Comment by Trevor Crawford, Event Director of IPEX 2014
Survival of the fittest – Change is the key to success
The world is changing, and the key to survival is to change. The printing industry is no exception to this, having undergone seismic change over the past decade or so. Our research and discussions with industry representatives, indicates the issues facing almost every printer, large or small, are generally the same around the world: declining volumes, overcapacity, commoditisation, pricing pressures, finance, as well as the ongoing competition and integration from the internet and other competitive communications channels.
This article by Alex Hardy, a Freeman of the Stationers' Company, was first published in The Bookseller on 14 October 2013.
Organisations such as Google and Amazon have built an industry around consumer data; publishers are still very much in the experimental phase of collecting, analysing and putting data to work in their businesses.
It is an undeniable fact that one of our Company's most important tasks must be to encourage young people to enter into one of our trades and, eventually, the Stationers' Company.
For the past year or so I have been privileged to see this happen at first hand, as a member of the Academic Awards committee responsible for the distribution of financial assistance to a wide variety of worthy youngsters.
Oliver Gadsby writes: As a book publisher, I am often asked by those outside the industry whether the advent of e-books is making life difficult for us: there is an assumption that new technology must be a problem. In reality, the reverse is true, and book publishing is flourishing, using all the technologies at its disposal to connect authors with readers.
Picking up a beautifully bound book is one of life’s little pleasures, writes Paul Kidson of Ludlow Bookbinders where they keep alive the tradition of centuries by binding books using methods familiar to Caxton.
Green is Good Business writes Veronica Heaven. She says printers and those in the wider communications industry will benefit if they do their bit!
There are many who might be surprised that Corporate Responsibility and sustainability issues have proved so resilient given the length and depth of the economic malaise. Although cost has become critical as everyone seeks to protect their margins very few are willing to compromise on hard won environmental gains. It is as if sustainability, like quality, is becoming the expected norm in the sectors represented by The Stationers’ Company.
I have been fascinated by 3D printing since it was first shown to me in HP Labs in San Diego in 2007. Voymesh Joshi, the then VP of Imaging and Printing, showed me a bicycle chain that was printed in one piece. I really couldn't get my head around the applications of 3D printing or what it could do for a printer. Six years on I had the invitation to visit HK Rapid Prototyping in Rugby (www.HK3D.co.uk). These are the distributers for Stratasys the worlds leading 3D machines. I was like a child in a sweet shop, they had every kind of prototyping and additive manufacturing you could imagine–and even some I couldn't.
Graham Griffiths of Premier Paper Group Ltd writes that paper is quite special because its primary constituent, wood fibre, can, in fact, have several cycles.
From Trees to Pulp
Virgin wood fibre obviously originates from trees, which are harvested from forests and transported to pulp mills – usually situated close by.
The regulation and certification of these forests is very strict. Minimising environmental impact is paramount.
Regional newspapers are adapting their businesses to fit changing technologies and the current climate, writes Geraldine Allinson.
Although other companies/sectors are competing hard and undeniably winning what used to be the traditional newspaper advertising revenues, today there would still appear to be no effective alternative for local communities to use in order to act as their voice on local issues.
Kevin Fitzgerald, Chief Executive, The Copyright Licensing Agency Ltd writes that it is generally accepted that the creative industries make a valuable contribution to the GDP of the UK economy through the creation of innovative products and net export earnings.
In recent weeks, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and Imperial College completed a study of the measures of UK investment in copyright related industries, which revealed that in 2009, the latest year for which government figures are published, it was actually worth £3.2 billion higher than the previous official data had recorded, at £5.1 billion.