Victor Watson Trophy winners announced

Victor Watson Trophy winners announced

Congratulations to the joint winners of this year’s Victor Watson Trophy, Sophia Djili and Agata Labedz, from De La Rue and KCS Print respectively. Alice Murray from BCQ Group was highly commended. The trophy was presented on 4th July at the BPIF’s annual All-Party Parliamentary Print Group (APPPG) reception at the House of Lords.

The Victor Watson Trophy, open to people aged 31 and under, was set up by the BPIF, The Printing Charity, and the Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards, in memory of Victor Watson CBE DL, a legendary figure in print. He was a former Trustee and our President in 1992.

The award recognises outstanding achievement by young people in the printing industry. Recipients are also eligible to apply for a Print Futures Award of up to £1,500.

BPIF Members’ Day: Key Achievements, Lessons from a Maverick and Drinks with MP’s and Peers

BPIF Members’ Day: Key Achievements, Lessons from a Maverick and Drinks with MP’s and Peers

BPIF Members’ Day was held on the Wednesday 4 July. With a dynamic morning conference led by Maverick Planet’s Mark Palmer, a concise AGM and networking on the terrace at the House of Lords for the APPPG, BPIF Members’ Day was jam packed full of inspiration, information and positive interactions.

The morning began with a conference hosted by Mark whose main job is facilitating business and strategy change around the globe. He spoke to attendees of how to make successful change happen. Explaining the big secret is that change isn’t the issue, the issue is the inertia and how you remove it.

In the afternoon President Darren Coxon and Chief Executive Charles Jarrold took members through a review of the BPIF’s key achievements over the past year. Coxon commented, “Myself and the Non–Executive Directors have worked hard with the BPIF senior team to establish a clear strategy. Positive change and progress has been made throughout the last year, and I am delighted to be embarking on a second year as President.”

The final event of the day was the All-Party Parliamentary Print Group Reception on the terrace at the House of Lords, hosted by Baroness Donaghy who highlighted the economic importance of print. MP Kevin Hollinrake also explained how ‘government responds to a common voice’ further reason for print to unite as one when speaking with parliament and why groups such as the APPPG are so beneficial for the industry.

There were a number of award presentations with Charles Jarrold kicking of proceedings by awarding Robert Davison, Alexir Packaging, with the BPIF Outstanding Contribution Award. Anthony Komedera, The Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards then presented joint winners Agata Labedz, KCS Print, and Sophia Djili, De la Rue, with the Victor Watson Trophy and praised Alice Murray, BCQ Group, on being Highly Commended.

Finally Simon Biltcliffe from Webmart awarded Billy Gibbs O’Riordan, Precision Printing, with the Kathy Woodward Award for Learning.

Charles Jarrold stated, “It was wonderful to see so many members, Lords, Lady’s and MPs enjoying a drink together on the terrace at the House of Lords. The APPPG provides a unique opportunity for us to bring together those in the industry with government to ensure that we can forge a better dialogue. I would like to congratulate Robert, Agata, Sophia, Alice and Billy all very deserving award winners”

For more information, please contact Amy Hutchinson at

Do things differently, learn from a maverick. BPIF Members’ Day looks set to inspire and help delegates embrace change.

The BPIF will be hosting this year’s Members’ Day on 4 July in London, with a morning conference and the BPIF AGM taking place at the St Bride Foundation and the All-Party Parliamentary Print Group Reception being held at the House of Lords in the afternoon.

Following the success of last year’s conference, the morning will consist of a session hosted by Founder of strategic change consultancy Maverick Planet, Mark Palmer. He will cover topics including why print isn’t the only industry in the midst of change, lessons on leadership and change in a challenging climate and what skills a 21st century business needs. He will pass on practical tips and approaches that can be leveraged by leaders in any business tomorrow.

Charles Jarrold, Chief Executive, says, “For any business looking to adapt to change or evolve in the current climate Mark’s session is a must. He’s worked with a plethora of big names (Bupa, BSkyB, Cadbury, Lego and Samsung to name a few) enacting change in their businesses, and has accumulated many lessons, experiences and practical ideas of how to remove inertia and create successful change”.

In the afternoon members will be provided with a review of the key achievements made by the BPIF over the past year and a look ahead to the coming months. Attendees are then invited to join BPIF on the Terrace at the House of Lords for the annual All-Party Parliamentary Print Group (APPPG) Reception from 15.30 to 17.00. The APPPG is an excellent opportunity to network with MPs, Peers and representatives from print’s key industry bodies to showcase the importance of printing to the UK economy over drinks and canapes.

The cost to attend the conference and lunch is £75 + VAT. Places are limited on a first come first serve. To book your place at these events visit

For more information, please contact Heena Bulsara at

Our 191st Annual General Meeting

Our 191st Annual General Meeting

We held our 191st Annual General Meeting on 12 June at St Bride Foundation, London, attended by industry guests, members, Trustees, and staff.

Reporting on our 2017 performance, Jon Wright, our Chairman, announced that our financial and practical support helped 1,296 people. We gave 986 welfare grants, an increase of 28 per cent on the previous year, reflecting the fact that some beneficiaries were helped more than once; 724 people were helped across welfare and unemployment support; and almost 500 people through our education initiatives, which included a 56 per cent increase from 2016 in the number of Print Futures Awards given. The number helped with redundancy support was less than expected, impacting the overall number of people helped compared to 2016.

We are developing our services and moving away from measuring our impact solely by the number of people helped. Our future measures will incorporate our impact including areas such as signposting to specialist services as well as the number of grants and interventions made.

Neil Lovell, our Chief Executive, said: “We work across two extremes, from supporting people in crisis to championing the sector we are proud to represent. We are focused on finding ways to build strong partnerships and greater awareness of the help and support we offer and 2017 shows the strides we continue to make.”

At our AGM, Jon Wright and Steve Sibbald were re-elected as our Chairman and Deputy Chairman respectively.

Guest speaker, Benjamin Charman, a trainee project manager at Paragon Customer Communications and a 2017 Print Futures Awards winner, outlined the advantages of completing an apprenticeship that led to his current role working on two high profile projects, one of which is to reduce data security risks.

The second guest speaker, Tom Hall, a partner at Future Proof CIC, gave an overview of the process and headline findings of the Impact Report we commissioned to help us understand our beneficiaries and stakeholders better and inform the shape of future activities.

Highlighting the practical support we give to young people, the event included an exhibition of work by eight University of the Arts/London College of Communication students studying photojournalism and documentary photography. Tom Barlow Brown, Carola Cappellari, Maxime Cossé, Sebastian Garraway, Claudia Greco, Marcin Nowak, Baldassare Sciacca, and Tom Walton produced the work in response to our live brief to capture the essence of what print means to them.

2017 Annual Report

Antalis UK’s Academy seminar, 12th July

Antalis is the UK and Ireland’s leading supplier of paper, visual communications and packaging materials to the print, sign and display, office, industrial packaging and publishing markets.

The Antalis Academy is a unique training facility offering the industry hands-on workshops to help businesses upskill, diversify and grow in both small and large format digital print. They conduct a series of seminars throughout the year to bring the industry together to share knowledge, network and promote innovation.

There are two expert speakers for the Antalis Academy seminar on 12th July in Leeds. Full details can be found here



Better than expected Q1 for output and orders – tougher times ahead as pricing and cost concerns dampen forecasts

The UK printing industry continues to defy its own forecasts as both output and orders displayed positive growth, above the expectations for Q1 – unfortunately the Q2 forecasts reveal that concerns remain. The latest Printing Outlook survey shows 43% of printers increased output levels in the first quarter of 2018. A further 37% held output steady whilst 20% experienced a decline in output. The resulting balance (the difference between the ups and the downs) was +23; up on the forecast of +12 for Q1 and greater than the +19 recorded in Q4. Whilst the Q4 period was notable for the absence of a seasonal boost, it seems that some of that trade may have carried into the first quarter. This is the first time for seven years that Q1 output has outperformed Q4. Furthermore, the current Q1 output balance is slightly greater than the trend line for growth over the last four years (which sits at a flat 20% balance over the entire period).

Recent forecasts have turned out to be on the pessimistic side, Q1’s above-trend performance has done nothing to dispel the pessimism. In fact, the expectations for Q2 have now fallen into negative territory, and to a level that has not been experienced since Q1 2016. 29% of respondents predict that they will increase output levels in Q2, a further 41% expect output levels to hold steady. However, 30% forecast that output will fall in Q2. The forecasted balance of -1 would, if realised, be a significant downturn from Q1.

The output balance of +23 was above the forecast of +12 for Q1. A balance of -1 is forecast for the coming three months.

Confidence in the general state of trade in the printing industry flatlined in Q1 – whilst it remained marginally above the negative forecast, the expectations for Q2 show that confidence has eroded further. It seems the industry is expecting a tough trading period in Q2, and an intensifying battle to maintain output and minimise cost pressures. On this occasion the Q2 period may well be characterised by supply-chain cost and delivery concerns, wage pressures coming through and new legislative costs and burdens coming into force.

Competitors’ pricing below cost continues to be the most voiced business concern – the proportion selecting it this quarter is unchanged from last quarter; it remains at 70% (it was 65%, 70% and 81% in the preceding quarters). Paper and board price concerns remains the second ranked concern; this was selected by 63% of respondents, up from 60% last quarter (and 47%, 42% and 32% in the quarters prior to that). Access to skilled labour remains the third ranked concern, with 27% of respondents selecting it (down from 32% previously).  Access to skilled labour remains above late payment by customers which has returned as the fourth-ranked business concern.

We have been collaborating with Begbies Traynor to develop further relevant industry and sector analyses; some of which we are introducing in the latest Printing Outlook report. We have now compiled a detailed financial health analysis of data for the 5,000 largest print and printed packaging companies (as selected by total asset value ranking). The financials for each company have been rated and updated over time – analysis of this will provide some interesting insights and benchmarks.

Looking at the financial health chart, and working from the bottom up – the green proportion shows the share of the top 5,000 companies that are in a strong and secure financial position. The yellow section shows the proportion of companies with a less strong financial position, representing an average credit risk.

The orange shading depicts the share of the top 5,000 companies that are considered to be a higher credit risk due to their financial results, past trading history, the lack of available information or the presence of detrimental information against them. Finally, the red section is for high risk companies with poor credit scores and/or serious detrimental information filed against them and companies that have undergone insolvency or have a striking-off action registered against them.

The BPIF Printing Outlook Q2 2018 report goes into further detail.

Kyle Jardine, BPIF Research Manager, said:

“Producing the Printing Outlook report is only possible with a high reliance on collaboration – from responding members, other industry trade associations, sources of economic information and other relevant contacts. We are now working with Begbies Traynor and Red Flag Alert to develop our industry analyses. Not just so we can represent the industry but to provide more useful information back to the industry. We will continue to work with Begbies Traynor to develop the industry model and showcase more analysis from it.”

Charles Jarrold, BPIF Chief Executive, said:

“Brexit has taken a bit of a back seat this quarter as we wait to see what happens next during the negotiations. However, our latest Brexit Barometers suggest that the economic outlook confidence during negotiations has become slightly less negative whilst the post-Brexit outlook become more negative. In the meantime there are plenty of other matters for businesses to focus on. Costs pressures are mounting and margins are being squeezed further, as it remains difficult to raise prices. Companies must therefore keep a close eye on job profitability, work mix, and, as ever cash flow.”

Summary of key findings:

  • The UK printing industry continues to defy its own forecasts as both output and orders displayed positive growth, above the expectations for Q1 – unfortunately the Q2 forecasts reveal that concerns remain.
  • Confidence in the general state of trade in the printing industry flatlined in Q1 – whilst it remained marginally above the negative forecast, the expectations for Q2 show that confidence has eroded further.
  • Competitors’ pricing below cost continues to be the most voiced business concern – the proportion selecting it this quarter is unchanged from last quarter; it remains at 70%.
  • As Brexit progresses the UK printing industry continues to voice a diverse range of opinions and emotions – overall confidence has continued to become slightly less negative.
  • Capacity utilisation exhibited a welcomed pick-up in April in comparison to January, despite the Easter period falling amidst the survey period.
  • Recruitment growth slowed in Q1 and ducked below the forecast, but it does remain positive.
  • Average prices in Q1 have continued to reside well below recent forecasted levels – as a result the expectation for Q2 has dropped in comparison to the recent forecasts.
  • All cost areas have continued to be under significant upward pressure in Q1 – paper and board increases grab the headlines once more.
  • The relentless pressure on margins is showing no signs of abating.
  • Printers have reported a more pressurised profit distribution in April, with more in the red zone in comparison to January.
  • Export orders exceeded 5% of turnover for 22% of respondents; for these companies export order growth was surprisingly only marginally positive, on balance, in Q1.
  • Exactly one-quarter (25%) of respondents reported that they had conducted a pay review in Q1 – 51% expect to do so in Q2.
  • UK consumption of printing papers and boards fell overall in 2017, though packaging cartonboard experienced some growth.

Featured in Printing Outlook this quarter:

  • The BPIF’s Brexit and Post-Brexit Barometers.
  • Costs – paper & board, ink, labour and energy.
  • Pay Reviews – activity and average % changes.
  • Data on capacity, productivity, margins, and more.
  • Consumables – paper consumption and printing ink data.

For further information on Printing Outlook go to


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