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In-house finishing is the best choice

Friday, 18 March 2016
By Patrick Howard

After years of outsourcing their print finishing work, Sherry and Tom Min made the decision to invest in a complete Horizon solution from Currie Group.

"Everything under our own control," said Sherry Min pictured with husband Tom.

The printing industry is made up of hundreds of small family-owned businesses where the proprietors are hands-on managers and workers. First Choice Printing in the Sydney suburb of Alexandria is a typical case in point.

After 20 years in the business, there’s very little Sherry and Tom don’t know about running their printing company. They know their strengths and their customers; they know where to invest and how to ensure the sustainable future for their family-owned business. Neither of them were printers when they first got into the printing business. Sherry laughs that it happened “by accident,” but it’s proved to be a good life choice. “We started off with a small printing shop and grew up little by little to where we are now,” she said.

Looking after a solid line-up of familiar long-term customers, First Choice Printing prides itself on being a general commercial printer, ready to print “anything and everything.” There are no sales people to come between the customers and the owners, business is transacted on a principal-to-principal basis.

Making the right capital investment is of the utmost importance for this size of business. It’s too easy to be detracted by the promises of bigger, faster with more automation. It all adds to the price tag without necessarily being useful to the company. The equipment has to be the right fit. Starting off with two-colour Heidelberg, four years ago the Mins put in a 5-colour Heidelberg Speedmaster 74 with a CTP system. It has proven to be a good investment and put the company on a solid technical foundation for the foreseeable future.

As the business continued to grow the amount of finishing work being outsourced became a focus of concern. Pretty soon finishing was identified as the next area for investment. For a company that does everything from magazines to brochures to business cards, the requirement was for a robust and flexible finishing line.

First Choice Printing found it in the Currie Group’s Horizon print finishing portfolio, one of the largest in the industry. While the kit was installed in two separate installations six months apart, the final configuration comes across in a blaze of acronyms and models: Horizon SPF-200L 2X VAC-600 5/3/15 AFC-566FKT 14/10/15 … which translates as a Horizon saddle-stitcher booklet maker with a Horizon VAC collator plus a Horizon AFC fully-automated cross-knife folding machine.

It provides a complete finishing system ready to take on just about any commercial printing task. It’s easy to use with Currie training and support to back it up. In the short time it’s been up and running at First Choice it has more than proved its worth. According to Sherry it has transformed the way the company operates.

“It’s so much better now. Not only do we save on out-sourcing but it also saves on delays, on the cost of couriers and we have everything under our own control. It is so much quicker,” she said.

According to Bernie Robinson, managing director, Currie Group, there is a move by smaller printing companies to take their finishing in-house, the modular scale and price of Horizon equipment means it is no longer unaffordable.

“Bring finishing in-house makes sense now for an ever growing umber of commercial printers. It makes sound economic sense and it gives them control over their production,” he said.







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