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Better Business

Pay heed to employees’ rights and aspirations

Whatever the Bible may say about the love of money being a “root of all kinds of evil”, as Paul wrote in his first letter to Timothy, there aren’t many of us who wouldn’t be happier with a little bit more. 

In living memory, and immortalised by the film Made in Dagenham, the Equal Pay Act 1970 was first mooted in the 1964 General Election by the Labour Party in its manifesto when proposing a charter of rights that included “right to equal pay for equal work”.
We’ve come a long way since then and the topic now encompasses low pay, gender inequality and pensions auto enrolment. The topic is still as relevant now as it was in 1964 and is not just a problem for the UK. Recently, CBNC reported that Apple, Airbnb, AT&T, and Salesforce were

Xerox: How to find and sell document technology where it is growing

The VP of channels document technology  of  Xerox, Jim Morrissey, discusses how channel partners market their products, what characteristics to look for when seeking opportunities in the document technology segment and the fallacy of vertical marketing and the importance of precision marketing.

The time-worn observation that you cannot and should not try to be all things to all people still holds true, but the good news is that as a channel partner, you don’t have to be the one producing a

Learning how to swim with the big fish

Mercian Labels is moving upwards and outwards. Two months ago, the business upped sticks at its Derby operation and shifted it 40 miles to its headquarters in Burntwood, Staffordshire. This was a bold statement of expansion; one of many in recent years.

And with all production now under one roof, even more expansion is on the agenda. Staying the pace with such fast evolution can be a tough call, however, without the capacity, tools or processes in place, trying to keep up with growth can line

Your network is only as secure as your weakest linkpost

Earlier this month, Hydro, one of the world’s largest producers of aluminium, was forced to switch to manual operations at some of its 40 sites dotted around the world due to a severe ransomware attack.

The sheer scale and severity of the attack crippled the company and attracted media attention globally. Sadly it was not an isolated example. Government figures published earlier this year show that more than 40% of UK businesses experienced a cyber security breach or attack in the last 12

Make printing easy for your customers

No clutter. No pop-ups. No up-sells. No cross-sells. No information overload. Back in December, web-to-print business Printed Easy went live with a new-look customer-focused website that said ‘no’ to all those things, and many more of those annoying web ticks.

It formed a major part of a larger company restructure and rebrand that cost half a million pounds. “Modernising or rebranding the image of any business begins with a website,” says Printed Easy’s online director Paul Duffy. You can see

Ramping up social media in pursuit of the perfect

For a sector that is frequently geared around promoting the services of other businesses, the print trade often struggles with selling itself.
And with an increasingly diverse mix of potential marketing channels – online, offline, natural search, pay-per-click and beyond – it can sometimes be tricky knowing which areas to focus on.
For Sam Neal, chief executive at Feltham-based Geoff Neal Group printers, marketing hasn’t really been an issue until very recently. “We’re a people-based business

Make finishing touches the first priority of your company

It started with finishing. Commercial printer PCL Digital was looking to win customers by offering more services. Print was well balanced on supply and demand, so managing director Nick Westley-Smith took a post-press tilt.

But this was to be no minor tinkering on the fringes of finishing. Westley-Smith embarked on a comprehensive refresh involving tens of thousands of pounds covering several new pieces of kit.

The challenge

The company, established as an HP Indigo printer 12 years ago, is based

Picking the right route to success

Printers are facing a perfect storm with rising job numbers, shrinking average order values, a less clear-cut distinction between the most appropriate production methods and the ever-present spectre of downward price pressure, Barney Cox

In the face of such challenges you could be forgiven for running for the hills, but there are some businesses out there who have rolled their sleeves up and got stuck in.
Understandably, some of these leading lights don’t want to reveal their secrets. In

Business Inspection: A local solution to the problem

Finding the right premises close to home has enabled a labels expert to plan a big expansion in a major industrial area.

It is only half a mile away, but it has taken Print-Leeds more than two years to get there. Managing a move from one part of a major industrial city undergoing large-scale regeneration can throw up problems – especially for a company keen to expand. One of the biggest is finding the right space in a place that is on the up and where property of all types is hard to come by.
It

‘Selling on price is not selling, it’s order taking’

All I ask is the chance to prove that money can’t make me happy,” quipped the offbeat, hilarious Spike Milligan

Money is one of the great themes of comedy and there’s no end of witty one-liners about how much things cost. But of course, in the world of business, pricing is a serious matter.
Set your prices too high and you’re uncompetitive, too low and you’ll be unprofitable. Like Goldilocks, it’s all about getting it just right.
As pricing strategy is such a commercially sensitive aspect of any

Market options for short-run periodicals and books printing

Producing short runs is no longer cost-prohibitive. It is a breakthrough that has entirely changed the publishing industry’s credo about what to print, for whom, and when. Digital printing has become synonymous with “short-run".

For a long time, publishing books and magazines was mostly about manufacturing and distributing them in large quantities. The model still exists, and it continues to account for the majority of book and magazine production being done today.
But because the model is based

Past and present of SGI Dubai

The rise of SGI Dubai

In the mid 90s, when we conceptualised the SGI show, we never thought that we will grow to this size with so many local, regional and international brands. It’s been over two decades and each year we have learnt something new in terms of the show and also in regard to the industry.
SGI Dubai started right from the old Dubai World Trade Centre days and has been an integral part of DWTC for over two decades now.
Those days people were getting used to emails and internet was

Grow a greener business from the ground up

After his vegetarian breakfast Gary Toomey mounts his bicycle and pedals the seven miles to his business. He’s new to this game. Not healthy, meat-free living, but launching a web-to-print firm.

Yet it’s the healthy, vegetarian lifestyle that will help define the ethos of his new company, which was registered this March and launched in July. Hatch delivers high-quality print-on-demand for creative agencies, trippy designers, fresh-faced entrepreneurs and principled start-ups just like his.
The

Open up sociable channels for better reach and impact

You don’t need me to tell you how big a deal social media has become. You’ve probably already read that somewhere... like Facebook. Or maybe LinkedIn or Twitter. Or possibly on some other platform, sandwiched between puppy GIFs, selfies and random shots of a stranger’s dinner, by Rob Gray.

But here are some facts that may prove helpful. According to the Digital in 2018 report from ‘We Are Social and Hootsuite’, there are now 3.2 billion social media users across the world, a 13% rise over the

Ways to expand your sphere of influence

Like it or not, networking is a hugely effective way to increase your profile, and it’s no secret that it pays to make friends and influence people.

Simon Biltcliffe, founder and chief executive of Webmart, is speaking into his phone, recording a voicenote. He is on a plane. And the plane is landing. But Biltcliffe speaks on until the last possible moment, telling the flight attendant that he is going to “shut the thing down in a moment”, because he believes in networking. And networking is not

Digital signages with ‘augmented reality’ feature could propel retail sales

Ecommerce is the next big thing, however, physical retail outlets in the UAE, with augmented reality enabled digital signages could pull in the customers to their stores. The retail sector in the Emirates needs to up their game by adopting the latest technology and strategies that will help them become competitive in this cut-throat industry.

According to Euromonitor the value of UAE's retail sector stood at $56.6 billion in 2016 and predicted retail sales turnover in the UAE will exceed $71

Time spent on SEO will be richly rewarded online

There are more than 6 billion word searches over the internet everyday. More than 4 billion of those are on Google. More than 94% of those searches lead to an ‘organic’ link click, with just over 5% opting for the advert.

Experts say that if you are a pure-play digital company, then at least 40% of your initial cost of setup should go towards your search engine optimisation (SEO).
But what is this mythical beast that everyone speaks of so reverentially?
SEO is how you make sure your website is

Build sustainable growth with a tighter focus

The direct mail sector, like much of the printing industry, can’t claim to have had the easiest of times in recent years.

It remains, however, a profitable market for operators with the right approach, and it is one that David Wright is optimistic about. This January his employer, Taylor Bloxham, launched a new division dedicated to direct mail, Mailbox, and Wright’s job is to make a success of it. From outside print, that might look like a big ask. This is a digital age after all and marketing

Train to gain: earning from learning

Demographic shifts, such as lengthening lifespans leading to longer working lives and developments in work, including the rise of the robots, all reinforce the trend towards people having several different careers.

As a result there is a need for new professional skills at all stages of one’s career, and with few of us rich enough to take time out for academic education, they need to be learned while we continue to work.
No longer does an apprentice have to be someone at the beginning of their

New leadership sets out targets for growth

Signs Express rates itself the largest sign company in the UK and Ireland, with more centres than any other business in the industry.

So when Jonathan Bean contemplated taking it over through a management buyout (MBO), the potential risks were as numerous as the rewards – the bigger they are, the bigger they can fall.
For Bean it offered the perfect opportunity to go for more growth and truly connect with a franchise business he’d been involved with for well over a decade. MBOs, however, are

Hue and cry: don’t let your colour get lost in translation

Over the past 25 years a whole alphabet soup of colour working ‘standards’ has been brewed up for the printing industry in the wake of the device-independent digital pre-press revolution.

Some of them are internationally recognised and implemented (ISOs), some are de facto but proprietary (such as Pantone), some are interconnected, others are confined to broad territories. Some are different names for the same thing.
We get confused, we’re sure that newcomers to the industry get confused too

Build bridges to inspire the next generation

It started badly, and with Idi Amin. In early August 1972 the president of Uganda ordered the expulsion of his country’s Asian minority, giving them 90 days to leave, Jez Abbott

Tens of thousands of people were driven out, and one of them was the boy Shahid Sheikh with his prosperous father and siblings, all of whom were forced to quit the east African country. They lost everything.
And they settled in Britain; the start of a “rags-to-riches story” that helped define Sheikh’s character and

A personal approach wins new ground for digital tech

Conventional wisdom has it that digital printing is best suited to short-run applications with very limited opportunities in packaging, which is mainly a business of very long runs.
But we have seen from the rapid ugrowth in digital label presses uthat brands do value the added umarketing opportunities that udigital brings. Maik Laubin, sales director for KBA’s Digital Solutions division, says that this also applies to the wider packaging sector, which is becoming more interested in digital

Snatch success from the jaws of failure

His first response was stark: “Oh my god, what are we going to do?” Claremon managing director John Conroy had just been told his neighbouring print company, Wheelden Print, had gone out of business.

This could have spelled disaster. Both print companies were separate businesses, but late last year had agreed to share a 500m² premises to split costs such as rent and rates.
Conroy had even sold his one and only printing press, a Heidelberg Speedmaster, so both firms were sharing Wheelden Print’s

Connecting paths of cooperation

There is no doubt that technology is helping companies to collaborate in ways that were unthinkable 20 years ago. The internet is of course the main reason for this – but advances in video technology, cloud computing, processing power, and so forth have led to new types of collaboration.

As Jason Oliver, head of digital at Heidelberg, explains, there is a lot of technology that helps to drive partnerships. “We’re using digital video and photography, and we’re sharing digital data to communicate

Making the case for setting up apprenticeships

Many in the sector believe that print’s reputation for being characterised by oily rags and deafening machinery is turning off potential new talent, starving the industry of the fresh blood it needs. Apprenticeships, meanwhile have their own cliches to contend with that they offer nothing better than poor pay and minimal training.

Keenan Phillips had something to prove at his interview for an apprenticeship post. So did the man interviewing him for the job at Saxon Packaging.
Phillips was up