|FLAAR offers professional consulting services for manufacturers, distributors, equity investment firms, on wide-format inkjet printing, narrow-format inkjet, commercial printing (inkjet), including UV-cured, solvent, latex, textile and new technologies.|
FLAAR offers a variety of consulting services for the inkjet printing industry, including manufacturers as well as end-users in printshops of all sizes and applications. FLAAR is increasingly sought after by equity investment analysts on commercial printing. One investment analyst said clearly that the FLAAR data is valuable for documentation of sales potential, tips on which directions the markets are going, and most of all the true pros and cons of a product and a company, "all we otherwise ever hear is management's rosy picture."
FLAAR consultant Dr. Nicholas Hellmuth can conduct his professional services on-location anywhere around the globe. He has consulted in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China, Latin America, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Turkey, Greece, and across the United States and Canada.
Dr. Hellmuth was educated at Harvard, trained at Yale, and received his Ph.D. from Karl-Franzens Universität (Graz, Austria). FLAAR is especially interested in consulting for museums, museum exhibits, and field research programs since we have also spent many decades doing field projects in remote areas of Central America.
Dr. Hellmuth/FLAAR consults on UV-cured flatbed and UV-curable roll-to-roll applications, textile printers, RIP software, inkjet printers in general, inks, media, and lamination. We also provide knowledge on market trends. Several printer companies have come to us to ask assistance in acquisitions (either them acquiring another company, or preparing themselves to be acquired).
Presently manufacturers (and end-users) are coming to FLAAR to ask for help to understand the facts vs fiction of eco-solvent compared with latex ink. What are the actual factual pros and cons of each ink (from an independent perspective). The advantage of FLAAR is that we do not sell latex ink and we do not sell eco-, mild-, lite-, or bio-solvent ink: we provide information and opportunities.
In addition, the FLAAR founder and president is knowledgeable in giclee, fine art photography, decor, textile printing, as well as in scanning and high end digital photography. For 2009 we are now consulting on 3D technologies in certain instances.
For training in color management and ICC color profiles we work together with experienced color consultants who can provide hands-on training. Two of our color management partners are multi-lingual. Dr Hellmuth is tri-lingual (German, English, Spanish) and he can understand Italian, basic Portuguese and basic French.
Dr. Hellmuth's consulting services are valuable for manufacturers, distributors, dealers of any size, investment companies, universities, museums, as well as print shop owners, operators, and individuals.
FLAAR is a consultant for government agencies as well.
The difference between reading the FLAAR reports and web site, compared to retaining Dr. Hellmuth for an on-site visit, is that he can provide fresh information not yet published in the written reports, or posted on the web site. Therefore, an on-site consultation with Dr. Hellmuth is invaluable to keeping up with the latest trends and technologies in professional printing.
Dr. Hellmuth's relationship with Wide Format Printers
Nicholas is considered the Johnny Appleseed of wide format printers. His goal is to help newcomers, pro-sumers, as well as corporate in-house work groups, departments, and seasoned pros from government and educational institutions, prepress, graphic design, sign shops, quick print shops, offset printers, screen printing companies and other commercial enterprises learn which model of wide format inkjet printer would best meet their specific needs.
Dr Hellmuth has also the "Ann Landers" or "Dear Abby" to end-users. He helps print shop owners, managers, and printer operators overcome the lack of adequate information about pros and cons of large format digital imaging. When you marry the wrong printer, when you have a one-night stand with inappropriate ink or media, when your relationship with a cheapo Internet source of low-bid equipment has gone sour, then "Ask Dr. Nicholas" and his staff. They will do their best to make reports available to assist and resolve your problems.
FLAAR is International
Nicholas has lectured on wide-format printers in Dubai, Germany, Turkey, Greece, Russia, Slovenia, Croatia, India, Korea, and naturally around the US. FLAAR now has new web sites en español and auf Deutsch.
Dr Hellmuth also writes for SIP magazine in Germany, VisComUp in Spain, ME Printer in Dubai and is on the Board of Advisors of Digital Graphics magazine in the US. Our articles in ME Printer magazine are read in Egypt, Saudia Arabia, Iran, Iraq, and most of the other countries in that entire region. Our articles reach the rest of Africa via Practical Publishing in South Africa.
By the end of 2009 FLAAR authors will have articles in selected trade magazines that allow us to cover the entire world: specifically in local languages. Our articles (and also selected FLAAR Reports) are now fully in Arabic language and auf Deutsch (in German too).
Sample consulting topics for end-users (using wide-format printers)
(If you are a manufacturer, see the list of topics for manufacturers further down on this page).
Listed below are a few of the topics our consultation services cover. This list is not exhaustive and is only meant to highlight the services FLAAR has to offer.
Market Analysis, Marketing Survey Data, etc.
FLAAR also offers market survey information and product analysis for ink, media, hardware, and software manufacturers. FLAAR's market information can help your business focus on the features end-users are most happy with or would like to see improved.
Almost every month investment analysts are coming to ask for information from FLAAR. This suggests that the data and knowledge that we possess is not readily available elsewhere. Seemingly our reputation for blunt pros and cons is becoming better known.
If you are buying inkjet printer marketing statistics elsewhere, most of these appear to be puffed up to make you feel happy. FLAAR does not sell statistics. Instead we discuss with your team the blunt reality of each key sector of the wide-format industry.
Dr Hellmuth is valued for his acuity on trends, developments, new directions, as well as equally important, which are dead ends, which are fads that look great today but will evaporate tomorrow?
Consulting on OEM manufacturing opportunities
If your company is in Europe or North America, and you need a more economical place to manufacturer, Dr Nicholas Hellmuth has first-hand on-site experience actually inside most of the major factories in Canada, USA, Israel, China, Korea, Taiwan, and Europe. So if you need to know which factories outside your area are reliable, FLAAR is a valued resource that can be extremely useful.
He is scrupulous about NDA agreements but fortunately most of his knowledge is common sense and simply years and years of experience. Plus Dr Hellmuth has an international network of sources and resources to keep his knowledge up to date and multi-national in coverage.
Consulting on how to interest another company in your technology or chemistry
Merely having a breakthrough new ink, or an impressive new printer technology, or a new component, a new UV-curing concept, is no guarantee for success whatsoever.
The absolutely best ink in the world from 2004-2006 failed miserably to find a single wide-format company to even consider it. It was actually more the chemistry of the ink company managers and their corporate philosophies that doomed this innovative ink.
Today, in 2009, more than half the new products that we see being prepared for the trade shows of 2009 (ISA and FESPA Digital) will fail, fail totally.
Not because they are bad technologies, but because their corporate owners refuse to understand the world around them.
Two wide-format printer manufacturers, every year, spend millions of dollars, to launch new models. Every year their new models fail miserably to gain even 1% market share. Yet next year they spend another million, launch another printer, and it can't even find distributors. Clearly some companies do not wish to hire a consultant!
Since FLAAR is independent, and since we keep track, discretely, of each failure, we can provide poignant case histories on precisely what steps will lead your product also to fail. I wager you have already, inadvertently, made steps in that downward direction. Our goal is to describe what to avoid so all the R&D your company has invested in your new product will have more chance to succeed. And naturally after indicating what not to do, our discussion points out the other path that offers more chance for survival of your nice new invention.
I repeat, to be clearly understood: no matter how good your product is, industry will ignore it completely, unless you understand how to interact in the culture and alliances of today's large-format inkjet industry. This is a different culture so to speak, and they do not pay attention to some of the factors that you value.
At SGIA 2008 I saw the booth of a company with brilliant technology, but not one single solitary large-format printer company in the world was interested in using it. It was not because the technology was bad, but because of industry politics and alliances. He knew he had a good product, so was determined to go it alone. He will blow another million dollars and then recede into the history of products that have failed.
At ISA 2009, a company was displaying a Chinese printer. If he had simply taken the time to hire a consultant he would have found out that this brand had failed in every single other country outside China. But he wanted to save $3000 consulting fee, so instead he wasted about $100,000 publicly exhibiting a printer that was a total loser. Six months later he found this out on his own. We would have been glad to assist him, but unless we are asked we can't rescue every booth at every major trade show.
Information on vendors and technologies
Dr Hellmuth has been trained in the R&D departments of wide-format printer companies around the world, as well as in paper mills (media), ink labs, lamination and many other components.
FLAAR has experience, on-site, around the world, for decades. Dr Hellmuth has lived in Japan, Germany, Austria, and Guatemala (he is a US citizen so obviously has experience on America).
Convenient consulting at ISA '10 or FESPA 2010 trade shows
If you will attend either ISA 2010 (USA) or FESPA 2010 (Munich, Germany), you can make an appointment for a consulting breakfast or a consulting dinner with Dr Hellmuth, including the day before or the day after each of these shows (though obviously most meetings are scheduled in the morning or evening of every exhibit day).
The advantage of booking Dr Hellmuth the morning before or the evening after any of the days of either of these trade shows is that all the products are on the trade show floor.
Plus, you do not have to pay any airfare, and no hotel for Dr Hellmuth either (he is obviously already at the show location anyway).
Consulting on large format printer reality in China, Korea, and Taiwan
Are you a Chinese manufacturer wishing to enter markets in Europe, the US, or Latin America?
Are you a manufacturer in the US, Europe, or Asia who seeks a trustworthy partner in China?
Are you a printshop owner, manager, or investor seeking to learn the pros and cons of Chinese, Korean, or Taiwanese printers? There are considerable differences among manufacturers in these three countries. And within any one of these countries, there are substantial differences in the capabilities, staff, and philosophy of each company.
FLAAR witnessed two companies, who did not utilize his consulting services, each pick the totally wrong Chinese manufacturing partner. One company lost several years in their product development cycle (and wasted tons of money). Another company received a prototype printer "which was not functional upon receipt: we had to rebuild the entire printer, by hand, in our shop in America."
Dr Nicholas Hellmuth can assist your company relative to China, Korea, and Taiwan, as well as in other world areas.
Are you unsure which brand or model of printer to distribute in your country?
We can provide you the knowledge so you can decide which printer to distribute or resell in your country. Otherwise you may select a printer from a company that is about to be bought, sold, or go out of business. Some companies look good at a trade show, but have serious problems back home. The recession will clobber them; FLAAR can suggest a stronger company with a product that will last longer on the market.
We prefer to do the research aspects leading up to an Expert Witness, since an actual court case appearance is difficult due to our busy schedule. So far, of the lawsuits that have been shown to us, half were totally nappropriate. So we may be able to save your stress simply as a consultant in advance of the actual case going to trial.
These contact routes are not intended for:
• Circumventing the inquiry survey form; or
• Submitting miscellaneous questions before a professional consulting relationship is established
This contact route is only for opening up a professional consulting appointment with Dr. Hellmuth coming to your company or to arrange a conference call. We can sign an NDA or your preferred Confidentiality Agreement if necessary, though that just adds a layer of additional paperwork.
FLAAR serves as consultant for Fortune 500 companies as well as companies who wish to reach that level. Because about 100,000 people every month read the FLAAR reports on our dozen web sites it is not possible to respond to fax inquiries or e-mail inquiries unless to establish a professional relationship on a fee basis.
If you are an individual, a small business, as well as a large company, we reply to the Inquiry-Survey Form usually within 48 hours, so submitting the form via e-mail is the best way to contact us. There is no cost for the e-mail service. We are not able to respond to random e-mails or random fax messages.
Please understand that due to the size of the readership it is not realistic to handle inquiries by telephone unless we have a working relationship with your company initiated by your email followed by a day of consulting at your place or at FLAAR's home facility.
We accept inquiries in Español, Deutsch, English, French, Portuguese, and Italian.
Most recently updated February 2013.
Previous updates: November, 2011.October, 2011. February, 2011. Oct, 12, 2009, April 6, 2009, January 23, 2009, May 9, 2008, April 23, 2007, Jan. 6, 2004, Feb. 18, 2003, Oct. 26, 2002, Apr. 16, 2002.
Wide Format Printers