By Brendan Perring, IPIA
A key strength of the best technology suppliers and developers in the print industry is the ability to nurture customers and help them understand that – while they may offer a variety of great solutions and support – fundamentally the motivation and proactive approach has to come from them out to their own market.
“We can help give them ideas, inspiration and direction in this regard so they can go to their customers with something special,” emphasises Marine Kerivel-Brown, International Marketing Manager, Duplo International.
Marine continues: “It is also about having a long-term relationship with customers, it is understanding how they work, the operators working with them, and perhaps the training and support they might need. We can suggest small changes to them that will have a significant impact on their business.
A case in point for Duplo about its customer support and technology development strategy is well made by Chris Brady, Managing Director at Print4UK: “The PFi Blade B2+ is a completely new direction for Print4UK. We usually outsource our die-cutting work, and even had to turn away business because we didn’t have an internal solution. Once turned away the customers wouldn’t necessarily come back and give us the work that we could have done.
“In the first two weeks of having the machine we saved £2,000 in outsourced work, so the Blade B2+ will pay for itself in next to no time. Of course, some jobs won’t be appropriate for the Blade B2+, however I’m estimating almost 75 to 85 percent of our outsourced work will now be done on it.”
The success of this installation and its impact on Print4UK is no accident, it is a result of Duplo’s focus on helping customers expand their horizons, diversify and adapt – as Marine explains: “Everything starts with understanding our customers; they really drive our research and development programme.
“We are not looking to develop a grey box that is a little bit faster or more efficient than the last one. It is about understanding a printer’s operational environment, the challenges they are facing and how we can provide solutions to them. What are their issues? Where are their bottle necks? What is keeping them awake at night and how can we use our knowledge and expertise to help them? Not to just survive, but to grow and thrive.”
Beyond the cutting edge
Another key technology platform to support diversification into new markets, such as luxury packaging medium-runs or creative direct mail campaigns, is the PFi DI-CUT 310, a versatile and highly productive short-run rotary die cutting system. This compact and yet powerful machine lets you die cut, kiss cut, crease, perforate, slit, hole punch and cut round corners in one process – on both digital and offset-printed sheets.
It is also jam packed with features to improve automation, reduce operator touch points and intervention, and minimise training time. These include image recognition, automatic waste removal, suction air feeding and repeatable production programming. It can process sheets from 210 x 297mm up to 390 x 520mm on paper thickness between 0.22 and 0.40mm at 4,000sph.
Analysing demand from the market and how its solutions portfolio is helping print businesses capitalise on it, Andy highlights that a first step is understanding that anything you do to a printed piece of material is an embellishment. His team’s sole focus is pushing the levels of embellishment as far as they can go, while understanding the need for the finished piece to deliver sustained profits for the printer and a ROI for their customer.
Looking at his most successful customers, they are working with everyone from national cake suppliers to offer personalised and highly embellished boxes through to those that specialise in producing short-run proof batches for the biggest greeting card vendors in the country.
“Some of the customers that have bought the PFi Blade, DuSense Sensory Coater or DI-Cut 300 are actually increasing their turnover on their standard work,” explains Andy, who concludes: “That is because a print buyer would always rather give their whole package to a single printer if possible – because it is helpful for brand integrity, colour consistency and quality assurance being stable. So, they may start off doing their leaflets and letterheads, but when they can offer doing a wider gamut of work for the same client they can tap into this preference and improve their yield as a result.
“It can also work the other way round – they go in and win the more specialist work and then also take over the standard items when the customer knows they cater for it.”
Andy also emphasises that – while there is a learning curve when it comes to materials, imposition, costing and the need to cater for concept work – there is a very significant opportunity for commercial printers that make the move into offering packaging, free-standing display graphics, large-format work, point-of-sale and creative direct mail pieces.
Creativity is the name of the game when it comes to generating new print volumes, and the PFi DI-CUT 300 will massively increase your product scope
Read pt1. If you can think it you can create it.
To find out more about how Duplo can support your growth ambitions: duplointernational.com/uk