“We are a bigger industry than we realise,” says ASGA president Mick Harrold, who delivered a revealing snapshot of the Australian Sign Industry to the recent AGM of the NZ Sign & Display Association.
| ASGA president Mick Harrold pictured here at the recent ASGA Sign Awards night
Harrold was a guest speaker at the NZSDA AGM held at the Rydges Hotel in Queenstown, where he “outlined some interesting key facts that currently reflects the Australian Sign Industry,” according to the official minutes of the AGM.
“We are a bigger industry than we realise and if we add our numbers to the print industry, we are the largest manufacturing industry in Australia,” Harrold said.
“The growing Australian Sign Industry now has 8,000-10,000 businesses employing 25,000 people, with a total annual turnover of $3 billion. But we are poor communicators. We must blow our own trumpet and think bigger…we are the most visible invisible industry."
Harrold told the meeting that some of the current challenges for the Australian sign industry include: lack of staff; attracting people to the industry; up to date qualifications; short course training; and lack of government support.
He said issues facing the Australian Sign & Graphics Association (ASGA) included: membership numbers; providing benefits that members think are worth paying for; too many industry bodies not working together; lack of money; no good access to data about our industry; no representation in government; not enough paid staff.
“Our primary aims are to build a professional industry through providing a useful resource identity and providing ongoing education and training,” Harrold told the meeting. “We advocate for our industry at all levels. ASGA members are represented in every state of Australia and beyond.”
The meeting heard that ASGA is Australia's peak body representing Signwriters, Signmakers, Engravers, Wide Format Printers, Sign Installers, Digital screen facilitators, Graphic Designers, Sign Educators and Apprentices who use sign making equipment such as digital printing machines, engraving, laser and routing equipment, LEDs, neon products and computer display equipment.
“Our target members are businesses that call themselves signage shops in one way or another,” Harrold said.
“They range widely in size for larger corporates like CV and Signcraft, all the way down to small 1 person shops running a Roland in the shed. The average member is one with a turnover of about $1m with 5 staff members. On the print front, we don’t really target print only companies as members, more as suppliers to the industry. Print is a part of our industry. It isn’t our whole industry. Suppliers in our industry are treated as partners, not our core constituency. We see groups like the PVCA/TRMC as key partners and a symbiotic one with a clear point of difference, but a great many common goals.”
Harrold outlined recent ASGA initiatives including: adding a marketing officer; adding secretarial services in conjunction with Ai Group; organising webinars; adding technical knowledge to ASGA’s web page; and building on an industry directory.
He said key goals for the next 6-12 months included: modernisation of the ASGA into a fighting fit unit; update constitution; connect with our core constituency by opening up places to get together; state committees; specialist committees; add more social functions (on the back of golf days); education committee; AusSIP funding; attracting people to the industry; looking at education’s wider picture and providing guidance and support where needed; educate the industry though output of targeted materials such as fire regulations; webinars; increase representation of ASGA on national and state bodies; modernise webpage and make information more accessible; industry directory; and a further look at training options.