28 Feb 2018
This week, Business News Wales were lucky enough to interview Delme Beddow; Sales Director of Harlequin Print and Packaging. Covering everything from business tips for success to how we can attract more inward investment into Wales; take a look at what he had to say.
Can you give our readers a little background into yourself and your role within Harlequin Print and Packaging?
I attended Newport Art College, and left with a BA hons degree in graphic design. I’ve spent all of my working life in the design and print industry. Currently, I’m the Sales Director at Harlequin printing and packaging based on the outskirts of Cardiff.
We see that you have ventured into the world of packaging, where do you see the challenges and opportunities in this space?
Within the packaging sector, there’ll be a significant shift from plastics to bio-degradable, board based packaging products, presenting a clear challenge to the marketplace, and an opportunity for established packaging companies such as Harlequin to secure new business.
What do you think are the most important qualities for success in a supplier business?
Quality service, reliability and honesty, always.
Do you foresee any issues that Welsh business will be facing in the short/medium/long term?
Cashflow will always be an issue, I can’t see that changing period. Transport infrastructure is also an area that needs to be addressed. Mid to long term, the Welsh Government needs to push for full access to the EU single market and we need the UK Government to promote Wales’s business interests in general.
Do you have any predictions in regards to the impact of Brexit on your sector?
Opinions are clearly divided, if funding and support is cut then this could have major implications for our public and private sector customers. However, I think that most print business will continue to spend and invest as they had originally planned, having felt little effect of Brexit to date. Currently, the favourable exchange rate is a bonus, but imposing tariffs in the future could hinder progress.
What do you think Wales’ strengths and weaknesses are as a place to do business?
Wales can offer world class, research led universities – e.g. Cardiff University, that collaborate with businesses and encourage innovation. Wales also has a very flexible and skilled workforce, a major attraction for international companies. In terms of weaknesses, I think we’re often wrongly perceived as the poor relation, and therefore we need to show more confidence and self-belief when promoting the quality products that we’re capable of producing here in Wales.
What can Wales do to attract more inward investment?
I’m about selling Wales to the world, and targeting the right people – the decision makers, and working with companies that have established themselves in Wales. We need to actively encourage them to endorse their own positive experiences to other business leaders, and potential suitors.
What skills should the education system be promoting to the next generation?
Initiative, people skills, adaptability, flexibility, enthusiasm. Also work experience opportunities should be grasped with both hands so they know what is expected of them when they enter the world of work.
How important is it for there to be a close relationship between business and higher education in Wales?
Incredibly important – universities and colleges are producing the workers of the future, so we need them to understand what businesses need. With students also paying significantly more for their education nowadays, they are quite rightly more demanding in what they get for their money. Linking the two ensures that higher education is able to deliver relevant courses and we get what we need in a highly skilled workforce.