Happy anniversary: How you can be the print equivalent of Leicester

It was 4 May 2008. Leicester was playing Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium. The team had been relegated to English football’s third tier for the first time. Eight years since that day, the Leicester team, has pulled off what might just be the greatest footballing achievement - some say the biggest sports underdog fairy tale - of all time., Business

08 May 2016 | By Ramu Ramanathan

But what's all this got to do with PrintWeek India's eighth anniversary issue.

Well, three things.

1).12 days after that depressing game, PrintWeek India was launched in India. PrintWeek India's debut issue made its debut on 16 May 2008. Timed to coincide with Drupa 2008

2). FourFourTwo is a monthly football magazine whose publishers are Haymarket, the same as PrintWeek. There was talk of FourFourTwo in India. A magazine I would love to edit. The name doffs its masthead to a football formation of the same name. 4-4-2 is a standard formation of an English football game

3). Like a lot of young print CEOs around India, I have been following the beautiful game. And believing in Arthur Hopcraft's credo in The Football Man that "Sport can be cruel to men. Football can make a man even more ridiculous than drink can." Just look at how all the big humpty dumpty teams have come crashing down

And so, at a time when every mid-sized print firm is popping the question, what next - and where do we march from here? There are lessons from Leicester City's sensational Championship status. 5,000/1, the bookmakers said in 2015. Champions, we say now in 2016.

On this eighth anniversary of PrintWeek India, I have tried to glean eight simple lessons any print firm can adopt from this famous victory.

1. Do you train? How do you train?

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri says: "Poor training can lead to fatigue, poor development and lack of tactical familiarity. I find training at high intensity on team cohesion and fitness prepares my team."

He adds, "Set all your players to train individually on the role/position you expect them to play. The more familiar they are in the position you deploy them in, the better they will perform.

2. Your staff members

Your accountant or shopfloor manager can make the difference so have the right person on the job. Look for good judging of supplier ability and client potential – this will increase the accuracy of your reports and ratings that help you judge role suitability in the tactics screen. 

The buzz words for your staff should be: adaptability, determination, technical knowhow, market knowledge

3 Mental muscles

All heads need to make a positive impact, and add another dimension. A typical football chart looks like this:

Fitness coach




Goalkeeping coach




Ball Control coach




Shooting coach




Tactics coach




Attacking coach




Defending coach




Make a similar chart for your team heads.

That is the only way you can be a Claudio Ranieri.

4. What are your tactics

Keep your eyes open: watch the ops and pay heed to the statistics. One thing you can do is, watch your waste. Especially the waste associated with make-ready, startups, stops, tension upsets and splice as that will allow you to get a better idea of what your team does (or doesn't do) on the pitch and make changes accordingly. 

You should also have a look at the post-job statistics and report card. For instance, you might notice that one of your production operators is tweaking too many ink keys, so you might want to restrict him.

Operating at the top level is all about creating top print jobs. Your opposition is doing it. Therefore you need to know what your opposition is doing and create an opportunity. It cannot be foul or a bad tackle. It has to be a tactic like a marketing strategy or a technical upgrade.

5. Scout for talent

We can't all afford to buy Messi and Ronaldo, but how do you get the very best players cheap? Tap them young.

Look for young talent who you can blood in your company. If you know a few design and marketing schools, where these young people are graduating from, then you can sign them very cheaply.

You can look for talent from other sources. Sometimes a disruptive player like a Jamie Vardy can change the rules of the game.

Riyad Mahrez, the players’ player of the year, cost £400,000 when he arrived from Le Havre (whereas Manchester United are currently about to spend ten times that amount on a midfielder).

Sometimes producing a blade wrapper cover can be more uber kool than working for a Coke or a Pepsi.

6. Who are the players in your team?

Printers can talk about machines all day long about it is time to start talking about your players and your operators.

For example, Kante Wee N'Golo is a fab defensive machine. Most interceptions, second-most tackles, most ball recoveries.

So? Who is the Kante on your production floor?

He is your superstar.

7. You back your team? Or your team backs you?

Alcoholism, gambling addiction, drugs, sex, excessive spending... football players have admitted to most vices in gory detail.

This is true about many workers of the shopfloor too.

Great managers and great coaches take care of all it; and ensure everyone stays together.

Leicester has shown us, it’s all about the team.

Ques: What is a team?

Ans: A bunch of guys who are selfless, highly industrious, unbigheaded, romantically all-for-one-and-one-for-all, and prepared to scrap till the last minute of added time.

Does that describe your team at work??

8. Don't give up, ever

Don’t give up if you lose a few games. Everyone loses a few games or a few clients.

Last year, Leicester was almost relegated. This year they are champions.

This could be your story.

Remember: Print like football is hard and it’s designed to be played over a long period, not just the next hour.

Do dare to Dream the Dream.

You could be the print equivalent of Leicester next year. From the bottom of the pile to the top. From hell to glory.

And the whole world shall smile with you. If you are lucky, the brilliant Italian tenor, Andrea Bocelli will belt out the Nessun Dorma for you.

Happy 8th Anniversary Issue from our tiny team at PrintWeek India.