This blog has been driven by my observations over last Autumns when attending a number of small but very focused and interesting events held for the printing and graphic arts community.
These included the Print Efficiency days held at Apex Graphics in Hemel Hempstead, the Two Sides seminar at Stationers’ Hall and the excellent Forward Thinking Printing panel event by Print Business magazine, also at Stationers’ Hall.
All were accessible, free or at a very reasonable price and offered lots of information totally relevant to the current and future markets and technologies needed by our industry.
Indeed, it is refreshing to observe that printing companies who have altered their way of doing business and their markets and products are very willing to share their experience, best practice and knowledge with others at these events.
So, why the title to this blog?
Well, it was very noticeable that these events are mostly talking to the converted. While the attendance was reasonable, they certainly were not bursting at the seams. It is the same ‘enlightened’ companies that I always meet at these and similar events.
Strangely, these companies also seem to be among the most successful in our industry.
So why are the other 6,000 or so printing companies in the UK not taking advantage of this great resource?
Well, when talking generally to senior print managers and directors about this issue, the common reason is a lack of time, or money, or both. Most printers certainly are lean in the number of employees compared to 10 years ago, if not always lean in manufacturing terms. The thought that their company cannot spare them for a day and cannot afford the cost of a train ticket will sound worrying to many.
The frame of mind that places a manager or director of the small company in such a closed silo cannot be open to new ideas and methods from within our industry and beyond.
What must be clear to most within the greater graphic arts industry is that printing companies must change and adapt all areas of their organisation to survive and prosper in the fast-changing media market they now must operate within.
Just sitting in an office and worrying about how you can stay in business is not an option.
So printers have to get out more in order to learn and discover the tools and methods used by others that will help their businesses prosper rather than just survive.
Finally, there does seem to be a culture in the UK printing industry that is cynical about these events and the organisations that exist to help the printing industry. I sit on a number of industry committees and it is difficult to get printers’ representatives to attend.
Similar committees in other countries and other industries are oversubscribed re industry members and often there is a charge for membership. If only, in the UK…
So how many UK printers will be attending DRUPA 2016? Lots hopefully.
- Paul Sherfield who runs the consultancy is well known in the printing and pre-media industry as having considerable knowledge on digital workflows, with a special expertise on the business reasoning behind such systems.
He has installed some of the most successful digital pre-press and pre media systems in the UK. For 2 years he worked on a number of medium term projects before starting the consultancy in July 2000. Before this he was a partner in what became one of the leading pre-press/printing companies in London.
He is active in a number of industry groups including the BPIF Technical Standards Committee, ISO TC 130 printing standards committees and is chair of the BPIF steering group for ISO 12647/2 UK certification, He is a regular speaker at seminars and conferences.