|Northumbria Print Takes the Road to Digital
Since 2006, Northumbria Print & Distribution has provided a comprehensive range of printed media to businesses and the community throughout the North East. Based in Morpeth near Newcastle, the company has built a solid reputation for delivering great quality print at very competitive prices and delivering when and where their customers need it.
The company’s founder and owner, Graham Johnson, explains, “The print business is competitive, hectic and very fast moving. Our customers rely on us totally to deliver the right product on time and we have built our reputation on this. Price is important and so is our ability to deliver the broadest possible range of printing options. For this reason we are continually investing in the latest printing equipment so that we can meet as many of our customers’ requirements as possible.”
For many years, Northumbria Print & Distribution’s focus was on two and four colour litho printing - producing high quality flyers, leaflets, personalised stationery, business forms, brochures and invitations. In more recent times, litho remains an important part of the business, while the company has made further investment in digital printing technology. This has allowed them to also offer large format posters and banners, canvas printing and framing and, more recently, personalised gifts and printed textiles.
“Digital printing has transformed our workshop and our business,” says Graham, adding, “We are now able to meet many more of the needs of our customers as well as add completely new customers. Previously we would have outsourced the work, which meant we would make less from each job and also made it harder for us to be competitive and grow our customers effectively. We owe a lot of this to the support of YPS.”
Newcastle based Your Print Specialists (YPS) is the largest provider of large format digital print solutions in the North East. The relationship between YPS’ managing director, Garry Brown and Graham Johnson goes way back to the 90s when, in his previous role, Garry supplied Graham with his lithographic inks and supplies. “Since the day we first opened our doors here at YPS over 10 years ago, Northumbria Print & Distribution has continued to be a loyal and innovative customer. The big difference now is the type of products we supply to them.”
As a traditional commercial printer, Northumbria has had to live with the rigours of what competitive commercial print brings. The company has always taken a huge interest in emerging digital technologies and the added revenue streams it could potentially bring. Following a brief trial with a second-hand wide format printer, in 2014 Graham knew his customer base definitely had a requirement for wide format print and he decided to take the plunge with a Mimaki JV33 1.6m solvent inkjet printer.
“We viewed this initial investment as a toe in the water for us and we very quickly reaped huge rewards through an increase in turnover and profits. We soon made further investments with a new Mimaki CJV 150 integrated print and cut solvent printer and a Mimaki UJF 3042 UV direct to object printer. Most recently, we have purchased a Mimaki dye sublimation printer to enable textile, garments and larger personalised gifts. We also beefed up our finishing capabilities with a new laminator and a bubble free applicator,” says Graham.
He continues, “Embracing the latest digital technologies has allowed us expand the conversation we have with our existing customers and prospects. Many of these have considerable wide format requirements and being able to supply these has allowed us to increase revenue streams relatively quickly and seamlessly. Our litho business base is still very strong and with the addition of a broad range of digital printing capabilities we are looking forward to developing the opportunities these investments provide.”
A key reason for purchasing the dye-sub printer was to provide an existing estate agent company with regular, high volumes of printed mugs. ”This job alone has justified the investment in the new printer. We are now working to further increase revenue by developing a new web site dedicated to promoting dye sublimation printing solutions. We have specialist heat presses that enable us to print on mugs, t-shirts and many other products and it is this sort of versatility that will help us develop and grow into this exciting new business area,” says Graham.
Garry Brown adds, “Northumbria print is a great example of a commercial print shop taking advantage of a growing sector and developing his existing customer base. The new technologies now allow him to supply signage, POS, labels, posters, banners, T shirts, promotional items, mugs and so much more. The YPS team are immensely proud to be involved in supplying Northumbria Print and watching them evolve into a truly one stop print shop.”
In conclusion, Graham Johnson says, “These are exciting times for our business and we are very much looking forward to how we develop our new digital printing capabilities. We couldn’t do it without the excellent support and encouragement of YPS. We feel very confident that they are working in partnership with us to help us grow in a controlled and sensible way to positively meet the challenges facing the modern print industry.”