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Trade Secrets

Printroom Group

Jo Golding speaks to Keith Cooper, finance director, and Simon Lewington, marketing director of Printroom Group to see how steady growth has led to celebrating 40 years in business

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Printroom Group carries out digital, litho, and specialist printing for a range of clients

Evolution of the modern print house

Digital and print management company Printroom Group celebrated its 40th year in business in May, giving away a range of luxury prizes to its clients to say thank you. It is this strong relationship with its clients that is the one of the main reasons I believe Printroom Group has continued to succeed; as Keith Cooper, finance director at the company, says: “We still go and talk to clients face to face to make sure they are happy, not everything is done by phone or e-mail. We are not a faceless company.”

Keith Cooper, finance director of Printroom Group, says it is important to attend trade shows to keep up to date with what is happening in the industry

Cooper adds why he believes Printroom Group has stayed at the forefront of the industry: “I think the most important thing is to stay at the front of what is happening and how it is happening. We attend all the print shows so we can make sure we know what is out there. It is really important to do that because this industry can overtake you quite quickly. If all we can do is black on white or a bit of A4, we will just become dinosaurs.”

I think the most important thing is to stay at the front of what is happening and how it is happening

Simon Lewington, marketing director of Printroom Group, comments on its 40 years in business: “With so many companies falling in the first year, we are grateful that we are still here. We have been growing steadily year after year and we see it as a marathon rather than a sprint. Of course, we are going to lose clients along the way, but if
we keep giving a better service and invest in new technology, then we are on the right track.”

Simon Lewington, marketing director of Printroom Group, has a background in advertising and brand management

Having started out in 1977 printing building plans for local companies, Printroom Group has grown significantly to print products such as business cards and letterheads, and further investment in technology has meant it can now offer large-format and display graphics and large run litho print.

Cooper started his career in 1972 as an apprentice printer and, due to his experience in litho print and his knowledge of figures, was appointed to finance director by the company’s managing director. With his wealth of knowledge on how much different sheets cost, he keeps an eye on costs from suppliers as well as optimising the best system for purchase orders.

Lewington’s background is in advertising, brand management, and internet marketing. Having set up a record store and then brought it online, his experience helps Printroom Group to build its online presence through social media.

The next stage

Printroom Group sees investing in technology as a priority and recently installed a fleet of Canon colour digital presses at its Bracknell, Camberley, and Reading digital print hubs.

Cooper says: “We have recently invested in Canon with two Image Press C10000VP’s, one with three knife trim and inline crease finishing, three Image Press C700’s, an Océ Vario Print 6160—which outputs black and white copies like there is no tomorrow—and five Image Runner Advance C2225i’s for scanning and small jobs.

“We have been with Xerox for the last twelve years, but they did not have the next stage for us, so we think we have made the right decision and hope it will keep us going for the next few years. Especially with the online finishing, we are cutting down on our start to finish times.”

Lewington highlights moving to a seven day a week system as beneficial for the company as it has resulted in an increase in capacity by over 40 percent.

He continues: “Our customers’ deadlines are getting shorter and we have got to react to that. People are not waiting four or five days for jobs anymore, they are phoning us up in the morning to get it back that day or the following day. If we do not do that business, someone else will. We have also invested in large-format with a new HP Latex printer.”

In terms of staying competitive in the print market, Lewington says looking at how the company can add value to its clients is key as well as cutting down costs. He says: “We are constantly looking at making cost savings which can then be passed on to our clients. To make our services not just more cost-effective but faster too, we offer a print management service, so people’s projects can get to market faster.

We are constantly looking at making cost savings which can then be passed on to our clients

“That is one of the main things that is important for the future, speed. The process of someone coming up with an idea in the marketing department to it being out on a shelf is demanded quicker. We are part of that process. By making our production more streamline, it is more cost-effective and the work can get out faster.”

A social future

As a forward-thinking company, Printroom Group has placed emphasis on social media in its plans for future growth. Lewington explains: “Looking at the future of print, we are focusing on social media, our web-to-print software, and print online portal. People use mobiles for everything now and we see this as the future so we are going into this in a big way.

“We are also looking to expand our print management and one-stop-shop side. We receive calls from marketing departments, which want posters or printed USB sticks, for example, and are coming to us to manage the whole project. This is something we want to focus on and grow.”

As well as looking at the digital and technology side, Printroom Group also focuses on investing in its people. “It means we have got to invest in people, both experienced staff and apprentices,” says Lewington, adding: “Our workforce spans over three generations and we want to keep that going so we have a mix of experience and the younger generation who can learn from each other.”

Printroom Group’s intent to keep at the forefront of technology, along with its increase in capacity, certainly look positive for the company, and is sure to keep it in business for many more years to come.

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