Train to retain

Recruiting the right person for the right job is step one and retaining existing talent is step two for most successful organisations.  In a corporate environment like the Middle East in general, and the UAE in particular, where a majority of the workforce consists of expatriates, employee turnover is becoming a serious problem.

While salary increase is often seen as the tried and tested solution to keeping your brood together, industry experts advocate ‘training employees to develop their skills and make them feel more valued’ as a more sustainable approach.

The stresses and strains of modern day living forces organisations and individuals into following the beaten path.  Acquiring newer skills opens up

Fight inefficiency

At last summer’s Drupa exhibition, the environment was one of the show’s hot topics. Press manufacturers rolled out a whole host of innovations and clever technologies on their latest presses, and suppliers’ special environmental tours and presentations drew big crowds. For those companies in the happy position of being able to invest in new metal, the options for improved performance through environmental efficiencies are legion. But, as the sales figures from our major

Inkjet textile printing - The rise of digital textile

According to FESPA’s 2018 Print Census, textile print applications continue to offer meaningful growth potential for many print businesses. The research found that 39% of graphics producers are looking for textile printing capability when they invest.

The Census also illustrated that currently digital adoption for textile is slower than in other segments and production is still dominated by analogue processes. However, among printers with a focus on textile, 56% have made digital investments

Is print on the up?

ahmed bin hassan al shaikh - modern printing pres
“The Middle East is a part of the working world, so naturally we have been affected – although the degree to which we have is less than the rest of the world. One of the major problems for the entire economy is the banks’ tightening up of procedures which makes it difficult for people to borrow money. Hence, cash flow is cut short. This is a big deal when it comes to

Processless is getting the chemistry right

Back in 2015, we posed the question: Has processless become the new normal? The answer at the time was not quite sure, but it’s getting there.

Many experts expected the tipping point to be reached shortly with adoption rates of processless technology projected to continue to rise rapidly as the quality and robustness of processless plates increased and the cost decreased.
Three years down the line, with the price of plates soaring thanks to the spiralling cost of aluminium, has that tipping point

Getting on the top rung

The football story of UK’s Brian Clough’s brief reign at Leeds United in the mid-1970s, which has just been turned into a feature film, is proof that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Clough guided unfashionable Derby County to the league title, but the lure of working for a bigger club was too great and in 1974 he embarked on a disastrous spell at Leeds that lasted only 44 days; in that time he managed to alienate senior directors and players

PDF 2.0: Scene-setter, not a game-changer

After 10 years in the making, it looks like PDF 2.0 will finally reach real world users in the next year or so. Since the 1990s PDF has been the dominant format used to deliver document files for printing.

PDF 2.0 is the first real update since 2008, when Adobe handed PDF 1.7 to the ISO for future developments.  PDF 2.0’s print-related new features can be summed up as improving automated workflows, especially across multiple printers and papers, and better colour handling, especially spot

Plan to survive financial difficulties

Historically, for a lot of companies, drawing up a business plan meant committing a list of targets and objectives to paper and then filing this away in the back of a drawer where it would gather dust for 12 months or more. Generally speaking it was a document that, once written, was quickly forgotten. (In the past there have even been examples of businesses that don’t commit anything to paper; instead the company’s managing director would claim “it’s all up

Software superstars in the spotlight

There are a lot of different design programs around that can be used to place text and graphics in specific places, and to draw shapes and add effects such as transparencies or drop shadows, Words by Nessan Clearey

The prices vary as much as designers themselves do, reflecting their different priorities, from professional graphic designers who want to work quickly and to offer the widest range of visual effects to their clients, through to business users creating corporate reports or home users

Strategies for historic times

Described by his contemporaries as that rarest of things, an engineer with a commercial brain, Heidelberg’s rock-climbing second-in-command is said to command fear, respect, and admiration in equal measure. In an exclusive interview, board member for markets Jürgen Rautert talks jointly to PrintWeek and the editor of German sister title Druck&Medien, Andrea Bötel, and offers a frank insight into the future direction of the world’s largest press

Finishing kit with a kind of magic touch on machines

The embellishment market is booming at the moment. From spot UV coating through to hot foiling, more and more printers and trade finishers are looking to invest in embellishment technology driven by growing demand from their customers for something different.

Printers’ customers want to stand out from the crowd and the printers themselves also want to stand out from their competition in terms of what they are able to offer customers,” says Alex North, head of digital marketing at Duplo

Print prodigies in the making

Print pundits in the region think an ageing workforce should have print firms worrying about the future. Apprenticeships and planned training are their proposed solutions

When an elderly co-worker warned the managing director of a well-known print company in Dubai that training his staff might result in many of them leaving, his response was to point out that by not training them he ran the same risk. It is an exchange that sums up the perceived catch-22 situation in

Has fixed-palette come of age at last?

A quarter century has passed since serious proposals were first made for six- and seven-colour process sets to replace the need for spot colour inks. These were taken up for digital processes, especially inkjets.

But adoption has only been sporadic for conventional, ‘analogue’ print processes. And today we are on the verge of easily accessible extended colour gamut (ECG) print for offset litho and flexography.
We have spoken to two of the press makers that are making a particular push for each

Seeking the simple skills solution

The great and good in print have been warning of a bleak future for the industry for some time now. The problem is training, or rather an absence of it. Put simply, not enough companies are investing in developing the skills that will ensure the indus­try’s future. According to a number of printers in the UAE, this is especially true of the MENA

What threat does IoT pose to printers’ kit?

Fridge freezers that auto-order milk and kettles that boil water using an app, the internet and things that run on it have come a long way since Sir Tim Berners-Lee decided that a network to share data with colleagues at CERN would be a good idea.

And so world-changing has its effect been, that according to a Forbes report, by 2025 there will be more than 80 billion active smart devices connected to the internet worldwide. But as with most things, the increased interconnectivity has come with

The right man for the job

If you’re the head of a printing company and you have
a senior position that needs filling, there are lots of different factors that you need to take into consideration. Aside from a CV jam-packed with experience, one of the biggest conundrums is whether you opt for a candidate who already knows the industry inside out and is currently working in print, or do you gamble and go for an outsider: a candidate who has made their name in another sector and could cast a fresh eye on

Strong arm tactics allows to tackle heavy loads

There are robots and robots. One type inhabits the popular culture of books, movies and TV, where more-or-less humanoid machines may be heroes, villains, evil or good, oppressors or slaves. Then there are the ones that actually exist, that mostly look nothing like humans.

It’s this second class that are sometimes to be found around print factories. They are still comparative rarities, primarily used for materials handling tasks of transporting, loading and unloading.
Robotics is a class of

Oiling the wheels of commerce is required

Marseilles had the first – in 1599, when its chambre de commerce was empowered to send consuls, embassies, and commercial missions to certain countries. In the UK, the interests of merchants and craftsmen were protected with the formation of guilds in the Middle Ages. Now we have 110 of them in London alone, including the Stationers’ Company, with more spread around the country.

The benefits of membership

Back in the present day, there are a multitude of trade bodies, associations and

Can paper coatings curb plastic consumption?

We’re just a month and a half into 2018 and the packaging industry’s sustainability agenda has been firmly set for the forthcoming year – and indeed beyond.

Thanks to China’s ban on waste imports, Theresa May’s environmental action plan and, perhaps most influential of all, the depiction of humanity’s devastating impact on sea life in BBC series Blue Planet, plastic has regained its position as public enemy number one. Our consumption of the material is prominently unsustainable, and all eyes

Mental wellbeing is much more than all in the mind

While certain level of stress in our lives is important just to function, it was Reverend WJ Kennedy who, in 1856, as the Inspector of Schools for Lancashire and the Isle of Man, identified that “if you want any business done for you, you should ask a busy man”.

That may be true, but the problem for some is that the relationship between busyness and stress is too incestuous. Too much stress and our human frailties are thrown into sharp relief, too little and we relax..
So, what is the right

What printers can do to recycle their waste

The UK is the world’s fifth largest manufacturer of printed products, and while there aren’t any statistics to indicate the level of overall material consumption in the industry, it is probably safe to assume that it’s a significant amount.

As such, it’s responsible for a correspondingly high volume of waste – and it’s only in recent times, over the last decade or so, that the majority of it has been recycled.
The variety of waste produced by the print industry is vast, and paper – the material

Hire power: secure the right recruit for your business

Employees not only form the core of a business, they are also one of the biggest fixed costs it will have. With access to the innermost corporate secrets and the ability to make or break a firm, having properly drafted contracts in place is critical to success – and survival.

Times have moved on since employers used to take the ‘warm body’ approach, where someone would be hired just because they were there and seemed to fit the job. Now employers rigorously sort through job applicants using

Colour management in digital textile printing

One of the most rapidly growing segments of digital printing is printed fabrics. As in every other area of digital printing this means that it won’t only be textile production experts who will provide artwork for and initiate print projects on many types of fabrics.

At the heart of any print project is the desire to achieve the highest possible image quality, and especially getting the colours right. But to get there all the involved parties need to cooperate fully, and each do their part to

Make sure your people know where they stand

Employees not only form the core of a business, they are also one of the biggest fixed costs it will have. With access to the innermost corporate secrets and the ability to make or break a firm, having properly drafted contracts in place is critical to success – and survival. Words by Adam Bernstein

Take some of the issues that Andrew Rayment, a partner in the employment department of law firm Walker Morris has come across in his years in practice. He’s seen brazen attempts by ex-employees

If you’re looking to bring in punters, join the club

In a Victorian warehouse in Margate, a group of people who have never met each other are carefully cutting out pieces of lino.

Most have never done it before, some never will again, but for a few, this is the start of something long term.
And for one or two in the room, this is actually already a career, they are here simply for some top-up guidance.
It’s a difficult blend of experience and aspiration for the man running this linocut workshop to balance.
“We have a real mix of people who use Hello

Set out a routemap for your firm’s future

If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” – wise words from Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the US. He’s right and it’s one of the reasons why an industry has grown up to support firms of all sizes wanting to plan for their future, Words by Adam Bernstein

But for smaller enterprises, where time and management bandwidth may be in short supply, the issue of strategic planning may be ignored. So where should a small business start when developing a strategy?

The business