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Trade Secrets

MPC Print Solutions

Jo Golding talks to Tony Crook, owner of MPC Print Solutions, about how the company is seeing its significant investment last year pay off in terms of profit and business expansion

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Tony Crook, owner of MPC Print Solutions, has seen the company go from strength to strength

Reaping the rewards

MPC Print saw some significant changes last summer, moving from two factories to one, now occupying a 32,000sq ft factory in Brimsdown, Enfield. Along with the move came investment in new equipment, making MPC a state-of-the-art company now capable of a broad range of work. This year sees MPC reap the rewards of this bold move, and Tony Crook, owner of MPC, is certainly happy with the progress the company has made.

He says: “We are now employing 75 people and turn over about £7m a year. We have grown year-on-year and expanded the business.”

Growing up in California, Crook has lived in England for 35 years, with 27 of those years working in the print industry. He continues: “I got into print through the photocopying industry, I worked for Xerox to begin with and then for print in the digital form of photocopying in a high street print shop. It grew from there. I bought my first litho press and lived above the shop with my wife, and then we bought another press, moved to another factory, bought another press, and so it began.”

Crook says currently the majority of the team work on the finishing floor, whilst there are less people in the print room because “the equipment can produce work so quickly” these days. Alongside its finishing department is MPC’s digital department, litho department, and direct mailing department.

Embracing change

Having started MPC in 1990 in the heyday of commercial print just before digital print made its impact, Crook has seen the industry change drastically.

He explains: “The industry has changed incredibly so over the few years I have been in the business. We have embraced this change and that is the key to our success. Money is not as easily made now as it was back then, and before then it was even easier.

“At the end of the day, you just have to change with the times and not fight it. If you fight it, you are on a downward spiral to lose. What we have done is ramped up production to meet the price requirements, because the price of what we can sell things at has become cheaper and cheaper. You have to go with it and be able to produce the items cheaper, and we can only do that by investing in technology.”

Crook explains that as a general commercial printer, MPC does not have a niche market, but is capable of virtually any printing job. He adds: “My philosophy is to do everything in-house, controlling the job, speed, quality, and maximising on profit across a broad range of items. We do a lot of work for companies that have a wide variety of print requirements. We do digital, small offset, large offset, and we finish everything in-house.”

My philosophy is to do everything in-house, controlling the job, speed, quality, and maximising on profit across a broad range of items

By working with other companies, MPC has been able to take on new equipment, with Crook saying: “I have been able to partner quite closely with Close Brothers and other investment houses, which have supported me along the way and allowed us to invest in new machinery to keep up with the demand. We have been able to look at our equipment on a yearly basis and see what new technologies are out there and how we can justify changing equipment. We have taken out two older presses and replaced them with one state-of-the-art Heidelberg.”

I have been able to partner quite closely with Close Brothers and other investment houses, which have supported me along the way and allowed us to invest in new machinery to keep up with the demand

In terms of technology, MPC has a range of pre-press, press, and finishing equipment. This includes a B3 HP Indigo 5500 7 colour digital press, as well as a B3 Heidelberg, B2 Heidelberg, and twelve-colour B1 Heidelberg with Cut Star on the litho side.

“With the XL technology and Inpress Control, we find it has dramatically changed how we can produce things and reduced the gap between digital and litho dramatically,” says Crook, adding: “Our Heidelberg XL75 can now produce jobs so quick and with excellent quality.”

MPC invested in a Heidelberg XL75 five-colour and coater with Impress Control in 2014

MPC manages all the different jobs by looking at speed requirements and cost. While the customer asks for what they need, MPC has a wealth of knowledge to decide on the best machinery for the job, whether that is digital or litho, which tends to depend on the run length of the job.

Diversity is key

So, what else makes MPC retain its customer base and stay a successful company? Crook says its diversity is a big plus, adding: “We are not a company that specialises in one item. We now do, for example, direct marketing, envelope inserting, laminating, digital, and litho. If we were just doing leaflet printing we would have been out of business a long time ago. Although we can do that too, we will do it as part and parcel of other work where there is value and money to be made.”

Crook explains that by producing a whole campaign, such as producing inserts and doing direct mailing, the printing tends to be the smallest element of the whole campaign, but each element is important for the final result.

Crook adds on the current market: “Direct mailing is a growth industry and people prefer this form of marketing. If you look at any industry now, there are going back to mailing and door drops, and moving away from e-mail.”

It only seems fair that MPC sit back and enjoy the rewards of its brave investment decisions from last year.

However, as with most industries, the print industry never sleeps and I am sure that MPC will continue to adapt, it certainly has the right equipment and attitude to keep delivering fantastic results.

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