Tue, Apr

100% Design at Olympia in London takes place from this Wednesday until Saturday. In previous years there has been a smattering - well, OK, one or two – large-format print businesses showcasing possibilities. A trawl through the exhibitor list this year suggests those that have made the effort to get in front of creatives and potential new customers via this route have found it unrewarding. What’s your take on getting creative solutions in front of people who otherwise would have no idea of what’s possible with wide-format digital print?

It has cheered me that Mid West Displays has been shortlisted for a products and services gong in a prestigious annual property sector awards scheme. We don’t do enough to get the recognition we deserve in the markets we serve. Do you enter non-print industry specific awards? If so, has it proved worthwhile? Let me know…

Sun Chemical has issued a statement regarding its supply chain in the wake of Hurricane Irma. Here’s what is says: Due to the unprecedented impact and devastation in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, several of Sun Chemical’s feedstock suppliers have announced a force majeure and many other raw materials suppliers are reviewing allocations. While the volatility of the supplier markets is unknown at this point, the inks and pigments markets will be affected. Sun Chemical is committed to working closely with its suppliers to assess global ramifications, develop needed contingency plans and to notify customers of potential delays or issues. Sun Chemical will continue to communicate as more information becomes available.

If you have cash to splash perhaps you should be heading to The Ritz hotel in London next week. Fespa UK promises it will be money well spent given that it’s hosting a profit building forum there next Tuesday. You may even save in the end as various initiatives under discussion attract government funding. What’s not to like!

Would you like to spend a bit more time sunning yourself over the summer – or at any other time of the year for that matter? Well maybe the time is coming when you can. I don’t mean retirement – and that’s getting further and further away for most of us! I’m talking about  artificial intelligence and its use within business.

Just to let you know that I’m heading off on my jollies over August and that my normal enews service will resume on my return in September. But keep your info coming in while I’m away, I don’t want to miss anything!

If you have undertaken any really unusual wide-format print jobs of late and are happy for me to show them off in the ‘Think Bigger’ gallery of work in the Image Reports mag and on the website please drop me a printable quality image and a few words about the project and I’ll see what I can do – I’m always happy to present your work to a wider audience!

In the words of Baroness Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, print "is no longer a male dominated, old fogy industry". Is she right? At the Print Futures Awards she hosted on behalf of the Printing Charity at the House of Lords last Thursday, you might have thought so. Of the 78 18-30 year-olds that were accepting financial awards to help them with their training, there was an exact 50/50 split between male and female. But that’s hardly representative of the print sector as a whole is it - certainly not at the management end of things anyway. And when it comes to the hot potato that is equality of pay, well.... So should we as an industry be doing something more proactive about this unbalanced state of affairs?

I'm about to start research into the hybrid inkjet printer market, but being candid, do established large-format PSPs still consider them a viable option? And what questions would you have me put to their developers? Let me know - my aim, as always, is to raise your concerns and report back to you!

Is it just a fluke that I’m hearing of so many sales-staff moves at the moment or is there some kind of summer swapsies going on? And the next question has got to be – is it getting harder to retain good staff?

The issue of poor cashflow has been raising its ugly head again of late – with a number of PSPs saying that they are being squeezed by suppliers at one end and customers at the other. What’s your take? Are things tougher now than they were this time last year?

Want to get more from what you’ve got? OK, it’s a rhetorical question, but the next one isn’t. What do you know about value stream mapping (VSM)? My guess is that it’s probably not as much as they do at Data Image in Leicester.

Speaking with a PSP about its diversification into soft signage the talk turned to the difficulty in finding staff with the industrial sewing expertise to work in the finishing department. The problem has set back its whole development strategy. Where are skills gaps causing you the most hassle?

How important is it to you to get all your large-format supplies from a company that can meet all your needs? I ask in light of Antalis doing deals with Revolution Digital, Granthams and Agfa to become a one-stop-shop for everything large-format. Just wondering how many well-established large-format PSPs value this kind of service...

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