Aaron Hartley, Print and Mail Manager.
New machinery offers this organisation a versatile array of possibilities, taking it beyond its initial business case for investment
Plymouth-based Delt Shared Services has purchased an HP L560 Latex printer, Graphtec FC9000-160 cutter and Easymount 1600SH laminator. By investing in this equipment from CMYUK, this wholly owned public sector enterprise is now able to offer a greater range of in-house services, initially making savings of over £170,000 over a five–year period.
Private enterprise, but publically owned
Delt, which means shared in Danish, was founded in 2008 by shareholders Plymouth City Council and the Devon Clinical Commissioning Group. A private company that is 100% owned by the public sector, it works for the public interest, taking services that were traditionally run in-house by the public sector but delivering them faster, cheaper and better without resorting to outsourcing or offshoring.
The new equipment has been installed in the organisation’s Print and Mail department. Here, a range of small and wide format printing services are carried out for its public shareholders such as transactional work for the Council including Council Tax bills, letters and mail merges – amounting to just under one million mail items last year. Indoor posters and pull-up banners were output in-house using its 60-inch wide inkjet printer.
In addition to its public shareholders, Delt works with local commercial clients such as charitable not-for-profit organisations and has branched out into the B2B market. Last season it worked very closely with Plymouth Argyll Football Club, printing out various printed assets such as letterheads, menus, passes and tickets for the newly renovated corporate hub within the stadium and recently printed some outdoor signage to assist in making the stadium Covid-19 safe for matchdays.
Expanding in-house services
The Print and Mail department is also the centralised print buying resource for the whole organisation. In recent years, approximately £70-100,000 worth of print buying has been outsourced through the department including large format signage, display work and finishing. The investment in the new printing and finishing equipment will now enable the department to bring all this large format display work in-house, providing it with the much needed capabilities to produce interior and exterior applications.
“We looked at what we were buying and realised that we could produce this quite easily if we bought the equipment in-house,” says Aaron Hartley, Print and Mail Manager.
“We have a lot of events in the City during the summer so it justifies the outlay,” he adds.
The choice for Latex
Aaron started researching wide-format printers last year, and contacted CMYUK as he was familiar with the company through its high profile marketing and PR-related activity. With a customer base strongly biased to health settings, schools and public areas, he opted for the highly versatile and eco-friendly HP L560 Latex printer.
Latex ink was developed as a green alternative to eco-solvent inks, and is made with 70% water. The inks produce high quality, clean vibrant colours and have the advantage of drying instantly.
“When your printed material comes off the Latex machine, it's ready to finish straight away. That links in with our USP, which is all about quick turnarounds as most of the jobs we print are for next day delivery,” says Aaron.
In addition to the quality of output and colour vibrancy, what Aaron really likes about the HP L560 is the highly intuitive nature of its RIP.
“That impressed me straight off the bat,” he says.
The company invested in a Graphtec cutter because with only a guillotine in–house for small format work, it was outsourcing all its large format cutting work. An Easymount laminator was added to the list as it allowed the department to bring mounting in-house too.
“Everywhere you go there's an Easymount. It’s an industry leader. I don't know anyone that’s got a sign shop that doesn’t have one. It was recommended by everybody,” says Aaron.
The big event in the Plymouth this year was supposed to have been Plymouth 400, which commemorates the 400th year of the sailing of the Mayflower to the New World with 102 Colonists on board. This was forecasted to bring over £40million of tourist money into the City, but like every city in the UK, COVID put an end to these plans.
However, one of the few jobs the department was able to carry out for this event was outputting a 240ft mesh banner for the launch of the Mayflower Autonomous Ship, the world’s first fully robot AI captained maritime craft.
While events and exhibitions in Plymouth have been put on ice, the versatility of the new equipment has allowed the department to produce other work such as safeguarding signage, particularly indoor floor graphics, as well as coloured and vinyl banners – applications that in the past it would have outsourced or not done at all.
The new equipment capabilities are set to have a real impact on the department, and the organisation as a whole.
“This new investment will open up our customer base dramatically, allowing us to work with customers that in the past would have been unobtainable. Alongside this, we can now upsell our other services,” says Aaron.
“It is going to open up new markets to us, and we'll just explore them as we go,” he says.
As a publically owned enterprise, Aaron had to secure three quotes for this equipment purchase, and CMYUK came in with the best price. However, it wasn’t just its cost competitiveness that has impressed him, it was the range of materials on offer as well as customer support.
All being well, Aaron will be taking advantage of CMYUK’s demonstration and training facility in Shrewsbury next month, sending his two print operators for more training, so his department will be ready to optimise its service offerings, and stride towards new opportunities.
“It's been quite a big leap for us, moving from small format digital to this kind of signage work. A lot relies on the finishing skills of the operators, so we really need to up-skill our staff in both cutting and laminating so we’re ready for any eventuality,” he says.
The initial business case for this investment was to provide signage for Plymouth City Council but Aaron expects the equipment will more than exceed this aim.
“I expect to go above and beyond this,” he says. “There are many local authorities that tender for their print work and this new investment puts us in that market. We can offer everything now – print, mail and large-format out of home print. Its really opened up new opportunities.”
HP Latex 560 | Graphtec | News
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