Page 65 - Print 21 Magazine Nov-Dec 2018
P. 65

Trade Printing
positive place. “Trade printing is still on the up in Australia. For our clients, streamlining and efficiency is the name of the game and we help our clients do this. Rather than be held up on jobs they don’t want to do, our clients are able to handball these to us and focus on producing the products that are more lucrative for themselves.”
General manager at Industrial Printing Co, Steve Scott, agreed, saying, “We find smaller operators seek our services and larger scale abilities to produce and, in some cases, purely finish their work they elect to no longer keep in-house. It’s a formula that seems to be working on both sides if managed sensibly and margins and expectations are kept realistic.”
“We find smaller operators seek our services and larger scale abilities to produce, and in some cases purely finish their work.” – Steve Scott, Industrial Print Co
Jamie Xuereb sees retail printers increasingly turning to trade printers because “a retail printer’s product mix usually has holes in its offering. By partnering with a trade printer these holes can be closed without any outlay in new equipment, people and training. This means they can keep their existing customer base happy and stop them looking elsewhere for even the core work that they do.”
Most trade operators are able to handle fast despatch requirements to their client base’s customers around the whole country, to provide the “McDonald’s drive-through experience”. LEP Colour Printers, for instance, has a base in Queensland and another in Melbourne.
CMYKhub has just established a digital and wide-format facility in Cairns to handle northern customers, alongside its bases in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.
It purchased two HP Indigo presses and
two Mimaki printers for the Cairns site, pulled its five-colour press in Port Douglas out of service, and has its offset printed in Brisbane. Carl Stobie, general manager at CMYKhub Queensland, had previously told Print21 that, “We’ve decided to relocate our production hub from Port Douglas to Cairns to maximise our ability to better service
a broader geographical area, which now includes Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville, Cairns and Port Douglas.”
Who ya gonna call?
A key element in this transaction between wholesale and retail printer is trust. Retail printers must be confident that products are printed well and arrive quickly at their end customers’ locations, and probably most importantly, that customer poaching is off the table.
Most trade printers are well aware of that, and are at pains to keep faith with their customers. Every trade printer Print21 spoke to mentioned the words partnership and trust.
“We keep a tight definition of what ‘trade only’ means. It means the company we deal with needs to be on-selling the end print and is not the intended end user,” said Jamie Xuereb.
Industrial Printing Co’s Steve Scott said, “What we are ever mindful of is approaching work with the big picture in mind. We don’t actively seek work from direct clients. When we are approached, we consider the job and if we are aware that may be incumbent with a client we also deal with. Relationships
are vital to our success and we’ve kept
our reputation strong by being respectful
to our clients. We develop and maintain trustworthy and profitable relationships with mutually beneficial outcomes, and that is key to how we operate.”
If trade printers account for more of the production work, commercial printers have greater capacity to take on selling and brokering of print work. By using trade print relationships, both can profit from this arrangement.
“What we’re seeing is a lot of competition on the supply side, and there’s a lot of churn with customers, a lot of consolidation,” said
LEP’s John Bromfield. “But that’s offset by printers who can’t afford to replace their equipment so they’re moving to Ωmore
of a shopfront or print broker role, and outsourcing more.”
“We see a number of new trade accounts being opened by sole operator businesses
that have done business with us in the past while working at another printer,” said Trent Nankervis. “I suppose there is a misconception of a lot of consolidation out there, when
we actually see a lot of rejuvenation in the industry through smaller operations.”
Jamie Xuereb added, “The other key thing which differentiates trade printers from retail printers is that trade printers need to focus solely on being a production house. By being the best at it, it has the best processes which give a whole range of benefits to trade customers they could not get in-house. Retail printers need to focus more on being a selling company which means production systems can fall over as it is not a key focus.”
Is the role of many commercial printers going to change to one of print manufacturer and near full-time broker/seller? It is a business model that makes some sense for smaller operations, as it means they are able to forgo spending large investments on capital equipment and the staff to operate it, and spend more time and energy on winning print work and passing it on to those trade printers who can best handle it and take the financial and technological risk.
It is ironic that the historically much maligned role of print broker might be a business model that helps to keep print in front of potential customers. 21

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