PITR caught up with Angela Osborne, Duplo UK Sales Manager, Digital Finishing and Office Division, to find out where opportunity knocks for dealers looking to expand into finishing.
Following a 20% rise in channel sales in the last financial year – its best ever in terms of turnover – Duplo says that the reseller market is potentially its biggest growth opportunity.
“Any business, whether it’s a general office set-up, marketing company or specific print in-plant that has any type of printing capability should now be considering how it is finishing those printed sheets as part of an integrated business set-up,” she said.
“This can range from desktop binders, trimmers and folders through to multifiishers, guillotines and booklet makers for production-level fiishing.”
Osborne points out that resellers going into both production and office environments report that they are constantly having discussions with their customers about how best to finish documents and are providing finishers as part of an overall solution.
“Whilst in the past, there were some limited options for production level in-line finishing, a lot of operations have found that automated off-line finishing solutions, where they can remove the output from the printer so that the next job can be started, are a lot more efficient,” she said.
“Typically, customers like to be able to print out a whole stack of several hundred pages which can be dropped into the feeder of an automated finishing machine. At the touch of a button, the user can set the machine off performing numerous cuts, slits and creases, according to pre-programmed jobs which it will just get on with in the background. In any print environment, staff are a major cost, so the less time they spend personally fiishing documents, the better. Finishing documents automatically makes total productivity and financial sense.”
Web to print
One organisation making greater use of Duplo fiishing systems is Altodigitial, which uses them in conjunction with Altodrive web-to print-software powered by Infio Software Ltd.
Altodigital Production Print Manager Lewis Annis said: “In the past, with traditional print rooms, it’s been a case of sending through a print job via email and then having extensive conversations with the end user around output and what fiishing the print job requires. Errors can be frequent and costly, and resources would need to be considered along with the productivity required in getting the job printed. Web-to-print has transformed this process and it’s helping all kinds of organisation to make the most of their print production by providing and sharing new services whilst growing print room awareness.”
Annis added: “We are increasingly taking full advantage of Duplo’s automated precision systems that are opening up all kinds of finishing solutions through web-to-print. It’s been a revelation and we’re delighted to be growing the partnership.”
Osborne says she hears similar stories from more and more customers. “Going back around 15 years, I remember how one independent girls’ school that uses a bank of Océ systems for printing would take jobs from the printers and complete them using glue and scissors. Now they’re using highly-automated Duplo finishing systems, which work with a simple green button approach. Life has changed very quickly in the world of finishing systems, particularly in a digital world where personalisation and full precision automation is key. It’s now a discussion about selling a complete solution, apart from just talking about what comes off a printer,” she said.
“Adding finishing systems to complement MFPs and digital presses is becoming the norm. It’s a natural fit. Anybody selling a printer these days is naturally going to ask how they can turn the printed items into a finished product.”
Duplo invests time and energy to make working with resellers a mutually rewarding experience. The company runs formal training sessions and hosts practical events, such as open days, to keep its channel partners fully informed and aligned and ensure the best possible experience for its customers.
Profit margins vary enormously between systems, but Osborne says that margins of 20-40% are achievable. However, she counsels that when it comes to closing a sale no one size fits all. “Finishing systems are always so different, it’s essential to start with a notepad and white sheet so you can make notes to deliver the best option after spending a lot of time listening to customer requirements.”
She added: “We have over 100 different solutions being used in thousands of applications. And that requires knowledge. Thinking of one sales group alone, I can count over 100 years’ experience among the three people involved in training.”
In order to maintain the high levels of expertise and customer service channel partners have come to expect from Duplo, Osborne says it is committed to strengthening its support infrastructure. “We will be investing all of our profits from last year back into new service and support staff, training and marketing for the UK business, for the benefit of our resellers and end users,” she said.