Two years on we caught up with them to see how business is going.
It’s been two years since Parallel Office and Document Solutions first opened their doors, and what a time it has been! As many businesses were battening down the hatches in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new company was born.
We caught up with the Managing Director, Gavin Auckland, to find out how the company has achieved so much in this period.
Gavin brings many years of experience to the table as the creator of Parallel – having first joined a print manufacturer 24 years ago, he saw a real gap in the industry for a company who were truly customer-centric.
When you speak to Gavin, it is clear how the end user is at the heart of everything that Parallel do – “We make it our goal to say yes!” says Gavin.
“I’d witnessed so many businesses within the print management industry who operate without customer satisfaction as their motivator – I really thought it was time to bring something different to the table.”
Setting up a business when many were worried about their future was a brave move – “Coming away from secure employment into the unknown was certainly scary, but I had so much belief that the print market was ready for a company like ours that it felt like the right choice”.
“We have an incredible team – the most important thing we look for in our staff is empathy”. Parallel has purposefully looked away from the print industry to build their staff, and it’s clear that fresh eyes and new habits has really boosted their success.
Parallel’s ethos is based on transparency – they are open & honest about everything they do and have won many loyal clients by cutting through the mist and being clear about what they offer.
Their flexible print package have been incredibly well received by end users as it allows them to reduce or increase their allowance as necessary – with many businesses now operating a hybrid working model, it makes sense that large machines in offices may be getting less throughput. Additionally, unlike many of their competitors, Parallel actively encourage clients to consider whether their current contract volumes are right for them – “85% of our client base regularly adjust their quantities to match their operation.” confirmed Gavin.
A recent roll-out of ERP software has also allowed them to stay one step ahead of the competition. Their fleet of machines can be monitored 24/7; this enables Parallel to update firmware and be reactive to problems before they become an issue – “We already know there is an issue with an end-users’ machine before they do – this is a real benefit to our customers and minimises their downtime”.
Parallel work with two manufacturers to provide their solutions – Konica Minolta & Kyocera. “I knew straight away that these would be our brands – their sustainability message is the best in the market, and they have been true partners to our business”.
Sustainability is another word that shines from Parallel. Gavin explains, “Offsetting the environmental impact of printing is hugely important to us”. Their partnership with the reforestation project Print Releaf is offered to all end users. To date, Parallel’s partnership with Print Releaf has allowed their customers to be part of a sustainability project, which means their actions have led to 1400 trees being planted. – “We’ve essentially planted a whole forest,” Gavin says proudly.
Our finance partners have also been instrumental in our growth – keen to thank both BNP Paribas and CF Corporate Finance, who help end users fund more significant projects. “We would not be where we are today without the support of these businesses.”
“Parallel is now working with some huge clients – They have just finished phase one of four stage roll for Bunzl PLC (a British multinational distribution and outsourcing company headquartered in London) – “The pace at which we are growing is phenomenal. It’s this pace that has recently heralded a new office in the centre of Uxbridge – allowing the team to grow even further,” explained Rob Booth – Sales Director
Gavin continues, “My vision for Parallel includes diversifying into other areas – both telecommunications and IT services sit closely with print & document management. I have clear plans as to how we will move into this space. As long as we keep the customer at the centre of our operation, we can start to become a larger solutions provider for many of our end users.”
When asked about the future of the print industry, Gavin recalls how they were talking about the paperless office when he first started in the print industry in the late 90s. “Paper volumes have actually risen every year since”, Gavin chuckled. However, recognising that digitalisation certainly looks to be how the industry will move in the future. “Hybrid and remote working plus security issues will start to see many organisations move into digital workflows- Parallel are ready for this transition and are already helping end users to move to digital processes.”
Parallel have certainly had an incredible first two years in business. “We’ve had achieved more or less everything on our three-year plan in just 18 months,” says Gavin.
Gavin and his team’s enthusiasm, passion and customer-centric attitude will certainly drive this business forward – we can’t wait to see what the next two years will bring!