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The Soap Box

The Print Show Success

Brendan Perring listens to print’s most influential trade associations and bodies, who give an analysis of the challenges facing our industry

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The IPIA hosted one of the largest stands at The Print Show, from which it ran a range of special initiatives and gave space to supplier members to engage with visitors

The pressure of expectation
 
Marian Stefani,
chief executive officer,
IPIA

It felt that all summer we were preparing for The Print Show and as the event approached I was worried that all the effort and all the excitement would perhaps result in disappointment—you know what it is like when your expectation does not in the end match up to reality. But not so in this case as we had a brilliant show.

We had committed early to a very big stand as we felt that it would be a great opportunity to showcase what the IPIA is all about—however it was a risk as no one really knew what to expect.

Almost every print business will at some point have a need to outsource something and our members are a vital part of the industry, supporting their customers with a range of reliable trade services. However, we were a little worried that visitors to this inaugural Print Show would just be curious about the event and not really interested in meeting new suppliers.





We need not have worried, the show was very well attended with around 5,300 visitors across the three days of the show and everyone seemed to be very positive. Indeed, our members who exhibited reported that they were busy over all three days and there were people quoting and taking orders on the stand, which is of course the real measure of a successful show.

Our members who exhibited reported that they were busy over all three days


We also had a great Meet the Buyer event on the Wednesday, as we had additional suppliers who came in for the day and met with pre-invited buyers. This was the first time we had tried running this at an exhibition and, although a little crowded and chaotic, it definitely had a real buzz about it as buyers looked around the show as well as having their booked meetings.

I have to say that it really is wonderful to have a UK show again and great for the IPIA to have been part of such a successful new initiative.


Read all about it!
 
Sidney Bobb,
chairman,
BAPC


We all know this is a great industry providing goods and services of real value to our customers. A number are involved in the design, printing, finishing, and despatch of many types of books addressing the business world. However, the question is how many of us actually read those erstwhile publications which contain valuable and helpful information.

There are the well-known self-improvement books such as Who Moved my Cheese, The One Minute Manager, and Fish. In addition there are inspirational books from acknowledged successful entrepreneurs such as Sir Richard Branson and Lord Alan Sugar and there are books from individuals who know our industry and its challenges. The Mirror Test and the latest blockbuster Think Big Act Bigger—written by an old friend of the BAPC, Jeff Hayzlett—are the most recent of these. In addition business acquaintances are always willing to discuss the business books that, ‘ring their bell’.

Reading all or any one of those publications will not only motivate and inspire, they also provide an insight on how to maximise success. However, while books can certainly help they can only go so far. It is the real interaction between people that is really effective. That is why it is vital that we engage with people within our industry to share experiences, voice doubts, and compare activities, plus of course attend as many sector-related events, particularly those of an educational nature.

At the end of the day nobody wants to read about success, they want to be there


If you are looking for a book that may well address your own particular issues, help is at hand. Support and assistance are the main functions of trade associations. The BAPC, with its industry- wide appeal can probably recommend a publication that is relevant to you, or even provide individual coaching and mentoring. At the end of the day nobody wants to read about success, they want to be there.


Fixing the productivity problem

Charles Jarrold,
chief executive,
BPIF

In July the Treasury published Fixing the Foundations: Creating a More Prosperous Nation, its plan for reversing the UK’s long-term productivity problem and securing rising living standards. By its own analysis, the productivity gap between the UK and leading advanced economies is considerable: we are languishing 31 percent below the US and 17 percent below the G7 average.

The productivity gap between the UK and leading advanced economies is considerable


The plan is the subject of an inquiry from the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee, to which BPIF has submitted a detailed response*. We call for quantifiable steps and milestones showing how, and by when, it is expected the UK will catch up with its main competitor nations, and for the government to work with all sectors in delivering the plan.

We welcome the promised publication of a National Infrastructure Plan for Skills. The creation of a further three million apprentices is also good news, provided this delivers quality employer-led apprenticeships and is supported by better careers advice and guidance in schools. However we are less enthused by the prospect of an apprenticeship levy.


(L to R) The BPIF’s Neal Whipp, Amy Hutchinson, and Garry Mellor were on hand at the recent Print Show to raise awareness around the commercial opportunities in the packaging sector—in addition to educating visitors about its efforts to lobby the government for print industry support



There are some encouraging measures on incentivising investment, including cuts to the corporate tax rate and making the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) permanent at £200,000. This is welcome, however we also want the AIA raised still further, and the scope broadened to include training focused on continuous improvement. We call for policy changes to encourage longer-term approaches to investment, while welcoming plans to promote more competition in the corporate lending market. We also support proposals for increased devolution—provided they result in greater efficiency, more control of local decision-making, and tangible results for the local business community.
 
With much of our industry’s output distributed by road, we welcome the creation of a new Roads Fund. However more definitive long-term commitments on future infrastructure investment are urgently needed. We support actions planned to stimulate trade and exports, and the proposed review of statistics for measuring productivity. However although we are pleased at the prospect of reforms to the delivery of public services, the plan fails to examine how improvements in procurement could drive up productivity in the public sector.

*The BPIF’s response to the Select Committee Inquiry can be downloaded by typing the following into your browser:
 
www.britishprint.com/downloads/managed/BPIF_response_to_BIS_Select_Committee_Inquiry_on
_Governments_Productivity_Plan.docx


Leading the charge 188 years on
 
Stephen Gilbert,
chief executive,
The Printing Charity


Celebrating the 150th anniversary this year of the granting of our first Royal Charter has been an opportunity for us to reflect on how The Printing Charity has developed since being set up 188 years ago.

While our financial grants for people in straitened circumstances and our two sheltered homes for retired people remain our core business, our links these days to industry, charities, organisations, and trade associations are integral to our support for people of all ages.

To encourage a new generation to join the industry, we are involved in a number of initiatives supporting apprentices. As well as being part of the printing industry consortium with BPIF and Unite the Union, developing a new apprenticeship standard, the Charity is helping apprentices in print-related organisations and those studying for relevant NVQs with travel and living expenses. This includes a five-month bus pass scheme with the Leeds Apprenticeship Training Agency.


The Printing Charity is placing a strong focus on the need for youth recruitment into the print industry. Pictured: A group of school students being given a tour of The Print Show by its organisers

 
Crackit! is a new initiative with Future Proof CIC, Pleece and Co, Sportivate, and Sussex County Cricket Club, to make cricket and the creative industries accessible to twelve to 16 year olds in Sussex.

We link to other charities and organisations through referrals to ensure that people can access the services that they need. Our links to charities such as SSAFA, the Royal British Legion, The Rory Peck Trust, and The Prince’s Trust are making a difference to people’s lives. Working with The Prince’s Trust to help fund young people in the North of England to set up their own print-related businesses, for example, has enabled a young illustrator to secure a US book deal.

Working with The Prince’s Trust to help fund young people in the North of England to set up their own print-related businesses


Partnerships, too, are helping us reach people we might not otherwise know about. One such partnership we are promoting through trade associations is our referral service to two partners providing job search and career transition support for people facing redundancy, looking to return to work or needing to retrain either in or outside the industry.

Working closely with you all through initiatives and referrals ensures we remain relevant to the industry and helps put us in touch with people of all ages who need our support.



Public Notice:

  • Trade services are vital to the prosperity of the UK industry
  • Take advantage of inspirational and educational books targeted at print that can give you tangible strategies to grow your business
  • The government needs to publicise concrete and verifiable steps to close the productivity gap to leading G7 nations
  • The industry needs to concentrate on supporting initiatives that encourage youth employment and training in print



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


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