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Tue, Jun

Well here’s some great pre-Christmas cheer - 0% finance on large-format printer solutions! It’s unlikely Stanford Marsh is alone in offering such deals to lure potential customers still trying to find some way of buying new kit. What’s the best finance deal you’ve been offered this year?

For Fespa and the likes of printing equipment suppliers, the world is becoming smaller by the day and doing business outside their own geographical base is part and parcel of running a business. But what about you – how much business do you do outside the UK? ‘Export’ is practically a dirty word to many wide-format PSPs, so are there sound reasons for that being the case, or is it just that UK printers continue to live up to their isolationist label?

What do you think of Epson getting into the dye-sub market? We’re all very aware of how slow the textile print market has been in taking off in the UK but could these new printers convince you to look again – or are you waiting for more direct-to-textile printer offerings?

Are you involved in printing for the industrial sector at any level? If so, I’d be interested in talking to you so please get in touch.

I’m now putting together the questions for the 2013 annual Widthwise Survey on the state of the UK wide-format print market, and that activity - along with the publication of the report ‘Wide Format Printing: A Critical Element in the Communications Mix’ from InfoTrends - has prompted the question: what information do you want to help you grow your business? Let me know ASAP so that I can take your requests into consideration when finalising the questionnaire.

Just a quick reminder that you have until 9 November to nominate your company as a Digital Original. Image Reports, with the support of Fujifilm is looking for print companies that bought their first a wide-format inkjet printer over ten years ago. The editorial team will then draw-up a list of 10 operations considered to have the most interesting and illustrative business development story to tell. If your company makes it to that list we’ll be in touch before Christmas to schedule a full interview in 2013. To get in on the action go to: http://www.imagereportsmag.co.uk/industry-data/digital-originals

Are you seeing cuts in substrates prices? News that William Smith is cutting the cost of four of the 3M films in its portfolio has set me wondering about whether we’re likely to see a bit of a reversal in media prices. At a Round Table discussion I chaired yesterday on the state of the wide-format market, there was plenty of talk about margins and the need for printers to apply pressure on their suppliers to push costs down as print customers continue to demand cheaper print...

...and from what I can see the wide-format print sector is booming! Or is it just that everyone is rushed off their feet filling orders but making no margin? Does busy necessarily mean money-making? Let me know if the marginally improving general economy is beginning to help you towards better profitability or whether other factors are having more impact on how you develop your bottom line.

I am looking for print companies that bought their first wide-format digital inkjet printer over ten years ago in a campaign designed to acknowledge the sector's pioneers. Either click on the link in the banner below or go to http://www.imagereportsmag.co.uk/industry-data/digital-originals to nominate your company and I will take it from there – easy-peasy! The result – ten companies with the most interesting story to tell will feature in Image Reports during 2013.

Do you invest in experimentation? By that I mean, do you actively set aside time and resources to ‘play with’ substrates etc. to see what new applications you can use them for. I’ve been talking to a few companies that do just that with the expectation that sooner or later they will hit upon a novel product that they can sell at high margin and I’m wondering just how strong that development streak is within the wide-format sector.

If you’re buying a new wide-format printer you’re buying one with more than four colour channels it seems – so is the ROI what you expected from having those extra colour capabilities? Let me know if much of your work incorporates white ink and or varnishes etc., or whether you just feel you need to have the capability to keep up with the Jones’s.

It’s not cheap to attend the Fespa Global Summit but having been to previous versions of this annual event I would suggest that it could be money well spent, given the usual scope and depth of this think tank event. Hopefully I’ll see you there in January 2013...

Have you noticed many new wide-format players getting in on your act – and if so, where are they coming from? Is the diversification by screen and litho printers into the digital wide-format arena something that you are noticing locally, and how is that manifesting itself? Have you seen the migration you had been warned to expect over the last couple of years as manufacturers began to target their inkjet kit at those sectors?

I’m currently in the process of putting together this year’s Round Table discussion panel on the state of the UK’s wide-format print sector. If you think you have valuable insight and you’re willing to share then please get in touch.

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