Five of the Ricoh devices have already been installed having been “drip fed” into the site over the past six months, according to company founder Nick Green, with two more expected in the first few months of 2020.
The modular Pro 9210s print in CMYK at speeds of 135ppm on paper up to 470gsm. The SRA3 Pro 9210 can also print auto duplex on long sheets up to 1,030mm and 1,260mm in simplex and can handle a broad range of media including textured and translucent substrates as well as envelopes.
Printed.com’s new devices have been specified with no optional inline finishing units, while one has a BDT banner sheet feeder.
Green said that of the company’s five HP Indigo’s, a 5000 had been taken out before the Ricoh investment while a 5500 and 7500 have been sold to make room for the Pro 9210s. The company has retained two Indigos: a 7500 and a 6500.
“The digital printing marketplace has evolved from a quality and cost perspective in the last few years,” Green said. “HP burst on the scenes with the Indigo, which allowed printers like ourselves to navigate that digital vs litho argument.
“Speed, quality and turnaround time are very important but there is also a pricing point that is relevant to a customer base and what we found is that Ricoh has come into the market with a very high-quality press that certainly works from a turnaround time, it has an increased sheet size as well and it is very much at a different price point that really fits with the kind of audience and customer we are working with.
“Since we've made the switch we have found the cost of manufacturing has fallen, which has allowed us to pass a sensible cost saving on to our customer as well with no compromise on quality. That has been the motivation behind that change.”
Green said the remaining Indigos would be used to focus on more luxury work and uncoated stock, as he believed they “still have the edge in that space” although he added that Ricoh was working on updates in that area to “level the playing field”.
“I don't think we'll ever go exclusively with one manufacturer because digital presses lose their value, so removing them all from the business is not necessarily cost-effective,” Green explained. “It also allows us to keep the dialogue going with HP and understand what they are doing in the market.”
The £17m-turnover business has two UK sites, one London-based office from which 30 people support the front end of its website as well as design, marketing and product development, while the bulk of its operation takes place at its 4,500sqm Cramlington, Northumberland facility where its 130-strong workforce takes care of finance, admin, customer services and production.
As well as its in-house production Printed.com uses a network of around 24 UK print partners, which it is working on expanding, and Green said the company roadmap for 2020 includes a plan to expand that strategy globally.
“We are a printer at heart,” said Green. “I like the printing community. I think it's important to build that community rather than necessarily compete with it, so if I can use the demand of Printed.com to help other UK businesses fill their capacity then that is a good model for UK business.”
He added: “We have existing dialogue with printers around the world so we will approach those markets in the same way as we do the UK.
“We currently ship to Europe and worldwide but we don't have website presence in those local markets. I believe there's opportunity to take our offering into those markets at a local level, so next year I would expect us to be launching Printed.com in other European and global markets with local websites that we will build teams around.”
Green said that the business would also continue to expand its work in the corporate marketplace, which he said was a growing area for Printed.com, as big companies increasingly migrate online away from using traditional account-management style businesses. Growth in this area has recently prompted the business to launch a corporate sub-site, he said.
An additional focus for the business in 2020, Green said, was on-demand print API work.
“We are in the final stages of re-platforming where we are starting to see a lot of API requirements, which allows other small online businesses to connect to us giving them the ability to offer a full end-to-end solution. That’s a big growth area for us and it will feature in our 2020 roadmap as well looking at expansion into international markets.”