Me & my: PrintIQ

Wallace and Rye: “There is no guesstimating”

When the large-format print and installation specialist Wallace Print found that its existing MIS was being stretched to its limits, it looked around for an alternative.

It chose PrintIQ, a cloud-based system originally launched in the UK in 2020. Converting from one MIS to another to a completely new one has its challenges and it took two years before Wallace Print was ready for it to go live in June 2023.

The company offers digital design and artwork services; large format printing onto rolls or panels; CAD cutting; and installations. B2B and trade services are offered. 

“We cover an awful lot of sectors including, events, automotive, housing developments and construction, and we also offer the expertise across the installation from concept to completion,” says managing director Gary Wallace. “We offer many permutations of print, but our specialist areas are printed hoardings, internal and external wall graphics along with window and floor coverings. We have set our sights to hit £5m-plus as soon as possible, but our focus is firmly on the all- important net profit!” 

The firm has a spread of wide-format inkjet printers: a SwissQprint Impala 2i and Fujifilm Acuity HS flatbed/roll UV models; an Agfa Anapurna H3200i 32m roll fed UV printer; and an Epson SureColor 80600 with eco solvent inks. Finishing kit includes two digital cutting tables, a 2.5x3.3m Kongsberg 44 and a 1.6x3m Aristo 1625. There’s a Seal laminator and a Miller Weldmaster T300 banner welder.

The company was set up in 1985 as Wallace Screenprint, by the late Mervyn Wallace. His son Gary joined the company after a four-year career in professional football in the early 1980s, playing for Charlton Athletic and Norwich. He says the change of name is a reflection on how the business has developed, “as our original name suggests, we were 100% screen printers and have managed to evolve into the strength we are today utilising and embracing the digital revolution.”

Wallace Print is based in Rochester in Kent, on the other side of the Medway bridge from the town centre and only a couple of kilometres from the nearest junction onto the M2 that links Dover, London and the M25.

“We have always operated locally in the Medway area, beginning in Snodland,” Wallace says. “We rapidly outgrew these premises and relocated to Medway City Estate. After approximately 20 years we managed to progress by moving to our present-day unit conveniently near main arterial routes which allows us to access London and the surrounding counties.” He was particularly pleased to buy the property after renting it for eight years, saying it was “the best decision I ever made”.

The premises cover 1,160sqm, and were modified in 2019 with a studio topped by a mezzanine with meeting rooms. 

“Pre-Covid, we had approximately 40 employees, but we now have 30 of the best handpicked people in all the years we have been in existence,” says Wallace. “Some of our employees are incredibly loyal and have served for over 20 years.”

Solar panels were installed last year, which Wallace says are starting to pay off. “They performed surprisingly well throughout winter and into spring. Our roof is very flat which allows the panels to harness all of the natural energy and keep our electricity bills to a minimum.” The company runs some electric cars and has installed a charging point that customers can also use. 

MIS switch

Originally Wallace Print used the Clarity Pro MIS from the UK’s Clarity Software, one of the few available that were written specifically for wide-format print. “Unfortunately we outgrew it as it was limited, server-based and too slow for us,” says Wallace. “However I do believe it’s a good entry-level system.”

Originally dating back to 1999, PrintIQ was written in New Zealand by the IQ group. It was developed into a cloud-based system, which helped it go international. It was launched into the UK market in 2020, with a team in Manchester for localisation. It took off rapidly, with more than 50 installations in the first two years.

In August last year, PrintIQ was acquired by a “strategic development partner,” Banyan Software, which specialises in acquiring and developing established companies. This has seen some cutbacks in the UK staff. 

According to PrintIQ’s own description the MIS is “a top-tier cloud-based MIS print ecosystem that is flexible and scalable, with dedicated solutions”.

The usual MIS functions are covered with eight IQcore modules (for quotation, payment, factory manager, inventory, outsourcing, job tracking and shipping), to which can be added a choice of 16 optional modules. Standard combinations can cover segments including digital, flexo, labels, offset, fulfilment, packaging, signage and wide-format. 

PrintIQ says it has added its own innovative tools: “For instance, tracking of real costs and managing resources is streamlined and automated across the whole print operation, rather than a series of multi-system processes.”

Why choose PrintIQ? 

“We studied the market in depth and did consider other options but we felt they weren’t as adaptive as PrintIQ,” says Joe Rye, the studio manager, who was responsible for a lot of planning for the implementation. It was actually the operations manager Sam Johnson who first suggested taking a look at PrintIQ. “This guy is an unsung hero,” says Wallace. 

Rye says “We purchased handpicked modules, which allow us to raise an estimate through custom quoting which is then emailed to our client, they accept our quote on a link, and the client can upload their own artwork, which is automatically rejected, if for instance it’s not high res enough.

“One of the draws was its integration with Enfocus Switch, as we strive to be as automated as we can,” says Rye. Switch is a user-customisable workflow manager that can be used for file routing between various processing stages.

The job is then passed to production, he continues. “Our team times every order and we then monitor finishing and despatch; this allows us to consistently hit deadlines. We are trying to educate as many clients to utilise this facility as there is no involvement by us, which saves enormously on operating and efficiency costs. We have also integrated accounts for Sage invoice completion.”

How did the adoption go?

“We invested around £100,000-plus, inclusive of all Mac hardware and everything else within our personal tailored package,” says Wallace. “I decided go for it despite Covid. It was a high-risk calculated gamble that has paid off massively.”

“Onboarding was tough and it took approximately two years to build,” says Rye. “We cleaned out internal data and inputted all intelligence from every department. We went live in June 2023. There were hundreds of operations to build. Every print method, every cut method and even every single type of finishing you can think of needed to be made into an operation. This takes a lot of time, but the end result is you get extremely accurate and competitive pricing from it. There is no guesstimating!

“PrintIQ assisted us and many weekly meetings were held, which allowed our brilliant team to adopt the understanding of the full integration. Upgrades continue to add to our overall efficiencies and profitability.”

Switching to a new MIS takes dedication, says Wallace. “It’s easy to purchase software, but the arduous implementation must not be overlooked as there’s an incredible amount of time that is needed to input the intelligence across every area of the company. Although we are continually learning and adapting, all of our operators are now happy and understand the benefits of our system, we are now even more efficient from actually winning an order to fulfilment and delivery.”

So, would he recommend PrintIQ to others? “Yes we would, but you will need focus and dedication and a huge amount of time to input the data and modules. We actually employed outside help to specifically focus on this task. Without this it would not be cost-effective, reflecting the overall purchase cost.” 


Cloud-based modular print MIS with configurations for different applications and processes

Modules Eight IQcore plus 16 options

Segment configurations Digital, flexo, labels, offset, fulfilment, packaging, signage, wide format

Price Wallace Print invested £100,000+ all-in

Contact PrintIQ 


Wallace Print is a large-format printing company in Rochester, employing about 30 people and with the hope of a £5m turnover this year. It offers a full set of services from artwork preparation, through printing, finishing and installation. It uses a mixture of flatbed/roll and roll-fed inkjet printers, with UK and eco-solvent inks, plus CAD cutting and banner seam welding/eyeletting for finishing. Its PrintIQ MIS was a £100,000-plus investment that took two years to implement. 

Why it was bought...

Wallace Print had been using Clarity Pro but outgrew it “as it was limited, server-based and too slow for us”.

How it has performed...

“On the commercial side we are beginning to see bottom line support and can provide analysis to establish which sector, client, or even material utilised, is most profitable,” says Wallace. “Reports can be viewed very quickly, for real feedback.

“We can monitor our sales team and view the number of quotes, orders booked in, conversion rate and the critical value/profit of anything on the system.

“We can identify estimation cost versus actual cost in real time from the production capacity planner, every data element is captured, this identifies profit visibility.”