New year predictions: Mark Simpson, Simpson Group

PrintWeek Team
Saturday, December 31, 2016

Simpson Group chairman Mark Simpson hopes his business will take on some rising young stars in 2017 and wants the print industry to get better at recruitment and training generally.

What’s at the top of your Christmas wish list this year?
To recruit some rising young stars into our great team. Newcastle United promoted to the Premier League as champions. Peace and goodwill to all, everywhere, and an end to injustice throughout the world.

What trend (business or technology) do you think 2016 will be remembered for?
Digital laser cutting technology – Highcon, Hans Gronhi. The growth of online printing sites.

What do you think will represent the single biggest opportunity for printers in 2017 and why?
It’s different for each printing business and depends on their area of expertise. Essentially, find out what you’re great at, establish a niche and go for it.

What do you think will represent the single biggest threat for printers in 2017 and why?
The rise of online printing. Anyone can now benchmark price, service and quality for a wide range of printed products within seconds through Google. However, this is also an opportunity.

What’s the one thing that the industry should do more of, or do better, in 2017?
I know this is a common answer but it’s still the same as any year: recruitment and training. Fespa UK will be running a survey to establish training needs and skill gaps within print businesses. I would urge all readers to get involved by responding to this survey. Depending on feedback Fespa could help fund a major industry training initiative throughout the UK.

What was your biggest disappointment in 2016?
Newcastle getting relegated at the time, but hey, every cloud… And Brexit.

What was your highlight of 2016?
There were many but the two that stand out are the development of our new Influence Academy training programme, which has been delivered to a number of our customers with great feedback, and our Family Fun Day celebrating 10 years at Influence Park.

What are your hopes for 2017?
The impeachment of President Trump and his removal from office.

What was the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
The laundry and dry cleaning business is just not for you (when I was about to turn 21).

What was the most important thing that you learnt in 2016?
Choose how you spend your time wisely.

What if anything will you do differently in 2017?
I’ll spend more time on reading and learning about things that interest me, and will learn to coach more effectively.

What’s your favourite Christmas cracker joke?
I can’t think of any good ones, but actually there’s a documentary on printing Christmas crackers on the TV over Christmas. Mind you, it’s on 'paper view'. Boom! Boom!

What was the best Christmas present you ever received?
A racing bike – secondhand.

Are you making any New Year's resolutions? If so, what?
It’s only daily resolutions that count, so I’ll be trying to run a marathon one day.


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