The ability to produce high-grade work on a ‘print-on-demand’ basis is something that has added immense value to the Linden, Johannesburg, South Africa business…
Templers turn corner print shop around with Xerox
Five years ago Chris Templer sold his share of a radiator core manufacturing business before deciding, with his son Michael, to buy an ailing walk-in printing business in Linden, a suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa.
‘I had over 30 years of experience in the motor trade, but both Michael and I were disillusioned and wanted to move into something new,’ said Chris. ‘We immediately excluded food and the motor trade because of the extremely long hours typical of the industry. It’s ironic now that we work from 7:00am to 6:30pm – bearing in mind that we drive from Springs to Linden and back every day.’
Pictured: left to right Michael and
Chris Templer with their Xerox 4110 digital press.
The long hours were crucial to turning around the printing business.
‘We knew nothing about printing when we bought the business,’ said Chris. His career has included industrial diamond research for De Beers at the Diamond Research Laboratory, and he has a strong mechanical background.
‘I’ve found little real difference between industries; the difference is rather in how you apply your knowledge. The guts of the shop contained three A3 lithographic printers from Eastern Europe, one serviceable black-and-white copier, and another that had passed its sell-by date. We could see that the old printers that were here when we bought the business were a major part of the problem,’ he said.
‘The one black-and-white copier was shot. We threw it out and put in Xerox machines. Xerox is the best there is in the copying and printing industry and we knew we could trust the equipment, after all they invented the process in the first place,’ said Chris.
Xerox is also an expert in digital print and workflow technology. It has one of the most comprehensive and diverse range of solutions, including hardware, workflow, applications and services for the printing, graphic arts and enterprise customers. ‘We knew the company offered us a one-stop shop, with hardware and software from one, integrated partner,’ added Chris.
‘Xerox has a sophisticated direct sales channel, a select network of partner firms and a wide range of indirect channel partners, critical to a business such as ours.’
Relationships, he added, are essential for infant businesses and those looking to survive a recession.
‘All of our clients bar one have been referred to us because we have maintained good relationships. We did that by ensuring that we met the three requirements in any business: quality, service and price,’ he said.
As in many trades, printers rely on the quality of their tools. ‘Bigger, stronger and more powerful printers breed their own work provided you maintain the three legs of the equation and subsequently we don’t hunt work; it comes to us.
‘When we bought the Xerox 4110 press, we were delighted because it’s a high-volume machine, but the technician who commissioned it called it the baby of digital production, so there’s room for some more growth! We’ve since racked up 5 million A3 clicks on it, so for us it’s a monster. We also operate a DocuColor 252 colour digital press with a DC3535 on permanent standby to take up the slack when required.
‘The new digital presses are extremely good. The changes in technology even over the last five years we’ve been connected to the industry have been phenomenal – the machines are 100 per cent reliable and the quality of print is such that it has opened up new lines of business for us. We’ve printed books, for example, 300 case-bound books in three days for a Nigerian cabinet minister, and 16,800 tickets on the 252 in less than two days for the Federation Cup of Nations hosted by South Africa.’
The ability to produce high-grade work on a ‘print-on-demand’ basis is something that has added immense value to the business, in some instances providing a proofing and feeder platform for the lithographic aspect of the business.
Xerox’s unerring ability to provide the correct equipment at the right time and a strong quality-oriented business model has helped the business grow from virtually nothing into a fair-sized shop with good capabilities.
Aside from the digital presses, Templer Industries also has its own Heidelberg A1 lithographic press which provides the medium- to long-run capacity. ‘It was a big deal for when the press was installed, to us it’s a monster, and the change from A3 to A1 has hugely impacted our capability and profitability – that said, the commissioning of the 4110 and subsequently the 252 was just as huge for us,’ added Michael.
‘The two processes complement one another well in our business – if we’re jammed on the litho side, the digital can always take up the slack and small runs, normally difficult, are exactly right for the digital environment.’
Capture new digital business
Templer Industries has also used the combination of digital and lithographic equipment to develop customers. For example, a client, International Truss Systems, initially wanted only one invoice book, which was easily produced on the digital equipment, but the workload has since grown into a large and varied range of products such as promotional stands for the company’s DIY products, regularly producing labels and packaging of a range of special nails and various other print media.
‘The focus of our next growth stage,’ said Michael, ‘will be the expansion of our digital capability. We’ve seen a shift by consumers and designers alike from litho-oriented design and print structures to the digital environment and the demand for much faster turnaround times will only grow.
‘Aside from the change in attitude toward digital, the natural flow from producing 10 or 20 little brochures digitally into a 10 000 litho print run is a constant thing; the ability to meet an important business rule, to put the object in your client’s hand, is worth every cent spent.’
Along with the usual litho work, Templer also prints a monthly magazine (a job brought about by the ability to digitally produce fast colour proofs), with offers of more on the horizon.
‘We’re cautious of magazine work. Printing magazines can be lucrative – you only need to look at some of the bigger print concerns – but it’s risky work for smaller print shops,’ Michael says. ‘An important part of this business’s growth is that it has been self-funded.
‘It can be easy to grow in the printing industry, particularly when it comes to printing magazines, but it’s also easy to over-extend yourself and fall down. We’ve been cautious, and not taken on work which is at our limit of capability or splashed out on unnecessary new equipment.’
‘We’ve built a situation where we could lose our revenue for six months and still survive, which is not typical of the industry,’ said Chris. ‘Many printers live from hand to mouth and as a family-owned business it’s important to us to provide not just a short-term answer but also to ensure long-term growth. A natural growth pattern is something we have actively sought. To us it’s pointless riding that fine red line; we’ve the time and patience to grow and use our partnerships with companies like Xerox to provide a strong platform, a backbone to our business. One of the best things we ever did was install a Xerox digital press.’
For additional information, contact Michael Temnpler by visiting: www.templerind.co.za.
For more about Xerox in South and Southern Africa, just click on the Xerox banner or sponsor logo button on our Home Page. Xerox is represented throughout sub-Saharan Africa by Johnnesburg-based Bytes Document Solutions.
© Graphic Repro On-line, 20 April 2010.