Me & my... Morgana DocuMaster Pro
By Jon Severs Friday, 13 April 2012
In some ways, David Whiteway, managing director of printer Pinders, has been left holding the baby - albeit a baby that this year reaches the grand old age of 74. Founded by his grandfather in 1938, the Sheffield-based Pinders print business has been successfully passed through the generations. However, Whiteway himself, as a young man, bucked the trend and became a chartered accountant, until the lure of the family trade proved too much and pulled him back to run the printing company with his brother 20 years ago. Then, two years ago, his brother retired leaving Whiteway in sole charge of the family silver.
"I went off and had a career outside print, but then came back to run the business with my brother. Then he retired, so the accountant is now left running things, while the non-accountant has managed to retire!" laughs Whiteway.
The company Whiteway now solely heads up is a diverse one to say the least. It began in the architectural, construction and engineering sector, offering plan printing and copying. As people were coming in and waiting for jobs to be completed, the company started selling them pens and pencils as they lingered – a practice that has grown to become a successful art supplies part of the business. On the print side, from the 1980s onwards the business was a copy shop, it then linked the first Canon Colour laser copiers to Apple Macs and from there branched out into print of all shapes and sizes, including both small-format work and large-format signage work. For the past 50 years it has also found time to sell some equipment, initially CAD printers, but also new offerings from the likes of HP and Canon.
However, it was the small-format print area of the business that Whiteway was focused on 12 months ago when he decided to purchase a Morgana DocuMaster Pro. With business picking up after the recession, Whiteway felt the company needed to set itself apart and to do this he felt a push to a higher-quality finish on booklet and brochure work was the answer.
"We have two HP Indigo presses and we felt that with the quality they were capable of, we needed a finishing solution that was equally as high-quality and that this level of finish would set us apart from our competition," he explains.
The company was not looking to replace any existing kit, rather it wanted to add an extra weapon to its arsenal. It had a relationship already with Morgana after several years of dealings and so it was to that manufacturer it went first to see what was on offer.
"We have dealt with Morgana for quite a few years and so when we were beginning to look at sourcing a high-quality finishing product, we talked to them first," says Whiteway. "We knew that Morgana kit was high-quality and we knew how well it worked with digital print and when we saw the DocuMaster Pro, we knew that was what we wanted. We then went and negotiated hard to get it."
"Because there can be so many issues with finishing digital jobs, if you are going to produce high-quality work, you need a high-quality machine. There are other products out there, but we really felt the Morgana was the best suited to meet our quality expectations."
The DocuMaster Pro is an enhanced version of Morgana’s original DocuMaster. The latter was created for a specific customer request for a bookletmaker that could finish pre-collated sets without cracking the book’s spine or the highly visible centre-page spread. The machine has gone through three iterations and more than 200 sales since, before being upgraded to the Pro level, alongside the rest of the Morgana stable of products.
The DocuMaster Pro uses the SmartScreen module that Morgana says enables easy functionality. It also benefits from the PosiFeed feeding system, which enables it to handle lighter papers and allows feeders to be stacked higher. The machine is JDF-ready and is capable of up to 1,560 books per hour – or 5,000sph in crease-only mode.
The machine was installed 12 months ago with little in the way of drama. "There is no such thing as a flawless installation, but they came in and worked with our guys to provide on-site training and we really didn’t have any issues," says Whiteway.
Since then, the company has only had to call the engineers out once, and that was just for a minor issue that was fixed promptly by the Morgana service engineers. Whiteway says that the machine has been completely reliable other than that one hiccup.
As for the machine’s performance, Whiteway could not be happier. He says that the machine lives up to its billing in terms of quality and as for speed, there are no complaints either.
"The quality is very good," he explains. "As for whether it lives up to the speed claims, Morgana bases its specifications on longer runs, so it’s hard to say if it meets the advertised speeds as we do very short runs, but we don’t feel like it has let us down at all or underperformed."
Indeed, Whiteway says that the machine’s speed of both makeready and operation has had a massive impact in giving the company peace of mind in being able to manage its heavy workload.
"My production manager has the worst job in the world because our production schedules change hour by hour, consisting predominantly of short runs," he explains. "We have people ringing up in the morning saying ‘Can I have this job this afternoon?’ and you have to be able to deal with that. And that depends on quick makeready and quick machines, and the Morgana machine delivers on that every time."
The machine is now producing brochures and booklets for a broad client base that includes blue-chip companies, government bodies, and NHS trusts, alongside the ad-hoc work that comes through the doors. For the tendered government and NHS work, Whiteway says that having a machine like the DocuMaster that is proven to be able to deliver the quality and turnaround times required is a massive boost. It is equally a boost for new client acquisition, he adds.
"It is allowing us to present ourselves in a higher-quality marketplace, rather than just colour on paper," he explains. "So it’s fair to say it has widened the number of clients who will consider us."
As for existing clients, Whiteway admits most have not noticed the switch to the new machine, but that’s partly down to the company’s own modesty.
"I would love to say all our clients had noticed, but the reality is that we didn’t shout loud enough when we got it to let people know that we had this capability," he reveals. "That said, a few people have noticed off their own back and we have had some really positive comments. That has spread via word of mouth."
The company currently doesn’t have the production need for another DocuMaster, but Whiteway has recommended the machine to several colleagues in the industry and some have gone on to buy the machine. As for whether he’d make a repeat purchase if production increased, Whiteway says he’d have no hesitation.
Where he has given pause for thought is in whether to be as unequivocal about handing over the reins to the next generation of the family.
"My two daughters both want to join Pinders, despite me trying to persuade them not to!" he admits. "So there is potential for them to carry on the company. "
However, just as with the Morgana DocuMaster Pro, Whiteway adds: "They won’t get given jobs though, they would have to earn them!"
Max speed 1,560bph
Max sheet size 460x320mm
Min sheet size 210x140mm
Max cover thickness 0.38mm (approx 350gsm)
Min inside sheet paper thickness 0.11mm (approx 80gsm)
Max staple pitch 138mm
Min staple pitch 115mm
Max trim 25mm
Contact Morgana 01908 608888 www.morgana.co.uk
Pinders was established in 1938 by current managing director David Whiteway’s grandfather. It began in the architectural, construction and engineering sector doing plan printing and copying, but has since expanded into all forms of small- and large-format print, equipment sales and fine art supplies. Based in Sheffield, it serves a diverse client base including blue-chip companies, government and the NHS trusts and ad-hoc commercial work.
Why it was bought…
The company wished to set itself apart from the competition by gaining the capability to produce higher-quality digital booklet and brochure work. Whiteway decided that the Morgana DocuMaster Pro fit the bill to enable that requirement and the company made the purchase.
How it has performed…
"The quality is very good," Whiteway explains. "As for whether it lives up to the speed claims, Morgana bases its specifications on longer runs, so it’s hard to say if it meets the advertised speeds as we do very short runs, but we don’t feel like it has let us down at all or under performed." He adds that the machine has enhanced the company’s ability to win tenders and helped acquire new clients.
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