Latest News

A layman’s guide to print 21

Wednesday, 11 July 2001
By Print 21 Online Article

Print 21 is a comprehensive set of papers, available free to members of the industry from designers to finishers. Because of its down to earth approach the size of the report with all its detail may put off many who can best make use of the information within. To address this Joe Kowalewski, marketing manager of Printing Industries has drafted a guide to Print 21 to make it all clear. His guide is included below and is thoroughly commended to all.

Your Pathway to Profitability through PRINT21

Four years ago the Printing Industries Association of Australia (Printing Industries) called an industry wide summit to discuss the key problems facing the industry in areas of under-utilisation, falling profits and globalisation.

Recognising that such difficulties could also bring new opportunities, Printing Industries set about developing solutions to help position the industry for the future. The Federal Government was approached for the development of an industry plan, or Action Agenda as it is now known.

Printing Industries also sought the involvement of key industry players across the production chain including the Graphic Arts Merchants Association of Australia (GAMAA), the National Paper Council and Australian Paper.

The Association formed an industry consortium with these key stakeholders and the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Science and Resources. As funding partners, these five groups established a steering committee and working groups to:

*Define and profile the industry
*Undertake strategic analysis
*Develop scenarios and possible directions for the industry.

Extensive research was undertaken throughout Australia. Overseas expertise was also used to learn from the experiences of other printing industries. The results form the basis for what has become known as PRINT21 – the Printing Industries Action Agenda.

What is PRINT21?

PRINT21 comprises:
• The Action Agenda Research papers and Business Diagnostic Tools
• The Printing Industry Competitiveness Scheme (PICS)
• The Enhanced Printing Industry Competitiveness Scheme (EPICS) including a Client Manager Service
• Value Chain Management Program
• Econometric model
• Other Government sponsored support programs.

What will PRINT21 Do?

By restoring profitability, allow firms within the industry to invest in and develop new markets and services.


The Printing Industries Action Agenda is a strategic overview of Australia’s printing industry. It looks at where the industry is today, future growth opportunities and snapshots of possible growth pathways for the future.

Its key findings can be summarised as being:

• Australian printing industries are experiencing a slow slide in profitability and a decline in return on assets.
• The challenge in the new millennium is to innovate, revitalise profitability and sustain industry-wide long-term growth.
• Reliance on the way business has been done in the industry up to now is no guarantee of survival let alone sustainable growth. New approaches are needed for new business development and the customer is vital in this process.
• Customers are saying they want to see more total business solution offerings from Australian printers.

The Action Agenda provides 12 recommendations pinpointing projects and initiatives that will position Australian printing industries to achieve long term sustainable growth.

The major themes of the recommendations are:
A. Business and Market Development
B. Innovation and Technology
C. Skills and Training

Printing Industries has taken leadership of PRINT21 and is integrating it into the mainstream work of the Association.

Printing Industry Competitiveness Scheme (PICS)
The Printing Industry Competitiveness Scheme (PICS) has been designed to compensate book printers for the costs of duty on paper inputs.

The Scheme is to operate for the period 1 January 1999 until June 2003. It covers paper used in the production of eligible books completed on or after 1 January 1999 but before 1 July 2003.

Book printers will be able to claim payment of 4 per cent of their paper purchase price to compensate for the effects of duty on their paper inputs. All paper used in the production of eligible books, whether imported or not, and whether duty was paid or not, are eligible under the scheme.

Enhanced Printing Industry Competitiveness Scheme (EPICS)
The Federal Government has committed $48 million over four years to EPICS to assist industry achieve the goal of becoming more competitive.

EPICS has two elements:

i) An Enterprise Development Fund (EDF) to assist firms involved in book production by encouraging the use of innovative technologies, improved business practices, training and skills development.
ii) An Infrastructure and Industry Growth Fund (IIGF) which will provide assistance for proposals aimed at delivering industry wide benefits.

The primary objective of EPICS is the development of the book production industry. A secondary objective is to leverage the Action Agenda recommendations through EPICS projects.

This has also involved the development of customised business tools, skills and strategies that will assist in the growth and development of Australian printing generally.

Client Managers
Printing Industries employs Client Managers to assist printers and publishers determine the level of eligibility for EPICS grants, assist in completion of the application forms, lodge the applications with AusIndustry and to act as mentors during the implementation of the projects.

The Managers cover all States and can be contacted via Printing Industries toll free phone number 1800 227 425 or via the Sydney and Melbourne offices on (02) 9248 7300 and (03) 9819 6144.

PRINT21 Business Diagnostic Tools
For the first time, the Australian printing industry has a set of diagnostic tools specifically designed to deal with the highly dynamic circumstances that the industry faces.

The Business Diagnostic Tools have been designed around a well-tested formula for business success. Similar Tools have been successfully used by a number of European printing industries.

They guide you in making decisions on the nature and scope of your business, on how uncertainties are to be addressed, how to identify and meet customers needs and where value is, or will be, created from within your firm.

Value Chain Management Program
The Program demonstrates the commercial benefits to be obtained when companies at different points in a value chain co-operate to use the knowledge and information they share in highly productive and innovative ways.

It looks to increase the competitiveness of individual firms and assist in the pursuit of growth opportunities within specific industry sectors.

Econometric Model
This dynamic modelling tool allows the impact of existing and proposed government policies on the print, packaging and visual communication industry to be evaluated. It is also available for use by industry companies.

Other Government Sponsored Support Programs
Firms in the printing industry can access a number of other government sponsored support programs. These include exports, research and development and technology assistance programs. Further information is available from AusIndustry via its Hotline 132878.

Need to know more?
Call your local Printing Industries office for information on any of the schemes or programs that form PRINT21.
You can also call Printing Industries’ National Office on 1800 227 425 or (02) 9248 7300.

Contact any Printing Industries office for your free kit. The kit contain contains the Printing Industries Action Agenda and background papers, Information Bulletins, and the Business Diagnostic Tools. Kits are also available at PRINT21 briefing sessions run by each Printing Industries’ Regional Office. Visit the PRINT21 website:

(02) 6251 0673

(02) 9248 7300

(07) 3356 002

(08) 8223 7391

(03) 9819 6144

(08) 9361 4625

Comment on this article

To receive notification of comments made to this article, you can also provide your email address below.