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The Soap Box

Maintain the momentum

Genevieve Lewis listens to print’s most influential trade associations and bodies as they consider key industry challenges and the steps print companies can take to secure a successful future

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National Apprenticeship Week takes place March 4 – 9th 2019

Future generations

Charles Jarrold,
chief executive officer,

National Apprenticeship Week (NAW), which this year is running from March 4-8th 2019, is an annual week-long celebration of apprenticeships that brings the whole apprenticeship community together to promote and celebrate the impact of apprenticeships on individuals, employers and the economy. This year it coincides with National Careers Week and we will ensure that the print industry is flying the flag to students about the promising careers that are available in print.

We, at the BPIF, will be kicking things off on March 4th by taking a group of our apprentices to visit Blue-Tree Group in Rotherham. A market leader in online print, Bluetree excels in selling standardised, cost-effective, high quality print products. The apprentices will receive a tour of the innovative manufacturing facility and also hear from inspirational speakers in the industry such as Jon Bailey, ProCo and Kelly O’Sullivan, Sainsbury’s/Argos. Finally the apprentices will participate in a round table to discuss the ‘future of apprenticeships’ and ‘apprenticeships’ role in print’. If you have an apprentice who would like to attend, just get in touch.

If you have an apprentice who would like to attend just get in touch

We’ll also be taking a space at the Leeds Apprenticeship Fair that evening along with our members Communisis, YM Group, Roberts Mart, CDS and Label Makers to educate the 6,000 plus students and parents who will be attending, looking for apprenticeship roles. Our aim is to show off what a vibrant and multifaceted industry print is and how an apprenticeship can bring an invaluable route to a prosperous career. 

Improve productivity

Sidney Bobb,

At the end of each year, many of us make resolutions to change aspects of our business and personal lives. It may be to go to the gym more frequently, or reduce alcohol consumption and from a business perspective, it could be to improve productivity, enhance knowledge, commence an expansion programme and so on. There are a wide range of subjects we can select to help enhance life and we set off full of determination and confidence.

Making a new year’s resolution is an admirable way to make a positive change. Now we have completed the first month of 2019 and regrettably, according to statistics, 80% of resolutions fail by the second week in February and of course by say, mid-April, the success rate is down to around 5%. Those who show determination and maintain their resolve certainly benefit. The big question is how can we make our resolutions stick?

It seems obvious that in most cases we can’t do it on our own. We need to turn to people who can help us stay on? The straight and narrow? Personal resolutions can be achieved by turning to a family member, or friend, and asking them to police our efforts. In business many are reticent to reveal, what they believe to be, vulnerabilities. However, it must be realised that, if results are to be achieved, we need to make an effort, and it’s certainly not as embarrassing or as awkward as we might imagine.

Similarly, the reality of fulfilling business ambitions can be seen to contain unsurmountable barriers. But, when we look around, we see a variety of companies within this industry who appear to be successful, ambitious and clearly have focus – so it can be done.

We certainly can’t be all things to all men and so we have to look at our businesses and see areas that can be improved. Once identified, we can do something positive. Large successful organisations recognise that even with thousands of employees there are certain areas where they need, possibly in the short term, help from outside and hire specialist consultants to help them. Such companies do have the financial resources to enable them to put plans into action. Modestly-sized companies, while not always able to engage those high-profile consultancies, can take advantage of their own contacts. Trade Associations, such as the BAPC can provide guidance.

Another way to approach the subject is to appoint a mentor from perhaps within the company, or even a supplier with whom there is a good relationship. There is nothing more effective and helpful than the view from a third party.

If you really want your resolutions to stick, it is recommended that you look outside your closest circle

If you really want your resolutions to stick, it is recommended that you look outside your closest circle and you will be amazed the difference that can make when we could be more transparent.

A rising tide raises all the boats

Marian Stefani,
chief executive officer,

The print industry is technically capable, innovative and clever; print businesses are masters of production and of course, of putting ink on paper. There is now huge diversification in production methods and a whole raft of new techniques available to the end-user customers who actually buy and use print.

However, the education of our market is something that the industry struggles with, as most production-led print companies have limited sales and marketing skills, as they were grown originally in a world where print was the only portable means of communication and supply and demand kept pace.

The explosion of digital communications and the apparent lower costs associated are a real factor in driving print to become a price driven commodity.  Print must fight back, showing the intrinsic value in the physical presence of our products in marketing and communications.

Some print companies have done this well and have built strong relationships with their clients, helping them realise a better ROI on their print purchasing and marketing themselves as 'solution providers'. But in general, the industry has been slow to respond and tends to talk to itself. There are lots of excellent industry conferences, events and publications that extoll the value of print, but very little reaches the buyers of print to inspire them to do more of it.

The purpose of EPIC

The IPIA is championing print to the market and is educating and reaching out to buyers, encouraging them to re-engage with print and to better understand innovation in the industry and the real value print has.

The IPIA is championing print to the market and is educating and reaching out to buyers

We believe that we should grow and expand our established EPIP initiative that has run for the last three years and develop a campaign that encourages every touch point in communications delivery to fully understand and promote integrated marketing. So, for 2019 we are launching EPIC – Everything’s Possible with Integrated Communications, which in addition to a series of events this year will hold its main conference on July 3rd at Congress Centre in London.

The IPIA’s EPIC – Everything’s Possible with Integrated Communications – event will take place on July 3rd 2019

We know that our work to educate brands will only succeed if we can help the print industry change the way it engages with end-users and specifiers of our products and services. This has been done well by a few – but for those previously mentioned production led businesses it is still a challenge.

Building a campaign that promotes the use of print and supports the manufacturers (printers and finishers), designers, print managers, OEMs, software companies and all the associated services that are part of our industry – with a strong message about the best use of and best buying practice of print as part of integrated marketing – is good for all.

We know that this must be delivered by the print industry in a way that shows our understanding of digital marketing and of the way our industry has changed and is evolving to support other media, so we will ensure that EPIC is what it says – a campaign to support integrated marketing. So, to find out more about how you can get involved with EPIC and help raise the tide for UK print and all the boats that float upon our amazing industry then please do get in touch.

Public Notice:

  • Having a New Years’ resolution could help to make positive change
  • EPIC conference will be held on July 3rd 2019 in London
  • National Apprenticeship Week is in March

To find out more about the issues discussed in this article please contact the relevant organisation via their website: www.bapc.co.uk, www.britishprint.com, www.ipia.org.uk


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