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Being planet friendly

Fespa encourages printers to adopt sustainable practices with the launch of 11 Planet Friendly mini guides

Fespa has re-launched its Planet Friendly Print Guide in the form of 11 new ‘mini’ guides as part of its wider Planet Friendly Print programme.

Getting over the Great Wall of Objection

‘Solutions’ selling is on the up, and with it increased levels of customer objection to your sales pitch. So how do you effectively manage that? Tony Hodgson, director of PODi for Europe, provides tactical advice. 

“Customers are not looking for suppliers, they’re looking for solutions”. This was a key message from the Fespa Global Summit 2014 in Munich earlier this year and one many printers have taken on board. But instead of customers saying: “Wow, you have a great solution that’s just right for us”, they just tell you about the problems that they can see in your suggested solution and why it won’t work for them. You have encountered the Great Wall of Objection. So how do you get over that? 

PODi, which has been helping digital printers learn how to effectively sell ‘solutions’ since 2006 through its online Strategic Solutions Sales training programme, has now coupled its interactive video platform, Zenarate, with one-to-one sales coaching from PODi peers and experts (see Here are some of its key lessons.

Using outsiders with inside knowledge

Sometimes it pays to bring in the experts. Swiftprint is a case in point, having employed those with colour management know-how to streamline its operations. 

When Swiftprint in Huddersfield moved into wide-format it quickly realised that colour management was going to be an issue and that it needed help. 

IR talks to… Sarah Thirtle, head of business lending programmes, Creative United

Creative United was established last year, with support from Arts Council England, to provide a range of financial products and services designed to help grow the UK’s cultural and creative industries. 

As a Community Interest Company, its focus is on delivering a combination of strong social and financial returns via publically funded programmes. Its new flagship scheme is Creative Industry Finance.

We asked Sarah Thirtle, head of business lending programmes, whether this is something printers can benefit from. 
By Lesley Simpson

Mobile motivation


Peter Lancaster, CEO of Documobi, sets out the stall for the company’s iPR mobile scanning technology in large-format environments.

You’ve heard the theory - there’s massive opportunity to add considerable value to large-format print by using mobile ‘scanning’ technologies. 77% of UK adults have a smartphone, and they use them all the time. And a typical marketing executive is under 30 years old and a ‘digital native’. Print can now be a part of their mobile, social world and printer providers need to become part of theirs. The message is hardly new, but there’s a mobile scanning technology that is – well, to wide-format at least. iPR (intelligent Print Recognition) from Documobi makes conventional print digital and interactive. Of course, there are other scanning technologies that do that, and over the years they’ve been well documented, but Peter Lancaster, CEO of Documobi, points out that iPR is perhaps a more useful tool than the better known alternatives.

IR talks to…Matthew Guise, sales director, Macro Art


First Matt, can you talk us through the circumstances leading up to the MBO?

Basically, former MD John Walker got ill in 2012. At the time, me, James and Michael took over the day-to-day running of the business while John was off convalescing. In 2012 we grew by 20% - turnover was up and so was profit – and that led the three of us to ask whether there was a way we could move forward given that John was ill and not getting any younger. So we approached him with a potential MBO when he came back in 2013. He was always of the mind that he wanted the business to carry on with the people who were already running the business rather than sell it to the highest bidder so he was very open to the MBO suggestion. We put together a package which took quite a long time to get to – which enabled the MBO to go through, though unfortunately not until after John had passed away. 
By Lesley Simpson

Make love, not war

Stephanie Gutnik, marketing and business development manager ?at digital signage software company BroadSign International, explains why printegration partnerships need to be developed between printers and digital signage providers.

Integrating large-format printed and digital signage is a battle that won’t bode well for the defeated. It’s accepted that the out-of-home (OOH) industry is moving away from its longstanding static medium status to a channel that acts as a point of fusion for the latest trends in advertising and consumer engagement. Such a transition beckons advertising dollars from other media: OOH advertising revenue in the UK reached an unprecedented £990 million in 2013 and secured a 5.5% share of all UK ad revenue. What’s more, digital out-of-home revenue made up almost a quarter of the OOH total, with £214 million in 2013 compared to £11 million ten years earlier. (Outdoor Media Centre)

Hands On: Inca Onset S40


The Onset S40 promises high productivity but does it justify the cost? Nessan Cleary asks the question.

Until a few years ago people thought of digital printing as being only for short run until a couple of high production flatbeds appeared on the scene to challenge offset and screen printing. This month Image Reports looks at one of these, the Onset S40i, developed by Inca Digital but sold by Fujifilm. 

Creating the right team

Although business lore is full of lone geniuses, sustained corporate success is rarely a one-person show. Here business consultant Walter Hale offers some guidance on the factors to consider when trying to build a strong team of leaders.

In an uncertain, complex, fast moving marketplace, even smaller companies may stand or fall on the quality of the team that leads it. A resilient, varied, flexible team that understands the values of the business – and has a common vision of what success look like – can give business a decisive, enduring competitive advantage.

Catalytic converters

The University of Sheffield is purifying the air around a poster it is displaying for a year. What’s more, it says the technology used to do it could be cheaply applied to other printed billboards.

A 20m x 20m printed banner hanging on the side of the University of Sheffield’s Alfred Denny Building is cutting pollution thanks to the use of a new technology that its developer says could be applied to other billboards.

Widening the net while watching the wallet


Stylo production director Simon Wheeler explains what the company is doing to attract youngsters, while keeping a tight reign on the recruitment budget.

“Recruitment agencies are my least favourite method of recruitment. It takes away the hassle but it’s expensive, and there’s always the danger that you’ll get career agency people – that is to say, those who go to a firm for a couple of years then go back to the agency to find them another job. We want to attract people who want to stay with us.” So says Simon Wheeler, production director at Stylo, who is very involved in the company’s recruitment strategy – and that means proactively seeking youngsters with a certain attitude and mindset. 

Think Bigger: Hybrid Services

John de la Roche explains how a partnership with South Cheshire College is stimulating wide-format interest and creativity among young designers.

With an array of Mimaki printers at its fingertips, distributor Hybrid Services is no stranger to demonstrating unusual and inspiring large-format digital print applications, but a desire to engage with designers and specifiers as well as potential future printers recently prompted a project that married the company with South Cheshire College. The end result turned Hybrid’s Mimaki showroom into an application showcase, having got young designers actively involved the process.

The end...

…could be the start of something big. Nessan Cleary brings you up to speed on cutting tables for finishing rigid materials.

 Many print jobs will need some form of finishing to turn them into saleable products. When it comes to rigid materials this usually means a cutting table, capable of cutting out shapes, or of adding creasing or V-cuts to create folds for packaging or 3D items such as POP display boxes. This kind of work is often done manually, but as volumes build up then the ability of a cutting table to repeat the same precise cuts continually starts to make economic sense.

On Test: Jetrix KX7D

The Korean built Jetrix printers appear to offer good value for money, so how did this Jetrix model fare on test? Nessan Cleary reports.

Inktec, which was founded in 1992 in Korea, is best known as an ink manufacturer but has also developed its own range of Jetrix UV flatbed printers. It has a European office, based in Witney, Oxfordshire, which has installed some 35 printers in the last three years. Last year Inktec launched the first of its KX series, which now include the compact KX3, the mid-range KX5 and the much larger KX7, which we've tested this month. 

Pay as you go

Can the software subscription model work for large format/sign providers? Jurgen Verhulst, applications specialist at SAi, explores the issue. 

In April this year, SAi introduced a subscription model for its signmaking software package Flexi. The ability to subscribe to powerful software programs on a monthly basis, funded from revenue rather than the capital investment required for an outright purchase, is becoming both more common and popular says SAi’s applications specialist Jurgen Verhulst. With advantages for large-format print/sign providers, software developers and dealers alike, this method of software delivery is seen by many as the future business model, but does it really make economic sense? Here Verhulst argues the point. 

Over to you... Luke Nicholson, Director, Matt Vinyl Graphics

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