Page 20 - Print 21 Magazine March-April 2019
P. 20

Web printing
From page 16
town assessing the depth of the new community. These may not be printers looking to buy new web presses, but that’s not the name of the game here. Wickham is dedicated to providing backup to web printers large and small anywhere in the region.
“Coming together will deliver a new level of stability and support for the industry over the long term. I’m committed to supporting all Goss and manroland users throughout Australasia. They’ll have a greater support base than before, ample spare parts on hand, ensuring sustainable service and support. We’re about bringing more value to our customers,” he said.
New tradition
If responsibility appears to sit
easily on Wickham, who entered
the industry as a fitter with PMP in 1995, it’s likely to have something
to do with the fact that his father Graham started manroland web services in 2008 in Australia and was part of the industry over 48 years.
From page 18
publishers was on-sold after steering them back onto a profitable path. They were viable businesses, but John and Dimitri didn’t want to
be distracted from the main game, especially at a time of immense change. The experience allowed them to better understand the business models of their customers.
“Community media publishers have to evolve with the times. They have to diversify their revenue streams. There’s no magic formula. Today, publishers should be making money out of at least six revenue centres; online and print advertising, events, print circulation, ecommerce, and content licensing. No one can get there in a short term but you have to have a strategy to be there.”
One of the reassuring aspects of
the Spotpress business model is the breadth of its customer base. Small publishers may not have the spend
of the large corporates but the sheer number of customers, more than 450 in the case of Spotpress, means the company is largely insulated against the shocks that come when major clients switch printers.
20 Print21 MARCH/APRIL 2019
Although now retired he is still passionate about the industry.
“I believe you’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with. We function as a team. It’s not all about me. Basically the management structure in manroland hasn’t
“I believe you’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with.” – Dennis Wickham
changed. We’re still the only company focused solely on print,” he said.
The business is growing on the back of an increasing skill shortage in the sector as apprentice numbers decline and people leave the industry. manroland Goss now has web and sheetfed demonstrators working full time in Sydney and Melbourne training and showing operators how to print.
“The markets are changing, with people coming from flexo into sheetfed, from web into sheetfed, from sheetfed into web. They may not have the skills for the new sector so that brings greater reliance on the suppliers. We have to support our customer’s needs,” said Wickham.
While the new press installation at Ovato will see an influx of technicians from Germany this year, the local engineers are kept busy providing ongoing service support to existing customers. There are some private contractors in the sector but most printers want manufacturer-grade service. With the new presses all online, remote service is becoming the default first line of support. Online data analysis allows technicians to be proactive as well as reactive when problems when they occur. The aim is to provide a flexible response to ensure printing continues, or gets back online in the shortest possible time.
The web press sector has undergone tremendous changes as the manufacturers consolidate and the presses become more powerful and productive. It’s always been a high-stakes, high-investment game that relies on a dependable service infrastructure in order to maximise its potential. The new manroland Goss team in the region is made up of experienced professionals from both brands that can guarantee
the required ongoing support. Or
as Dennis Wickham has it, “We’re better together.” 21
nightmare with paper increases in some cases of up to 20 per cent.
“The challenge of 2018 was the consolidation of the paper industry and the paper pricing pressures. They affected everyone. The series of incremental price increases would have been better managed if they had just rolled them into one up-front increase. When they’re incremental you tend to absorb the first one or two, naively believing that the situation is stabilising.”
Again Spotpress’s market shielded it from the risks of losing customers in the face of price increases.
There was plenty of movement throughout the year but mostly in terms changing grades and qualities. Paginations and volumes held up remarkably well.
Rising costs of manufacturing
are the day-to-day concerns of a hardworking print company owner. They align with disturbing trends of the migration of print advertising dollars to Google and Facebook and the retail apocalypse as a result of the internet. But they sit side by side with a belief in the resilience and long-term viability of print and of Spotpress as a business. 21
“In the corporate retail world there is not that quantum of customers. So, it is logical that
the growth of Australia’s two dominant heatset printers will come through strategic diversification.
At Spotpress, we will diversify in our own direction. Our first strategy is
a closer connect with our customers, assisting them with their needs. We’ll create businesses that revolve around servicing revenue growth, ad procurement, and strategies for distribution optimisation.
“You can’t be all things to everyone. Newspapers are still the core of our business. Over a third of our volumes are in newspapers. Our heatset division has evolved out of the need to service our newspaper clients who were launching magazines and supplements.”
Price sensitivity
Few sectors of the printing industry are as price sensitive to raw material increases as newspapers, especially to small owner publishers. When paper costs are the major factor in the overall economics, any increase is worrisome. Last year was an industry
“You can’t be all things to everyone. Newspapers are still the core of our business.”
– John Georgantzakos

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