Better Business

Family man equips with fruitful future

In the midst of the crisis last May, Jean-Pascal Bobst, part of the business's founding family, became chief executive and set about turning the firm around. PrintWeek MEA met up with him for an exclusive interview at the Competence 10 show to talk about what has happened and his plans to grow the business.

PW: How was the response from Ipex especially on not bringing the machines and what we can expect in Drupa?

JPB: You have to take some risks sometimes in how you do things. We had presented the 3D show which enables customers to see inside the machines. In Drupa we will be having machines on stand. The contribution from MEA region contributes to about 6 to 7% and we expect it to grow upto 10%.

PW: Speaking of costs, you've just gone

Lessons of Lean

Mass recalls, congressional hearings, government investigations and potentially damaging lawsuits; it would be an understatement to say Toyota hasn't had the best of years so far. The discovery of brake malfunctions on the car maker's much-lauded Prius hybrid sparked a recall and fierce criticism from a number of sources.

Months down the line the storm is still raging and the furore has led business analysts to question the company's manufacturing practices - Toyota had previously been held 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

Landing a big one

There was a time when a visitor would go to Ipex ready to snap up the latest piece of kit. The deal would be done on the stand and exhibitor and printer would go back to their respective offices confident that raising the finance for the deal would be a formality.

However, times have changed. Loans for big investments are harder to come by; the banks, stung by the Credit Crunch, are much more reluctanct to lend money. Printers too are more circumspect in their attitude to big spends. The steady

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

Customer is King

It's a truism that the customer is king. So it stands to reason that treating customers like royalty could be the key to winning and keeping business.

"Our relationship with customers has never been more important," says Jon Tolley, a director at Nottingham print firm Prime.

It is a sentiment echoed across the industry. "The recession has focused printers' minds on customer retention and increasing business from existing clients," explains Paul Deane, joint managing director of MIS

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

Paper cleans up

June this year, a paper mill in Spain will take a revolutionary step when it replaces the fresh water it uses at its site with recycled municipal effluent. After the transition is made Holmens paper mill, situated near Madrid, will be the first in Europe to manufacture paper from 100% recovered paper using 100% recycled water. The possibility of re-using the mills own waste water is also being considered, a move that would make the plant even more environmentally friendly.

While this sounds like

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

Doing it digitally

It is traditional in December to look back at the past 12 months to pick out the numerous highs and lows. However, this year it is also the end of a decade, so there is reason to extend the nostalgia to the past 10 years. For print, this is a useful exercise as, since 2000, the landscape of the print industry has changed enormously as many of the big technological advances have come through one sector – digital.

Although digital technology may not have been brand spanking new at the

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

Sail Safely across the green sea

Environmental accreditations can be a contentious topic of conversation. While some talk up the fact that they demonstrate a company’s social responsibility and are key to winning new clients – and keeping existing ones happy – others condemn them as an expensive box-ticking exercise that brings no tangible benefits.

If you’re in the latter camp, you’re part of a dwindling minority. While your arguments may be persuasive, the fact remains that in today’s

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

Seven steps to seal selling success

Few companies survive without being able to sell. In the print industry, there are virtually none. The differences between what firms offer have all but disappeared and the industry has become more and more competitive. As a result, it is increasingly the quality of a firm’s salespeople that determines whether new clients are won and growth is achieved.

It is remarkable, therefore, that so few print firms are good at selling their services. The industry is

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

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

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