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Seeking help from the printing coal face

Thursday, 13 August 2015
By Print 21 Online Article

'Survival of the fittest': Ian Nearhos

A researcher examining rapid changes in the Australian printing industry has called on printing business owners to help with essential ‘data from the coal face.’

Brisbane-based Ian Nearhos began his research as part of an MBA he completed after working in the printing industry for more than ten years – first at print management pioneer Corporate Express and then at McDonald Printing Group.

“I have a significant body of work but now I’m trying to get a 5-minute online survey completed by as many printing business owners as possible. For all of the doom and gloom you hear in the printing industry, there are still a lot of companies that are growing and continue to prosper and there’s lots of demand for print products. I want to shine a light on what’s actually happening out there, what those successful businesses are doing and how they’re doing it,” he said.

“We all know there’s a significant amount of change happening in the industry, much of it in the wake of global socio-economic shifts as people move to consuming media electronically. This is placing a greater focus on cost control and minimising risk around large purchase decisions than ever before. How do you decide whether to spend $500k on a new press? If you don’t buy that new press what are your alternatives?”

Nearhos left the printing industry several years ago for a job in IT management but says the shift has helped his research.

“I now work outside the industry so do not have a conflict of interest in conducting this research. The main difference between my work and corporate research companies is that I have direct industry experience at a senior management level. This means that I understand the industry and the market. I also understand the history and the deep sense of ownership and loyalty that industry members have over it.

“I’m trying to get as many printing business owners as possible to take part in the survey and as a thank you to these people I can give them early access to the results and a significant discount off the price of the final report, if they’re interested in buying it,” said Nearhos.

“I’m not interested in identifying any businesses but people can leave their email and address if they want and have early access to the findings. While I do intend to sell the report, I’m still not sure how to put a price on it.  I spent years doing my Masters because I enjoyed the research and find it fascinating to see who can survive and adapt to the changes in the printing industry.  It’s almost Darwinian.  Survival of the fittest.”

The survey is online now and is scheduled to close on 21 August.


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