The purpose of attending the roundtable was to support the IPIA in educating and advocating for government structural and strategic support within the UK print industry, to encourage long-term growth and success for the sector. Highlighting and building upon the print industry’s innovations and sustainability efforts to remain a key British commodity.
“When I was invited to attend this significant event, I just thought wow, we really are getting some serious attention, which just proves how much the previous work by the IPIA had done for the government to sit up and take notice of our industry. This is probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to not only visit 10 Downing Street but to engage with senior government officials.”Lance Hill MD for Eight Days and Eight Plus
To read more on the nitty gritty details of what happened on the day of the Number 10 Downing Street visit read our news article: Discussing the print and paper industry at number.
Why does the print industry need governmental support?
The print industry is an essential linchpin that extends and connects multiple industries and sectors through a complex and expansive network. From paper, ink, manufacturing, mailing, postage, creative, merchandising and marketing industries across a wide span of industry sectors from pharmaceuticals to education.
Whilst the UK printing industry was ranked 7th in the manufacturing industry in 2022 by market size it has also seen a decline of “2.9% per year on average between 2017 and 2022.” which is faster than the manufacturing sector overall.
To date, the UK print industry is the 6th largest producer of printed products in the world which:
- Contributes £14 billion to the economy – 7.7% of the total UK manufacturing output.
- Employes 112,000 skilled individuals across 8,000+ businesses.
- Generates £3 billion for the UK workforce in wage contributions.
Without government support the UK print industry may face a similar decline to that of the UK’s car manufacturing or the UK’s textile and clothing manufacturing.
What is limiting the UK’s print industry growth?
The print industry has changed with the times, innovating itself to meet the market’s needs. Coming a long way from the Gutenberg press (the first mechanised printing press).
However, there are some roadblocks that the industry simply can’t transform into speedbumps without help. Instead, they require a little assistance to navigate and ensure a smoother journey ahead.
The COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns caused significant damage to the print industry’s stability as it lost 60% of all print volume orders, resulting in a build-up of sector debt. Much like the hospitality sector, there’s no backlog of orders to aid financial recovery. It has not come as a surprise to see the insolvency of so many UK printers subsequently.
The industry is facing rising prices of consumables globally such as paper, inks, utilities etc. A direct result of the pandemic and the Ukraine war, which isl in addition to inflationary wage demands due to the cost of living crisis.
The Chinese government continues to drive down the print to below market level pricing through its anti-competitive practices causing significant loss of the UK printing volumes, books in particular.
Struggling to remain competitive
Following Brexit, UK printers have and continue to face increased logistics lead times and equivalent access to these markets. Reducing the UK’s economic competitiveness in the market.
Is the industry dying out?
Despite these challenges, the industry has continued to innovate and adapt, with many companies investing in new technology and exploring new markets.
There is a reason why voting ballots are physical printed items, and why the government sends critical communication in letters. Because print is a channel we trust, has an air of authority, feeling valued and it connects with us in our own physical space. There will always be a place for print, but it is up to us to ensure there is an equal opportunity for the UK print industry to succeed.
Key numbers to show why print works in the present day
- Campaigns are 52% more likely to report ROI benefits when mail is in the mix
(Source: Nielsen, Warc: Driving effectiveness with direct mail)
- 87% – The percentage of time mail is opened or read
(Source: JICMAIL. Addressed Mail & Business Mail Any member of the HH 50+)
- 7.31 days – How long a mail piece actively exists in a home
Source: JICMAIL. Addressed Mail & Business Mail Any member of the HH 50+)
- 4.6 – The number of time a person return to a mail piece
(Source: JICMAIL. Addressed Mail & Business Mail Any member of the HH 50+)
- No.1 emotion that wins customer loyalty is feeling valued – according to Forrester Research
(Source: Forrester Loyalty Research 2021)
How is the UK print industry evolving?
The print industry has not stood still as the decades moved by. Instead it has changed with the times, embracing new technology and learning to work smarter and harder. To be more efficient and complement the advances with technology. Print is far from an outdated dinosaur.
Over the generations the print industry has seen the introduction of digital presses being brought into the mix alongside Litho printers. Understanding the differences between litho and digital print, timescales and goal objects. Both co-existing to support each other.
Digital printing allows for extensive personalisation, quick turn around and mostly cost efficient for short to medium runs. Litho printers require more setup time with printing plates, however once they are set up they can speed through high volumes. Both printing presses have different capabilities and their own niches, which is why they complement each other so well.
Online printing – Hybrid mail and Print on Demand.
The introduction of Hybrid mail, has seen an efficient way of businesses mailing and posting letters. Utilising existing mailing houses, which avoids wasting materials and can streamline the pressure on in house mailing services.
Print on demand, also known as web to print is another zero waste print to order system which allows customers to order materials. Removing the need for warehouses to store products and for businesses to potentially waste volumes when a new addition and/or version is created.
Partners such as JICMAIL and MarketReach extensively track, measure and report on insights for mail to ensure the print channels have the same measures and metrics as other marketing channels. Afterall data-driven marketing is key to driving better results.
The print industry is a complex and widespread network chain. Where it’s not uncommon for printers and mailing houses to work and talk directly with surrounding networks. To streamline and support the flow of work to better improve the customer experience from start to finish. A key example of this would be printers working with Royal Mail through the Strategic Mailing Partnership.
The industry is also becoming more environmentally conscious, with many companies adopting sustainable practices and aligning their ambitions with the governments in becoming net-zero. Utilising recyclable materials, investing in energy efficient technology and adopting best practises where possible such as ISO 14001, FSC (Forest Stewardship Council and PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification).
What is EDWPS doing to innovate?
Eight Days a Week is no exception to moving with the times. Over the years they have scaled in relation to the market and need.
Expanding our business
Eight Plus is the sister company to Eight Days which specialises in print management, colour management, litho printing and print procurement. They both complement each other’s specialities and niches which ensures all customers across both companies are handled with expert hands that are the right fit for the job every time. With the ethos of always providing award winning customer service and adding value wherever possible as key foundations for the Eight Group.
It also expands the range of services and expertise to anyone who enquires with either company, making it an easier and simplified customer experience. Where all projects from data services and door drops, through to colour management and press passes can all be handled seamlessly by one collective Eight Group.
Eight Plus brings a lot to the collective from expert insights, industry know-how to widespread print industry connections. Adding to a very well developed network chain which can only improve results and options for customers. Whilst also improving the Eight Groups competitive edge within the industry.
Delve into the background of Eight Plus and get to know the team and their expertise.
The Eight Group are currently on the journey of becoming B Corps certified.
B Corps Certification encourages businesses to innovate by setting high standards for social and environmental performance. By meeting these standards, we are driven to think creatively and find innovative solutions to reduce our impact on society and the planet. This certification also fosters collaboration and knowledge-sharing among businesses, leading to further innovation and positive change in the business world.
It ensures we are ahead of the government’s net zero ambitions ahead of time, implementing the practices we will need tomorrow, today. Allowing us to advocate and inspire others.
Follow our sustainable journey and discover what strides we have already taken to achieve our goal.
There has been substantial investment which span people, production, environment, sales and marketing. Investing in your business is crucial for growth and success. Allowing us to stay competitive, improve efficiency, expand our offerings, and attract new prospective partners.
Some of our key investments include:
- Invested in a brand new, and bespoke, Mailing Systems intelligent enclosing machine, the first of its kind in the UK to support our increased volumes and efficiency requirements.
Read what Printweek had to say on the investment.
- Invested in two new digital printers which increase speed to market capabilities as well as larger printing formats available in house. Both Print Business and PrintWeek covered both digital presses in great detail if you would like to read more about them.
- The creation of a separate arm of EDWPS – called Eight Plus, saw six highly experienced individuals with specialised skills join our expanded team. These skills – ranging from business strategy, prepress colour management and procurement – helped pursue new opportunities in the large-scale web offset manufacturer industry and print management market.
- New website with wider range of capabilities, improved customer experience and journey.
- Created additional production space by re-orientating, re-configuring existing storage solutions as well as investing in new storage to make better use of our available space.
We understand the importance of data, it fuels our business decisions from investments through to marketing strategies. We know it is no different for our customers’ jobs.
It’s why we offer such a vast range of data services from free data health checks through to customer profiling and data cleansing. To allow our customers to make full use of their data. To reduce their mail volumes, by targeting more accurately, and focusing on improving their quality instead, without affecting performance. It removes excess waste and encourages accurate and efficient practices.
Explore our range of data services for your next mailing campaign.
Paper wrap is an eco alternative to a poly-wrap service we offer. Fully recyclable whilst also offering increased advertising space. It used to only be a viable option for high volume jobs but now due to some industry innovation it is now attainable for small to medium size jobs too. It is something we repeatedly recommend to our customers as a way to improve their mailings and brand perception.
Interested in understanding more on Paper Wraps, read more on here or get in touch with one of our experts.
In Summary of the importance advocating for the print industry
“What an incredible opportunity to represent the print and paper industry at the top table. The governments special advisor was clearly very interested in what we had to say and there were some very powerful messages and statistics which conveyed the scale and importance of the industry.Lance Hill, MD of Eight Days a Week and Eight Plus
The collective group demonstrated, in a cohesive and aligned manner, just how innovative and resilient the paper, print and associated industries are, plus we are all on the same page around sustainability and how we very much lead the way in this field in the UK’s media landscape.”
It is imperative we strive to talk about the role of print, its network and its importance as a UK manufacturing commodity. Visiting Number 10 alongside other industry experts is a great step forward in raising the matters the industry is facing and what great work UK printers have already undertaken.
Here at EDWPS we certainly believe in the future of print, taking every innovative stride forward possible to make sure we not only compete within the UK print industry but also on a global scale.