Sat, Jun

Take your partners…

Is your business sustainable? Do you need to add services and solutions to make it so? Can you do that on your own, or should you form more partnerships? Mike Freely, marketing and sustainability director at Service Graphics Display, believes in the latter.

Are you dancing to new tunes given all the changes the Covid-19 pandemic has wrought? Diversification has become the go-to strategy within so many print companies since early 2020, but we all know it can be a costly and time-consuming business. Partnering may be a more viable option, and in the ever-expanding graphics division of Paragon Group UK (parent to Service Graphics Display, Octink, Human Built an Image Factory) that’s proving its worth. Mike Freely, marketing and sustainability director at Service Graphics Display articulates why more PSPs should be looking at this route to futureproofing business.

Freely says: “Like most operations in our sector, we within the graphics division of Paragon Group are alert to the fact that the world can change very quickly, whether due to macro-economic reasons or local market conditions that drive clients to demand ever more from their supply chains. As such the need to pivot and flex with ideas, innovation and offer that total solution is more important than ever.

“The visual communications sector is probably as competitive as it ever has been, and as a brand collective we have found that collaborating with specialists and influencers to integrate new products and value-added services is a great way to access to the latest innovation and develop a genuine end-to end proposition - it provides a cost-effective and quicker route to market in many cases.

“Clients are rightly making increasing demands on their supply chains, demanding partnerships that deliver far more than just being a company that delivers product to them compliantly or at the right quality. Increasingly our experience is that they want to explore our capability for creative design, innovation, and environmental thinking as part of an end-to-end total package. Creating robust, well-structured partnerships where additional expertise and capacity can be leveraged as part of our own offer is proving invaluable.

“Looking at what Octink has done in this area, a common theme throughout has been the environment. Octink now has five or six partnerships to enable it to deliver everything from living walls to reusable displays and air cleaning coatings. Those partnerships seek to add capability as well importantly driving core business to maximise our printer capacity!

“A great example is Octink’s latest partnership is with hoarding disrupter Kwik-Klik. Traditional hoardings constructed from timber are inherently unsustainable, so finding a business built on providing a genuine eco alternative was a great fit to everything we are already doing in regards to this agenda. Geared to both interior and exterior hoardings, the materials used are both reusable and recyclable and when paired with our eco-rated graphics the result is a major tick for our construction sector clients as well as retailers and those involved with live events looking to solve sustainability in their supply chains.

“The relationship with Kwik-Klik is highly collaborative on both sides, working together to explore mutual opportunities for both hoardings and graphics that exist within our respective client bases and adding great value along the way. The results are already paying dividend helping to maximise our printer capacity and graphics output as a result.

“As with the Kwik-Klik relationship, our plan is to remain inquisitive towards additional partnerships during 2022, with the aim of bringing ever more value and innovation to our clients. Like all relationships however, any potential partnership must be taken seriously, with critical time investment and energy from both sides in order to maximise the opportunities and to ultimately provide a robust a client offering.

“Partnerships don’t always have to involve physical product though, and we also place great importance on our association with key interest groups and bodies that are pushing important agendas. Paragon’s Human Built brand has recently partnered with ISLA, a force for good within the events and exhibitions sector that is driving sustainability and change in what has historically been a hugely wasteful sector. Being a part of its print working group directly supports our divisional mission to go ‘green as standard’, helping define not only the eco rated print substrates that we bring to market but also the waste streams that push a closed loop approach to these products at the end of their service life.

“We are now working to a position in 2022 of being ‘green first’ in our approach to specifying projects, alongside routes to reusing and recycling product post use. We have just published our ‘Sustainable Choices’ plan, a roadmap for sustainability that can only be delivered through collaboration and partnering with the best suppliers in the business.

“Paragon’s strategic partnerships are a force for real change and competitive advantage in the long run. We have many more examples of where partnering has extended our capacity for research and development, our knowledge and insight. What recent history has taught us is the absolute need to be agile and to see short-term disruption as an opportunity to execute real change. Partnership working can certainly help you do that.”

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