McAllister Litho has switched from Heidelberg to Komori in a £3m investment in new presses, pre-press and a substantial Tharstern MIS upgrade.
The Glasgow-based company is due to take delivery of a five-colour B1 Lithrone GL540 in June followed by an eight-colour B1 Lithrone GL840 Perfector with reel sheeter in August, which will replace two decade-old B1 Heidelberg machines.
Operations director Brian McAllister told PrintWeek: “We decided it was time to look at upgrading. Technology has moved on immeasurably since we bought those presses. It makes sense to get something shiny, new and reliable.
“The whole package that Komori could offer was better. We looked at KBA as well and decided that Komori was the one we were going for. The whole package was very good. We felt the customers service as well was immense.”
McAllister also liked the Mabeg RS106 reel sheeter. The company’s existing presses also cut in-line which gives “accountable savings in paper cost and waste” and enables them to maintain their position as the only sheetfed offset printer in Scotland to run a reel-to-sheet device, he said.
The business was formerly Montgomery Litho Group's (MLG) Glasgow before being successfully aquired in an MBO by its operations director Janette McAllister after being placed in compulsory administration with MLGs Edinburgh site in January 2013. She kept the MLG name for trading purposes and on 31 December 2014 she transferred shares to Brian McAllister, who was also at the former company and the business is now split 50-50 between them.
Now the company's managing director, she said: “We’re still very focused on litho. We do digital and large-format, we keep up with the times. We’ve been working very hard to stake our claim in the marketplace again. We look after our customers.
“Whatever we upgraded to was going to give us better technology. It was the whole package. The customer service seemed so much better with Komori and the feedback was good. One customer said ‘why are you worried about the service? It never breaks down’. If the automation breaks down you can operate it manually. There were so many different things, it just seemed right."
McAllister Litho produces a wide variety of commercial work from its 4,645sqm production facility and counts large publishers like Sky and Newsquest as clients. It has also won a place on a number of framework agreements for clients including a three-year framework for The Scottish Government, which started last April, Scottish Rugby and APUK.
Janette McAllister said the company expects to gain more share of the work of these frameworks when the more competitive and faster makeready presses arrive.
“Getting onto those frameworks has been very good for us. We also print a bi-weekly magazine for Aberdeen Property Company with property for sale and rent. It doesn’t matter how good the internet is, people love to have something in their hands," she said.
"We’re building for more business from existing customers and from new clients across the UK. We are confident that this will lead to an increase in our workforce across all departments including apprentices to accommodate the extra productivity of the Komori presses.”
The McAllisters are also installing two new Screen platesetters along with new processors and considerably upgrading their Tharstern MIS to cover all aspects of management including estimating, scheduling, order programming and processing. The company also runs two B3 Heidelbergs, a Printmaster and GTO, recently upgraded Prinect front-end software, an Autobond laminator, four MBO folding machines, a Muller Martini stitching line and guillotines.
The company has an annual turnover close to £6.5m and 80 staff. It became a Living Wage Employer in June 2015 and is registered with both the Living Wage Foundation and Glasgow City Council, which actively encourage adoption of the Living Wage by companies across the region.
It still has a significant amount of long-run work, with runs frequently exceeding 500,000-plus sheets.