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Sat, Jun

How do printers need to talk to marketers and creatives to build better business opportunities? That's the question I put to Charlotte Graham-Cumming, director of Ice Blue Sky, a fast-growing B2B marketing communications agency. In her own words, the company “acts as a conduit between the printer and their customers”, so she’s well placed to share some valuable insights.

Phil Thompson, head of BPIF Business, says insurance companies are looking for more rigorous risk management plans following the winter floods. Here’s his business continuity health check.

We have seen how unpredictable the weather can be and some print companies have been affected enormously. However, it is not only those that suffered from the floods that are having to face up to the consequences; insurance companies are now increasingly looking for more rigorous business management plans to ensure that if a company is impacted by either natural disaster or human error, they could manage the situation effectively and quickly.

The St Bride Foundation is well known in print circles. Based behind the church of St Bride at the bottom of Fleet Street, it has been synonymous with the industry since it was founded in 1891. It’s aim then was to provide a social and cultural centre for local people, with emphasis for those in the printing and associated trades. Over the years it became well known for its printing school, library and archives, but is it all about the past? Does it have a valuable role to play in print’s future too?

Image Reports editor, Lesley Simpson, asked chief executive Glyn Farrow about the foundation’s current remit.

With recruitment high on many a print company agenda, Jonathan Malyon, MD of executive search firm M Associates, provides his take on the key considerations/issues/actions needed to find the right people for the right price.

Pensions are being reformed, and given that it’s your responsibility to ensure your business is ready for the changes you had best be well prepared. Automatic enrolment is not an option but a process each employer must follow and there are fines for those who delay. Phil Thompson, head of BPIF Business, reports.

Your automatic enroling staging date is based on the number of persons in your PAYE scheme on 1 April 2012. The staging dates for companies with over 250 employees has already started. The next section, for companies with between 50 and 249 employees, will be between 1 April this year and next. 1 April 2015 - 1 April 2017 will see the automatic enrolment of those with fewer than 50 workers. New employees will need to start on the 1 May 2017 and this will be ongoing.

Franchise chain Fastsigns wants to strengthen its brand and grow its UK network. To help it do so it’s changed its recruitment and training tactics.

The bigger the pool the more fish there are to catch. That’s the logic behind a franchisee-seeking plan thought up by Fastsigns UK managing director Garth Allison. As he is happy to point out, the operation has “typically attracted would-be franchisees who have been made redundant and want to go into business for themselves. From a proactive perspective we’ve usually used dedicated franchise exhibitions, but we’ve been shifting emphasis over the last 12 – 18 months to make sure we’re getting our offering in front of more people.” It’s not just about numbers though, it’s about variety too. “The thing is, too many people are fishing in the same pool of talent. We’re trying to expand that pool of talent and find people that perhaps have not given print franchising a thought.”

To promote the power of print to the creative community and stimulate continuous innovation...

As a leading player in the printing industry, Fujifilm recognises it has a key role to play in the future of the industry and is committed to raising awareness of the unlimited potential of print among a wider audience, including print service providers, marketers and the creative design community. With a focus on increasing the understanding of print as a powerful communications medium, Fujifilm decided to supporting the ‘Think Bigger Report’, as it recognised its potential to serve as a platform from which to showcase some of the most original ways in which the power of print can be exploited to maximise communications campaigns.

Excuse the pun, but Watford- based Rocket is blasting off. Having secured contracts that increased its turnover by 25% in 2013 it is on an upwards trajectory, hiring new staff, investing in new kit and expanding its factory space to secure what it anticipates being double digit growth again in 2014. Image Reports Editor, Lesley Simpson, met with former Service Graphics and McKenzie Clark man Antony Rider, now Rocket’s commercial director, to discuss the company’s rise and vision for the future. Here’s what transpired.

 

Tony Hodgson, director of PODi for Europe, provides a heads-up on marketing initiatives you should note for 2014.

As we kick off a new series of ‘Turning on the Talent’ articles the starter question goes to the Simpson Group. How are they doing just that?

To paraphrase the famous quote from the film ‘Field of Dreams’: If you build it, they will come. The Simpson Group can prove it. By building strong relationships with local educational establishments it is pulling in people that otherwise would never have thought of a career with a print company. Sri Kataram and Adam Riddick are proof positive. Both are IT/software development specialists who have been directed towards Simpsons by Teesside University, where the group’s ever strengthening relationship with computing sciences lecturer Barry Hebbron in particular is really paying off.

Image Reports is entering its 21st year in celebratory style, bringing to the party a host of new initiatives and developments. Here’s how it will support you and the industry even more in 2014 and beyond.

As you know, via its ‘Turning on the Talent’ initiative, Image Reports is focussing on what we can do within the print industry to attract bright young things. So it’s great to see that Ipex 2014 is running a Youth Day – we certainly need to do more to put the modern face of printing in front of future generations and show that it’s not just for those with a craft bent. If you are doing something to get that message out there, I’d love to hear from you.

How do you ensure you retain you best employees? Phil Thompson, head of BPIF Business, talks you through the essential steps to building a lasting relationship.

Recruiting great staff is one thing, retaining them once you have them is another. Often companies will take great care in finding the right type of employee for the business, but how much time is spent making sure it remains right for them? Increasingly PSPs are recruiting from the graduate pool for instance, but what does that mean in terms of both parties’ expectation?

Because wide-format print output is often not paper–based, its producers tend to feel sidelined when it comes to organisations like Two Sides waving the flag for print per se. So Lesley Simpson, Editor of Image Reports, met with Martyn Eustace, director of Two Sides UK and of Print Power, to ask whether these organisations can, and do, represent the interests of the wide-format print sector as part of the overall remit to put print back firmly on the marketing communications map.