a good idea to think through your decision to buy or sell before starting the process. When the decision to move forward is reached, proceed with caution and honesty. Be realistic in setting expectations. If you feel unprepared or ill-informed, get help.

*About Margolis Partners Margolis Partners has long been recognized as the financial expert for family-owned businesses with a specialty in the printing, packaging and allied graphic communications industries, assisting thousands of companies with strategic and financial management, valuation, mergers/acquisitions, accounting, audit and tax services. The firm is noted for its expertise in enabling companies to optimize profits. Proudly, it is the purveyor of the industry’s Value-Added Principles of Management, and compiles the annual Printing Industries of America Ratios, the printing industry’s premier financial benchmarking tool.

About New Direction Partners The team at New Direction Partners LLC has guided over 200 printing company owners through the sales and merger process. The advisory services reflect a full set of skills to help you sell or expand your business: valuation, management consulting, financial advisory and investment banking. The deep experience and industry expertise at New Direction makes it uniquely suited to serve printing, packaging and allied graphic arts businesses.*

Permalink to this entry

Increasing Sales from Marginal to MEGA!

Posted Wednesday, June 19, 2013 by Jules VanSant.

PPI Association Partners MargolisBecker | New Direction Partners share their insights on how to increase Sales & Profits in print production. Their extensive experience with the PIA Ratio Studies and in working with numerous printing firms in the US makes these advice nuggets worth a chew!STU’s View – authored by Stuart Margolis | June 2013 Stuart Margolis Becker PPI Association

Printers today wonder if they will ever get past the low pricing roadblock leftover from the recent recession. Some causes of low pricing like overcapacity and competition are inherent in any mature industry. Others causes are situational and can be managed.

Consider these low pricing causes and their potential solutions:

Two factors differentiate the more profitable printers:

 Price discipline – Printers who have established and adhere to a set price structure sell below cost less frequently than other printers. They don’t “panic price”, dropping their price to what the customer wants to pay just to keep thier presses running.

 Efficiency in Cost and Productivity Management – A profitable printer can produce $2M worth of print with 12 employees to his competitor’s 15. Controlling labor costs increases profitability. Every time you implement new technology, re-examine your employee functionality. Ask the question, can labor be reduced due to better automation? If the answer is yes, address it. In some cases, excess talent can be re-directed and assigned to more innovative work.

Recently, I worked with a client to develop a successful web marketing initiative by using in house talent that was displaced by automation. The result? Better technology helped to reduce current costs but the big bonus was an increase in profitability due to the addition of the new web services.In another case, I recently implemented two parts of a profit plan for a client, asking him to reduce his payroll by 15- 20%, and move his pricing up by 10-15% across the board. He was skeptical, but willing to try. Four months later, his production was the same despite the 15% reduction in employee count. Profitability is now above normal with sales sustained at the same level. In the next phase of this implementation there will be a focus to increase sales levels, but only profitable sales.Remember – increasing sales alone is not the answer to increased profitability. Sales should be increased strategically with a plan in place to proceed with a focus. All strategic elements should be considered such as pricing, staffing, production automation/technology, along with goals for growth and goals to reach the owner’s personal objectives for success. The successful pursuit of increase profit requires a well-coordinated combination of cost containment and focused sales efforts. Having it all is not easy, but time and time again I can attest, people are doing it and you can too.

About MargolisBeckerMargolisBecker has long been recognized as the financial expert for the printing, packaging and allied graphic communications industries, assisting thousands of companies with strategic and financial management, valuation, mergers/acquisitions, accounting, audit and tax services. The firm is noted for its expertise in enabling companies to optimize profits. Proudly, it is the purveyor of the industry’s Cash is King, and Value-Added Principles of Management, and compiles the annual Printing Industries of America Ratios, the printing industry’s premier financial benchmarking tool.

About New Direction Partners

The team at New Direction Partners LLC has guided over 200 printing company owners through the sales and merger process. The advisory services reflect a full set of skills to help you sell or expand your business: valuation, management consulting, financial advisory and investment banking. The deep experience and industry expertise at New Direction makes it uniquely suited to serve printing, packaging and allied graphic arts businesses.

Permalink to this entry