The evolution of digitalisation and technology could have spelled disaster for the print industry — but the outcome is quite the opposite, according to CEO of Precision Printing, Gary Peeling. Read our interview to share his insider knowledge and advice on the rise of print in the digital era.
Tell us how you started in print?
My initial job at the firm was as a teaboy — 30 years ago.
What is a typical day on the job?
I’m very methodical and I am a big believer in rising early and mapping out the day. Afterwards, I’ll walk the production floors to make sure that everything is running smoothly. This is better than any dashboard or report, as you can see what projects we’re on, which customers we’re busy with, and the types of products that are selling well.
Once I’ve seen myself that all is well with my teams, I head to my office to review our ecommerce channels and check our profits. Often, I also use the quiet time to complete more complex cost and business proposals, analytical or planning work. Then, I check all of my emails and usually follow this with a few meetings — often, there’s one away from our premises and two or three conducted on our site. I tend to finish work at about 6:30pm.
What is it like being a CEO at Precision Printing?
Managing, leading and helping my executive team is the greatest part of my role at Precision Printing. In a normal week, I dedicate around 50% of my time to analysing and reviewing marketing, sales and business development. Aside from that, I spend about 20% of my time on operational efficiency, 15% on finance and 10% on HR and staff.
Can you give us an insider’s view of how technology and print co-exist?
Many people don’t know about the monetising of emerging technologies. This often includes printing and graphic arts, and excellent examples of this are e-commerce, digital photography and Apple Mac.
Are there any major issues that the print industry is facing and are things getting better?
As a man who has had a long career in print, I have to almost constantly dismiss myths that the sector is nearly obsolete, thanks to digital. Many believe that physical printing will be replaced with digital formats and this has resulted in reduced demand and margin pressure based on perceived value.
However, this could not be further from the truth. My industry is flourishing — despite the advances in digital. What you must recognise is that digital marketing costs rise and the channels become busier, which makes print look like a remarkably good-value alternative.
Who are your industry role models?
Alon Bar Shany, HP Indigo’s general manager, is a man that I have admired for many years now. He ran a revolution in digital printing and managed a massive global business, yet still somehow makes time to meet and know most of his significant customers.
Can you give anyone wanting to go into print or work up to become a CEO any advice?
Originality, versatility and adaptability are three essential ingredients of a print employee. Also, don’t think that it’s ever too late or too complicated to do something — it rarely is. Print is dependent on new technologies, so adapting to incorporate updates in print, such as when litho printing emerged, is critical. You must be creative, market fresh ideas and produce innovative products. If you can understand different business industries, print is perfect for you.
Can you give us your top Precision Printing highlights?
Over the course of my long career, there are many, as you can imagine. However, receiving the UK Print Company of the Year award in 2007 was a very proud moment. Secondly, I’d say sending out 50,000 orders in just one day was a massive achievement for us. Next, I’ll never forget when I was selected to be Dscoop: Global Chairman, and I was also delighted when we launched our “Oneflow” software as a commercial business.