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Print CEOs positive of industry future

Wednesday, 27 May 2009
By Print21

Management from GEON, OPUS Print Group and Bambra Press share their visions for the future at PacPrint Forums.

The three businesses each cater to different needs and markets, but their managers (Graham Morgan, Cliff Brigstocke and John Wanless respectively) all maintain an undeniable optimism for the printing industry as a whole.

Focusing on the economic climate and its effects on printing, guest speaker Professor Neville Norman, associate professor of economics at the University of Melbourne, declared that after a period of further job losses and bad news this year, the latter half of 2009 will see things begin to pick up. He believes that Tasmania, Queensland and South Ausralia have held up better than any other states, while the labels, cheques, cartons and newspaper markets have been the worst affected.

Offering their own insights, the three managers spoke positively of the future that is, according to Professor Norman, “not the majority view.”

Graham Morgan, CEO of GEON cannot see any point in dwelling on how bad things are, or will be, and instead sees the future as a way to “It is very easy for everybody to talk themselves into a downturn; that won’t get us anywhere,” he said. “Printing has a very strong future but there are a lot more channels clients want as they become more sophisticated.”

Think positive thoughts: (l-r) John Wanless, Bambra Press; Cliff Brigstocke, OPUS Print Group and Graham Morgan, GEON.

Talk that print is dying or on its way to extinction is way off the mark, in Morgan’s view. “We’re in an industry that has been around a long time and has survived for thousands of years – that’s no accident,” he said. “Technology drives change and will continue to do so. We need to work together closely in partnerships and help each other out.”

Morgan warned managers that they must “look forwards, not backwards”, and be cautious when it comes to cost-cutting. “We must not cut back on marketing and other spends like apprentices,” he said.

As the only independent printer on the panel, John Wanless, manager of Bambra Press, has not post-poned investments in new technology. He sees this as key to his company’s longevity. “Clients want better equipment and new technology,” he said.

Cliff Brigstocke, CEO of trans-Tasman group OPUS, recently announced at this month’s CEO Forum, that he thinks printing will be one of the first industries to recover from the economic crisis; he still holds firm to this belief.

“It’s always easier to come out of a crisis,” he said. “We should be preparing for growth. Printing was probably first to enter the recession and will hopefully be the first one out.”

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