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Wed, Apr

This is interesting: the developers behind the Soultime app have employed AI to register users moods and have added functionality that alerts friends should they need to contact the user to give them support and encouragement. Might be worth having a look-see at the new Soultime with Friends and flag up to work-at-home employees?

It’s a fortnight since the UK lockdown. What has the last two weeks done to your business? Are you still doing any business? So many of you provided detailed input into the Widthwise survey just a few weeks ago. I’m working on the data analysis. But how things change in so short a space of time… Keep me in the loop and I’ll continue to do my best to do the same for you.

Here’s something you should actually pass on to your workforce - the phone number 01293 542820. It’s for the Printing Charity - which may be a much needed port of call for those struggling right now. As a reminder, the charity is there for those who have worked in the sector for three or more years. It can offer practical and emotional support as well as assessment-based financial help. Considering what Matic Media MD Richard McCombe has to say about the state of business I fear the charity’s phones are going to be red-hot.

Yes, I do mean virtually! Wondering if any of you want to join in an industry discussion forum on how to get through this difficult period - and come out the other end into a viable marketplace. It’s not my idea to be fair. One of my readers has been on the phone, worried that at the end of all this supplies prices are going to be sky high and print prices rock bottom as everyone scrabbles for survival. His thinking is that there should be a group of print chiefs that regularly chat over ideas on how to retain a sustainable large-forma print sector. Interested?

It’s great that the BAPC and IPIA are working together to provide intelligence on the print sector to the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy BEIS. It’s great that the BPIF is doing likewise. But I am wondering how co-ordinated an approach this sector has when it comes to lobbying on behalf of the whole print industry. What’s happened to the Graphics and Print Media Alliance (GPMA), formed as an umbrella organisation to which various print associations (including the BPIF, Fespa UK, BAPC, IPIA, Picon, Apcom, Two Sides etc) belonged. I worry that we are still not presenting a coherent voice to Government. Is that just me?

Having a rescheduled 2020 date for Fespa Global somewhat lifted my spirits amid all the COVID-19 disruption. The thought of the being in a position to travel again to international trade shows by October seems quite surreal right now to be honest - but just having a date in the diary shines a light at the end of what could be a long tunnel.

In normal times it would have been the PIA/BAPC Conference today – but we’re not in normal times and everyone’s talking about just one thing. In line with the coronavirus discussion I have to ask - are you managing to remain open for business, and if so, does business continue to come in? Is there anything we can do to help?

It had to happen given current circumstances - the cancellation of Drupa 2020 that is. With so many events casualties of COVID-19, I have to ask how that is impacting those of you reliant on that sector - and on various other likely to close attractions - for the bulk of your work?

How was the Budget for you? To quote Paul Galligan, CEO Bionic, “The new Chancellor has put it all on the line for the UK’s SMEs at a critical time for the UK economy. Delays to the time to pay services, the roll out of a new Coronavirus Loan Service, the temporary abolishment of business rates for specific sectors and a £3000 cash injection for small businesses across the country will create a much needed safety net for hard-working SMEs up and down the country. It remains to be seen how quickly businesses can access the cash injection and be repaid having claimed compensation for sick pay. It is vital that government services are swift. Overall, though, SMEs needed a turbo-charged response to the crisis, and it looks like they've got it." Agree?

As events get overtaken by measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 I would like to know if your business is being impacted by the virus. Are there measures you are putting in place as the likelihood of staff and supplies shortage look increasingly likely?

So Fespa Global 2020 has succumbed to Covid-19 virus developments. Hardly surprising. Wondering what will happen now with the very international Drupa and even homespun Sign and Digital UK. Of course we’ll keep you up to date with show information. Likewise, given my fingers can fly across the keyboard from my desk, we’ll continue to update you on other industry news too!

The Image Reports’ annual Widthwise poll closes today, so let me say a huge thank you to the 200+ large-format print companies that have again generously given of their time to take part in this independent sector specific UK survey. I’ll now start number crunching in earnest and you’ll get the analysis later in the year. Don’t worry, I’ll remind you when you can get your hands - and eyes - on the findings. Wonder what surprises we’ll come across his year…

How big of an issue is printing onto green substrates within your firm these days? And have you made a conscious effort to improve your overall ‘green’ credentials to meet customer demand? OK, I know, you’ve probably already answered these questions as part of the 2020 Widthwisw Survey (if you haven’t done it yet, please be quick and head over to https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/NJQNCG9), but I don’t have that data yet and given the ‘buzz’ around the topic - finally! - I’d love to know if you noticed a marked change in client attitudes and are making strategic changes to make your own business more sustainable? Let me know - you may even end up in the Widthwise Report…always looking for trailblazers.

Will be interesting to see how the coronavirus impacts European trade shows this year. Have you changed your mind about attending

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