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A Q&A withPrecision Printing Group CEO, Gary Peeling

Gary Peeling is group CEO at Precision Printing — one of the leading print companies in the UK. Providing a wide range of premium-quality book printing services, the brandhas been a pioneer in the industry for more than half a century. Interested in knowing more about the bonuses and challenges involved with running a successful printing firm? Read our Q&A with Gary Peeling…

Can you tell us what an average day looks like for you at Precision Printing?

I like to start work early, so I usually get up at 7am. This way, I can clear any out-of-work errands. After this, 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 walked around the company and chatted with the teams, I then check our profits and review our ecommerce channels. 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.  Itend to finish work at about6:30pm.

How would you describe your role at the company?

CEOs have to manage and lead the executive team, which means being involved in a variety of areas. In a typical week, I spend around half of my time concentrating on marketing, sales and business development. Aside from that, I dedicate around 20% of my time on operational efficiency, 15% on finance and 10% on HR and staff.

Do you have a role model in business?

There are several people I admire in commerce. But, I’d have to say that my chief business role model is Alon Bar Shany, who is HP Indigo’s general manager. Alon Bar Shany 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.

Give us an insight into how you started at Precision Printing

Some people might be surprised to read that I actually worked my way up from teaboy to get to where I am today — and that was about 30 years ago.

Are there many challenges that you face at work?

As many who know about our industry will already know, the rise of digital platforms is a constant challenge to our industry. However, the challenge is mainly to dispel the myths! Print is not obsolete.Although, 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.

Are things improving?

Yes, I believe so. We certainly aren’t going anyway. Print is evolving and flourishing, not diminishing.As digital marketing costs rise and the channels become busier, printing is starting to look like a remarkably good-value alternative.

What are your favourite pastimes?

Whenever I get the chance, I like to spend time at home. Family-time is very important to me. Although, I also love cycling, travelling the world and listening to Billy Joel!

How would you help aspiring CEOs?

Creativity and constantly moving with each changing trend and technology is essential to staying ahead of the game. Believe it or not, every business slowly dies as soon as it launches. Also, don’t think that it’s ever too late or too complicated to do something — it rarely is.

How about those who want to break into the print industry?

I’d advise anyone wanting to be part of print to expect the unexpected — the sector is always evolving in ways you can’t imagine. Print depends on evolving technologies, being creative, marketing fresh ideas, and producing innovative products. If you can understand different business industries, print is going to be perfect for you.

What are your proudest moments at Precision Printing?

I was excessively proud when we managed to send out 50,000 orders in just one day. Although, receiving the UK Print Company of the Year award in 2007 and being selected as Dscoop: Global Chairman were two other major highlights in my career. Lastly, I’d have to say starting our “Oneflow” software as a commercial business — that was particularly satisfying moment.

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