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Preparing for pension change

Phil Thompson is head of BPIF BusinessPensions are being reformed, and given that it’s your responsibility to ensure your business is ready for the changes you had best be well prepared. Automatic enrolment is not an option but a process each employer must follow and there are fines for those who delay. Phil Thompson, head of BPIF Business, reports.

Your automatic enroling staging date is based on the number of persons in your PAYE scheme on 1 April 2012. The staging dates for companies with over 250 employees has already started. The next section, for companies with between 50 and 249 employees, will be between 1 April this year and next. 1 April 2015 - 1 April 2017 will see the automatic enrolment of those with fewer than 50 workers. New employees will need to start on the 1 May 2017 and this will be ongoing.

Find and replace

With recruitment high on many a print company agenda, Jonathan Malyon, MD of executive search firm M Associates, provides his take on the key considerations/issues/actions needed to find the right people for the right price.

All of M Associates consultants have dedicated industry experience and the company has worked within the print and communications sector for some time. Managing director Jonathan Malyon says that every business it speaks to is seeking to become more involved in higher margin vertical markets and is progressing down the line of becoming a total solution provider. So the recruitment process needs to start with a clearly defined strategy of what you are trying to achieve as the operation changes shape.

Hands on: Dyss X7 cutting table

Flexpress managing director Steve Wenlock with his?X7 1624T table.Cutting tables are a must-have accessory for a flatbed UV printer but does it make economic sense to plump for an attractively priced import?

Sooner or later most people who buy a flatbed printer also find that they need a cutting table, if only to cut down the large rigid boards to more manageable sizes. But, inevitably, most budget for the printer and look to save money on the cutting table. Step forward the Dyss X7, a solid but affordable cutter that’s been pitched as an alternative to the main suppliers.

Andy Walls, director, Dalesflex Signs and Graphics

Image Reports speaks to Andy Walls, director, Dalesflex Signs and Graphics.

Think Bigger: Genesis

Is Genesis founder Andrew Owen’s marketing know-how enabling him to push the envelope and put new wide-format print ideas in front of marketers?

While many printers are trying to evolve into ‘marketing service providers’, Cardiff-based Genesis Marketing is making that journey in reverse. Formed in 2005, Genesis is built on founder Andrew Owen’s marketing expertise, now reinforced with in-house wide-format capabilities thanks to a Roland VersaCamm VS540i print and cut machine.

Perspex distribution: Flying the flag for UK manufacturing

Perspex Distribution are continuing to fly the flag for UK print and manufacturing. In a first for the UK print market, it will now be possible to purchase UK manufactured aluminium composite sheets with Perspex Distribution stocking Alupanel® aluminium composite. Following the opening of a new multimillion pound production facility by multipanel UK, Alupanel® is the only range of aluminium composite to be produced in the UK.

Well known for supplying over 150 different variants of Perspex® Cast Acrylic – made in Lancashire for over 85 years – Perspex Distributions’ ever expanding range of substrates is helping them make increasing inroads into the print market. The company’s range of wide format print substrates has continued to evolve – now boasting Alupanel® aluminium composite and Palight® PVC foam with a ‘made in the UK’ stamp of approval.

Fishing for franchises

Franchise chain Fastsigns wants to strengthen its brand and grow its UK network. To help it do so it’s changed its recruitment and training tactics.

The bigger the pool the more fish there are to catch. That’s the logic behind a franchisee-seeking plan thought up by Fastsigns UK managing director Garth Allison. As he is happy to point out, the operation has “typically attracted would-be franchisees who have been made redundant and want to go into business for themselves. From a proactive perspective we’ve usually used dedicated franchise exhibitions, but we’ve been shifting emphasis over the last 12 – 18 months to make sure we’re getting our offering in front of more people.” It’s not just about numbers though, it’s about variety too. “The thing is, too many people are fishing in the same pool of talent. We’re trying to expand that pool of talent and find people that perhaps have not given print franchising a thought.”

Fujifilm supports the Think Bigger report

To promote the power of print to the creative community and stimulate continuous innovation...

As a leading player in the printing industry, Fujifilm recognises it has a key role to play in the future of the industry and is committed to raising awareness of the unlimited potential of print among a wider audience, including print service providers, marketers and the creative design community. With a focus on increasing the understanding of print as a powerful communications medium, Fujifilm decided to supporting the ‘Think Bigger Report’, as it recognised its potential to serve as a platform from which to showcase some of the most original ways in which the power of print can be exploited to maximise communications campaigns.

Think Bigger: HP

In 2014 we'll be asking a number of vendors about what they’re doing to help educate possible would-be users of wide-format print about its potential. For this first report we put the question to Simon Addinall, market development manager EMEA, HP.

Print service providers have not been alone in facing the choices and challenges that rapid changesin printing technologies have brought - they have been felt along the entire length of the supply chain, from the brand managers, designers and marketers, to distribution companies.

Anapurna M2050

The Agfa Anapurna M2050Nessan Cleary kicks off the first of a series of independent tests by looking at Agfa’s most popular wide-format printer in the UK.

The Anapurna M2050, which is Agfa's most popular model in the UK, is targeted at the entry level to mid range user, where its flexibility is suitable for a broad range of jobs.

IR talks to...Anthony Rider, Director of Rocket

Excuse the pun, but Watford- based Rocket is blasting off. Having secured contracts that increased its turnover by 25% in 2013 it is on an upwards trajectory, hiring new staff, investing in new kit and expanding its factory space to secure what it anticipates being double digit growth again in 2014. Image Reports Editor, Lesley Simpson, met with former Service Graphics and McKenzie Clark man Antony Rider, now Rocket’s commercial director, to discuss the company’s rise and vision for the future. Here’s what transpired.


Marketing make-ready

Tony Hodgson, director of PODi for Europe, provides a heads-up on marketing initiatives you should note for 2014.

In case you didn’t already know, PODi is a global, not-for-profit organisation whose goal it is to increase demand for marketing services and applications driven by digital printing. So here, director of European operations, Tony Hodgson, uses its detailed data bank and knowledge gathering expertise to provide you with New Year notes on the trends and developments you should heed.

The university challenge

As we kick off a new series of ‘Turning on the Talent’ articles the starter question goes to the Simpson Group. How are they doing just that?

To paraphrase the famous quote from the film ‘Field of Dreams’: If you build it, they will come. The Simpson Group can prove it. By building strong relationships with local educational establishments it is pulling in people that otherwise would never have thought of a career with a print company. Sri Kataram and Adam Riddick are proof positive. Both are IT/software development specialists who have been directed towards Simpsons by Teesside University, where the group’s ever strengthening relationship with computing sciences lecturer Barry Hebbron in particular is really paying off.

Hands on: GMG Production Suite

ProductionSuite splits the prepress functions, handled in the Editor, from the output Rip.In theory GMG ProductionSuite separates the prepress from the ripping for greater production efficiency, so what’s it like in practice? Nessan Cleary asked users.

We've long been advocates of using workflow programs to organise production departments more efficiently, so it seemed like a good idea to look at one such system – GMG's ProductionSuite – in more detail. This should separate prepress functions from the output in order to squeeze the maximum efficiency from both halves of a job. It can oversee multiple printers so that jobs can be routed to the most appropriate device, even late in the production process. It can take care of difficult issues such as colour management and finishing marks and offer centralised management of every job in production.

Out with the old, in with the new

What's in store for the print industry in 2014?Is the industry prepared for a move away from PVC boards towards more flexible and sustainable options? Ashley Moscrop, group director of Dufaylite shares his thoughts and predictions for the year ahead and what this means for the printing industry.

It can’t be ignored; the very noticeable trend within the retail sector is a move away from PVC boards towards more sustainable and environmentally friendly substrates like paper and polypropylene. As the retail industry bows to pressure to reduce its carbon footprint by removing PVC in stores, it’s an issue that’s becoming more apparent and more pressing. In 2014 this will be both an opportunity and a challenge for the printing industry, where PSPs will need to demonstrate increased expertise in printing on in-demand paper-based substrates.

Hollywood Monster continues to invest in 5 metre market

VUTEk GS5000r wide format printerHollywood Monster confirms future 5m strategy with Vutek GS5000r order to CMYUK digital.

For Hollywood Monster, the new year has already seen investment in new equipment with the purchase of an EFI VUTEk GS5000r from UK distributor, CMYUK Digital. The West Midlands based specialist display producer is already renowned for producing fast turn- round superwide-format graphics up to 5m in width, by virtually any length, and the new machine now enables the company to match the standards of its output with its existing 3.2m VUTEk GS3250 without compromising quality.