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Precision Printing's Managing Director Gary Peeling on going Digital

Published on April 9, 2012

Gary Peeling Managing Director Precision Printing Co Ltd. discusses the change to a digital print workflow and the growth the company has seen by that transformation.

Cary Sherburne:  Hi, I’m Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink.com, and I’m here with Gary Peeling, who is Managing Director of Precision Printing from the U.K.  Welcome.  

Gary Peeling:  Thank you very much.  

Cary Sherburne:  So tell us a little bit about Precision Printing.  Where are you located in the U.K.?  

Gary Peeling:  We are located just east of London.  

Cary Sherburne:  And tell us a little bit about the background of your business.  

Gary Peeling:  Okay.  Well, our business was mainly offset commercial, and we’re a general commercial printer.  We were quite a latecomer to the digital industry.  We didn't take our first Indigo until 2005, so can't describe ourselves as pioneers.  However, the transformation to our business, having taken that first machine, has been quite dramatic.  Our business has tripled in size in the last six years and almost entirely all of that growth is due to digital printing and the applications it allows us to deliver to our customers.  

Cary Sherburne:  So what are some of the new things that you’re able to do for your customers, then?  

Gary Peeling:  Well, we listened.  We listened really well.  I think that's the key when moving into these new technologies and one of the reasons why I think Dscoop is so valuable.  We used the resources that HP provided to provide us guidance in variable data printing, web-to-print and print on demand.  And particularly in these areas, this is really the areas where we’ve seen huge growth. 

We now have six Indigo machines and most of our business is being delivered through web-to-print platforms, particularly in the ultra-low copy run length space.  So we’ve developed our own workflow solution which allows us to receive and process orders automatically right through to fulfillment.  And that opens up a whole world of possibilities.  To give you an idea of that transformation, we now receive and process around 10,000 orders each day. 

Cary Sherburne:  Ten thousand a day?  

Gary Peeling:  Yes, that's right.  

Cary Sherburne:  Wow, that's pretty impressive.  Now, you could do that manually, of course.  

Gary Peeling:  No, it can't be done manually.  

Cary Sherburne:  Yeah, exactly.

Gary Peeling:  And I think the interesting is it’s really the last frontier.  I think right from the very beginning the presses have had the ability to print one copy, but what we need to do is to find a way to remove the administration at the prepress and also at the post-press in order to then to ship it, pack it and ship it, and that's changed things dramatically.  And the really interesting point about this business is that we have an incredibly low order value now, so we’re talking about average order value of $3.00.  But because of the automation, the margins on that work are actually quite good. 

Cary Sherburne:  Well, that's pretty amazing.  

Gary Peeling:  So what that's doing is opening up new possibilities in new areas where customers can use printed media where perhaps they wouldn't have chosen that as a medium and that's allowing us to print back into the communication cycle where perhaps they’ve looked at e-mail or social media or other areas.  And I think that's really exciting because I think that demonstrates where we’re going to see print being used in the future.  

Cary Sherburne:  So if you had a word of advice for your colleagues who haven't made the leap yet, and there are some, what would you say?  

Gary Peeling:  I think the key area is to start thinking about systems development.  I think as PSPs we’ve presents been a little bit slow in employing the right type of personnel.  My takeaway from my session here at Dscoop this week was get a geek.  

Cary Sherburne:  That's great, get a geek.  

Gary Peeling:  Yeah.  And what I mean by that is find somebody that's able to understand how to write process and scripts.  I think maybe for too long, as an industry, we’ve been relying on subcontractors to provide out information technological systems and that's kind of dangerous because there's a possibility that you can make your business fit your system and of course your system should fit your business.  

Cary Sherburne:  Right, exactly.  Well, that's great advice and what a fabulous business.  Congratulations on your success.  

Gary Peeling:  Thank you very much.  

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