Thu, Mar

It’s all going to be about inkjet at Drupa 2016 if this week’s pre-show press conference is anything to go by. OK, the focus will not be wide-format, but it will be extremely interesting to see where inkjet technologies are taking the print industry and the possibilities it presents for profitable participation.

News is in that Proskills is working with the industry to check if the  PrintIt! ‘schools into industry’ programme is working as well as it could. Given that hardly any large-format orientated printers are involved in the initiative I’d say the sector’s voice is hardly heard. Perhaps this is a good time to shout your corner.

Aston Martin’s chief gave what I considered a good reply to the question of whether it would be better for business to remain in the EU, or to get out, when asked on breakfast television this week. “A stable economy and free trade is what we need - other than that I won’t comment one way or the other.”  If you were put on the spot, what would be your take?

…to all of you who took part in the 2016 Widthwise poll of PSPs in the UK/Ireland  large-format print sector. I’m now number crunching and the analysis will appear in the Widthwise Report later this spring. Many thanks again – your input is much valued.

…for you to take part in this year’s Widthwise poll of the UK’s/Ireland’s large-format PSPs – it closes tomorrow, Friday 19 February. So far we’ve had over 250 respondents, so a massive thank you to those of you that have already taken the time to participate. If you haven’t – yet – you can do so now: click here

Have you taken part in the 2016 Widthwise poll of the UK’s/Ireland’s large-format PSPs yet? If not, please do so – the closing date is this coming Friday, 19 February. The more of you who take part the more representative will be the Widthwise Report on the state of the market, which will be published just ahead of Drupa. To get involved click here

News of Mimaki’s Vehicle Wrap Lab at Oxford Brookes University highlights just how much some companies are doing to get those outside the traditional print markets to understand the value of large-format digital print – in this case, the benefits of vehicle wrapping in F1 motorsport. What are you doing to spread the word about possibilities to those outside the traditional print sectors?

The new ‘The Future of Dye-Sublimation Printing to 2021’ report from Smithers Pira sets out some stunning projections, so will it prompt you to jump onto the textile print bandwagon. I don’t mean that to sound derogatory, it’s just that we’ve seen fabulous figures bandied about for some time, and certainly there’s been a groundshift in the number of PSPs looking to make money that way – but what I gather in talking to many print company chiefs, is that the ‘tipping point’ in terms of ROI (and I mean total ROI – not just kit and consumables prices) has yet to be reached in many instances. Agree? More than happy to hear from you either way.

What’s your supply chain management like? How seriously do you question your own suppliers about their environmental strategies and standards? Do you think it would help you build business if you used those that could demonstrate/prove good practice? It’s an issue I’m looking into right now, so please drop me a line if you’re happy to talk about the subject.

How involved are you in window manifestations? The launch of the new Aslan WindowClear product, together with a very recent conversation I’ve had with a PSP that has brought in a specialist to help it ‘sell’ such solutions across various markets, makes me think it would be good to have a gallery of such work on the Think Bigger Pinterest board run by Image Reports for brands/creatives. If you have suitable images please let me have them, along with a few lines about the job. I look forward to seeing what comes in.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun that plays on the Oasis Graphics acquisition of Mustard Solutions. What I want to ask is whether you think we’re in for a takeover frenzy in 2016? As print providers increasingly feel the need to become one-stop ‘solutions’ providers do you think smaller, specialist operations will be bought-out by diversifying companies needing expertise to help them ‘cut the mustard’ in new market segments?

It’s great to see that the industry is putting some real effort - and money - behind educating the wider creative market to grow the demand for digital inkjet print. The recent release of HP’s ‘Digital Print: A Bigger Spectrum’ digital print ideas book, and now the launch of EFI’s ImagingofThings online community, prompts me to remind you that a couple of years ago we at Image Reports launched the Think Bigger campaign – the intention being to reach out to designers of all shapes and sizes and put inkjet print possibilities in front of them. Two Think Bigger Reports have since been produced specifically for that creative audience, there’s a Think Bigger Pinterest site (https://www.pinterest.com/thinkbiggerhere/) showing amazing jobs, and a dedicated website at http://www.thinkbigger.co. Plenty more is in the pipeline. We all want to see this sector thrive, so get in touch if you want to help us help you.

Daft question - of course you do - I admit to just making a cheap point. With less than three weeks now until the Surface Design Show (9-11 Feb) opens its doors at the Business Design Centre in London, I’m getting the distinct impression that print companies aren’t exactly chomping at the bit – to exhibit, speak, or even attend. Of course my impression may be wrong. Are you going? If so, drop me a line – I’d like to speak with you.

If you’re not moving, you’re standing still. With that in mind, no doubt you will consider your company innovative in some way or another – and I want to know what those areas of innovation are. Perhaps you have a found a much more efficient invoicing method, are cutting costs by changing shift patters, have started an in-house training scheme… it doesn’t matter what ‘innovation’ it is as long as it’s helping you grow a more profitable business. If you’re happy to share your story please get in touch as I’m scouring the sector for innovative PSPs to interview for best practice editorials!