Sun, Jun

The issue of poor cashflow has been raising its ugly head again of late – with a number of PSPs saying that they are being squeezed by suppliers at one end and customers at the other. What’s your take? Are things tougher now than they were this time last year?

Want to get more from what you’ve got? OK, it’s a rhetorical question, but the next one isn’t. What do you know about value stream mapping (VSM)? My guess is that it’s probably not as much as they do at Data Image in Leicester.

Speaking with a PSP about its diversification into soft signage the talk turned to the difficulty in finding staff with the industrial sewing expertise to work in the finishing department. The problem has set back its whole development strategy. Where are skills gaps causing you the most hassle?

How important is it to you to get all your large-format supplies from a company that can meet all your needs? I ask in light of Antalis doing deals with Revolution Digital, Granthams and Agfa to become a one-stop-shop for everything large-format. Just wondering how many well-established large-format PSPs value this kind of service...

The Creative Industries Federation is holding its inaugural International Conference at London’s Barbican Milton Court on 12 July. The event - which will provide business-critical insight into global political, economic and diplomatic trends as they affect the creative industries - aims to offer everything organisations need to know as the UK considers its new role in the world in the light of Brexit. Could be worth getting along there....

It has been brought to my attention that Atech celebrates its 35th birthday this year, and as it points out, not many companies have been in the business so long under the same ownership. Has yours?

Interiors will be a key focus at Viscom 2017 in Dusseldorf on 18 - 20 October. Some 300 exhibitors and 10,000 visitors are expected to attend the event, which on the opening day will run a new programme at which invited PSPs will join with 'advertising technicans' – organiser speak, not mine – and manufacturers/distributors to learn about digital printing for interiors. Apparently ‘independent viscom experts’ will also tell you how to find clients or project partners, and how to finance required kit! So if the décor market is in your sights perhaps you should be angling for an invite!

It’s great to hear what the Printing Charity is doing to help people associated with print, but maybe you could help it do even more by raising awareness of its existence among your staff. Before you forget, go stick a note of the staff noticeboard!

As you read this I’ll be sitting in on a discussion between a well known supplier to the large-format sector and one of its customers, part of a two-day business investigation to determine strategic investment at the PSP. Would you be willing to have such a detailed and frank discussion with suppliers?

I’m out and about much of this week, investigating the scope of the interiors market for large-format PSPs looking to diversify into that space. If you are involved in more unusual aspects of interior print I’d love to hear from you.

I’ve got my swingometer at the ready and thought I’d conduct my own mini-poll among large-format PSPs - which way do you want the UK to vote today? Let me know.
While thinking polls, I’ll take this chance to advise you that the annual Widthwise Report on the state of the UK/Ireland large-format print sector has just been published. It is now available online to download free of charge at: http://www.imagereportsmag.co.uk/widthwise.  Let me know what you think of that too! I’ll be working on the questions for the 2018 survey before you know it, so if you would like to see something specific added to the list please get in touch.

At the risk of channelling Richard Wilson’s TV persona Victor Meldrew, the phrase “I don’t believe it” springs to mind when I consider that the Widthwise Report accompanying this issue of Image Reports is the tenth in the series - yes, it’s a decade since we embarked on the annual project to garner grassroots data on the state of the UK and Ireland’s wide-format digital print market and provide you with a sector and geographically specific report.

I’m liking this ‘Pledge for Print’ idea from the BPIF. It might be useful to know who’s actually signed up before the polls open on Thursday!

If you’re thinking of embarking on the BPIF MSc in Management course in September but are hard strapped for funds, look to the new bursary fund set up by The Stationers’ Foundation. Great to see this sort of support. More please!

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