Thu, Apr

You want to expand or diversify - so get crowdfunding. That’s what Your Print Partner (YPP) is doing to get its latest venture - CustomGifts.co.uk - up and running. Its young gun chief, Stuart Maclaren - who’s still not 30! - isn’t one to sit around while markets move on, and he’s confident this funding route will let him get in on the action sooner rather than later. What are your thoughts on crowdfunding as a business development tool?

How do you feel the findings from the latest BPIF Printing Outlook survey reflect what’s happening within your business – or the wide-format inkjet print sector as a whole? The Widthwise Survey undertaken among digital large-format PSPs at the start of this year was somewhat more upbeat (https://www.imagereportsmag.co.uk/widthwise2018) – have things changed much in the last six months? Is your outlook more, or less, positive for the future?

So, according to the SDEA’s latest survey, those providing display systems to the UK retail sector are doing OK thank you. Do you concur when it comes to print for the retail sector?

What attention do you pay to sustainable practice within the circular economy? On 6 November, at the Power of Print talk at Stationers’ Hall in London, Kevin Vyse, senior packaging technologist and circular economy lead at Marks and Spencer, will explain how sustainable packaging is a fundamental part of its Plan A strategy, and how this is an opportunity for paper and cardboard packaging. You know how it is - often where the likes of Marks and Sparks lead others follow, so maybe worth hearing what he has to say. Go to www.powerofprint.info

I see that Paragon Customer Communications has been awarded a gold rating for sustainability by Ecovadis, placing it in the top 2% of global print service suppliers for corporate responsibility. Any of you large-format printers out there putting CSR high on your agenda?

It’s somewhat ironic that few printers are likely to attend the Connected World Summit, being held this year at the Printworks in London (25-26 September). Now in its fourth year, this conference-come-exhibition is all about emerging technologies for smart cities, looking at topics such as smart buildings and transport, but also at the internet of things, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, blockchain - things that could - and at some point in the future most likely will - impact your business. Might be worth checking outif you're taking a long-term view….

Do you have a flatbed printer, and if so, have you used its capability to take you into short-run/bespoke packaging? Just wondering, as it’s an application much discussed as a potential diversification for large-format PSPs.

Well done again to GIS in winning its second Queen’s Award for Enterprise. Of course not all companies can win an accolade like that - what gives it such kudos of course - but any award is worth winning in the PR and marketing stakes, right? So how many awards schemes do you enter each year, roughly? Have you won any this year? Let me know which have been most valuable to you.

It seems that everyone is getting a business development director. What happened to MD’s doing that job? I say that in a somewhat light-hearted fashion as I can see the value in having a dedicated person tasked with looking at new business opportunities, but where do you find these ‘expert’ business developers. Get in touch if you’re happy to discuss.

Should we be looking to the US for leadership? Well, if that means following the SGIA’s lead, maybe. Its members have provided $96,000 in support of print skills competitions as part of a wider student/industry programme to ensure a skilled workforce for the US. Of course the print associations over here in the UK do their bit to promote and back skills development too, but should we be doing more?

OK, the sun is shining on most of us, but bet some of you still have your Monday moans. It’s all very well being positive and upbeat, but sometimes it’s therapeutic to get things off your chest. What bug bears do you have about the large-format print sector? Let me know…along with any suggested remedies.

Have you done a whacky or super-creative large-format print job of late that you want to get in front of creatives? If so - and you’re allowed to share the info - please send me a pic and some words about the job. I’m making a concerted effort to get more imagination-stretching print jobs on our Think Bigger noticeboard and help expand the market for digital large-format print.

Choose which you prefer for your business. With the release of the newest Corporate Sustainability Report from Sun Chemical must come a realisation that businesses – of all types and sizes – need to take environmental measures seriously if they want to remain healthy. At some point customers are going to start turning away from those ignoring the issue. Let me know what you’re doing about greening up your act – I’d be interested in running a series of best practice pieces in the mag. Thank you.

Guessing that’s how a lot of people in the print sector will feel on hearing the news of Ipex’s demise. Last August I interviewed Rob Fisher and asked him whether the 2017 show would even go ahead, and if so, what the likelihood was of another beyond that. He was philosophical – you can read the piece at: http://bit.ly/2yMxNHO. And in the new issue of Image Reports we look at the role of trade shows in general: http://bit.ly/2KelVm6. Do you still want them? The success of Fespa would suggest you do… but in what format?

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