Wed, Sep

Consider this an invite - come join me 11am-12:30pm on 29 September 2020 at the first ever Widthwise Live. Yes, the 2020 iteration of the annual Widthwise Report is somewhat later than usual in being published - it will be out with the October issue of Image Reports. That’s because the first survey of the UK/Irelands’ large-format PSPs was undertaken at the start of the year (as it has been for the last 13 years), then Covid-19 struck so we obviously we needed to do another one after lockdown had set in! I’ll deliver the key findings at the online Widthwise Live event, where we’ll discuss three key topics: building revenues, reducing cost, and diversifying your wide-format print offering. And it won’t be just me spouting off – hear from Richard Courtney, MD, Gardners; Stuart Maclaren, group CEO, YPP Group; Will Tyler, founder, Octink; and Colin McMahon, research analyst, Keypoint Intelligence. We will also do our best to answer your questions on the day. So waste no time – register at:  https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_1OvbQOAhTjyz1foofPGqmQ

A report undertaken by Allica Bank to support British business shows that many SMEs are failing to formalise regular training, and losing out because of it, so I have to ask – how many of you are managing to run formal training programmes at this time? Have they fallen by the wayside or are you fully aware of their importance and making sure they continue? Do you think the sector has well-targeted and accessible training programmes etc?

Are you anxious about your employees feeling anxious? How are you dealing with staff requiring mental health support? I’m researching how owners/managers of SMEs are managing to cope with what we are being told is real problem - and likely a growing one. If you have suggestions as how we best can support our people in this industry, please let me know.

Well done to Ultima Displays in developing a printable, self-sanitising stretch fabric. We can see an amazing amount of R&D taking place within the sector right now – so perhaps it’s worth a reminder of the Government’s R&D tax credits scheme. You could be quids in! There’s an article in our latest issue – and on our website: https://bit.ly/3kI9gY4

Yes, what we’ve been expecting to be a run of mergers and acquisitions has begun. Don’t know whether that’s a good or bad thing – suppose it depends on your own position – but perhaps with more high revenue groups emerging, ‘print’ will get taken more seriously by those in government determining the policies that will shape our futures?

This ‘back to school’ time of the year still makes me think of new beginnings, and given this strange year perhaps it’s a kind of milestone for many people - and businesses. With the end of furlough in sight and companies considering the best way forward, how many are looking at their management teams and wondering if they need a shake up? Or perhaps a ship-in of talent from outside the ‘normal’ print pool - with a focus on business development strategists. Wondering if PSPs are in a good position to entice those people into the sector….

What have you been producing since lockdown that’s novel and creative - other than Covid-19 related items that is? Drop me a pic and a few lines on jobs beyond the norm - I’d love to run a selection of the oddest in the next issue of Image Reports.

If there’s one thing that’s going to get you all hot under the collar it’s got to be ‘furlough’. So what do you think about HMRC having started chasing up companies having made ‘fraudulent’ claims? Would love to have your perspective.

What a fab piece of polling Roland DG! Research highlights how instore signage, or lack of, is impacting the number of people returning to shops - or not. Let’s help get this data out in front of the brands and retailers and do ourselves a favour.

I don’t know whether to be really chuffed or slightly miffed that the British Coatings Federation is developing a network of ambassadors to spread the word about the usefulness of the industry and opportunities within in it – exactly the kind of scheme I’ve been saying we should develop in the wide-format print sector. Could this be a real catalyst - or is now not the time?

Do you help make events happen? If you usually do, what’s your thinking on the #WeMakeEvents campaign, which saw marches across the country on Tuesday? Did you get involved? Do you see yourselves as a vital part of that industry sector? And - bottom line - how are you managing to cope?

The soon to be published Widthwise 2020 survey shows that the price of supplies remains a top concern, so news that a major ink company - albeit across the pond - will be hiking prices at the start of next month is something of a concern. What are your suppliers telling you about likely price rises?

Hats off to Gardners! I was stunned when I heard about its new ‘pollution eating’ ReactivAir product. See the news story on the launch. But heck - who’s going to follow that?

I can’t believe it’s August! How distant the start of the Covid-19 lockdown now seems, but how far has your business come since reopening (if indeed you closed!)? Is the outlook sunny and bright or does it feel like winter has set in?

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