Inca - eight questions for 08

Thursday 20 December 2007

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This year has been another rollercoaster ride for the industry. While the printweek.com editorial team takes a (well-earned) break over the Christmas season, we've turned to the great and the good of UK print and asked what we can expect from the year to come. Here's the forecast from Inca Digital managing director Bill Baxter.

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What do you believe will be greatest opportunities for printers to grow their businesses in 2008?

In our part of the market – point of presence (PoP) – the answer is certainly digital. Here’s a pointer to how things are going. You’ve probably heard of Moore’s law in the semiconductor industry. Every 18 months the capacity of devices doubles. Amazing. Well, since Inca started with the first flatbed in 2001, we have beaten Moore’s law. The throughput of our products has doubled every 15 months. Get on or get out.

What will be the greatest threat to your sector for 2008?

How about a nasty little recession? We’ve had continuous growth for 10 years or more, and it all feels a bit frothy. And with £1 = $2.07 it’s fun to shop in USA but it certainly isn’t fun selling printers.

How can the industry raise its profile next year?

The print industry is evolving at speed with the introduction of innovative printing methods which are having a massive impact on buyers and business. It needs to be viewed like IT as an attractive industry delivering highly creative communication products. We need to look forward instead of backwards if we want to attract new blood.

What do you believe is the most under-recognised aspect in printing that is likely to become more important in 2008?

Again, I can speak here only for the PoP. My guess is that larger companies will take a bigger share of the work, and they will do so by being more creative and selling direct to brand owners, bypassing the agencies. The printers know what their equipment can do much better than the agencies, and the equipment is changing so fast they can exploit a real creative edge.

What print sectors do you believe will experience the greatest innovation next year?

Sorry – but it has to be PoP again. Digital won’t have a major impact on commercial print for a few years yet, and label printing is not quite ready for the switch to inkjet.

What should the print industry do for the print industry when it gets back to work after the holidays?

Stop whingeing about what a tough industry they are in and become more creative in what they offer to their customers. I’ve worked in a lot of industries, and they all think theirs is the toughest and that theirs in the most conservative and the most backward and so on.

If the Government stepped in and did one thing to help the industry, what would you hope that would be?

The best thing they could do for us, Inca, is to sort out trade practices. If we sell a printer into China, we have to pay about 25% import duty, but they can sell their printers here for free.

What will you do differently in 2008?

I will try to understand workflow.

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