UK commercial printer Bishops Printers invests almost £1.5M to handle growth, achieve shorter runs; package includes recently installed Speedmaster XL 75 ten-color perfecting press, Stahlfolder TH 82 automated buckle machine from Heidelberg
May 22, 2013
Bishops Printers is based in Portsmouth in the U.K. Demand for the company's print products rose last year, leading to growth of nine percent. To handle this growth and the ever-shorter runs, the print shop requires extremely reliable and operator-friendly presses combined with short makeready times. "Investment is key to growth," says managing director Gareth Roberts. And his company has invested a total of almost £1.5 million (EUR 1.8 million). The investment package includes a recently installed Speedmaster XL 75 ten-color perfecting press, a new Stahlfolder TH 82 automated buckle machine with VSA-82 vertical stacker, and a Stahlfolder Ti 52 that sister company The Mailing People took delivery of six months ago. Bishops Printers now has a total of 70 printing units in the 50 x 70 centimeter (19.69 x 27.56 inch) format - all in five-, eight- or ten-color presses supplied by Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg). Its 25-year relationship with Heidelberg has been strong and fruitful for the company, which has grown from a one-man operation to a 221-strong enterprise with sales of £20 million (EUR 23.5 million), compared with just £4 million (EUR 4.7 million) three years ago.
Everything from a single source
Today, the Bishops Group has three operations under one umbrella: The Graphic Design House, which takes the group into cross-media with websites and mobile/app services; Bishops Printers, which supplies bespoke high-quality print products produced to stringent sustainability standards; and The Mailing People, a direct mail service provider launched in 2012 and housed in the premises vacated when Bishops expanded its printing operation into an 85,000 square feet factory a mile away in 2010.
"Our decision to invest in Heidelberg equipment has undoubtedly been a significant contributing factor to our survival and growth over the years. The partnership is close because the level of support Heidelberg provides is second to none and this enables us to consistently operate to maximum efficiency," says Roberts.
Features he pinpoints as being of particular benefit on the Speedmaster XL 75 include its reliability and operator friendliness. Productivity is enhanced by the machine's fully automated and simultaneous plate changing, which cuts makeready times. The press will run with low alcohol levels, in line with the company's policy of upholding good environmental practices.
Print production at Bishops operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week to fulfill customer needs, including the high demands of Premiership soccer clubs such as Arsenal. The company currently handles in excess of 21,750 jobs across 2,371 customers per annum.
Bishops has been able to further boost its print business by offering a combined print and direct mail service with The Mailing People. A member of the U.K. Direct Marketing Association, this group company advises on all aspects of direct mail campaigns, from consultancy and data collection to the most efficient method of postage. Its other services include polywrapping, order fulfillment, lettershop, data management, database processing, U.K. and international postage operations, and downstream access.