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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Go Home Print Celebrates 1st Anniversary

Shanley Maguire and Emma Sharpe of Go Home Print
Shanley Maguire, Emma Sharpe, and their numerous associates at Go Home Print -- all subjects of my August column for PrintAction -- are celebrating their first anniversary of publishing a quarterly magazine aimed to promote the independent creative community.  (For further details see! )  Festivities will include a launch party for the release of Issue # 4, entitled Tell Me About It, at Capital Expresso, 1349 Queen Street West, Toronto, on Thursday, October 24th from 8-11 p.m.  Everyone is welcome to attend.  
Photo credit:  Stine Danielle

Monday, September 23, 2013

StampaTech Intelligent packaging innovation available free until December 31st

StampaSud S.P.A., Mottola (near Taranto), southeast Italy
Earlier this month, Italian printing company StampaSud   S. P. A. launched StampaTech, an intelligent packaging innovation that lets users access unlimited amounts of information from a product's label.  It can connect to data on everything from point of origin, current location, ingredients, quality and freshness indicators, instructions for use, shopping and social media sites, satisfaction surveys, and other marketing collateral.  Besides increasing consumer trust, it offers a huge potential to facilitate operations like delivery tracking, quality monitoring, supply analytics, mass recalls, counterfeit detection, sales, and marketing of food, beverages, pharmaceuticals, and many types of consumer goods.

StampaSud's Commercial and R&D Director, Tony Calo, stated:  "We wanted something that allowed digital systems to work at 360 degrees on a platform of print that is in reality the basis of most communication.  There was currently nothing in the market that had the ability to do this, so we built one ourselves"

Mr. Calo is especially happy that StampaTech places print in what he believes is its primary role of leading digital communication; it is easy enough for every brander, agency, print buyer and manufacturer to use and afford; and that it works with all hand-held media.

He also notes that it offers more appeal and interactivity than NFC and QR codes (but can be incorporated with them as needed), plus it is more environmentally friendly, less expensive, and requires no post-printing finishing work in contrast to RFID or security tagging solutions.

Mr. Calo’s unorthodox marketing techniques for StampaTech have included a product launch during a 6-day gathering on Italy's Mediterranean coast of select international guests whom Calo met on social media (see
Sauce label employs StampaTech technology

In an upcoming issue of PrintAction I will be devoting an entire column to StampaTech, complete with working samples and case studies as the technology becomes more widespread and more examples become available.

Meanwhile, to launch the product onto the market, Mr. Calo has announced that his company will provide a free introductory package to all manufacturers and branders who register before 2014.  To receive further information, please visit  and leave your details in order to be re-contacted.

Recent media coverage of StampaTech includes:

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Seven reasons why you should enter the 2013 Canadian Printing Awards

I know you’re terribly busy.  On most days most printers are stretched so thin that squeezing in one more extra task seems next to impossible.  Even so, it would be a serious strategic error for you to skip making your submission to the Canadian Printing Awards (CPAs) in time for the October-25th deadline.  In fact, any serious business owner or manager needs to make it a priority to enter awards programs in their field because of the multitude of astonishing benefits they’ll reap in return.  

Here are seven of the biggest:

1.            Large-scale publicity  – Arguably, awards are the most powerful and cost-effective marketing tool.  The publication, association, or trade show that organizes an awards program will devote all its considerable resources to publicizing the awards and participants before, during, and after the event.  Especially if you are a winner or finalist, you can continue to publicize your own participation and successes in the awards program to your customers, prospects, prospective investors, and trade media indefinitely.  Many awards, including the CPAs, come with an impressive trophy you can display prominently at your company forever.

2.         A record of your achievements – Awards contests help you review your own progress and evaluate your successes and the areas of your business that need improvement.  Initially you’ll perform this process when deciding which projects and initiatives to submit to the contest.  But also, while some of the CPA award categories require you to submit only basic information with the entry fee, others require more detailed documentation.  The latter categories not only help you document your progress but also result in a report you can recycle many times in many ways to broadcast your achievements and track your future progress.

3.            Networking opportunities and peer recognition – Awards competitions and ceremonies attract the best companies and prominent business leaders.  Thus they provide an opportunity for you to show off and discuss your best achievements and latest innovations with a discerning and appreciative audience.  Additionally, by attending the presentation ceremony or even by connecting with fellow participants by phone, e-mail, or social media, you can build your relationships and network with a prestigious new pool of contacts.

4.         A leg up on your competition – Entries, recognition, or wins all give you a tangible edge over competitors and showcase your company as among the best in your field.

5.            Support for your employer brand – Participants gain recognition in their industry as award-winning employers whose companies and products make them leaders in their field.  This recognition makes your company a more attractive place to work for top-performing new hires.

6.         Staff motivation, morale, and retention – Everyone wants to feel appreciated and part of a successful organization.  Participating in awards competitions sends your staff the message that your company is worthy of recognition by a respected external body.  This realization raises staff’s motivation and morale--especially if your company is astute enough to use your victories in awards competitions as platforms to stage internal celebrations recognizing the achievements of staff members who contributed to your success.  It also helps to buy staff tickets for the dinner where prizes are announced, held in Toronto on November 21st.  (Information on ticket sales will be available shortly on the CPAs microsite at: )

7.         A measure of your performance – Entering the awards gives you an unparalleled opportunity to assess the strength of your entry against others in the same category and gauge how your business stacks up against the very best.  Frankly, you’d be crazy not to take advantage of this opportunity for an economically priced assessment from some of the industry’s most knowledgeable independent business experts who judge the entries.

But the craziest part is that you can reap all the above seven benefits for a cost of between $90 and $110 per contest submission.  (The actual cost depends on the total number of submissions you make.)  With 24 awards in diverse categories, it’s hard to imagine why any printing company of any size wouldn’t take advantage of the opportunity to participate in the CPAs.  To get started immediately, click on:  

Today’s post resurrects a similar entry I made prior to last year’s Awards, but it bears repeating because this content is truer than ever in 2013.   

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

How your printing business can capitalize on the next big local event

After my 14-August-2013 blog post, "Prince George's birth proves yet again: Nimble = Profitable", I fielded numerous questions from printers via e-mail and social media on the detailed mechanics of how they can prepare their businesses for the next commercial windfall associated with a big local event.

It's hard to generalize about this topic, since the answers are often situational and depend largely on the type of event for which you are planning.

However, in case you're seeking more information, my feature "Olympian Printing" contains case studies describing how Metropolitan Fine Printers and Ampco Grafix positioned themselves strategically to provide printing for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.  

A PDF of the Olympics article is available at:  

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

‘Back to the Future’: First International Print Networking Event Scheduled 5-10 September 2013 in Italy

In March 2013 I reported on a remarkable development in the U.S.A. in which an informal networking get-together in New Orleans, Louisiana, organized by half a dozen printers who were well connected on social media, turned into a conference of over 100 people and The National Print Owners Association, Inc., a trade organization with currently 315 registered members located in five countries in the Americas and Australia.

Now a parallel grassroots movement is taking place in Europe, where printers connected on social media are taking the task of organizing a face-to-face networking event into their own hands:

From September 5 to 10, 2013, leading Italian family-owned print group StampaSud will host a select group of between 15 and 20 international print personnel at a networking conference at Castellaneta Marina, near Taranto, on Italy’s Mediterranean coast.

Attendees will participate in informal workshops, presentations, and discussions about the printing industry and changes affecting their businesses.  Although topic suggestions are still being collected and the program is still being finalized, items of discussion are expected to include:
-       The latest applications of such new technologies as QR codes, Augmented Reality, and 3D printing
-       New digital technology in print, colour management, and file preparation
-       Quotations
-       Substrates
-       Social media
-       Logistics
-       Gurus
-       Shop windows and whether there is a tendency to put print back on the high street.
-       Whether print is returning to a providing a more personal touch.

Attendees will consist of qualified printing personnel, brokers, buyers, suppliers, and facilitators who can provide insights on these and other subjects.  Many are members of the 16,000-member Print and Print Procurement (International) (PPPI) Discussion Group, a 16,266-member networking vehicle for digital, litho, and web printers, corporate print buyers, and print management firms that has been active on LinkedIn since 2008.

The event in Italy is being organized by StampaSud’s UK Commercial Director Antony Calo with assistance from Paul Scanlon, Chairman of Liverpool-based print management company CDP and Francis Grogan, Director of Leeds-based grg print management.  The photographs in this post show the venue for the event, Turchesi Club Village.   Applications from persons  wishing to participate are still welcome.  (A downloadable application form is available at:  StampaSud will generously cover the cost of attendees’ accommodation, airport transportation, and most meals.  Other sponsors include Italian paper manufacturer Fedrigoni.  Organizers hope that, if the conference proves successful, it will become a regular event, held in various international locations every year or two.

Beforehand attendees can exchange views and plans via the PPPI LinkedIn Group at: or via the event’s Facebook page at:

 My previous article on the evolution of The National Print Owners Association Association, Inc. can be found at:

The official press release on the upcoming event in Italy follows below:

Press Release

8th August 2013


Sun, wine and print – ‘Back to the Future’ first International print networking event to be held in Italy

Leading Italian family-owned print group, StampaSud (including Paco and Smartlabel and the print brand PrintItalia), has announced that it is to play host to a select gathering of between 15-20 international print personnel, as part of a 4-day networking conference to be held in September in the Italian Mediterranean coastal venue of Turchesi Club Village, Castellaneta Marina near Taranto.

The event will involve a series of informal workshops and presentations based around print, new techniques and methods and the changes taking place in the industry. There will also be a debate on whether there is a trend towards print returning to the more personal touch, as well as a presentation from host company, StampaSud, who are providing all of the costs for hosting the event.

Other subjects that will be debated include; Guru’s, new digital technology in print, colour management and file preparation, quotations, substrates, social media, logistics and the shop window – whether there is tendency to put print back on the high street.

The aim is to gather together some of the great minds and most qualified international print personnel, comprising of print brokers, material buyers and suppliers as well as facilitators, who will be able to provide opinions and thoughts on the subject matter, in both an informal and relaxed atmosphere.

The Print and Procurement International group has been running successfully since 2008, with the aim of helping printers and print buyers connect, network and ask each other for advice. Whilst the idea of a conference/event has been discussed for some time, it is only through the generosity of StampaSud and other supporters, including Italian paper manufacturer, Fedrigoni, that this has been made possible. The aim is that the conference will hopefully be the start of more events to come.

In addition, a LinkedIn page has recently been established, where members and those attending can engage and exchange views prior to the conference and view the various presentations and personnel. The idea is that through social networking there can be a transition via the conference into a real and social networking opportunity. A Facebook page has also been set up for further engagement

A further development will see the creation of a standalone website, which is currently being built to offer printers and print buyers even more ways to connect in the future.

If successful, the intent is to make the conference a regular event, which will be held in various international locations every 12-24 months. Those attending will then debate and talk about the industry and the changes affecting the businesses therein.

Commenting on the initiative, StampaSud UK Commercial Director Antony Calo stated, “The idea has been to get this off the ground for some time, but now thanks to my company and several other group members this has finally been achieved. We hope that this will be both an informative and social occasion, where leading print personnel can provide topical debate. We look forward to establishing this as a regular event on the print calendar.”

StampaSud have been assisted in co-ordinating and planning the event by Paul Scanlon, Chairman of Liverpool-based print management company CDP and Francis Grogan, Director of Leeds-based grg print management.


About StampaSud:
Situated on the far southern coast of Italy, StampaSud was established in 1950 by the Posa family as a small and private family run print firm. Significant investment in recent years has enabled the company to become a prominent and successful supplier of print and packaging materials to many leading advertising agencies, banks, tour operators, insurance providers and commercial clients for both the Italian and European markets.
In 2010 the company opened a UK sales office to capitalise on the European market.
StampaSud is now a leading player in the graphic print industry employing around 80 staff and with a turnover of approximately EUR8m.

For further information about StampaSud, visit:
If you have any queries on this press release please contact Andy Scott (07770 520484) or email:
For more information on Andy Scott’s services, visit

Monday, July 29, 2013

Prince George's birth proves yet again: Nimble = Profitable – Prepare your business for your next big local event-related windfall

Before and after the birth of His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge in London on 22 July 2013, commentators have enjoyed an international field day (pro and con) over the explosion of limited-edition sales and merchandise that have accompanied the royal birth.  

Instead, my congratulations go out to all the printers and their creative teams around the world who have proven themselves astute, organized, and agile enough to capitalize on this temporary windfall--an opportunity comprising such diverse products as advertising and marketing collateral, books, labels, packaging, signs, and point-of-purchase displays--which forecasters have conservatively valued at around 3 billion pounds for the British national economy alone.

Clearly, even if you missed the royal-baby boat, now is the time to consider what similar new time-limited opportunities for printers are coming up next:  the Glasgow (Scotland) 2014 Commonwealth Games, the Toronto (Canada) 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games, or Canada's 2015 federal election, perhaps?


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Son Steals More Than $1M From Mother's Printing Company By Forgery: How Can You Prevent This Crime From Happening to You?

On July 1st Michael Britt of Brentwood, Missouri, was charged with 13 counts of forgery resulting in the theft of over $1 million from Gene-Del Printing, a company co-owned by Mr. Britt’s mother and three partners.

The company’s internal investigation revealed that Mr. Britt’s modus operandi extended over more than five years.  It involved making at least 166 cheques out to himself and forging the names of two of the company’s owners on the cheques.  He also stole at least $25,000 through unauthorized purchases using a company credit card.  Mr. Britt later admitted to police that he had also used the company’s accounting software to conceal the theft by creating fraudulent invoices for the cheques he forged.

Since the days when I managed the Ontario Association of Quick Printers, I have heard too many similar sad stories from small-printing-business owners with first-hand experience of embezzlement at their own company.  Usually the perpetrator was someone they thought they knew well and trusted.

Embezzlement is the theft of assets or property by a person in a position of trust or responsibility over those assets.  Statistically in such cases, the average amount stolen from small companies is $120,000 (versus just $10,000 from Fortune 500 companies.)  Additionally, employers of fewer than 100 employees and fewer than three bookkeepers are 100 times more likely to experience employee fraud than larger companies.  The crime often persists over a number of years and has forced many small companies into bankruptcy.

Update on 16 September 2013:

Yet another story of embezzlement by an employee of a printing company is all over the news again:  in this case, Leona Gebhart, the 68-year-old former comptroller of Henderson's Printing of Altoona, Pennsylvania, has been charged with embezzling at least $151,000 over an 11-year period.  I rest my case.

Fortunately, many tried and true internal control systems exist to help you detect and (better still) prevent embezzlement.  Some are detailed in the on-line resources included in the links below: