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Featured:     European Coverage     Production Inkjet Analysis

X1 backs KODAK NEXPRESS Press to become fully ‘digital house’

Monday, September 22, 2014

Press release from the issuing company

Testimonial for KODAK NEXPRESS Digital Production Colour Press, X1, UK 

Overview

EYSINS, SWITZERLAND, September 22nd — Berkshire printers X1 produce a range of personalised and varied promotional products for its customers. Not a typical printing company, many X1 customers request content-based web2print mailings on many different substrates. This demands short-runs of high quality products with a fast turnaround.

Previously X1 ran a traditional lithographic press alongside a KODAK NEXPRESS Digital Production Colour Press. In the face of diminishing lithographic margins, the success and popularity of the first NEXPRESS Press meant that a transition to a fully ‘digital house’ by replacing the lithographic press with a second NEXPRESS Press was a logical and easy one.

In the face of a changing market, with increasing demands for personalisation and ‘stand out’ pieces, the KODAK NEXPRESS Press has the versatility to print on a range of substrates as well as varying print-runs. Work is being processed and produced quicker than ever, increasing X1’s capacity. With competition making lithographic printing margins unsustainable, a move to digital printing means X1 can enjoy sustainable margins.

Challenge

Faced with changing customer demand, X1 was keen to exploit an increasing market for low quantity, high quality personalised products on a range of substrates. Established 28 years ago, the most recent downturn has been the most difficult and the 21 person company has had to adapt to remain successful.

X1 had previously run a NEXPRESS Press alongside a traditional lithographic press. With diminishing demand for long print-runs, competition amongst printers was increasing for lithographic orders. The resulting decline in order price made the decision to install a second digital press in its place increasingly appealing.

X1’s, Managing Director, Tim Lance, explains: “X1 is not a typical printer – we have a lot of content based web2print orders, including mailings and pick and print. Our client base is incredibly varied, with a number of businesses, charities and individuals using our online service to order personalised items generally in short-runs. As a result, we were increasingly using Kodak’s NEXPRESS Press for successful print runs, whereas profitable lithographic orders were diminishing.

“In terms of the lithographic market, we were being forced to fight harder for business with smaller margins. Some companies were printing runs at unsustainable losses and driving themselves into the ground – obviously we wanted to avoid this, and we identified digital printing as a way of doing this.”

Solution

X1 first installed a digital print press 10 years ago, purchasing a NEXPRESS Press in order to deal with fast print runs for a range of products, including mailings and promotional marketing material, such as magnets and personalised chocolate boxes. These orders ensured that X1’s existing NEXPRESS Press ran at capacity. Lance explains X1’s changing outlook: “As our digital printer was often at capacity while our orders for profitable lithographic runs were diminishing, we saw an opportunity to increase our profitability by focusing on digital print. We decided to become a fully ‘digital house’ by installing another NEXPRESS Press and outsourcing all of our lithographic orders. ”

“We are aware that this wouldn’t work for all printing companies, but it provided the best solution to the challenges that we have been presented with by the most recent economic downturn. The market has changed and we’ve had to adapt with it to remain successful – our web2print orders have been hugely popular, and our second NEXPRESS Press has allowed us to accommodate this increasing demand. The fifth imaging unit and matt fuser roller that comes with Kodak’s new NEXPRESS Press has also allowed us to expand our digital offering, allowing us to create extra finishes such as dimensional and matt print.

“Having been an established digital printer for a decade made the transition to a fully ‘digital’ house much smoother, but staff understanding was integral to a successful transition. We held a meeting to inform the team of our decision to move away from lithographic printing, followed by individual meetings to discuss any concerns that they might have. Thanks to our existing NEXPRESS Press the team were completely on board and helped the change to be an easy one.” 

Benefits

X1 has had a smooth transition into dedicated digital printing, and the company is reaping the rewards of the move. The increased capacity for printing on a number of substrates has boosted the speed, efficiency and profitability of X1’s orders.  Customers are keen to explore the new finishes on offer, and exploit the faster turnaround for orders. 

Martin Mayo, Cluster Director, UK & Nordics, comments, “Although an unusual change, it’s great to see X1’s conversion to a fully digital house reaping the benefits of increased efficiency and profitability. With the NEXPRESS Press fifth imaging unit and matt fuser roller, X1 can offer a range of finishes that are incredibly well suited to their customers’ varying needs, both in terms of the print run length and the various finishes required. The success of X1’s increasing web2print orders is testament to this.”

Lance continues: “We’ve adapted well to the changing market, and although we have lost out on some of the benefits that lithographic print brings, such as letterheads, we have gained so much more elsewhere by becoming a fully digital house. We no longer have to accept lithographic jobs with low margins just to keep the machines going; we can outsource these orders to suppliers.

“The move to solely using the NEXPRESS Press was pre-planned and we’re pleased it’s been done” concludes Lance. “They have settled so well and thanks to the extra finishes that they can offer as well as the success of the web2print orders [X1 currently has 50 customers on Web2Print production], we are running at capacity. Our work is produced faster, the quality is excellent and our final products are sent out to the customer quicker than ever, so all in all it’s been a really positive experience.”

 

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