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Fri, Aug

Few of the 195 PSPs that responded to our Widthwise poll this year felt there was a huge need for further technical development in the sector. At Fespa Global Expo swissQprint will be one of the exhibitors showing new printers and hoping to prove otherwise. I’d love you to come back to me post show (even if your visit is virtual!) if what you see there wows you.

With October came furlough-free business operation, so I have one quick question today - how has that impacted your business? I’d love to hear from you. Thanks

This week sees me chairing our annual Widthwise Roundtable discussions on the state of the large-format digital inkjet print space. On Tuesday I spoke with a number of print chiefs about how they’re coping with the ‘great reset’, and today I talk with suppliers about the challenges and opportunities ahead. I’ll be reporting back to you in due course, but if you want to contact me in the meantime with your own take, I’d be happy to hear from you. Just drop me an email or pick up the phone.

Should Two Sides - and/or other print industry bodies - jump on the bandwagon and use the guerrilla billboard poster tactics of Brandalism to shout about the environmental credentials of paper and print? Its satirical, eye-catching and thought provoking printed posters criticising Barclays and other high street banks for their ‘greenwashing’ are certainly grabbing attention. Could this industry build on the tactics to make the public aware of greenwashing related to print? Just putting it out there. What are your thoughts?

…and how do we get it? Over the years we’ve penned what must be hundreds of articles – and even published two ‘Think Bigger’ books of wide-format work for the creative community – to highlight the possibilities within this sector. CMYUK’s new Creatives in Residence Live youth internship programme is great - bringing in those that may never have considered a print-related career. But it’s not just designers we want to influence – there are so many other groups of people we need to reach and inform about career (as well as applications) potential. Where is your biggest need – and how are you going about finding the right calibre of people to help grow your business?

Yes, the Christmas stuff is appearing in the shops, which has me wondering how the festive season is looking for those of you involved in the retail sector. Is there a splurge of activity or are things relatively quiet from a print perspective compared to ‘normal’ years?

It’s good to see that those of you wanting to travel to Amsterdam for Fespa Global Print Expo 2021 next month will be able to do so much more easily thanks to travel restriction changes in the Netherlands - I know the quarantine situation was preventing many of you from making plans to attend. Will the scrapping of the quarantine requirement for UK visitors change your mind about going?

Over the last couple of months we’ve seen a number of polls and reports on how digital tools and alerts are adversely impacting staff with hybrid working patterns. Do you still have many people homeworking for part of their time, or have you now pretty much brought back everyone on-site? Where do you feel they are most productive - and do digital comms/tools have anything to do with it, for better or worse?

Off the back of the Bank of England boss Andrew Bailey ditching a return to the office order, debate surrounding WFH rages on. 89% of European companies plan on having a hybrid workforce post-pandemic, with 92% keen to explore more progressive workplaces policies including ‘core working’ hours and four-day work weeks. This is according to new research by Owl Labs, which recently polled 2,000 EMEA business leaders. Wondering what your take is on hybrid working?

Now that exhibitions and trade shows are beginning to re-emerge I’m wondering if many large-format PSPs will take stands to show-off their newly diversified product ranges to new potential customers. Printers have largely eschewed this type of self-publicity in the past. Has that changed - or do you still reckon there are better, more efficient ways of reaching new markets?

I’ve just seen a fab coffee dispensing billboard installation. As a queue formed by the interactive poster outside the new Jägermeister Coffee Haus in London, I did wonder how ‘we’ - the large-format print sector - could make more of a noise about the creative potential of print. Can we make more ‘wow’ moments and better use them to our advantage?

I received a press release this morning alerting me to the fact that free training is being offered to would-be lorry drivers because we have a shortage of 90,000 truckers in the UK. I’ve got to ask if that’s making life difficult for you - the driver shortage that is, not the offer of free training! - and what you’re doing to ensure deliveries are getting through on time?

Here you go - click through to https://www.imagereportsmag.co.uk/widthwise and you’ll be able to download our newly published Widthwise Report 2021. This is the 14th consecutive year that we’ve brought you this data-based report on the state of the UK/Ireland large-format sector, and this time around we gathered information from 195 PSPs here in the domestic market. Have a read - you may be surprised by some of the findings …

Data Image has taken on Katie Gibson in the new role of sustainable researcher as part of the Department for Work and Pensions' Kickstart scheme. Who have you taken on as part of this programme, and in what role/s? It’s more than sheer nosiness honest - it’ll help me build up a picture of where sector is looking for new blood.

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