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Trade Comment

Covid and Business Impact

Looking back on the turbulent year that has just passed, Carys Evans asks: “How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected business, negatively or positively?”

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Dom Gryszan, director of marketing, Apogee Corporation

Weathering the storm

Like many organisations in our industry, service volumes dropped during the first lockdown, so Apogee had to react to the changing working environment. A large percentage of SMEs furloughed staff and effectively shut up shop, thereby eliminating their need for print services – so that was notably our quietest sector. In comparison, our larger corporate clients remained open, albeit remotely. However, they had their own challenges ensuring staff remained productive in a secure and efficient manner.

To respond to these requirements, Apogee created a number of hybrid and remote-focused solutions including our Managed Ink Service, which provides the latest technology to print with an on-demand ink service, delivered directly to our customers’ door. We also witnessed a boom in hybrid mail solutions – both in to and out of businesses. This activity has continued and we are investing in technology to support this growing demand.

Like many organisations in our industry, service volumes dropped during the first lockdown

With organisations and employees needing to print from any location, a simple and secure solution became a key requirement. We revolutionised the traditional ‘web2print’ software and solution to create our ‘OneSource’ platform for clients where they could upload any document, select all the usual printing options and then go through the delivery process. The documents would typically be delivered to that employee the following day. Some of our clients have since requested bespoke portals with unique logins and particular restrictions per person/department and this is another key area of growth following the pandemic.

All these solutions have been introduced to clients of all shapes and sizes in both the private and public sector and we are especially proud of how we have been able to contribute to the NHS during the toughest of years.

Pushing boundaries

Rod Fisher, managing director, Print-Leeds

At the start of the first lockdown we had three divisions – wet-glue labels, UV litho and digital print.  Immediately the digital and UV litho divisions were decimated due to the closure of retail, events and exhibitions and we furloughed a third of the staff.  The wet-glue label division actually took an upturn – we supply paper labels to the food and drinks industries.  This was due to everyone being at home eating and drinking.

We’re lucky, we’ve remained open throughout and gradually we brought all the staff back to work

We’re lucky, we’ve remained open throughout and gradually we brought all the staff back to work.  It’s been a challenging year and I thought the pandemic would put pay to my plan of opening a fourth division to produce self-adhesive labels.  I was wrong – I managed to raise the finance to buy the new digital press, a Screen L35O SAI, the first of its kind in the UK, a bespoke Digicon 3 finishing line from AB Graphics and a new CERM MIS system.  I also recruited the sales and production team and the new division began producing in January of this year.
Looking forward, I hope that we can stick to the government’s roadmap so eventually everything reopens, which will help the economy, the printing industry and Print-Leeds.

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