At this time of year I like to spend some time talking to friends and foes in the industry and catching up on what everyone’s been up to. General consensus is that it’s been a busy year and I’ve yet to speak to anybody that isn’t happy with how things have been recently. Even the “stack it high, sell it cheap” brigade have been increasing their print prices over the last two years.
Here at Mole Towers it has been a very busy year on all fronts. Not only have we managed to push through a lot of business, we have also developed new services and established ourselves within new markets at the same time. On top of all that, we have managed the process of upgrading all of our key production equipment during one of our busiest ever trading periods, which was no mean feat!
And what did I learn during all of this? Here are a few things:
1. That it can take seven years for a leading printer manufacturer to develop a product so that it does ‘what it says on the tin’, leaving a trail of customers in its wake who will never buy its printers again.
2. Trying to move a large UV printer off a first floor mezzanine after new equipment has been installed below is something best left to the professionals. I just wish I’d filmed it all happening!
3. No matter how many times your client says they will supply artwork in good time, they never do and probably never will. Studio guys, just get used to it.
4. Sewing machines might look easy to operate on YouTube, but reality is a different thing altogether. Where does the thread go again?
5. You can still ruin the belt on a cutting machine even though during training you’re told it’s impossible. 54 neat squares is living proof of that.
6. LED cured machines still generate lots of heat.
Looking to 2016, what is on the horizon? I think another strong year, an increase in revenues and if we can keep on adding value to our print, then margins will hold up nicely too.
Large format print has matured over the past few years. Buyers are seeing the value of it and truly understand its benefits. It isn’t just ink on paper, it’s a lot more than that.
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