The People in Print: Lance Hill
Published: 21 September 2020 | No comments yet
Mr Hill with his Xerox Baltoro, installed earlier this year
In this column Digital Printer learns more about the men and women working behind the scenes to make digital print great. We find out about them, their careers and their thoughts on the industry. This time it’s the turn of Lance Hill from Eight Days A Week Print Solutions.
Mr Hill has only been at the helm of Eight Days a Week for a little over a year, but hasn’t wasted any time investing in new machinery, installing a Xerox Baltoro and Xerox Versant 3100 during that time.
Name: Lance Hill
Job title: Managing director
Company: Eight Days A Week Print Solutions
How did you end up working in the print industry?
In 1989 I lived a few doors away from the data services manager of a company called Colorgraphic in Leicester. I was 16 and did not fancy further education and heard the print industry was good and paid well so my Dad made me go and knock on his door. He set me up with an interview with the technical services manager and I got the job.
What was your first job in print?
I was an apprentice in the technical services department. This involved a lot of hands on learning about the printing process, but more so the specialist inline finishing on 16pp webs. I was fortunate enough to be trained and guided by some very talented and innovative people who have had a huge influence on me and my passion for the industry. I became fascinated by paper engineering and also the design aspect to invent formats for customers which then lead me into the world of sales.
What are your future goals?
From my own business perspective it is to continue to develop and grow EDWPS. I have a clear plan and pathway to organically, and sustainably grow this business to around £8m turnover. There is no rush, I see five years as realistic as we are in a very strong position today with our loyal client base and very committed staff.
What innovation/technology in print is making you most excited?
Digital print is still the priority, inkjet in particular has come on leaps and bounds in terms of quality, speed and efficiency and I see that continuing. Toner devices are still key to our market so having both is a must for us now, and likely in the future. Innovation is an over-used word, it’s not just about innovation in technology but about providing solutions to our customers to help them, that is not always a piece of kit or software.
What is the biggest issue/challenge facing the industry?
The skills gap. We need more fresh blood coming in at the bottom, who have the same passion and enthusiasm that I did when I started my journey. There are a lot of great industry people of a similar age to me, who have been on a similar journey, but I do not see the next generation coming through. The challenge is attracting that talent, that is a responsibility of the industry as a whole, or we’ll really struggle long-term.
What advice would you give to someone just entering the industry?
Stick at it, learn as much as you can from people in the know, identify your future mentors and build networks. A great career can be mapped out from there.
What has been the biggest change since you entered print?
Digital print for sure. Inkjet was 120dpi in black only when I started, it then gradually morphed into colour and then the quality really stepped up, as did the speed.
If you could go back and seize one opportunity you missed, what would it be?
I don’t have regrets but doing an MBO in November 2007 just before the 2008 credit crunch was a rather steep learning curve. I should have been braver and more aggressive as we faced some huge business challenges, decisions and conflict. I look back in the knowledge that it was part of my development and it has made me more resilient, but I have to confess to my naivety at the time.
What one thing should the industry do to ensure its continued success?
Embrace what’s good about it, don’t be afraid of other media channels or competition, see them as complimentary and promote print where it has more power to cut through to audiences. Use insight and evidence to back up our argument.
Do you belong to any industry bodies or trade organisations? Why?
The IPIA and I am also on their Council. We are also members of the Strategic Mailing Partnership from Royal Mail. The reasons are two-fold, networking and being part of a wider collaboration that can make a difference and support the wider industry.
What do you enjoy most about working print?
I don’t know how to do anything else! It’s in my DNA now, and I still have a passion about it 31 years on and I don’t see that changing.
How do you think the Coronavirus pandemic will impact digital print in the medium to long term?
I think it depends which end of the scale you are at. For SME’s there is a great opportunity if you can ride the storm out and come out stronger as the demand returns. For the large-scale businesses with a lot of kit to fill it will be much tougher to manage cashflow with reduced revenues and fixed overheads, hard decisions will need to be made to survive.
If you are interested in putting yourself for People in Print, please contact Charlie Kortens at Charlie.firstname.lastname@example.org