Innovation, not rock-bottom pricing, key to print success

Simon Nias
Wednesday, September 14, 2011

While debating the finer points of the differing UK and German attitudes to manufacturing last weekend, one point of universal agreement was that innovation is always the most important factor in determining the success of a business - regardless of any tax breaks or other support offered by the state.

Although the motor industry was the topic in question, the point applies equally to print, where state support is as foreign a concept in the UK as meals that don’t feature meat are in Germany. Despite this, the UK print industry remains a major player on the world stage.

So why the success? Wherever you see a UK print business exceeding expectations at home or overseas the key lies in the innovation that keeps that company ahead of its peers. Obviously R&D – of products, markets or services – is central to this and if the government relieves some of the administrative and financial burden on SMEs then this will free up more time and money to focus on this crucial area.

Looking at the government’s new enterprise zones (see briefing, page 8), there seems to be a concern that any printer who sets up in one of these areas will be able to use the financial advantage it gives them to beat up their local rivals.

Yes, they probably could, but that would be a short-term strategy. Anyone with grander designs than kicking off a local price war would take that money and instead of offering it to clients on a platter, reinvest it in their own business to make sure that the kick-start they get from the government doesn’t fizzle out when the subsidies end.

Simon Nias is news editor of PrintWeek

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