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Calgraphics bets on EFI workflow – Print21 magazine

Tuesday, 21 October 2014
By Print 21 Online Article

Before he went to Las Vegas, Melbourne sign and display printer, Andrew Bennet, thought EFI was primarily a hardware manufacturer – then he realised it was the leader in software for the printing industry.

EFI Connect in Las Vegas is a catalyst for the whole industry. There is no other event like it; a multi-channel customer focused conference that attracts hundreds of industry professionals from around the world. Often it is the place where new business ideas come to fruition. In the case of one Melbourne business, Calgraphics, it opened the owner’s eye to the breadth of EFI’s products and sparked an important investment decision.

Buddy, an ex-guide dog Labrador, is an essential part of Anne and Andrew Bennett's team.

When Andrew Bennett, managing director, signed on to go to EFI Connect in Las Vegas this year, he didn’t know what he was getting himself in for. As far as he was concerned EFI was the supplier of the wide-format equipment he bought for his business. It was only when he arrived that the sheer scale of EFI’s offerings became apparent.

“I was familiar with EFI because we had recently purchased our VUTEk GS3250LX printer but, to be honest, I had no idea EFI had software solutions. It wasn’t until I attended the annual user conference that I realised EFI isn’t a hardware solutions provider but a software company that has hardware solutions. I’ve been to many conferences and I was very impressed with the format of the event and to hear EFI CEO Guy Gecht’s keynote presentation about workflow connectivity and automation,” says Bennett. “He [Gecht] was very dynamic and inspiring.”

From banking to branding

The owner of the Melbourne-based commercial print company; an ex-banker and self-taught programmer, confirmed the decision to invest in EFI Pace and EFI Digital StoreFront on his return from the January trip to Vegas.

Calgraphics has been producing high quality sign and display products for over 40 years. Traditionally a screen printer, the company slowly began bridging the gap between analog and digital several years ago. However, it wasn’t until Bennett purchased Calgraphics in 2005 that he became aware that the legacy digital equipment was aging and no longer cost competitive.

At that time, the company had little or no digital software, not even a spreadsheet, according to Bennett, which was when he took on the role of becoming his own programmer. He then made the decision to invest in an EFI VUTEk superwide format printer, which later led him to attend Connect; EFI’s annual user conference in the USA. Once there he realised EFI itself had the software solutions he was looking for.

“We got the complete web-to-print solution, the full monty from accounting to Store Front. We do a lot of high-end customised work for the petroleum industry that needs to last for a long time. If we have a template for the product, it gets processed and goes into a queue for the printer,” he says.

The investment in software is reflective of a new direction for Calgraphics. In addition to upgrading its commercial print offering, Calgraphics has successfully developed business relationships with some of Australia’s largest multi-national companies by providing inventory management services in tandem with print.

Bennett’s background in IT allows him to create a custom web-to-print system for some of his largest clients, but he was eager to find a scalable solution that would allow him to extend his services and relieve the burden of being the sole programmer for his current platform.

EFI – good buddies

“When looking for an MIS and web-to-print solution, I needed to be confidant it was flexible and robust enough to handle the complex work we do. For example, we recently undertook a project involving ten thousand sheets of a building product and signage for seven hundred stores across Australia, which needed to be managed through our online store and backend management information system. After looking at Pace and Digital StoreFront and seeing how integrated these EFI solutions were, we quickly made the decision to proceed.”

According to Kathy Mitchell, director of operations for EFI Australia, Calgraphics recognises the benefits of having a workflow that can communicate seamlessly from end-to-end. “The moment a customer begins placing an order using Digital StoreFront, critical data such as stock, quantities, sizing etc. is being stored and passed along to Pace to create a quote; schedule the job and then sent downstream to the Fiery XF workflow and output to their VUTEk. By connecting each of these stages, Calgraphics are able to eliminate human touch points and drastically improve their speed and accuracy, which in turn will allow them to become more competitive. That’s the benefit of the EFI ecosystem,” concludes Mitchell.

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