Cambridge Printers Ltd. employs 11 staff and has been operating since 2004. They print “Everything your business needs” which, in the words of Managing Director, Nicholas Russell, “encompasses everything from a business card to an exhibition stand”.
They have a comprehensive production capacity encompassing sheet-fed litho up to B3, digital and wide format printing – with a well equipped studio and extensive finishing capability. Their typical customers are parts of the University of Cambridge as well as businesses in Cambridge, London and various parts of the UK. The success of the business is simply put down by Nicholas to “super staff”. The fact that he has customers who first started dealing with him in 1989 is a tribute to the company approach of “cuddling them and making them feel wanted”.
Printpak was recommended to Cambridge Printers when their first MIS ceased further development, though they considered other systems ranging from £500 to £10,000. Printpak, as well as being “an up to date system that also took into account digital printing”, was seen as being “very simple to use and develop”.
Nicholas said that entering essential data was easier as they had used an MIS before, but they took time to get it right. In terms of ease of use he added “Thanks to superb training on Printpak’s premises it was less difficult than it might have been. And if I can easily transfer data into the system, then anyone can.”
They did take a little longer getting used to the calculation and quoting on the digital side as they were trying to get proper costs considered rather than “relying on a price matrix like most of our competitors”. “We got good support from Printpak in this because we wanted Printpak to do things it didn’t, but now it does. Now we have a good system that is constantly being developed”.
“The main practical advantage of Printpak is that an estimate turns easily into a job, which turns easily into an invoice and a delivery note”, he said. “My customers get a quick answer on enquiries, and old jobs are turned into repeat jobs very easily.”
"Over the years that Fineline has been growing it still amazes me that one person can handle all the estimating and admin today that required the same individual's time in 1990. The only reason that that has been possible is because of Printpak - it's as simple as that.
There was a period about eighteen months ago when we made a conscious decision to reappraise our pricing from top to bottom. Looking back at our management figures the impact was indeed dramatic. Almost from the word go our bottom line improved dramatically and Printpak's ability to estimate accurately was the tool that allowed us to do it.
But to leave it at that simply wouldn't do Printpak justice. For us, it really is one of the most essential tools that we use. Far more important than any gadget or gizmo and without it we'd be sunk. I cannot imagine any part of Fineline that does not rely on Printpak in some shape or form for its all round ability to provide information essential for the running of our business.
Its ability to store and retrieve important information, calculate costs accurately, produce incredibly valuable management information and produce essential documentation for every stage in the print production process makes it an unbelievably flexible and reliable asset.
No matter what sort of equipment you have or how big or small your business is, if you know where you are at and, more importantly, know where you need to go, Printpak is the essential GPS tool that will make sure you get there."
"We have been using Printpak since we started our business in 2004. The improvements in the Printpak software during that time have been impressive.
But what has been even more impressive throughout this time is the quality of the customer care. We feel that we are dealing with people who know what they are talking about and who genuinely have their customers’ best interests at heart.
As with any piece of software, problems can arise from time to time and the Printpak team have always been most helpful in fixing the problem if the cause is at their end or in guiding us if the cause is at our end.
I would have no hesitation in recommending Printpak to anyone who is starting a new business or seeking to improve an existing business."
Harcourt Litho is a Swansea based ‘mixed’ printing company in its 20th year of operation, with around 30 staff. They operate sheet-fed litho, digital and large format presses. “Especially in the current market, we try to do as much as we possibly can”, says Ian Harcourt, the M.D.
He sees his market as being the full range of commercial activity, though this could be end user, shop front, agency, publisher, etc. driven. “Since we’ve gone into wide format we’re targeting individuals as well as companies, so everyone is part of our customer base.”
When asked what he thought was behind the success of his business, Ian replied, “There’s no denying it’s difficult, and margins are getting tighter, but we try to turn away work where there's no margin. We’ve got a bottom line that we hit and Printpak helps us do that. We can analyse the added value very easily and that is what we stick to. A lot of it is common sense. And we won’t do what a lot of printers do and take a job at any price. We’ve a good stock of loyal customers, but good service and quality control aside we know we have to keep our pricing keen.”
Before using Printpak, they were using a ‘pencil, rubber and calculator’. “We looked at several other systems," Ian said "but yours looked simple. It was easy and quick for us to go from pen and paper straight into a powerful computerised system. It was great. There was no huge learning curve to get there. And help has readily been given to us on the rare occasions we’ve needed it.”
Asked about the benefits and information they get out of Printpak, Ian said “It’s clear, it's concise, and it’s easy for customers to get their prices quickly. The accounts and invoicing suit the way we work. In fact the documents we send to our customers are really clear as well as prompt. A lot of our competitors send quotations which are confusing and not as clearly laid out as ours.”
When asked what he would recommend to any other organisations looking for MIS, Ian replied, “Printpak offers a try before you buy. It makes sense to use that first. There’s nothing to lose. I've recommended Printpak to a number of people in the past and would be happy to do so again.”