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Sat, Sep

Well the question over what’s happening at McKenzie Clark has been answered, only to raise another over how many more print providers are ripe for the picking. My guess is quite a few. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing for the face of print as it becomes part and parcel of a more integrated ‘solutions’ led industry is it? Let’s discuss.

It’s something of a rhetorical question, but don’t you want a business improvement project that will bring you in an extra £1m worth of work this year? Hollywood Monster claims to have just that, so it might be worth learning a lesson or two from what it’s doing - not least of all by using more apprentices. I know there are print companies that have found this a difficult path to take for various reasons, but it must be worth a rethink…

It was clear from Fespa Digital that UK wide-format printers are very actively seeking ways in which to expand their remit in this competitive marketplace. The 2012 Widthwise Report from Image Reports, due for publication later this spring, should provide a clear picture of the state of the UK/Ireland wide-format sector to help you better position your company and its offerings. A huge thank you to all of those printers who have already undertaken the survey that forms the basis of this report. If you have not already done so, please do so at http://survey.infotrends.com/widthwise.htm

How well do you know your customers, and well do they know you? According to Canon’s new Insight Report, not very well. Over 400 print buyers across Europe were asked for their input into this report, which certainly does not focus on wide-format, but nevertheless perhaps reflects the general need for print companies of all types to build better relationships. What do you need to help you do that?

How big a deal is succession planning for family businesses these days? The Forum of Private Business certainly thinks it’s of national importance, so how relevant do you consider it to be in today’s print sector, which was practically built on small family owned firms.

Well done to the Fespa team for putting together a show that has caught the attention of such a cross section of wide-format print producers. If you were there – or still are – let me know what you found most eye opening.

I wonder how many of you are accessing this email in Barcelona where Fespa Digital is about to open its doors. I’ll be pacing the stands and attending seminars to bring you details of the newest products and services, and to highlight the various trends and issues thrown up by not just the exhibitors and speakers, but by you the visitor as you digest all the show presents. So if you see me, stop me and have a word! Widthwise 2012 survey, take part now http://survey.infotrends.com/widthwise.htm

A big thank you to all those who have already responded to my request that you take part in the 2012 Widthwise Survey of the UK and Ireland’s wide-format print sector. But we still need more of you to do so if we’re to match the 200 respondents to last year’s poll – and of course the aim is to collect more data than we did then so we can provide you with an even more substantial Widthwise Report of the findings and the trends they disclose. To take part go to: http://survey.infotrends.com/widthwise.htm

Are developments in software packages currently grabbing your attention more than those in the hardware space? The launch of GMG’s new ProductionSuite for the wide-format market prompts the question, especially coming so soon after the announcement of Pixel Blaster from SAI. These reflect more than a natural evolution of product, but a changing approach to how wide-format businesses operate. If you’re interested in finding out more, see the feature in the upcoming March issue of Image Reports.

Image Reports is again taking the temperature of the UK and Ireland large-format print sector via its annual Widthwise Survey. The more data collected, the better and more accurate will be the subsequent Widthwise Report, which will be free to all Image Reports readers in May. Therefore, please take part in this year’s Widthise poll. Go to http://survey.infotrends.com/widthwise.htm

News of Spandex strengthening its Board to drive growth has me wondering how many large-format print companies have done something similar. When things started getting tough and print firms actively started to diversify and reposition their businesses there were rumblings of ‘business tsars’ being brought in to help existing management teams with their new strategies. Did you go this route – and was it successful?

I’ve received information from a few manufacturers and suppliers in the wide-format space that they will either not exhibit at Sign and Digital UK or at Fespa Digital this year because they are focussing on Drupa instead. As wide-format print specialists I’d be interested in whether you will attend that giant of a show as well as one of the other more specialised events or instead?

Come on, your country needs you! The UK is trailing behind Germany in the number of nominations for Fespa’s inaugural Hall of Fame. We have plenty of ‘leading lights’ to put forward so put your choice forward.

With Onlineprinters having seen revenues jump 30% in 2011, I must surely ask, are you leveraging the power of Web-to-print yet, and if so, for which type of products and market sectors is it proving most successful? Is it working for you beyond the usual template-based print offerings, such as posters and basic POP/POS? I’d love to talk to you about your experiences and future plans to harness the system more creatively to build revenue and margin.

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