In the seminars on technology and market trends organized in occasion of Grafitalia, Argi intends promoting a discussion in the sector on good practices and the ethics of operating fairly in the print and the graphic arts world.
Argi promotes a series of actions to encourage "economically sustainable" behavior, which allow firms on the one hand to effectively manage the problems arising from the tough economic situation, and the related bad habits, and secondly to ensure customers an unrenounceable quality of work. This will be discussed during Grafitalia, in the seminars organized for stimulating discussion on ethical issues and on new technologies and the ability to innovate. Prepared by the activity of a number of groups, problems will be tackled from all sides: print enhancement, publishing, web-to-print, value-added printing, cross-media and green printing.
The French example
In ethical terms and those of professional conduct, it was Roberto Levi, a member of the board Argi and CEO of Printgraph, who threw the pebble in the pond, focussing his talk on the difficulties of gaining access to credit, "bad payers", burocracy and, at the same time, the need for a company ethics that lays the basis for the self-regulation of the sector.
«In 2010 – Levi, known for his style of direct communication and the impatience with the empty rituals, started out by saying – the French graphic arts and print industry was in our selfsame predicament, or that is in deep structural trouble. And it reacted: instead of waiting for action "from above", a recovery plan was prepared, duly submitted to the government and now in France company demands have become law».
The motion is based on an analysis of the shared difficulties and by a call to reflection: «All of us who suffer from the credit crunch – Levi wanted to remember – lived through the 90s without capitalizing our companies, with the approval of the banks who were always ready to provide loans often beyond the real possibilities of the customer. This situation, clearly could not last long and today, we are faced with taxes and annuities with financial revenue limited by the reduction in orders, to deal with the outstanding claims of customers and to manage nigh on biblical collection times (the national average is now 154 days from delivery)… and with the banks that have closed down on loans».
Some concrete proposals
In view of these (and other) problems, the active members of the association have compiled an initial list of priorities to be addressed by the industry. We briefly refer: impose the respect of payments; bring order times to a EU average (60 days); avoid destabilizing operations (an example: the purchase of companies in bankruptcy and put them back on the market without adequate restructuring), replace the logic, often abused, of non repayable funding with forms of facilitated loans and the undertaking of the relative responsibilities.
Some useful distinctions, moreover, the level effective working can make a difference. Such as that between big business and SMEs, set by Monti’s Government at 2 million euros: small firms are not required to pay VAT in advance, but this is too low a threshold, the people at Argi denounce, leaving the vast majority of Italian firms to suffer; hence the threshold should be raised.
Continuing disperesedly, Argi expresses itself against the standard (and disbursements) set too high by international certification, such as those for environmental protection (where pollution holds sway in other parts of the world totally devoid of rules), and claims tax exemption of wealth that remains within the companies, as is the case in Holland; Argi has expressed approval of Monti’s choice to lighten the tax burden of research workers inserted within companies.
|Argi (Association of Official representatives and manufacturers/distributors in Italy of machines, systems and products for the Graphic-Print sector) at the end of February ratified the inclusion of Asso.It (National Association for Information Technology equipment suppliers). Today, therefore, the concerns of the Production Printing area of Asso.It, which includes manufacturers of digital presses and finishing equipment for the graphic industry, integrating activities historically dedicated to the sector offset present in Argi.|