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Are you the missing link?

altIs your print business set up to be part of a supply chain that demands environmental accountability?
If you are a print supplier to Midlands- based marketing solutions company Media Group then you will know of its demand that you evolve your environmental policies alongside its own. It’s a move that no doubt indicates a trend so it’s worth understanding why Media Group has invested the time and money in becoming the UK’s first carbon balanced business and how it expects
its sustainable development plans to impact upon its supply chain.

Hands on: HP FB7600

Nessan Cleary talks to two users about their experiences with this high-volume flatbed printer.

Konventional wisdom has it that screenprinting is better suited to fast throughput than inkjet but there are several digital printers that challenge that. This month we’ve been looking at one of these - HP's FB7600. Naturally print quality and the ability to handle multiple substrates are still key considerations but these printers are all about productivity, so the loading and unloading systems are just as important.

Preparing for lift off?

Well, when it comes to environmental considerations in the manufacture and distribution of wide-format inkjet printers, many vendors are still standing on the apron though their engines may be running. Nessan Cleary reports.

We know that for many businesses, particularly retailers, it’s important to be seen to be green and that increasingly that means looking to their whole supply chain and making sure that it reflects their own environmental policies. The knock-on effect is that large-format print providers are going to have to be in a position to demonstrate to their customers that their business fits the bill. And that in turn means taking a long hard look at the suppliers they use and the equipment they buy. In commercial print and in packaging this is already de rigueur but it seems that the large-format sector is lagging behind.

Inktec Jetrix KX5

Nessan Cleary gets up close to this new flatbed, launched complete with new inks at Fespa 2013.

Korean ink manufacturer Inktec showed a flatbed printer at this year’s Fespa show in London. The Jetrix KX5 has a bed size of 2.5 x 1.3m, and there’s an optional roll-feeder which takes media up to 2.2m. This should take rolls up to around 100m, enough to allow the printer to be left printing during the night. Unusually, it will take media up to 10cm high. The operator has to set the carriage height but there’s a motion sensor on either side that will stop printing if there’s any danger of the heads hitting the substrate.

If you can, teach

Ever considered becoming a twinner with the printit! Education initiative to get youngsters into the print sector? Now could be the time.

September saw the commencement of the ninth PrintIt! curriculum-mapped competition for GSCE and A Level students to research, design and create a print-based promotional campaign as part of the largest ‘Schools into Industry’ programme in the UK, and developed to draw new talent into the print sector by increasing youngsters’ awareness of print. Now it’s time you got involved. November sees the search for print companies to twin with local schools, a crucial element to the programme, and one that gives students the chance to experience the industry first hand.

Who owns your intellectual property?

Dorothy Agnew, senior solicitor at Moore Blatch, runs through the checks and balances worth making when it comes to your intellectual property.

Often, it’s only when buying or selling a business that directors realise that they don't own what they think they do and various issues come to light. The sale itself might be straightforward, but the process leading up to a sale can highlight many issues that have the potential to materially impact on the value of your operation. 

Put it in writing

A written contract of employment helps establish what you and your employees each expect of the other. Phil Thompson, head of BPIF business, runs through the drafting process.

Employers are required by law to provide employees with a document setting out the main terms of their employment within two months of their employment starting. In putting together a contract you, as an employer, need to think carefully about any special conditions (e.g. an employee’s promise not to work for someone in direct competition) and whether these should be in the actual contract. The contract itself can include express and implied terms). A good example of the latter is the implied term of mutual trust and confidence.

IR Talks to Colin Thompson, Managing Partner at Cavendish

Dr Colin Thompson has a string of letters after his name and has over 30 years experience as a managing director in various companies where he’s gained experience of increasing sales and profit, rebranding and mergers/takeovers.

He’s now widely recognised as the managing partner at business development company Cavendish, though he’s also a visiting professor and mentor at Coventry University and sits on various boards. So what can we learn from this business coach, keynote speaker and author? Lesley Simpson, editor of Image Reports, speaks to Dr Colin Thompson in this Talking Point interview.

What you need to know

altEnvironmental consultant Clare Taylor brings you up to speed on environmental standards, systems and schemes.

This year has seen a number of new environmental initiatives, as well as changes to familiar standards, systems and schemes. They affect a wide range of activities: clothing and textiles, paper and packaging, management systems and reporting. Here are some of the most noteworthy.

What you get isn’t always what you see

Paul Schwartfeger and Simon Griffin from design firm Etre explain how you could be losing out by not optimising your website for the colour-blind.

Focus on finishing

Focus on finishing…and you know it’s likely you’ll significantly improve your margins. So where are the main advances taking place. Nessan Cleary investigates.

There’s been a development frenzy when it comes to cutting tables, but don’t expect the same level of activity elsewhere on the finishing kit front. So in some instances you’re going to continue to suffer from that production bottleneck until manufacturers put the same levels of R&D into other tools as they have into cutting technology. It’s easy to see why the focus has been on such devices – the demand for more automation has been almost palpable. And the developers have risen to the market’s expectation.

IR talks to... Bob Usher, Chairman of Picon

This summer Apex Digital Graphics managing director Bob Usher was elected chairman of Picon, the UK confederation of print industry manufacturers and suppliers. One of his aims is to broaden Picon’s membership, with a focus on attracting more companies from the digital and cross-media sectors.

Given that a key priority for Picon is to ‘increase the effectiveness of the UK print industry’s representations to government and other bodies’he will also working hard with the GPMA, the new print trade association collective headed by previous Picon chairman Peter Morris.

So what role can we expect Picon to play in promoting print as a whole and digital wide-format in particular as we move forward?

Mutoh ValueCut

Nessan Cleary investigates how this cutting plotter handles a range of materials at high speeds.

Earlier this year Mutoh launched a new series of cutting plotters, known as ValueCut, which are essentially improved versions of the Kona series.

Will cross media save my business?

“Not a chance” according to print management specialist Graham Reed, a founding member of the Print Tribe, part ofglobal consultancy firm PrintFuture. Yet it does need careful consideration as he explains.

Hopefully the headline got your attention: it should. What really concerns me about ‘our’ industry is the emerging trend that when a new technology comes about that has even the remotest association with images on a substrate, it is going to be the saviour of the printing industry. Take Web-to-print (W2P); more than half of organisations that have bought W2P systems across the globe have not implemented them so that they bring a profitable outcome to their organisation. So why is cross media going to be any different?

Colouring in between the gaps

Phil Thompson, head of BPIF Business, talks us through independent colour quality certification based on ISO12647 and 9001.

The BPIF has developed a UK Certification scheme for ISO12647, knowing that as with quality and environmental standards, buyers expect independent auditing and certification from UKAS accredited certification bodies. In response to such customer demands, a growing number of UK printing companies are now working towards the ISO12647 standard which is specific for colour quality.

Bridge over troubled waters

altCan visual QR codes help print cross over into the digital world? Nevo Alva thinks so. He’s co-founder and CEO of Visualead, which aims to aid engagement between the offline consumer and the online brand via this latest QR development.

When the barcode, developed in 1952, was first used as a solution to standardise grocery shopping, label military supplies, and track packages and shipments, it was considered sophisticated technology. But it quite quickly came to be perceived as incredibly mundane and out-dated. Enter the QR code.