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Thu, Mar

Callprint is on the acquisition trail, and looking for companies with large-format print and project management capability, with a turnover in excess of £3m, and with room to grow. Callprint itself, formed in 1992 as a repro and print operation, currently employs 170 staff at 20 branches and has a turnover of over £12m. Its intention is to grow sales to £25m in the next two years. I met with MD Steve Cheek to find out what part wide-format plays in this strategic development plan.
By Lesley Simpson

Octink CEO Will Tyler was once a commodity trader. Though he had what he calls ‘an epiphany’ at 20 and left that scene to join his father Tony Tyler in the sign business he’d started back in 1962 as Allsigns, being financially savvy has stood the son and heir in good stead to lead the company that he inherited on his father’s sudden death in 1994. Then it had a turnover of around £380,000. Now it’s around £15m. And that doesn’t include any income from its sales/project management offices abroad, that he expects “will dwarf what we’re doing now in terms of turnover in the next two-to three years”.

The corrugated industry is booming. All the figures say so. And there’s an opportunity for wide-format players to get into the market – but only if they do so in the next 12 months. After that, it will be too late. So says Steve Wood, marketing manager, corrugated display and packaging, Fujifilm Speciality Ink Systems, who accepts that his focus is converting the packaging convertors from analogue to digital inkjet – or at least invest in the technology as a complementary process to fill a growing demand for shortrun, bespoke, retail ready packaging modules, quickly, efficiently and profitably. Sounds a no brainer – if you’re in the packaging game. Or, if you have brands as customers - ones you could offer such a service to. And therein lies the opportunity.

Ernesto Sirolli makes a good living coaching entrepreneurs. And whenever he meets a business leader for the first time, he says that leadership starts with four words: “Shut up and listen.” Here’s why.

It’s been said before, and it’s being said again: print needs to rebrand if it’s to attract top people from outside its own orbit. Mercury Search and Selection MD Dani Novick argues the point.

Dani Novick knows what she’s talking about when it comes to the issues surrounding recruitment in the print industry. As managing director of Mercury Search and Selection she’s well immersed in the arguments, and in finding solutions for getting the right people in the right jobs. The company, founded in 2000 and a partner to the BPIF and IOP The Packaging Society, has a divisional structure with specialists in various parts of print and packaging - including digital print - and handles recruitment across the whole print business landscape, from design, print production, finance, sales and marketing, through to director appointments. So Novick’s take on the how we ‘turn on the talent’ to a career within a print-based operation is worth having. Here’s what she has to say...

An article earlier this year looked at finishing options for rigid substrates. Now, Nessan Cleary focuses on options for finishing flexible materials.

Do you have the right legal cover in place? Beverley East from Abbey Legal Services, on behalf of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), provides advice.

Recent employment tribunals have held that overtime should be included in the calculation of an employee’s holiday pay. Abigail Halcarz, an employment solicitor in the commercial group at SGH Martineau LLP, considers the ramifications for employers.

Novalia’s mission is “to bring print to life” by integrating conductive inks and electronics technology to make it interactive.

I went to meet with its founder, Dr Kate Stone, to find out how that mission is going, and what part the large-format inkjet print sector can play in that. 
By Lesley Simpson

Sometimes it pays to bring in the experts. Swiftprint is a case in point, having employed those with colour management know-how to streamline its operations.

‘Solutions’ selling is on the up, and with it increased levels of customer objection to your sales pitch. So how do you effectively manage that? Tony Hodgson, director of PODi for Europe, provides tactical advice. 

Forget Cilla Black. This is Astley’s messaging to the bright young things it wants to attract to its in-house Trainee Development Programme. Here’s how it’s managing to catch their attention.

Until a rebrand in 2012, the large-format print arm of the multi-sited and variously named Astley group of businesses was better known as Jigsaw. But then the pieces were carefully put together, so that the £10.5m turnover group became clearly recognisable as simply Astley. It’s a move that commercial director Gavin Redhead believes is helping the North East Business Awards 2014 finalist reach the new talent it is eager to engage.