David Cameron hails Fine Print 'success story'

Simon Nias
Thursday, September 25, 2014

The prime minister David Cameron hailed the "business success story" that is his local constituency printer Fine Print, on a visit to the West Oxfordshire firm earlier this month.

Fine Print has invested £1.5m in new equipment in the past 12 months, including a new HP Indigo 7800 that is being installed this week and a Heidelberg XL 75-5+L that went in in January.

Also included in the spend was a Fujifilm Acuity 1600 wide-format printer, a Zünd G3 L-2500 cutting table and Heidelberg's Prinect workflow. The firm has also taken on 10 new staff in the past 18 months, boosting its headcount to 60, and grown sales by 15% to nearly £5m.

Cameron, who is MP for Witney, visited Fine Print on Friday 19 September - the morning of the Scottish referendum result - to congratulate the firm on its continued growth and investment in staff and equipment.

"This is a great business success story," the prime minister said. "An example of a small business working hard, winning new business and creating jobs. This is the working success story of Great Britain.

"We haven't conquered unemployment yet but we're on the way and its businesses like this that will make the difference."

During an approx 40 minute visit, Cameron chatted with many of Fine Print's staff, including two new finishing apprentices who joined in July and one print apprentice who started last October and has since gone to Barcelona to train on the HP Indigo 7800.

The HP Indigo 7800 is the firm's fourth Indigo press (its first went in in 1998) and has replaced an Indigo 5000 which Fine Print has had for around seven and a half years.

Fine Print managing director Dan Bakewell said: "The 5000 was an amazing machine - we never anticipated we would get that length of service out of a digital press - but the 7800 is twice the speed, half the click and has additional features in terms of the white ink, the clear ink and the textured print.

"It also allows us to print onto slightly more flexible media and the front end has better integration with our Pageflex web-to-print system, so we can flow orders through from the storefront straight onto the press."

Bakewell added that the firm has "inevitably [been] affected by the economic downturn" but that it was now confident enough to invest in order to grow the business.

"Marketing spend is often one of the first areas to be cut back, but fortunately one of the first to grow when confidence returns to the market," he said.

"We've seen this happen over the last eighteen months which, in turn, has given us the confidence to re-invest for the future. It's definitely a really exciting time to be in the print industry and it was a pleasure to be able to share this with our MP."

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