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Sun, Mar

I met with BPIF CEO Charles Jarrold at the end of January where we discussed the need for a cohesive and fully representative print industry voice to government – and elsewhere. But does large-format really make enough noise about its requirements to ensure they are on the agenda? Jarrold said he’d welcome input from the sector - BPIF members or otherwise - so maybe it’s time to bend his ear as the GPMA ramps up its lobbying.

Just thought it worth mentioning a new research project between inline digital printing company DataLase and Manchester University to develop a diverse portfolio of colour-change ink pigments for multi-colour printing of products and packaging. OK, it’s not aimed at large-format inkjet printing, but perhaps it’s worth keeping an eye on.

The project will form part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), a programme helping businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills. Marion Wrackmeyer, a member of the School of Chemistry at Manchester University, will work on the project for the next two years. 

The announcement of the Fespa 2017 marketing strapline ‘Dare to Print Different’ prompts me to ask if technological advancement and new products/market opportunities have significantly changed your customer base over the last few years. If so, please drop me a line – I’d like to talk to you in relation to an editorial project I’m running.

Are digital print companies part of the digital community? Would it be helpful if they were seen as such? If so, perhaps it would make sense to be taking part in events like the upcoming ‘Digital Skills Festival’ in Manchester next month? Just a thought given print’s image issues as an outdated industry.

Could your ‘solutions’ people help brands reach the customers they are struggling to attract? If that’s a key area for you it might be worth having a look at the 2017 Customer Loyalty Engagement Index (CLEI) from research consultancy Brand Keys.  It shows that changing customer expectations are making life harder for retailers seeking to improve brand engagement levels – maybe they could do with your input?

What level of risk taker do you consider yourself to be? I ask because, for many, ‘caution’ is the watchword for 2017 as the Brexit vote here and Trump’s US presidency really begin to make their mark. In this issue IMI Europe MD Dr Tim Phillips reports on the panel discussion it arranged towards the end of 2016 with key players in the digital inkjet space on how the changing political landscape might impact the sector going forward (see p25). What are the challenges – and opportunities? According to Alex Blackman, MD of British-based cutting solutions manufacturer Blackman and White – himself a staunch ‘remainer’ pre-vote – he now believes “Brexit might not be the disaster we thought it would be”, buts adds that there’s a wait-and-see mentality perhaps holding back investment as we go into the New Year (see p36). Does that sound about right in relation to your business?

As you know, Image Reports is currently running its tenth annual Widthwise survey among large-format PSPs. Of course I’d love your input, click here but I also want to know if you’d be happy to join a panel discussion on the key findings of that poll at Fespa in May. If you’re up for that, please drop me a line and we’ll go through the detail.

Just wondered if you knew about a new show that might be of interest: Materials 2017. It will take place at the ILEC Centre, London on 25 - 26 April and could well be worth a look-see if you’re into printing onto novel substrates.

Just wondering if the Simpson Group’s investment in a Col-Tec Smart Collator heralds something big in terms of how large-format orientated PSPs handle finishing/packing/distribution. Will be interesting to see what this Spring’s trade shows bring to the sector’s attention in this regard! 

You’ve probably already had notice that the Image Reports’ annual Widthwise poll of large-format PSPs is now live. Please help us provide as precise and far reaching a report as possible from the data we collect by taking part. You can do so at: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/H63WZWR.

Also, the upcoming Jan/Feb issue of Image Reports carries an interview with Fespa UK Association chief Peter Kiddell on the state of this sector’s training. Help put things right by connecting at: FESPA UK Association Print Training Needs Survey.

I’m liking what Leach Studio is doing with concepts for Bolton Museum – in terms of how it’s working with its client as much as the designs themselves. With an increasing amount of PSPs ‘evolving’ their pre-press departments into fully fledged design arms it would be interesting to hear from those of you that feel the move has changed the kind of relationship you have with your clients – and whether that’s helping you bring in more lucrative jobs by being involved earlier on in the design process.

 

“To affect change, we have to start with ourselves. With each new day, we have a chance to make better decisions, bigger strides, and more progress - personally and professionally.” That is a quote from the new book `Create Your Own Success Story` from business coach Dr Colin Thompson with a foreword by Dr Tim Watts, chairman of the Pertemps Group. What with New Year’s resolutions and all that, it might be worth a look-see.

This is my last enewsletter of 2016 so can I take the opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year. See you in 2017!

So the BPIF is moving to ‘the home of print’ at St Bride Foundation. I’m not convinced aligning itself so closely with the historical aspects of print is such a great move for an association representing an industry struggling to shrug off its antiquated image and attract young talent. Am I out of step on this?