Wed, Jul

The BPIF has apparently listened to feedback from the industry in regards to training requirements, and is widening its offering in 2022 accordingly. Courses will include a new Signage Technician Level 3 programme, following input from the federation’s display and POS interest group. This comes after other actions taken in this sector, including the introduction in the summer of the ‘Display and POS 2 Recycling Scheme’ with Prismm Environmental. Increasingly the BPIF is stepping up to the plate in representing large-format PSPs and I’m happy to be part of the conversation as to where more support can be given. So, as always, let me know if you have any biting issues and I’ll be happy to pass them on.

Next week the BPIF will run a Carbon Roundtable at which members - and others - will discuss the impact of carbon on the print industry. I’d love to know whether you think we’re acting fast enough to reduce our footprint, and where you think the quickest gains can be made?

The December issue of Image Reports has gone to bed and I’m planning the next one. Let me know if there are any burning issues you would like to see covered in the first issue of the New Year and I’ll see what I can do. Onwards and upwards…

Fespa UK is looking for someone to take up the newly created position of client relationship manager - the emphasis being on finding someone who is “print through and through”, which makes a lot of sense considering the association’s ‘clients’ are PSPs. But when it comes to PSPs finding people for such roles, you no doubt want people who know your respective client markets through and through. Is that something that’s becoming easier or more difficult as you diversify?

Have you heard of Location Live? I was only made aware of it this week in an email with the eye-catching strap ‘Your new billboard is your local park: the evolution of experiential space in a post-pandemic society’. Basically, the business sources locations for all sorts of live events, and it reckons empty retail spaces have opened up a plethora of new opportunities when it comes to experiential activations for brands. Might be worth a bit of a conversation with them - there must be print possibilities galore.

Nearly a quarter of lorry drivers expect to leave the industry in the next three years, according to a poll (by a Pertemps) of more than 2,500 existing HGV licence holders. How significantly is that likely to impact you, and is there much you can do now to mitigate the problem further down the road?

The Printing Charity has issued a reminder that it is providing help for those in the industry worried about money. As part of ‘Talk Money Week’ - which is this week in case you hadn’t noticed (I hadn’t!) - it has put together advice to help you take control of your finances and look after your mental wellbeing. Use this link - https://bit.ly/3F26aI2 - to access the info. Hope it helps.

If you want to know what your peers think about doing business in the current climate - and how they feel about doing in the months ahead -then you may want to watch the video recordings of our recently conducted 2021 Widthwise Round Tables. There are two this time around - one with PSPs and one with the suppliers that sponsored our Widthwise research. You can find both here: https://bit.ly/3CNzj9b and https://bit.ly/3byTlI8 Let me know if you have any burning questions you would like putting to the sector in the 2022 survey, which will go live at the start of the year.

As editor of trade title I receive many case studies from suppliers wanting to demonstrate how good their products and service are - and I upload them unedited and clearly marked as such on our website and on newsletters because that’s expected these days. For obvious reasons there is practically zilch negativity in any case study submitted. Given that, how useful do you find such stories? Does that knowledge impact how you deliver your own case studies and market your own products and services?

With COP26 finally underway, greening-up must surely be a ‘must-do’ rather that a ‘would like to but…’ On LinkedIn earlier I noticed a post by Data Image about having designed, created and installed a 100% recyclable exhibition stand for Reflex Group. Are you getting more enquiries of this nature, or are many of your customers still playing a waiting game?

So, chancellor Rishi Sunak yesterday announced a huge business rates discount amid economic measures to help support the "new economy, post-Covid ... an economy fit for a new age of optimism". So, are you more or less optimistic than you were before his Autumn Budget?

In my last newsletter I asked for your feedback on the skills and training needs of this sector, and one reply in particular caught my attention. These are the words of one PSP founder - who wishes o remain anonymous for what will become obvious reasons - but I am highlighting it because it as he says, we need to be proactive to get/retain the best talent. Here’s his take on the situation: “We have implemented a cross training programme since Covid began. Everyone must be able to work in two departments. But today I have been approached by a member of staff, advising me that they have been headhunted and offered significantly more salary. This does not mean that we will have to meet the offer, but it does mean that we will have to negotiate and present the advantages of remaining with us. This has raised the subject of opening up our EMI (Enterprise Management Initiative) scheme - the ability for employees to purchase share options within the business. This is tax efficient and allows for long-term commitment from the employees. I think we need to be thinking out the box to keep our best staff.” I love the idea. What about you?

An enormous well done to those that have just graduated from the BPIF training courses, and to other industry newcomers that have found their feet during this period of upheaval. That brings me onto a question for all you owners/managers of large-format PSPs - where is your operation currently most lacking skills? Getting the right people to fill the right gaps is something various industry bodies are working on, but they don’t always have enough grassroots information as to specific needs. Let me know where you’re finding recruitment/training issues and perhaps we can put our heads together to help improve the situation….

With a new poll flagging up the impact of late payment on small business in the UK I want to ask how you’re finding things. Is late payment of increasing concern for your company or are things improving? Is it something that as a sector we need to be making more noise about, or are there bigger problems?



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