Young business with a refreshingly customer-oriented attitude

Printweek contributing editor Jo Francis
Printweek contributing editor Jo Francis

It was my privilege to visit Bluetree Group this month, one of the UK’s fastest-growing printing businesses (sales up 31% to £41.5m in its most recent accounts), and one of our most interesting businesses in terms of the firm’s setup.

Having written lots about the company over the years, and become faintly obsessive in the process about their veritable cornucopia of printing tech, this was my first on-site visit and it was incredibly exciting to see it for myself.

I’m imagining some of the print bosses who also visited as part of a Landa event piggybacked onto Bluetree’s Route 1 Print customer open house were similarly curious to get a glimpse ‘under the hood’ of how the firm operates, just as much as they were interested in seeing the Landa S10P press.

Bosses Adam Carnell and James Kinsella are young and they have a young team, and it’s obvious that between them all they have brought a lot of fresh thinking to how they run the business.

Being not-so-young myself, I’ve been to A LOT of events at printers over the years. I attended one of the customer days and what struck me was how open the Route 1 team were. It wasn’t one of those ‘wonderful world of...’ type pitches, it was ‘tell us what you like/don’t like and what we can do better’ to the extent that they even had roller
banners featuring some moans and groans from customers, and what they’d done about it.

It really was tremendously refreshing, and while chatting to one of the firm’s actual customers I was struck by a comment he made about how the customer service team were empowered to make decisions without lengthy delays or to-ing and fro-ing. He compared that to A.N. Other printer he also uses where that was very much not the case.   

The Bluetree factory is fascinating and the blank sheet of paper approach has again resulted in something different –  ‘cells’ for certain product types rather than the usual pre-press, printing, finishing, despatch departmental type of layout. Plus a lot of clever use of technology in terms of how jobs are put together and organised for despatch.

On a sunny winter’s day in South Yorkshire it really was a breath of fresh air. Next time they open their doors, you really should go.