The last year and in fact, the last six months has seen a spate of tie ups between manufacturers of the print industry, signalling changing dynamics.

With Manroland partnering with Oce to sell its inkjet digital presses, or Kodak and Konica Minolta's distribution agreement allowing both companies to sell each others' products globally or the latest two announcements of Heidelberg aligning with Ricoh and KBA-R R Donnelley's agreement on developing a new digital press, the industry is in the throes of change. Only time will tell how fruitful such associations are to the manufacturers and customers.

Another issue closer home, is the appeal of the chairman of Printing and Publishing Group (PPG) sent out to the local printers. The voluntary association 'of the printers, by the printers and for the printers', if strengthened could easily become the voice of the industry and giving low priority to the group's activities could contribute to the rusting of a potentially powerful weapon. There have been many instances of strong associations tackling common grievances successfully.

On its part, the PPG should continue to have faith in the industry, and bring in whatever changes that are required like for example, employ full time salaried staff to complement the voluntary services of busy committee members and not be disheartened by the lukewarm response.

However, it is in the interest of the printers to strengthen the association.