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 Vpress’ Tim Cox.

Mr Cox has been with the company for more than 9 years, spending the overwhelming majority of that time as managing director.

The People in Print: Tim Cox

Name: Tim Cox
Job title: Managing director
Company: Vpress 
Location: Cheltenham

How did you end up working in the print industry

My father was a printer (originally a compositor at Cambridge University Press), he ended up running an SME print firm that I grew up around and worked at for a while, prior to joining DRG Litho Supplies in a sales role.

What was your first job in print?

General dogs’ body, doing everything from spotting out film and making plates to running small presses… and no, I don’t want to do any moonlighting!

What are your future goals?

Personally? This might sound unambitious and a bit hippy like, but those who know me well won’t be surprised. It’s simply to help people, help the trade, be happy, content and have peace of mind.

If the question relates to work? That’s easy, to ensure the continued growth of Vpress, the Coreprint web-to-print technology and our incredible team, with a load more customers and maybe a little more work life balance!

What innovation/technology in print is making you most excited?

I would be negligent if I didn’t say web-to-print/online brand management and the realisation that they are a necessity, not a ‘nice to have’ for those in the world of print, print management, brand management and agencies.

However, without my obvious bias, I would say its less of a single innovation or technology that excites me, more how we are all witnessing a total convergence of technologies and the once separate industry sectors and technologies, finally converging into one all-encompassing integrated approach and means of communication.

What is the biggest issue/challenge facing the industry?

Apologies for the seeming ‘dig’ and generalisation, but for me it’s the ignorance and denial about print continuing to change, and the lack of solid business planning and strategy among the larger proportion of the print and graphic sectors. That has to be addressed and change, within their own businesses and how they engage their customers.

What advice would you give to someone just entering the industry?

Believe, do things differently and don’t believe negative BS that ‘print’s dead’… its far from dead, its just changing and remains one of the most diverse verticals to build a career within!

What has been the biggest change since you entered print?

Although it’s been over quarter of a century, and many still have some way to go, it has to be how traditional processes and mindsets have shifted to embrace, adopt and change to embrace digital technologies, advancements and the many onslaughts the print sector has had to endure. 

If you could go back and seize one opportunity you missed, what would it be?

Other than not buying shares in Apple? I honestly can’t think of anything, after all, If I did that I might not have ended up where I am now, would I?

What one thing should the industry do to ensure its continued success?

Be positive, be open minded and keep trying to embrace the new instead of fighting it….

Do you belong to any industry bodies or trade organisations? Why?

PICON – I’m a council member – as the overarching body representing UK manufacturers in print, it is the barometer, sounding block and impartial organisation that has supported and united the many disparate sector bodies representing our industry.

IPIA – since its change of stewardship a few years ago, IPIA has, in my eyes, swiftly become the most dynamic, forward thinking trade body within our sector and has not only realised the importance of embracing creatives, agencies and brands upstream of print, but has also striven to change the perception of print in the eyes of these sectors and set in motion a number of directives to ensure this happens.

What do you enjoy most about working print?

Its sheer diversity and the fact it is one of the only industries that touches and is relevant to every business and person on the planet.

How do you think the Coronavirus pandemic will impact digital print in the medium to long term?

Hopefully it has woken those who need it from complacency, stimulating them to not wait until someone asks for a service or technology offering and instead to be proactive in their plans, investment, and customer approach.

Covid-19 has, in my eyes, potentially become the final roll call for those printers still in denial or unsure if digital and the internet has a place in their business. There is no longer any place for doubts surrounding its relevance, importance, or it’s place in every printer’s future. Any denial of this after this pandemic is likely to see at best a slow death for a business.