UK print associations unite to form Graphics, Print & Media Alliance

A consortium of high profile print and graphic arts trade associations has come together to launch a new umbrella group to represent the joint interests of the industry as a whole. 

The Graphics, Print & Media Alliance (GPMA) has been established by eight trade associations to provide the sector with a single authoritative voice.

Founding members of GPMA are: British Association for Print & Communication (BAPC), British Coatings Federation (BCF), British Printing Industries Federation (BPIF), FESPA UK, Independent Print Industries Association (IPIA), Picon, the Process & Packaging Machinery Association (PPMA), and the Rubicon Network. GPMA’s aim is to represent the interests that these and future members have in common for a common purpose.

“We believe that we have taken an important step forward for the future of the UK print, media and graphic arts sector with the formation of GPMA,” comments Peter Morris, chairman of GPMA and of Picon. “Our goal is to change the traditional craft image of print into one that is at the leading edge of advanced communication and manufacturing technologies. The industry is highly disparate and, while individual associations play an important role in representing their members’ interests, it is very clear we need to speak with one strong collective voice if we want to achieve change. We are now in the process of shaping the GPMA to bring the influence of the joint membership to bear in a variety of areas including  industry-wide collaboration, planning, enhanced influence and managing change. The new alliance will also allow us to communicate, celebrate and monitor the sector in the future.” Preliminary research by the GPMA has highlighted several issues that the sector needs to tackle including: the industry’s out-of-date ‘old and dirty’ image; the threat from electronic media; the commoditisation of print, lack of training; a shortage of investment; declining margins, an ageing workforce profile; and a lack of training.

The GPMA believes none of the issues is insurmountable but is clear that the biggest challenge is the fragmentation of the sector. “If we can pull the graphics, print and media interests together we will be in a stronger position to have an impact on the problems the industry faces and improve overall sector performance”, concludes Morris.

“There are a variety of challenges that the sector as a whole has to address and we can only do this if we pool resources,” explains Morris. “To move forward, and argue our corner, we have to do so from a position of strength equipped with accurate industry-wide statistics and figures. One of the GPMA’s principle tasks will be to gather well sourced, accurate, data.” “Today is just the start for the GPMA,” concludes Morris. “We don’t have the all answers or strategies planned out, but what we do have is a core of industry trade associations that are determined to pull together to develop strategies that will go to secure the long term health of the sector. It is an exciting project to be involved with and I look forward to unveiling new strategies, new research and a new and joined up industry sector.”