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Mon, Jul

Do you measure your carbon footprint? The odds are you don’t. But could having that information help you conduct valuable conversations with potential and existing customers who are increasingly wanting their suppliers to live up to their own sustainability mission statements. Or do you think it’s just not worth the bother? I’d be interested in hearing your take on the issue ahead of a Sustainability Report being produced by Image Reports.

We have been talking for some time about the likely mergers in a print sector that is rapidly changing shape so the GTMS/RS Sets move comes as little surprise, especially as they have been working together on projects for some time. What is more surprising is that we’ve heard of relatively few other companies pooling their resources in this way in the first half of 2012. OK, there are plenty of ad hoc, ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ type of arrangements, but perhaps fewer official ‘mergers’ than we might have expected. Why do you think this is?

Have you recruited in the first half of 2012? The data from this year’s Widthwise Survey (an analysis of which will be published on the Image Reports website in early July) showed that despite the economic turmoil a significant proportion of wide-format players expected to be taking on more staff during 2012/13. If you have already done so I’d be interested to hear in what capacity these new recruits have joined your company, so please drop me a line.

As I suppose you would expect following a show-laden spring, we’re seeing a splurge of new wide-format installations across a wide-spectrum of print businesses. Great news for the kit manufacturers and suppliers – but how’s the spread of digital wide-format affecting those of you who have been involved since the early days. Are you leaving the new players to the more basic stuff and focussing your efforts on the more specialised products/markets where your know-how should still give you the edge? Or are you finding that they are coming in with the new ideas and you are continuing to operate in the markets you’ve always served?

Even if the various open air concerts planned for throughout the UK end up being a wash-out for the participants and party-goers this summer, hopefully they will have proved to be a little ray of sunshine for the printers providing the stage and set graphics! If you’ve been involved and have printable quality pictures to prove it, please let me have them along with a couple of lines about the job – perhaps we’ll be able to produce a party themed ‘In-Situ’ gallery of work in the printed issue of Image Reports.

Josero’s MD says the company is seeing sales of refurbished superwide printers soar in the current economic climate, with print companies looking for a cheaper way to diversify. If you are one of those that have done exactly that and are happy to talk about the ROI on your investment please get in touch – I’ll look forward to hearing how the decision has impacted your business development strategy.

Substrates, and their creative specification, play a significant role in a wide-format sector where a novel print product - or at least one produced on an unusual media - can win you business. Hence the explosion of new substrates across the market in the last couple of years. But how keenly do the substrates manufacturers listen to the grass roots print community when it comes to product development? Do you have a particularly strong relationship with a company when it comes to media R&D? If so, I’d be interested in hearing from you.

How are you finding it to borrow from the bank? If you have recently had your proposals rejected - appeal. It’s worth it according to figures just emerging since a new appeals process began in April 2011. In response the Forum of Private Business is urging medium and small businesses to use the system where they feel their application for funding has been unjustly rejected by the bank.

We have news that Bex Design will be celebrating its silver anniversary as well as the Diamond Jubilee this weekend by getting into the charitable mode. Will your company be doing anything to mark the royal occasion? Or indeed, have you printed anything relating to it. If so, please drop me a line or two and a picture. Enjoy the sun – I’ve heard we’re all going to have some!

Do you have a strong sustainability message? If you think you do please get in touch as I’m eager to talk to wide-format print companies with a CRS strategy that goes beyond printing on ‘eco-friendly’ materials and waste management. I look forward to hearing from you.

Oh to be perusing gorgeous photography by the seaside! While thoughts of the large-format printed sea creature images at the Baltic ‘horizonte Zingst’ photography festival have me daydreaming, the work also highlights the realities of what can now be achieved that would have been impossible until very recently. As the horizons continue to expand for large-format inkjet, keep me abreast of your ventures into new waters.

Drupa is no sooner finished than we all need to start thinking about autumn events! It will be interesting to see how new shows like Cross Media and EcoPrint fare in this busy show year. Given that they are unlike anything that has gone before they should stimulate interest among that part of the print community that understands the need to look beyond the normal parameters of business. I’ll be at both so let me know if you will be. I’d be interested in hearing your reasons.

With Drupa over for another four years and show season now slowing down, printers can perhaps focus a little less on the technologies they covet and more on exploring and fully utilising the capabilities of the technologies they’ve got, both in technical and strategic terms. The Out of Home DrupaCube session on Monday highlighted the need for print to become a more ‘vital’ part of the media mix. We have the technology…

It will be interesting to see how the print landscape has changed by the end of Drupa, with print companies looking for technologies that will not only make them more efficient in the processes they already use, but provide them the ability to strategically reposition themselves in markets that have higher margins and more growth potential.  There’s certainly plenty of evidence form orders placed at the show that screenprinters and commercial litho companies continue to see inkjet wide-format in that light.

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