New year predictions: Mike Freely, Octink

Mike Freely, managing director of large-format print specialist Octink, believes the industry should better promote itself to the next generation of printers in 2016 and embrace and nurture young people entering the sector.

What’s at the top of your Christmas wish list this year?

A decent rest! 2015 has gone in a flash and some much needed time to recharge and reflect is required!

What trend (business or technology) do you think 2015 will be remembered for?

At Octink, embracing web-to-print technologies to enhance customer experience and production efficiency.

What do you think will represent the single biggest opportunity for printers in 2016 and why?

Riding the wave that is brand promotion – a growing economy is all we can ask for to keep those printers running.

What do you think will represent the single biggest threat for printers in 2016 and why?

Possibly digital technologies, however I believe that these can also complement what we do and in the large-format outdoor world you can’t beat vibrant static imagery.

What’s the one thing that the industry should do more of, or do better, in 2016?

Promote itself to the next generation of printers – the skills gap exists and will bite harder unless we do more to endorse the print sector across the board. Something that at Octink we try to do in our work with local programmes which are designed to give young people work experience and employability skills.

What was your biggest disappointment in 2015?

Not winning Best Company of the Year at the PrintWeek Awards.

What was your highlight of 2015?

The great recognition we received for our work throughout the year culminating in us winning PrintWeek’s Out of Home Printer of the Year #proud.

What are your hopes for 2016?

That the world calms down, that the economy stays positive, and we remain free to grow and become better at what we do.

What was the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Always double check the detail!

What was the most important thing that you learnt in 2015?

I’m not getting any younger and the youngsters entering the sector have lots to offer if their skills are embraced and nurtured.

What if anything will you do differently in 2016?

Get even closer to our customers than we already are, listen intently, and continue to create value and quality in return.

If you’re thinking of going to Drupa next year, what are you keen to see?

Process and system innovations together with print substrates and media that can help us create greater value.

What’s your favourite Christmas cracker joke?

Q: What do you call a three-legged donkey?

A: Wonkey.

What was the best Christmas present you ever received?

A Raleigh Chopper circa 1978 – an armchair on two wheels!

Are you making any New Year's resolutions? If so, what?

Make 2016 our best year in business yet!


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