New year predictions: Adrian Steele, Mercian Labels


Mercian Labels managing director Adrian Steele hopes that the government will get on with 'overdue' Brexit so that businesses know what to do to keep industry moving.

What’s at the top of your Christmas wish list this year?
A government who can organise a p*ss up in a brewery! As we get closer to Brexit on 29 March 2019 we all just want to get on with it, and business needs to know what the landscape looks like from April, and what we need to do to keep the wheels of industry turning.

What trend (business or technology) do you think 2018 will be remembered for?
The acceptance of mental health issues in the workplace, and the admission that managing mental health is going to be another ongoing proactive responsibility for employers in the workplace. In other words, having a mental health ‘history’ will be the norm for employees, rather than a rare exception.

What do you think will represent the single biggest opportunity for printers in 2019 and why?
Automation and systems integration to reduce costs and improve quality, productivity, speed and service.

What do you think will represent the single biggest threat for printers in 2019 and why?
It has to be a recession triggered by a long overdue stock market correction and/or Brexit.

What’s the one thing that the industry should do more of, or do better, in 2019?
Listen more to customers, and solve their problems to form long-term partnerships, not just treat customers/suppliers as commodities to be beaten down on price.

What was your biggest disappointment in 2018?
I didn’t take enough holiday!

What was your highlight of 2018?
Another record year for Mercian Labels – all the investments in people, infrastructure, systems and machinery in the last four years has really paid off this year for us and it's been fantastic to see the plans come together.

What are your hopes for 2019?
A well-planned Brexit with minimal disruption to business, and the opening up of new export opportunities for our main export products, Label Lock and Gammatex.

What is your one-word view on Brexit?
Overdue.

What was the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
The harder you train, the luckier you become.

What if anything will you do differently in 2019?
Delegate more to the management team, but I’m not the first business leader to say that!

What was the best Christmas present you ever received?
A fine dining experience with close friends. You only have so many days on this planet and I want to make the most of them and create memories to cherish. I don’t need any more colourful injection moulded plastic things in my life.

Are you making any New Year's resolutions? If so, what?
No, successful change comes from embedded routines not one-off exercises, and there is no point waiting until 1 Jan to start these, it's contrary to continuous improvement.

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