More than numbers: Annual reports at Park
That is what to expect from an annual report printed at Park Communications in London. For the uninitiated, annual reports are documents published by companies that details their performance and outlines their strategies for the future. Graphius magazine spoke to Park’s account director Simon Reid to find out a little more about them.
Graphius Magazine: With all due respect, isn’t an annual report a just a dry business document?
Simon Reid: Some are. However, most of the annual reports we produce are for the UK’s top 100 or 250 Companies. They will be creatively designed with insight and imagination. The nature of annual reports means they are often produced quickly, which can limit the format to a more standardised layout. Having said that, there is always room for creativity and innovation, which is something we at Park can help with, drawing on our years of expertise.
GM: So, we’re talking about some very prominent annual reports here. Can you drop some names?
SR: Well quite a range really but it includes the likes of Rolls Royce, HSBC, Nokia, British Aerospace, Standard Chartered Bank, Rank, Mondi, Melrose, Taylor Wimpey, Easyjet, the list goes on.
GM: Park is known for its environmental credentials. Is that something that draws in these prestigious Reports?
SR: Sustainability has for some time been at the heart of many UK companies and a key strategy for their business. They have increasingly sought print partners who share their outlook. Park have excelled in this area have gained many new clients due to our commitment to the environment. We have FSC accreditation and the ISO 14001 environmental standard. Our energy is sourced exclusively from offshore wind farms and we were delighted to be awarded the title of Printweek’s Environmental Company of the Year 2022 in the SME category. We, like our customers remain committed to doing our part for the environment. In fact Park has also very recently achieved Carbon Neutral status too.
GM: Why do companies want their annual reports printed when nowadays it could be a nicely designed digital document?
SR: UK shareholders are able to receive their annual reports electronically. In fact, in UK law that is the default position. However, many shareholders still elect to receive a printed report. A printed version is tactile and easier to navigate quickly. While the quantity of printed reports has certainly declined in recent years, paginations have gone up and a significant number of shareholders still prefer their annual report in a printed form. So, there’s definitely still a place for printed reports.
GM: Park has its own in-house typesetting team. What’s the advantage of this for clients coming to Park for their annual reports?
SR: Having in-house typesetting is a real asset – it makes us truly a one-stop shop for annual reports. The speed and experience of our in-house typesetting service enables us to undertake multiple rounds of revisions against strict deadlines. We don’t typeset all our reports but it is certainly a resource that allows for a great deal of flexibility.
GM: Some assignments are more technically demanding, beyond the printing itself. Some of these large companies have issues like data security to think about as well …
SR: Data security really is a critical concern. It’s something we at Park take very seriously, and perhaps more seriously than our clients. We have the data security accreditation of ISO 27001, for one thing. That means we are regularly audited to ensure that our high standards are maintained. On occasion we also have clients send their own data security specialists to audit us – and we have always surpassed their requirements.
GM: What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve overcome for clients?
SR: The main challenge when it comes to annual reports is the timeframes: initial schedules may well be agreed weeks, if not months in advance but, as the time for final artwork gets closer and pressures mount on our clients, the timings can and often do slip. However, we must still deliver on the final deadline date. Having all our laminating, binding and digital or litho processes done in-house gives us a unique advantage over others, though and allows us to control both the timings and quality of all our documents. The mailing is also taken care of in-house, so a truly one-stop shop.
GM: Sounds nerve-racking, to say the least. Did you ever have a ‘stop the presses’ moment?
SR: It can and does happen that corrections are requested by clients after we have started printing. Needless to say, it’s an anxious and pressurised time for clients, so we maintain our professionalism. They appreciate this as we’re often the reassuring voice saying ‘not to worry, all will be sorted’. Whilst we can’t perform miracles, we always make sure to hit those mailing dates. We simply don’t let people down.
Find out more about printing annual reports and accounts with Park, here.