Car Boss Advises Printing Industry

Article excerpt

Byline: John Duckers Business Editor

One of the West Midlands' best known businessmen has told a group of the region's top printing industry executives that they need to focus much more on skills and markets.

John Towers, who masterminded the rescue plan for MG Rover, told the inaugural meeting of the West Midlands print network that this was the only way to secure local jobs and pave the way for a more successful future.

The employers' network, backed by Matthew Boulton College and funded by Birmingham LSC, is Print.IT. It has been set up to help local printing and graphic design businesses to gain access to consultancy and grant aid and generally to provide ongoing support and business advice.

The industry, which employs 14,000 people in the West Midlands, has struggled to keep its head above water in an increasingly competitive environment.

Mr Towers told the meeting, which attracted an audience of around 40 delegates, there were real parallels between the situation of the car industry and the printing business.

He said: 'The car industry suffers from over capacity, excessive price competition and an obsession with volume and the print industry faces similar challenges.

'And the critical success factors for both include skills, technology and markets, both in terms of their nature and the service and speed to market that is associated with it.

'Just as it is in our industry, the answer for the print business lies in people and skills, in leadership and in building and providing value for customers.

'Above all, managers have to lift their eyes from the daily grind and plan a strategy for their businesses.'

Birmingham's Matthew Boulton College, which has a history of teaching print and graphics that goes back for a century, has been heavily involved in the network, with financial backing from the Learning and Skills Council. …