Sat, Apr

Alright, what are your thoughts on your company breaking into functional and industrial print markets? We keep being bombarded by stats telling us there’s enormous potential there – and no doubt there is. But for whom? My take has been that they are not particularly likely expansion/diversification routes for PSPs in the large-format graphics space. Am I wrong?

Do you think your business has a responsibility to help curb climate change – in however small a way that might be? I thought I’d again pose the question given Avery Dennison’s new pledge, and its CEO’s comment that the “imminent global threat” of climate change “demands urgent action from all segments of society - including business - while we still have time to act.” If you have a strong view let me know.

I’m currently researching an article on the value of speaking at conferences and events. If you have, are, or see the potential of doing so – whether it be to raise your company’s profile, build business and/or educate those outside of print about the sector’s potential - I’d love to hear from you.

The images from Agfa of the restored doors to a key part of the Byodo-in Buddhist temple near Kyoto in Japan provide that ‘wow’ factor that we so want to get across to would be wide-format digital inkjet customers – particularly those who may never before have thought of the process as an option for what they want to achieve. If you have any awe inspiring images of digitally printed wide-format work please let me have them, together with a few lines on the job. I’ll aim to get them into the Image Reports gallery of work, but also onto our Think Bigger website for creatives, and onto the associated Think Bigger Pinterest boards. Thank you.

I have been contacted by someone who has worked for a small family-owned print business for almost 10 years and is thinking about branching out on his own, disillusioned with the way his bosses shrug their shoulders at decreasing profit, bemoan the cost of upgrading and complain that the trade "isn't like the old days". My twentysomething contact is working on his own business plan and needs data and input on the fine art digital printing sector. If you are willing to help drop me a line.

Well done to TheMagicTouch for stepping up to the plate and putting print in front of youngsters as a possible career choice at the upcoming Skills Show at the NEC later this week. Working with Proskills and the National Apprenticeship Service the company is helping showcase what the industry can offer – certainly a step the in the right direction and one to be applauded – but it’s a shame we aren’t making more noise given the industry’s size and scope. Maybe next time…

Has Itma 2015 enticed you? If so, let me know what you think of the multitude of new large-format textile printers making their first appearance at the specialist textile show. What developments have turned you on? And where is there still necessary R&D work to be done before you are convinced you should enter the market?

Last week Image Reports held its annual Widthwise Round Table on the state of the UK and Ireland’s wide-format digital print sector - a wonderful discussion - so I want to take this opportunity to say a public thank you to those who took part. For those of you who didn’t, we’ll deliver the highlights in the next issue of the magazine.

Are you reading this newsletter in Atlanta as you walk the halls of the SGIA Expo? If so I’d be interested in hearing whether you think the trip has been worthwhile, and what the US show delivers that perhaps European shows do not.

It’s November so you’re thinking Christmas shopping right? Well plenty are, and I’m not just talking present buying, but getting the house ready for the festivities with a new sofa here, seasonal throw there. What we can expect in both instances is that customisation/personalisation will play a significant role – just look at the upsurge of such gift and homewares offerings online. Accepting that ‘bespoke’ product demand is one of the most notable consumer trends, the question has got to be, how/when will the large-format digital inkjet sector really profit from it?

Image Reports is holding its annual Widthwise Round Table this week, with leading PSPs discussing the state of the wide-format print sector and how to do better business within it. The Fespa Global Summit next month will do something similar on a bigger stage. The great thing about both is that they get people knowledge sharing, which has got to be good. See the upcoming December issue of Image Reports to benefit from the Round Table debate. The Fespa Global Summit will be covered in the following issue.

News of the BPIF’s formation of an Apprentice Council has me wondering just what the wide-format inkjet sector can do to make sure the apprentices within it get their voices heard - and how doing so can help in the development of appropriate sector-wide training programmes. Any ideas?

Are we at the point where some PSPs are actually looking at replacing their first generation UV flatbeds? If your company is doing so, what’s your investment criteria? Or are you looking to benefit from an emerging secondhand market for the kit? It’s a situation I’ll be looking into in the 2016 Widthwise survey and report but it would be good to get a heads-up.