By Chris Bailey, Managing Director, Quality Print Services
Sign and Digital UK is coming up fast. Heralded as the country's number-one trade show for sign-making and display printing and commonly abbreviated to Sign UK, the event is inextricably linked to British manufacturing. Of course, it is an international event with exhibitors from across the globe, but it has primarily been a place for the British sign and display community to meet, sell and have a beer together once a year since the 1980s. It's a place for celebrating and – during the recession years – commiserating over our industry and reflecting on our own roles within it.
British manufacturing of all types is worth celebrating, and supporting. Organisations like Make it British and Still Made in Britain have been founded in recent years to share information and provide directories of UK manufacturers to help connect businesses with their customers, suggesting a growing interest in British products.
Reshore UK, a joint campaign by the Manufacturing Advisory Service and UK Trade and Investment, highlights the benefits of bringing manufacturing back to Britain, citing 'competitive corporate tax rates, a good regulatory environment, strong legal frameworks and a dynamic labour market'. Moreover, the MAS notes that 'reshoring is now a key component in strengthening local economies'. Perhaps this latter point should be remembered at Sign and Digital UK: when we make our goods here we are reinforcing our own mini-economy of the sign and display production market, but we also need to buy those British-made products to boost it further.
Many of our range of Nazdar digital inks – to be demonstrated at Sign and Digital UK – are made here in the UK. According to the ink brand, this just makes good business sense. "Nazdar has made significant investments in our UK manufacturing facility in Stockport which has resulted in excellent sales growth over the last five years," says James MacDonald, Nazdar's Vice President of Marketing. In addition, 75 per cent of those products made in Nazdar's Stockport factory are exported to Europe, the Middle East and Africa, demonstrating how making high-quality products here also gives our country's economy – and manufacturing reputation – a lift.
Our customers are often surprised and impressed by having a British-made option and as well as proving a good move for Nazdar it has won us business. I'd like to see less surprise and more expectation of locally produced goods across the sector from machinery to consumables, keeping the money flowing around our industry to benefit us all.
And it shouldn't stop there. Our recycling scheme involves collecting empty Nazdar ink cartridges from our customers, separating the individual components back in our warehouse. Any remaining ink is salvaged and sent to a local solvent recovery centre just down the road from our base in Burscough, Lancashire, and the separated cartridge components are sent to a reprocessing plant in the north of the county where they are turned into clean plastic chips, ready for manufacturing back into products by British factories.
As David Cameron would say, we're all in this together. By making and buying British, we can support those business owners we meet every spring at Sign UK – and support ourselves.
For more information about QPS's wide-format printing products and services, please visit www.qualityprintservices.com or follow @QPSWideFormat on Twitter.