Wed, Jul

IR Talks to Justin Murray, Print Project Management

Lesley Simpson, editor of Image Reports, speaks to Justin Murray about Print Project Management, which calims to be a missing link between designers and the advertising agency to print manufacturers.

Justin, you are well known as a founder of Pyramid Visuals in Weybridge, Surrey. I understand you have recently sold that interest to its production director Scott Meader to allow you to set up Print Project Management (PPM)

Yes, and I’m getting very excited about what PPM will do in 2012 and beyond… When it comes to implementing the creative ideas of clients its often more difficult than it seems to ‘make it happen’ which is where PPM comes in. It will operate mainly in large-format print, acting as a central contact point for clients with more challenging print projects. It will provide practical advice combined with sourcing and managing print, including installation.

You describe PPM as the “missing link between designers and advertising agency to print manufactures”. Is that another way of saying you’ve turned print broker?

No. Print brokers are about reducing overall print costs for their clients, acting as a go-between and commoditising print, which ultimately, takes precious margin off the print manufacturers – which is not what PPM is about. Print brokers are often tasked with undertaking printing projects they have little experience in handling and put a solution together based on the cheapest competent printer to produce the raw print, an installation team, which often does not communicate with the print manufacturer – all of whom are working from a brief from a designer who has probably never even been to the site/s in question nor worked with, or communicated with, any other party but the end client. PPM is designed to manage and oversee all these specific areas of the process, ensuring there is no loss in translation – and that artwork gets the signoff when it’s needed! Complex and detailed printing projects should not be commoditised and the success of the whole project is about pulling teams together behind the scenes to make it happen.

How will PPM actually operate then?

Because PPM will have an open book policy all the costs are transparent to the client and there’s no need to hide names of those involved in the process. Once the project costs have been collated, PPM can agree a rate for the complete project with the client – or if it’s an ongoing situation, can work out a percentage rate or fixed day-by-day rate.

You say you will save end customers time and money. Given that PPM will be aiming to profit from this arrangement can you elaborate on how that will be the case?

One of the main advantages is that as we are not acting as ‘middle men’ so we can put forward installations contractors’ normal day rates, where print brokers and manufacturers can put on a 25-50% margin for instance. Also, when undertaking large print jobs, there are hidden costs which people may not appreciate. A client may need to have their own mid-level PAYE staff member who will spend many hours attempting to manage their own side of the project though they may have little knowledge of what the project entails – perhaps time taken from their main job.

You say PPM has reliable suppliers and installers. I assume this a list you intend to grow?

Yes, we have people set up to work with PPM, and it is a list that will grow – but I’m not prepared to give up my trade secrets!

You obviously have a certain amount of contacts among designers and advertising agencies already. But you will want to grow that pool of potential customers and getting to the right people is notoriously difficult – especially when it comes to educating the right people about new niche applications etc. What’s your plan there?

Because of my background I do have lots of contacts in the creative space, and part of PPM’s strength will be the ability to go to them and push the boundaries of what they understand they can do with print – either on it’s own or as part of wider project. At the end of the day, designers/agencies are always looking for new ideas. We also have a strategy that will see us focus on creatives via various design websites etc.

How do you think the print sector will view an operation such as PPM, and do you think others will follow a similar path?

I think the industry will look favourably upon what PPM is doing. It should help push large-format forward in the minds of creatives – and we’ll make sure the parts of the process run smoothly and that jobs are completed with the least amount of stress for everyone.

You can view an edited version of this interview as a video.


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