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Tue, Jan

Ha! Apparently today is National Macintosh Computer Day (as well as National Lobster Thermidor Day) so fingers crossed that means I’m going to have a non-meltdown tech day. Just thought I’d share that, and ask whether your business operations require more IT know-how now than they did, say a decade ago? Everyone talks about ease-of-use when it comes to print kit/systems, but has that led to a dumbing-down in terms of technical knowledge when it comes to your staff?

Organisers of the Digital Print and Packaging US show have issued a call for speakers on a number of topics. I’m not suggesting you  necessarily prepare to jump on a plane for Santa Monica in June - though it does sound rather nice - but I thought it worth listing the areas of interest, because if you are happy to talk to your peers about any of them I’d like to know. The more we chat about these things the better in my opinion. The topics include: innovations in sustainability, circularity, and ecommerce; supply chain dynamics, challenges and perspectives; the importance of retention and a positive work culture to build the industry.

Virtual reality is the game to be in! According to research by Arden Partners - an institutional stockbroking company - £154m worth of capital flowed into the private virtual reality last year, a 70% jump on 2020. UK revenues are set to grow by 31.7% this year and are projected to increase at the same rate over the next five years. I’m telling you this because while the main VR attraction may be gaming its development is bound to impact many other areas. As Alex DeGroote, research director at Arden, explains: “With new virtual ways of operating becoming much more widespread in many consumer and professional sectors post-Covid, we envisage an exponential rise in capital investment into the virtual reality sector as consumers and companies look for new ways to communicate and operate.” Just putting it out there…

A reminder that registration is now open for a number of trade shows happening (we hope!) this year, including Printwear and Promotion Live (20-22 February, NEC), Sign and Digital UK (22-24 March, NEC) and Fespa Global (31 May-3 June, Berlin). The whole Covid situation means nothing is certain of course, but unless we’re happy to see trade shows disappear it would be a good show of support to let organisers and exhibitors know what level of visitor interest they may expect - wouldn’t it?

I guess I should be saying 'Happy New Year', but sadly, for those those made redundant when Kesslers went into administration just before Christmas, it won't be. Let's hope 2022 doesn’t bring too many more job losses in a sector that has proven to be quite resilient so far. That said, what can we as a sector do to help those that find themselves out of work? Is there a better way of pooling resources to help in regards to retraining and re-employment opportunities?

Well, I’m signing off for Christmas, so here’s wishing you a jolly holidays. Relax - you’ve earned it! Who knows what 2022 will bring, but being in festive spirit let’s accentuate the positive and assume that all the hard work over the last year will pay off in the next. See you in January.

A couple of quick questions before Christmas - firstly, how are you doing with deliveries at the moment? Secondly, what are you doing about holiday closures over the holiday - are you extending shutdown this year? I’m interested to find out if there are trends here…. Thank you

In case you’re feeling a bit fed-up, this may give you a laugh - it did me. I’ve learned that the Pantone Colour of the Year 2022 is 17-3938 Very Peri - a new shade “whose courageous presence encourages personal inventiveness and creativity.” Apparently the periwinkle blue hue “is a symbol of the global zeitgeist and the transition we are going through. As we move into a world of unprecedented change, the selection of Pantone 17-3938 Very Peri brings a novel perspective and vision of the trusted and beloved blue colour family. Encompassing the qualities of the blues, yet at the same time possessing a violet-red undertone, Very Peri displays a spritely, joyous attitude and dynamic presence.” Bet you feel better knowing that. Get your swatch card out.

I thought the following data from Zoom may bring a wry smile to your face! It has put together a look-back on 2021, pulling global data insights from across its platform and recent survey to uncover our Zoom habits. The stats show: the top day of the week for meetings is a Wednesday; 42% meet from bed; 26% never (or almost never) shower before hopping on calls; 43% clean only the part of the room visible on camera; 71% have said, "You're on mute". Just thought I’d share…. 

The BPIF has apparently listened to feedback from the industry in regards to training requirements, and is widening its offering in 2022 accordingly. Courses will include a new Signage Technician Level 3 programme, following input from the federation’s display and POS interest group. This comes after other actions taken in this sector, including the introduction in the summer of the ‘Display and POS 2 Recycling Scheme’ with Prismm Environmental. Increasingly the BPIF is stepping up to the plate in representing large-format PSPs and I’m happy to be part of the conversation as to where more support can be given. So, as always, let me know if you have any biting issues and I’ll be happy to pass them on.

Next week the BPIF will run a Carbon Roundtable at which members - and others - will discuss the impact of carbon on the print industry. I’d love to know whether you think we’re acting fast enough to reduce our footprint, and where you think the quickest gains can be made?

The December issue of Image Reports has gone to bed and I’m planning the next one. Let me know if there are any burning issues you would like to see covered in the first issue of the New Year and I’ll see what I can do. Onwards and upwards…

Fespa UK is looking for someone to take up the newly created position of client relationship manager - the emphasis being on finding someone who is “print through and through”, which makes a lot of sense considering the association’s ‘clients’ are PSPs. But when it comes to PSPs finding people for such roles, you no doubt want people who know your respective client markets through and through. Is that something that’s becoming easier or more difficult as you diversify?

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