Neil Bather is managing director at Transeo Media and share with Ultimate TechnoGraphics their unique insight into the UK Print Market. For Neil, it’s about the values of digital print through personalisation, web-to-print, one-to-one print and finding your niche market.
Transeo Media was formed in 2009 servicing the UK print and photo market. Transeo Media are a software solutions provider for the commercial digital, photo and packaging sectors in both B2B and B2C environments. Their specialisation covers Web to Print, Photo book, Personalised Photo Gifting, Cross Media and Imposition. Their core values are offering high quality modern solutions, with local technical support and integration capabilities. As an independent company, Transeo Media has the choice to offer the best solution to our clients from a suite of products from different vendors.
How has the printing industry in the UK changed over the years according to you?
NB: The printing industry is a wildly varied, covering many applications, from traditional printing (brochures, flyers etc) to Photo, textiles, signage and packaging the list goes on and on. One element that has had the biggest impact in both opportunity and challenge is the move from analogue to digital. Within this move, automation is the key focus allowing the reduction of the touchpoints for the orders moving through the factory.
What impacted the printing industry in the UK the most in the past decade?
NB: I believe the adoption and improvement of digital output devices along with software to deliver business and automate in all areas of the print industry has seen the biggest impact. Witnessing the speed and quality improvements across the board has been amazing. Whether that’s Inkjet, digital cut sheet presses or packaging, digital has changed the landscape by offering quick, very high quality and the ability to print one of one.
“Automation is the key focus allowing the reduction of the touchpoints for the orders moving through the factory.”
How have printers in the UK adapted to these transformations?
NB: It is interesting to see a mix of early adopters’ flourish and some just waiting to make the move. Software has moved on especially web to print, so we are seeing a lot of opportunity for new entrants along with those looking to move away from existing vendors or expensive legacy systems. Many printers that we work with have become more diversified offering data and marketing services. I believe printers that make automation efficiencies, offering value add and using technology to become ‘sticky’ with their customers will be the success stories of the future.
Were printers in the UK quick to adapt to these transformations, or struggled?
NB: In the early days, we always tried to deliver a software pitch setting the right expectations. For example, adding a digital printer along with web to print is not magically going to generate revenue, it needs work. A simple question would be, would you invest time and resource into a new salesperson, well the answer should be a resounding ‘yes’ and the same can be said about software. We did see those that did not allocate the time or get the right personnel in place struggle; however, the market is more educated today and we find most understand it should be classed a business change with the correct level of attention.
What are the main challenges lived by printers in the UK today?
NB: Price margin erosion is a challenge, with many printers offering the same commodity. Adding complimentary services around a print piece can win higher margin business. We have seen some of our customers win large corporate contracts, with print being a small piece of the puzzle on the back of a joined up, highly personalised and measurable approach, driven from a single database.
What successful printers in the UK have in common?
NB: Entrepreneurial spirit to drive the marketing around the solutions they offer. Invest in software and the latest innovations – keep relevant. Invest in people that can deliver on the business goals. Find their niche for increased margin opportunity’s.
How has the Digital Transformation affected the industry in the UK?
NB: Streamlined businesses that automate driving efficiencies deliver more productivity with the same people and equipment. These advancements have enabled the printers that embrace the changes to be competitive and thrive.
What are the benefits of digital printing according to you?
NB: Being able to print ‘one of one’ is incredibly powerful, whether in a highly personalised marketing piece, a personalised greeting card or a Photobook. The quality of the output engines is phenomenal today along with the speed. Therefore, for shorter runs, digital is king.
Why would an offset printer in the UK move to digital printing?
NB: Their clients may be already purchasing digital print from other sources, therefore adopting digital for the personalised or shorter runs could win more business from existing clients – or more importantly not loose the offset business to competitors that offer both. As an entry point, there are several trade printers in the UK offering white label services.
How has the pandemic affected the industry in the UK? What change will remain in the UK after the pandemic is over?
NB: We have seen two vastly different outcomes due to the pandemic, our B2B clients have had a massive hit to business some down 70-80%, while our B2C clients in the personalised Photobook and greeting card verticals have done record volumes and trading at what they would expect during peak trading periods. Therefore, the online businesses using web to print ecommerce have thrived.
“For shorter runs, digital printing is king.”
Although you can not beat face to face meetings, I believe the acceptance of online client/supplier meetings will stay in some format as many will realise how much time was spent travelling unnecessarily for noncritical meetings.
For more information, please contact Ultimate TechnoGraphics representative in the UK, Transeo Media.