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The Soap Box

Key Industry Challenges

Brendan Perring 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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The Printing Charity’s chief executive, Neil Lovell, says the charity supported 98 residents last year in two sheltered homes it owns and runs

Welfare work and improving staff morale

The Printing Charity’s retirement homes
Neil Lovell,
chief executive,
The Printing Charity

While our education work has expanded from the education of printers’ children to encompass our flagship Print Futures Awards and industry partnerships supporting training for individuals wishing to join or already working in the sector, our origins were in welfare support for people in the printing industry.
Today, our welfare work is just as important as it was in 1827, including supporting people who have retired from the industry. Last year, this support included 98 residents in the two purpose-built sheltered homes we own and run.

Today, our welfare work is just as important as it was in 1827, including supporting people who have retired from the industry

Beaverbrook House in Bletchley and Southwood Court in Basildon have their origins in our former almshouses in Wood Green and are part of our continuing commitment to looking after older people.

Our homes provide independent living in a caring, supportive community for people aged 60 years and over, who have retired from the printing industry.

Accommodation is in purpose-built, self-contained apartments with kitchen and wet room facilities. Residents have access to communal gardens, conservatory, off-street parking, as well as a programme of social events throughout the year if they would like to join in. Both homes are convenient to local amenities.

We appreciate that while residents are able to live independently, it is also important for them and their families to have peace of mind, so we have home managers and other services in place to offer support when needed.

Our sheltered homes are just one of the ways we are here to help. In the words of one of our residents on her decision to move into Southwood Court: “This place has been wonderful. It really has.”

If you know of people who have worked in the industry and are looking at their retirement housing options, please encourage them to contact our welfare and wellbeing team on 01293 542 820 or email support@theprintingcharity.org.uk to arrange to visit our homes, meet the home managers, and check out the facilities.

We really are all in it together
Sidney Bobb,

Most people would agree that the most complex aspect of running a business is managing staff. They are not machines, there are no start buttons to press to ensure a high volume of sales or total production efficiency.

It is vital that every organisation, large or small, manages and motivates the team working within. This industry is mainly made up of companies of a modest size which, having limited resources, cannot justify having management devoted solely to staff matters, plus of course, owner/managers have a variety of time challenges that prevent them from dealing in detail with every issue that arises.

Sidney Bobb from the BAPC advises companies to introduce activities that create camaraderie, such as meals out

Time is spent on general and financial administration, efforts to attract new business, and implementing strategies to hold on to existing customers, never mind plans to expand, or offer new services. The list goes on and on, and, in facing some of the matters mentioned and more, many leaders do not possess the relevant formal qualifications to help them deal in depth with all or many issues that arise (another reason why training at every level is vital).

Frequently the BAPC is asked to advise on various matters particularly in regard to staff and we do all we can to assist. It would not be prudent to detail individual instances.
However, there are a number of simple guides that could help improve matters, increase efficiency, and create a happy team who take pleasure in working and developing the business.

• Interact more with employees. Spend time with them and ask questions such as ‘how are we doing?’, ‘what can we do better?’, and ‘what is the one thing we can provide for our customers?’ Then actually care about, listen to, and act on the answers you receive. You will be amazed at the results.

• Involve everyone. Be transparent. Tell the team of your plans and even some of your concerns. They will really feel part of the business and certainly could contribute to future success.

• Train, train, train. Take steps to ensure that everyone has opportunities to improve: training is the one way to ensure that this happens. Work on personal development, remember the delivery boy of today could become the best manager you ever had.

• Chart progress. As part of the involvement in the business, have staff help set clear goals and targets and work with them to achieve the required results. Remember, targets are not just about sales, there are always productivity and efficiency issues that need to be addressed. Provide progress reports so that everyone knows how they and the business are developing.

• Reward good behaviour. Do not be slow in praising and rewarding people for good work.

Reward good behaviour. Do not be slow in praising and rewarding people for good work

• Atmosphere is everything. The mood of employees reflects the mood of the company. Introduce activities that create camaraderie. For example, have a pizza or curry night whereby you all go out together. Perhaps consider taking as many staff as is practical to one or more of the industry exhibitions. Having fun together certainly creates an esprit de corp.

• Face up to disruptive influences. Where you find an individual that encourages disorder, try to find out the reason for the bad attitude. If you feel that matters will not improve, be prepared to be ruthless. Remember what one ‘bad apple’ can do.

The biggest asset in any business is the people, treating them and handling them in a considerate, empathetic way could well bring in the rewards you seek. The BAPC and other representative bodies can help and all it takes is one phone call.

Success at EPIP annual conference
Marian Stefani,
chief executive officer,

We held our conference at Congress in London on July 4th, showcasing all that is great about print to an audience that included brand marketeers, agencies, and buyers.

We wanted to make them think about their relationship with print, helping them to make it more effective by integrating properly with all their other communication channels and hopefully encouraging them to use more of it.

I think we did just that with our amazing cast of speakers who inspired, educated, and entertained, and with a small exhibition area we called the ‘Exchange’ where delegates could find out more about the things they had seen and heard.

Although the speakers were great, and the venue and staff were outstanding, the thing that made the day worthwhile for me was the reaction of the non-print industry delegates who really engaged with the experts we had in the Exchange and gave us some great feedback about the event.

The thing that made the day worthwhile for me was the reaction of the non-print industry delegates who really engaged with the experts

Looking around the room, it was really heartening to see so many people from brands there enjoying the speakers, and hopefully thinking about their next campaigns and how they might engage with print right at the beginning of their strategy plan, not just as a commodity at the end.

I hope that we can grow Everything’s Possible in Print (EPIP) to be more than just an annual conference, making it an industry supported initiative that really tells our customers how great print is and how we can help them get more from their marketing spend.

One delegate from a well-known high street retailer emailed us after the event and said she left the conference inspired and excited about print. Now that really is a successful event.

The Power of Print Seminar
Charles Jarrold,
chief executive officer,

Traditionally, August is a time for holidays and hopefully you have all had a chance to get away with friends and family. However, come September it is that time to start thinking about the learning and networking opportunities available in the industry over the coming months and how to make the most of these.

We are delighted to be involved in hosting the Power of Print Seminar again this year, an annual event in partnership with Canon, Fedrigoni, Print Power, Two Sides, and The Stationers’ Livery Company, and Print Monthly.

Taking place on October 24th 2017 at Stationers’ Hall, London, ten leading industry experts have been handpicked to deliver comprehensive, first-hand experience on how print is still a unique, powerful, and effective channel of communication.

Leading industry experts have been handpicked to deliver comprehensive, first-hand experience on how print is still a unique, powerful, and effective channel of communication

Speakers for this year’s seminar include Neil Mayling of Jaguar Land Rover UK, Dino Myers-Lamptey of Mullen Lowe Mediahub, William Sitwell of John Brown Media, Abba Newbery of Lumen Research, as well as more speakers from companies such as Lidl UK, Open for Ideas, and Friends of the Earth. They will explore the challenge and changing role for print within the marketing mix and, essentially, why print works.

Following the day seminar, guests will be entertained over dinner in the elegant surroundings of Stationers’ Hall by the charming Kevin Beatty, chief executive officer of DMG Media.

Remember, if you are a BPIF or Two Sides member you are entitled to the discounted members’ rate.

The Power of Print Seminar will allow you to expand your knowledge, and is a great opportunity for networking, educating, and entertaining clients and staff. Full details of the event can be found at www.powerofprint.info.

Public Notice:
  • The Printing Charity provides homes for those aged 60+ who have retired from the print industry
  • Interact more with employees, listen, and act on their answers
  • Brands should engage with print from the beginning of their strategy plan
  • September is the time to start thinking about learning and networking opportunities

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

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