Monday, November 07, 2005


"Cut It Out and Get Back to Work"

Advertising Age had two good articles today:
Inkmaker Xsys is reported by Printweek as having a significant price increase. In the story, the company claims "This year we have been faced with an historically unprecedented rise in all our costs which was totally unexpected." I doubt that they are "historically unprecedented," as most commodities are nowhere near their inflation-adjusted prices from the late 1970s and very early 1980s. As a reminder, take a look at my posting of October 17 about newsprint prices as reported by Slate. I know there's a lot of handwringing about the price of gold. I calculated it a while ago, but today's price would have to be 5x higher to be at the inflation-adjusted levels of January 1980, for example. The key line in the Printweek piece is "rise in all our costs which was totally unexpected." Every company should have a plan for this kind of contingency. The unexpected should always be expected. Economic conditions are rarely without precedent; the economy is something that you navigate, not feared. The article's quote about "double digit price increases for the vast majority of our raw materials, with some up 50% over the past year" is an indication that raw materials prices, while important, are usually tiny in relation to payroll and operation of facilities, and that there is some slack in the system, and yet another reason why the obsession with oil prices by the Fed and the press, can be quite damaging in terms of inappropriate policy. The urge to "do something, anything" is hard to resist when you're sitting at the controls, and letting things work out by themselves is viewed as irresponsible.

Ad:Tech is in New York this week, and there should be loads of stories about the latest and greatest ways to communicate with target audiences. As far as I can tell so far, the only exhibitor with "print" anywhere in their description is Intermark Media and even on their site it's hard to mention print. (By the way: this group calls print "offline media." Hmmmm... I guess it is, come to think of it!) You're supposed to go where your customers and competitors are for the fight in the trenches. Does anyone in the printing industry know that Ad:Tech is in many ways the "new Seybold" for communicators?
Cool: a company is sponsoring wireless access for everyone at the show... better than buying everyone on the show floor breakfast!

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