Digital workflow is the main game for Satellite

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A new partner, a new location, a second HP Indigo and a very sophisticated workflow has positioned long-term Currie Group customer, Satellite Digital, to take off for new markets.

Partnership is at the core of the success of the innovative digital printing enterprise, Satellite Digital. It doesn’t take long talking with the principals to recognise the empathy between the two long-term partners, Ian Hayes and Paul Culliver, who have been operating the business together for over nine years. The arrival of a third equal partner, Mark Clinton, in August reinforces the sense of continuity that pervades the company; he and Paul worked together over 14 years ago. All three are dyed-in-the-wool printing industry professionals and all bring their special talents to bear on making Satellite Digital a unique and successful venture.

It’s been a big time for the totally digital print business. In recent months the company shifted out of shared premises with Rawson Graphics to pursue its own destiny. The new premises at Mars Road, Lane Cove, are almost double the size of the previous facility. It is indicative of how not only the three partners work but also of the professional camaraderie in parts of the Sydney printing industry, that the separation proved amiable with ongoing business still taking place between the two enterprises.

The continuity continues when Ian Hayes reveals his first encounter with Indigo, now HP Indigo, technology back in the mid-1990s in London. Watching Benny Landa demonstrate the benefits of digital printing – short run with every sheet imaged differently –­ made him realise he was witnessing the future of printing.

The Satellite Digital partners: (from left) Mark Clinton, Ian Hayes & Paul Culliver.

It took until he met Paul Culliver at the formation of Pongrass Digital in Sydney some years later, that they both realised the opportunity of running their own digital printing company. Naturally, Satellite Digital was based on HP Indigo technology.

Since then the company has carved out a reputation for itself based on extreme service. Or rather, what the partners term, ‘above and beyond service.’ Basically it means they will do whatever it takes to meet their customers’ requirements; work all night and go the extra mile to deliver a service that will reinforce the complementary, what they term the ‘warm and fuzzy’ relationship.

It’s a premise that resonates with Mark Clinton who joined the business by invitation to help with the launch of a new growth strategy. He came from the high-pressure world of Fuji Xerox DMS where he was responsible for the Telstra print business, an account that ran into the millions of dollars. He sees his role with the company as developing sales and marketing, ‘the pointy end’ of the ship, although all the partners emphasize they are across one another’s roles. There may be specialisation here but there are no silos of ignorance.

The primary development in the new premises is the purchase of a second HP Indigo 7000. According to Ian Hayes, who has primary responsibility for production, this has given Satellite Digital an amazing amount of extra printing firepower. He tells of turning around jobs of 20,000 A3 sheets in less than a day.

This time around they went for a simple four-colour production machine; the previous HP Indigo 7000 bought four-years ago has seven-colour capability for specials. The guys are now so experienced in developing specials and PMS colours that industry supplier, Currie Group, asks them to help out.

A secondary investment in a HP wide-format Latex printer is the first step into a new market that is already drawing interest from clients, even with no promotion. The next phase is developing and carrying out a detailed road map of expansion into new areas of business.

It comes as no surprise to learn that the partners are dedicated workflow mavens. Paul Culliver is the IT/ admin director who burrows deep into the Tharstern MIS that is the company’s nervous system. Four years in refining and developing the system he is still producing new reports, responding to the company’s needs for a 360-degree real-time view of the operations.

He believes that as digital print can be seen as an anomaly in the printing industry, IT informs every part of the process from RIPs, to web2print, to workflows and MIS. There is not a single piece of equipment in the factory, including an old platen that is not plugged into the Tharstern system where every job is logged and measured to see how close it came in to the quoted price.

The partners of Satellite Digital have no doubt that the future of the printing industry is digital. They eschew any suggestion that what they do is not mainstream printing, tackling bigger and bigger jobs with their increased HP Indigo capacity. They are full of praise for their suppliers, especially Currie Group, and local state manager, Richard Watson, relishing and valuing the long-term relationships.

Continuity is part of their industry and corporate culture and it seems to have laid the foundation for a very successful future.