Thu, Jan

This summer Apex Digital Graphics managing director Bob Usher was elected chairman of Picon, the UK confederation of print industry manufacturers and suppliers. One of his aims is to broaden Picon’s membership, with a focus on attracting more companies from the digital and cross-media sectors.

“Not a chance” according to print management specialist Graham Reed, a founding member of the Print Tribe, part ofglobal consultancy firm PrintFuture. Yet it does need careful consideration as he explains.

Hopefully the headline got your attention: it should. What really concerns me about ‘our’ industry is the emerging trend that when a new technology comes about that has even the remotest association with images on a substrate, it is going to be the saviour of the printing industry. Take Web-to-print (W2P); more than half of organisations that have bought W2P systems across the globe have not implemented them so that they bring a profitable outcome to their organisation. So why is cross media going to be any different?

Phil Thompson, head of BPIF Business, talks us through independent colour quality certification based on ISO12647 and 9001.

The BPIF has developed a UK Certification scheme for ISO12647, knowing that as with quality and environmental standards, buyers expect independent auditing and certification from UKAS accredited certification bodies. In response to such customer demands, a growing number of UK printing companies are now working towards the ISO12647 standard which is specific for colour quality.

According to InfoTrends’ ‘Transforming Textile Printing’ report published at the start of this year, the global textile industry is worth approximately $1 trillion. While the digital textile printing market is tiny in comparison to the entire textile industry, it is growing rapidly from a global perspective. So are you in on the action?

Jos Bastiaans, director of Netherlands-based textile print specialist Print Unlimited, has been involved in digital textile printing since it was merely an idea. He worked as a development and software engineer at Océ Netherlands before joining Stork, where he was part of team that developed the first inkjet plotter for textiles back in 1989. During the 1990s Stork set up a commission printing operation, which in 1999 became Print Unlimited. When this operation was hived off in a management buyout at the end of 2003, Bastiaans led the executive team responsible. And there he’s been ever since, so what he doesn’t know about textile printing isn’t worth knowing! Here are his thoughts…


Phil Thompson, head of BPIF Business, looks at health and safety compliance.

Results from recent research show that health and safety is the third biggest source of small firms' compliance expenditure, after tax matters and employment law. But the real cost is not just financial; at seven hours a month it is the second largest consumer of time after employment law. And companies are now spending more on external specialists to help them cope.

Consultant Matthew Parker provides his top tips on how to retain valuable customers and build business on the back of their loyalty. 

Then hear what Jacky Hobson has to say about it. As a professional marketer with both client- and agency-side experience, she has worked as a marketing consultant almost wholly in the print space since 2002, so she knows what she’s talking about with these top tips.


Fespa UK Association dates back to 1934 when it was formed as the Display Producers and Screen Printers Association. It has since undergone various name changes, officially appearing in its current guise in January 2012. It represents the interests of screen and digital wide-format print service providers, industrial and specialist printers, the objective being toinspire best practice and ultimately help guide businesses to a profitable and successful future. Mark Simpson has been the association’s president since 2010, so asked him how it is living up to its remit.

Phil Thompson, head of BPIF Business, looks at the downside of social media and the protocols you should have in place in terms of staff involvement.

Use of Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites have increased with astonishing speed. Companies are realising the benefits of being involved with these innovative routes to market, however, often they have been slow to appreciate and put in place processes and procedures to diminish the negative affects on the business. As such, the use of social medial by employees is becoming and increasing problem for employers.  Specific protocols are necessary to manage issues that can arise.

There are almost as many theories about how to run a company as there are companies. These theories go in and out of fashion so often because management is actually incredibly situation specific. A stroke of genius in one context can be a strategic blunder in another. That’s why many business leaders don’t read tomes on management theory, they devour biographies (often of Napoleon), newspapers (Warren Buffett still reads the Wall Street Journal from cover to cover everyday) and ask questions.

Are you one? You should be if you want to lead your company through difficult times. Marcus Timson of FM explains the hows and whys with these top tips.


Founded in 1985, Fastsigns now has over 540 centres across eight countries and for the second year running it has been certified as a World-Class Franchise by the Franchise Research Institute. So what makes the network so successful – and should you have a place within it? Here UK MD Garth Allison talks about the organisation’s structure and strategy for continued growth.

Phil Thompson, head of BPIF Business, looks at the best ways to get the best out of your staff.

As both competition and consolidation increase, organisations are focusing on employee contribution, motivation and behaviour, which will in turn have a significant impact on competitive advantage and business success.

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