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Last issue’s Top Tips feature focused on how to manage change. Here Dr Colin Thompson, managing partner, Cavendish, delves into the data behind the need for such actions to deliver lean business transformation.

When the printing press was invented in 1450, the population of Europe was 50 million people. The literacy rate at the time has been estimated at 1%, equal to 500,000 people capable of reading what was printed at that time. It took over 100 years to raise the literacy rate to 50%. By then the population was about 70 million people, so it took 100 years for the number of people who could read what was printed to hit 35 million people. Therefore, it took more than 100 years for the number of `users` of print to reach 50 million people. It took the iPad less than one year years to reach 50 million people. And Facebook added 100 million users in just nine months, highlighting the vastly disruptive nature of digital technology.

As a wide-format PSP that runs a W2P service, the Simpson Group is well placed to offer advice on how to successfully integrate the offering. The group’s online print manager Rachel Tait explains.

Raccoon, in Kent, has been going since 1992 and has become synonymous with vehicle wrapping. But it is branching out. A few years ago it introduced Promohire - a promotional vehicle hire service. Now it’s launched www.bigprintfast.com for creatives and trade work. So why has such a specialist print company decided to diversify and is it yet paying off? I asked founder and MD Richard Clark.
By Lesley Simpson

Las Barrow keeps his poker face when asked what he thinks makes him a managerial ‘Leading Light’, which he undoubtedly is having turned a £2 stake in a new business venture back in the mid ‘60s into the £53m turnover Augustus Martin of today.

As Image Reports distributes its eighth annual Widthwise Report on the state of the UK and Ireland’slarge-format digital print sector, Richard Gray of Printfuture, considers the global state of print in general.

48% of printers from across the world expected their companies’ economic performance to improve in 2015 when questioned last autumn, with just 7% expecting things to get worse. Would you describe your prospects so positively? I look forward to reading the detail in the full 2015 Widthwise Report due to be published with this issue. But it is useful to set those findings against the bigger picture of the global print market.

Walter Hale looks to the past to help you face a future where change is all around.

“I’ve never wanted to own a big company; I want a small company where I know what’s going on but that punches above its weight. My philosophy is to keep one step ahead of the competition in terms of technology to do that.

Why Your Print Specialists has joined print companies as a learning partner at project-based Studio West Newcastle. Should you do likewise?

“It is important that we share the experience of our sector and make the younger generation more aware of the exciting opportunities available within it." So says Garry Brown, managing director of Your Print Specialists (YPS) which has become a ‘learning partner’ at a pioneering project-based educational establishment called Studio West Newcastle, and is eager for others to follow suit.

You know the saying “If you’ve got it, flaunt it”. Well Displayways is doing just that with its new printed graphics flooring application.

This spring Image Reports conducted its eighth annual Widthwise Survey of wide-format PSPs. Here’s an overview of the key findings ahead of the full Widthwise Report 2015 which will be published alongside the next issue of the magazine.

KEY FIGURES:

78% said they expect their wide-format turnover in particular to grow in 2015

48% said their wide-format margins are better than those in other parts of their business

47% said they expect to buy a new digital wide-format printer in the next two years

30% said planned investment would enable them to move into new markets

57% plan to add/expand their design service in the next year to meet customer demand

55% said they have no major technical issues

57% plan to recruit in the next two years

Image Alchemy, a technology company that develops and supplies digital printing solutions, is seeking crowdfunding for a refillable large-format ink cartridge that its MD, Paul Banks, believes will revolutionise the inkjet market.

When first interviewed for Image Reports, the then 23 year-old Stuart Maclaren had set-up Your Print Partner in Lincoln just eleven months beforehand, and having spent £70,000 on his first output device - a Mimaki direct-to-textile printer - he was predicting a first year turnover of £600,000.