Memorandum submitted by the British Printing
Industries Federation (BPIF)
1. The British printing industryas
part of the printing and publishing, pulp, paper and paper productsis
part of the fourth largest manufacturing industry in the UK with
a turnover of £44.1 billion.
2. The printing industry has a turnover of £15.1
billion and employs approximately 160,000 employees in around
12,000 companies across the UK.
A leading Gross Value Added sector
3. The printing industry is a vital manufacturing
sector, which is of strategic importance to the UK economy. As
an integral part of the print and publishing, pulp and paper industry,
it has the second largest Gross Value Added (£18.6 billion)
of all the UK manufacturing sectors. It has harnessed technological
innovation to make an increasingly positive contribution to the
UK balance of trade, and it supplies every sector of the UK economy.
An SME industry
4. Only 60 of the 12,000 printing companies in
the UK employ over 250 people. In these small companies, management
time is at a premium, with individual managers thin on the ground
and having a multitude of roles to perform. In many cases this
will include production tasks, undertaken alongside employees,
alongside their responsibilities to ensure compliance with employment
and health and safety legislation, as well as meeting international
standards such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001.
The BPIF: representing the industry
5. The British Printing Industries Federation
is the trade association for the UK printing industry. It has
1,915 member companies with 77,000 employees, covering approximately
45-55% of the industry by turnover.
6. BPIF has developed a range of business services
critical to developing and growing healthy, sustainable businesses.
Through a team of around 50 advisors and consultants, all industry
experts, the BPIF is able to provide high quality, bespoke advice
and support to printing companies, where, when and how they need
We offer a full range of business support, advice
and development services and short courses essential to developing
businesses and making a real difference to the profitability of
companies. These include:
Health, Safety & Environment
Human Resources Management
Production training and management development
Management Accounting and financial restructuring
What is meant by a high value-added economy? Which
business activities qualify as such?
The printing industry is "everything you've
ever read". The printed word is such a vital component to
our society, to our culture, but most crucially, to our economy.
Printed goods support every element of business, from packaging
to media, from advertising to signage. It is an essential part
of trading and one that has added billions of pounds to the UK
economy since printing came to Britain in the late 15th century.
Today's printing industry has moved beyond "ink on paper"
to total print solutions, with a strong focus on helping companies
increase sales volume and reach new markets.
Seen from the point of view of the customers, printing
is essentially a service industry, facing increasing demands from
customers for innovation in the development of products and services
that create new value and benefits for them. While the optimisation
of efficiency in the use of complex technologies is still a prerequisite
for a successful and entrepreneurial printing company, this is
still insufficient in itself to afford any company with long-term
viability. It is also essential to create additional customer
value, and to do so in an environment where specialized equipment
(for example, electronic image processing systems) is relatively
inexpensive and routinely installed in the premises of customers
themselves, and where technical know-how is increasingly being
incorporated into intelligent software that is readily available
Printing companies increasingly add value to
their customers by providing a wide range of services all of which
enhance the ability of those customers to market their products
to reach their own end-customers more effectively, These services
Help in developing and bringing to
market innovative products and print solutions that will enable
customers to access new markets.
Assisting companies to develop effective
sales and marketing strategies.
Help with image and brand enhancement
and the development of effective communications and public relations.
Advice on how to improve understanding
of customers' markets and pre-empt customer requirements.
Advice on assistance with information
and facilities management services for customers.
Advice on developing service agreements
and strategic partnerships with customers based on a shared knowledge
base and agreed performance, quality and delivery targets.
Support in developing the customer
base through the assessment of customer value, effective retention
of key clients and the use of management information systems to
improve communications with customers.
Advice on the use of e-commerce for
marketing, procurement and payment.
Assisting companies to improve use
of digital workflows.
Support in implementing on-demand
production and the use of variable data to produce personalised
Assisting companies to become multi
media information providers, including digital asset management,
website design and hosting, CD Rom production and print management.
The future success of the printing industry
thus revolves around far more than how well it manages the process
of putting ink in paper. In addition to the optimisation of productivity
and manufacturing performance, the industry must address the challenge
of product innovation and the provision of integrated solutions
to customer needs.
Government needs to recognise the versatility
of the modern printing industry and support this trend in widening
the scope for innovation across the UK. The success of the printing
industry in rising to the challenge of customer needs should be
documented, supported, transferred and taught by Government across
the regions. UK competitiveness depends on this approach.
How UK business compares internationally in areas
such as research and development, creativity and design
Print is a quintessential part of Britain's
much talked about `creative economy'. The UK's leading brands
are dependent on the highest standards of design and print to
achieve high impact with end customers. Creative works such as
books, magazines, advertising copy, newspapers etc all reach the
mass population by virtue of the print process.
The UK's world-renowned cultural economy is also
highly dependent on print. The designers and image-makers who
design the brochures, programmes and catalogues for high value
artistic goods depend on the medium of print to display their
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport
recognises the importance of fostering creativity in the UK. DCMS'
mission statement is to "increase the productivity of the
creative industries, raise their profile, and support their development
so that the UK can become the world's creative hub". Print
is a vital part of this of this process. Our examples show just
how crucial print is to the UK's leading creative industries.
What can be learnt from the experiences of other
countries in this area and how fast other countries are moving
up the value chain?
The European Union's statistics office, Eurostat
can reveal the differences between the UK and other EU countries
and the figures are promising. The UK has the second largest printing
industry in Europe, just behind Germany. GVA per employee is the
highest of Europe's Top five (Germany, Italy, France and Spain)
The chart below shows that 90-100% of company turnover
in each of the other major European printing economies came directly
from printing. In the UK 30% of company turnover came from activities
other than printing, evidence that UK companies have indeed moved
away from the manufacturing role of printing on paper and added
aligned services as a means of adding value to their business
and for their clients.
Printing Industry - principal activity
% of turnover
Government needs to hone in on the positive
lessons that can be learnt from print and to disseminate these
across trade and industry as a whole. Not only is the UK printing
industry top of its game in Europe, but also in terms of Gross
Value Added, it is leading the European pack by a considerable
The extent to which UK business has absorbed new
business practices such as lean manufacturing?
Vision in Printthe Print and Packaging
industry Forumis a subsidiary company of the BPIF providing
industry specific and cost effective service to help printers
and packaging manufacturers to proactively improve their productivity
and competitiveness. It achieves this goal with industry support
and through a close relationship with the BPIF, suppliers and
purchasers of print services.
The company was founded in April 2003 as a direct
result of the then DTI funded Print 21 industry competitiveness
study, published by the BPIF. This highlighted a number of strategic
actions needed to keep the UK printing industry competitive against
overseas production and alternative media.
Vision in Print focuses on one of the two main
recommendations of the Print 21 reportthat companies must
optimise productivity for long term security and growth.
To achieve this goal, Vision in Print employs
process engineering specialists who work with companies to implement
continuous improvement and lean manufacturing techniques, established
in world class manufacturing industries. With print and packaging
based knowledge and a close working relationship with industry
partners, it has developed a broad range of cost saving programmes
to help drive the efficiency of the UK printing and packaging
Vision in Print's "best practice"
and "lean manufacturing" techniques deliver enhanced
performance and cost savings to UK print and packaging companies
and their customers and suppliers.
From an initial diagnostic, to a host of cost-effective,
industry-relevant programmes, Vision in Print engineers are able
to coach businesses to improved productivity and profit.
With simple-to-use tools, ViP's "hands-on"
approach has inspired companies of all types and sizesNewspapers,
Commercial, Packaging and Magazines & Booksto progress
quickly to sustainable process and bottom-line improvements. The
knowledge and experience ViP has gained working with its clients
in the five years since it's inception have been diseminated to
the wider printing industry through a series of best practice
In the past four years Vision in Print has delivered:
200 Improvement Programmes
1,200 Delegates on Programmes
£6.1m Added Value Benefit formally
recorded (£127,000 average per programme reported)
Six Best Practice Reports published
10 Process Improvement Engineers
trained and developed 13 Standard Products developed
More information can be found at www.visioninprint.co.uk
Why some sectors of the UK economy appear to be
more effective at embracing value-added activities than others
Where there are people, there is print. Print
enables all parts of the economyschools, financial services,
retail, distribution, travel and tourism and the manufacturing
industry. Because the printing industry interacts with so many
different sectors, it is tuned into the needs and the changing
environment of the business world. In fact, print is leading the
way. This familiarity with the supply chain, marketing and the
end product gives print a unique insight into the added value
economy. Printing companies can see first hand "what the
customer is after" and that way, move in harmony with the
times. This is a constant learning process and one that is continuously
adding value to service.
This changing landscape of business is no more evident
than in the book printing sector. Companies that historically
simply printed books, now offer a number of services to compete
against low-cost producing countries such as China. Ten years
ago, where UK companies would simply print, bind and deliver a
book; they now print, bind, laminate, mail, deliver and give a
digital option as well as a litho one. Further relationship building
services include storage, distribution and warehousing, especially
attractive with smaller customers.
Below we can see from an ONS chart that UK printing
adds more value than all other manufacturing sectors, and publishing
GVA as % of total turnover
The Printing industry with its related services
leads the way. It had the highest turnover of GVA across industry.
This approach is sustainable and competition-savvy and BERR should
learn from and spread this knowledge as widely as possible.
The impact on business of government efforts
to promote research and development, including the research and
development tax credit.
Since the introduction of R&D tax credits
in April 2000, small and medium sized entities and April 2002
for large entities, companies have been able to benefit from enhanced
relief for expenditure incurred on qualifying R&D. Additional
relief of 50% is available to small and medium sized entities
and 25% for large entities. Small and medium sized entities are
able to benefit from a tax repayment if they are loss making giving
an immediate cash benefit equal to 24% of the actual qualifying
Large entities on the other hand cannot benefit
from the tax repayment, however the enhanced relief available
equates to 7.5% of the actual R&D spend. These savings would
clearly be considered when reviewing the cost/benefit analysis
of an R&D project.
The availability of R&D allowances/credits
to businesses is however restricted due to the degree of innovation
required in order for the expenditure to qualify under the R&D
Government needs to hone its interpretation
of R&D to more sector specific benefits that would help industry.
R&D is about product innovation and about
crossing new boundaries in industry. This principle is essential
to the UK's future prosperity and the more industry is encouraged
and attracted to this line of thought, the more prosperous our
The progress that has been made on university/business
co-operation and knowledge transfer since the publication of the
Lambert Review in December 2003
One of the major sustainability issues that
the UK printing industry faces is attracting fresh talent to an
industry that has a declining workforce. Young people no longer
look to the printing industry as an attractive career. It is often
viewed (and portrayed as such by those who know little about the
sector) as an old fashioned industrial trade. Consequently many
do not see printing as a "sexy" or interesting career.
However, the print industry needs to encourage young people to
consider working for the UK's fifth largest manufacturing industry
if it is to survive and attract the brightest minds.
PrintIT! is a major initiative to encourage young
people to embark on careers in the UK printing industry, which
was launched three years ago. Led by Proskills (the sector skills
council for process manufacturing, including print). PrintIT!
is a joint venture between the printing industry, the Specialist
Schools and Academies Trust and leading charity The Fairtrade
Foundation. It is targeted at Year 10 students studying GCSE Graphic
Products and Product Design.
600 schools and nearly 38,000 students have
taken part in PrintIT! so far, thanks to everyone that has helped
make the project such a great success. More information can be
found at www.printit.org.uk
The ongoing and crucial area for manufacturing
industry as a whole is skills and training. The future of industry
depends on getting a grip of the issue of skills gaps and shortages.
DBERR business support programmes should be working closely with
the DfES to mould a competitive and steady future. There should
also be more coordination of activities with schools and universities
to promote vocational training programmes and the value and excitement
of a career in manufacturing.
The falling numbers of school leavers taking
up careers in traditional manufacturing industries is something
Government needs to address. Just as funding for science, maths
and technology based subjects receive funding and media attention,
manufacturing industries also need their share of the pie. The
public needs to be informed about the opportunities that are available
for them out there and this task is a national one that Government
needs to take a lead on.
Whether business and government interpret innovation
The BPIF welcomes Competition Minister Stephen
Timms' recent announcement to reduce the number of business support
schemes from 3000 to 100. Innovation needs to be fostered with
Government support, especially if we are to promote an entrepreneurial
This support from Government needs to be clearly
defined, easy to follow and attractive to both small and large
The Department of Business, Enterprise and regulatory
Reform defines innovation as "the successful exploitation
of new ideas". As shown above, print is not only one of the
most adept industries in the UK at added value services, but also
in Europe. We are successful at exploiting new ideas. Printing
fits with and works towards the Government's interpretation of
innovation. The printing industry is a shining example of innovation.
Government needs to recognise where the success
stories are and foster these with a growing interest. New ideas
can be transferred and disseminated from sector to sector, industry
to industry, but there is a need to begin with the most promising
examples of innovation to start this process for singling out
innovation. The printing industry is a fantastic place to start.
What the government can do to further promote
higher value-added business activities and innovative thinking
among UK businesses
The approach from Government should be one of
`targeted' support for UK manufacturing. When channelled through
existing networks, investment in manufacturing companies reaps
rewards for individuals and UK plc. This is the link in the chain
to better value added activity. Yorkshire Forward's funding of
Print Yorkshire (see www.printyorkshire.com) has allowed printers
in Yorkshire to access support for training, environmental improvement,
business improvement and marketing the industry to buyers. A business
improvement support initiative, Print London, funded by the London
Development Agency, is now under way and will bring similar benefits
to the London printing industry. Vision in Print's growing success
is a clear indication of how a relatively small investment targeted
at a specific industrial sector has reaped substantial benefits.
The Government should encourage the idea of partnership
in every section of economic life. Campaigns should promote the
collaboration of businesses with showcase examples. This will
encourage SMEs to interact with one another and to find new ways
of creating business.
Print Sells (www.printsells.org) is a pan-European
advertising campaign promoting the use of paper as an extremely
effective marketing tool. Intergraf, the European confederation
of paper and allied industries, supports it. The BPIF and other
Intergraf member federations will be promoting it in their respective
Initiatives that not only help an industry,
but the wider economy through added value, need the support of
Government. Funding decision makers need to focus on where it
matters most, and the sustainability of manufacturing industries
through targeted campaigns and on global competitiveness grounds,
are paramount to ensuring a thriving and forward looking UK economy.
The effectiveness of machinery of government arrangements
in encouraging innovation and creativity
In an over capacity industry, the printing industry
is eager for business to concentrate on competitiveness, which
we feel is a vital component of modern business strategy. `Added
value' is the area that should be addressed by DBERR as a leading
advisor and supplier of business support.
Government needs to better communicate via Business
Link activities. Each office under the Business Link brand should
be briefed on a common protocol: namely, to provide service only
up and until the point at which better service could be provided
elsewhere. The BPIF's network of specialist business advisors
is vital to ensuring ongoing best practice within the printing
industry. Industry knowledge and experience, combined with business
support skills, is a tried and tested formula for business improvement
that sector trade organisations are uniquely placed to offer.
In order to avoid duplication and due to the technical and bespoke
nature of the printing industry, this is a service we would be
best placed to offer and one which Government should be seeking
to support rather than replicate. The spending of public money
should be done with maximum efficiency and where expertise already
exists in the fields of manufacturing, technology, agriculture
etc., Business Links should refer clients forward.
Government needs to enable sector specific
advice to be given by those who are most able to provide it. In
the case of the printing industry, the BPIF and Vision in Print
are the most qualified and experienced business support organisations
in the sector. Business Links throughout the UK need to be aware
of this not only in relation to printing, but also for the hundreds
of other sectoral specialist business support organisations that
are best placed to give in-depth advice to firms in their specific