Wed, Jul

As National Apprenticeship Week starts today I thought I’d ask if you’re doing anything special to mark it? It would be interesting to see if there’s any kind of pattern as to what size and shape of print company is more likely to take on apprentices, and in which roles. Any grassroots info would be welcome…

Do you think the ‘Brexit Freedoms Bill’ will impact your business? The bill will make it easier to change EU-era regulations that still remain in force and ParcelHero - which is conducting an analysis of UK-EU trade issues - is flagging up concerns that this could include the first instances of British manufacturing standards separating from EU standards. In a recent press release it said: “In the future, many new products sold in the UK will need to have packaging, marketing and stamping changed to show they meet UKCA regulations, in case UK and EU regulations start to diverge. If UK and EU regulations differ, it is likely that the results of conformity assessment tests carried out by UK conformity assessment bodies will no longer be recognised in the EU. It won’t be possible to sell UKCA-passed products within the EU without reassessment by EU bodies. To add to the confusion, the Government now says that the UKCA marking alone will not be permissible for goods placed on the Northern Ireland market.” Your thoughts….

I love the fact that creative comms group DRPG is celebrating a five years of partnering with the University of Wolverhampton’s School of Art by providing graphic design students with a fictional client brief to be delivered as part of an assessed module within their degree curriculum. The partnership involves the students visiting the DRPG studios in Worcestershire for tours of the facilities and to meet the designers, plus hands-on presentations of client work. I know there are large-format PSPs working closely with further/higher educational establishments, but could we be doing something better in terms of a cohesive nationwide education-into-print scheme?

If you’re serious about the mental wellbeing of your workforce you may be interested in the newly published 2022 Mind Health Study from AXA, for which the IPSOS research institute surveyed more than 11,000 participants across Europe and Asia. It shows that the UK has recently experienced the highest level of mental ill health in Europe, and that only 23% of respondents in the UK believe the public health system provides adequate support. The Printing Charity offers a helpline for those who need it, but should individual companies be doing more - and can they?

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…. 

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