Sat, Jun

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?



Well, what are your thoughts on Fespa 2021 with just one day of the show left to run? I have to admit that my attention has rather been drawn towards Print4All in Italy next year - or rather the conversational journey that its stakeholders have embarked upon in regards to print's future. I can't take any credit for the report you will find at https://bit.ly/3lxZ46X - I've merely posted it on our website as a means of getting it 'out there'. Over the years we've raised lots of the topics highlighted, but despite all the wonderful innovation that is going on, I'm not sure how urgent the print sector considers some of these issues to be. Have a gander and let me know your thoughts...maybe we can together mover things along a bit?

At the end of last week labels and packaging paper company Feldmuehle said that due to increased energy costs it would be implementing a temporarily surcharge of 100 Euros per tonne for all its products as of 18 October 2021 deliveries. That surcharge is on top of an already announced 10% increase from October, and the company has said it will remain until energy levels come down to a “reasonable level”. How concerned are you about further hikes in consumables price hikes in the large-format print space?

If accepting help is a sign of strength, proactively seeking it must put you in the mountain-moving category. And perhaps that’s what some of you feel you’re having to do to keep business moving forward. Our Widthwise survey of PSPs at the start of this year showed a great deal of optimism within the sector, but also, that to succeed businesses needed to be able to flex and adapt. We’ve seen how many large-format PSPs have diversified and rethought their strategies over the last 18 months or so, but we also know that change is a constant, and that managing it can be - difficult! Getting help where and when required seems a logical step.

Perhaps it’s time for input from outside sources? In this issue we talk to MacroArt MD Michael Green, on the value of bringing in non-executive directors - the company having appointed a non-exec chairman earlier in the year to add “a further depth of experience and fresh eyes in respect of previously unconsidered opportunities”. We also take a look at the Made Smarter Leadership programme, a cross-sector initiative that brings together business leaders from various industries to look into digital transformation. Have a read and see what you think.

Change is also coming in the shape of the Plastic Tax in April 2022, so we look into what you need to do in preparation. And we bring you the detail of the new BPIF Display and POS 2 Recycling Scheme, where help is continually provided to green-up your operations.

Wishing you well in this continually evolving sector.

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