Susan Friedman

Flexible packaging players continue to regroup in order to ensure future growth. by Susan Friedman, Editor Though consultants say consolidation activity in the packaging industry is slowing, the face of the flexible packaging industry continues to be changed by mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures. In packagePRINTING's annual Top Flexible Packaging Converters Survey, such past participants as Duralam, Pac One, and Rex Int'l are now part of larger players' umbrella portfolios. And International Paper's flexible packaging division, sold to Exo-Tech Packaging LLC in 2001, is now called Exopack. Of the estimated $19 billion flexpack market, more than $14 billion in total sales is represented in the

Here's what Digital Asset Management (DAM) really means, and how your shop can find its place in it. by Susan Friedman, Editor When it comes to pursuing Digital Asset Management (DAM), the challenge for our industry is two-fold: Converters and trade shops must first determine their place in the overall image-management scheme, and then sort out which DAM solution best suits their operations. A good no-frills definition of DAM, from consultants Cognizant Technology Solutions, pegs it as "the archival, retrieval, tracking, manipulation, re-purposing, interaction with, and transaction of all types of digital media." DAM architectures and interfaces provide valuable controls for the issues

Sheetfed offset press manufacturers key in on efficiency, larger formats, and specialty needs, and wave off flexo competition. by Susan Friedman, Editor One of the best competitive edges carton converters can develop these days is the capability to get product out the door faster than the other guys. "Our customers are focusing strictly on productivity," says Bob McKinney, director of marketing for KBA North America, Sheetfed Division. "Converters want to increase margins through efficiency." Sheetfed offset press manufacturers are well aware of this fact, and each is ready with a game plan. "With run length continuing to drop, faster, more accurate makeready with less

Expansion and equipment purchases have readied General Converting, Inc. to provide strong value-added services in 2002. by Susan Friedman, Editor Carton converters and equipment manufacturers alike have steadily touted the need for converters to implement more complete services; develop value-added products; and establish strong market niches in order to avoid commoditization and achieve higher margins. General Converting, Inc. (GCI), based in Bolingbrook, Ill., is more than a textbook example of these carton production strategies at work. In addition to continually building the value of its printing and converting services with new equipment investments, the company has established unique service philosophies to maximize customers'

Scan volume may be down at prepress and printing firms, but scanners aren't by any means out of the production picture. by Susan Friedman, Editor Decline, yes. Demise, no. Or is the picture that simple for the use of scans in graphic file production? A recent study conducted by TrendWatch/Cahners Inc. stated the percentage of creative professionals intending to purchase scanners is at its lowest level in years, primarily because of the rising use of digital cameras, digital file storage, and digital file transmission. Dave Watson, VP/packaging at prepress trade shop American Color, reports a reduction in scan use that echoes the tone of

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