Carly reequips bindery and looks at M&A

Carly Press has boosted production capacity after installing two new pieces of kit ahead of an expansion drive that could see it hit the M&A trail as it looks to double in size.

The Somerset digital and wide-format printer bought a Horizon SPF/FC-200L bookletmaker and a Horizon CRF-362 creaser-folder.

Both machines, part of a six-figure spend with Intelligent Finishing Systems, went in last month.

The 15-staff family-run commercial printer runs Ricoh 9110, 901, 8100 and 510 digital presses, a large-format HP Latex 360 and Epson Stylus Pro 9890. It has sales of around £1.2m and serves local and national customers from its Wellington base.

Managing director Mark Gladstone-Smith said: “We invest in kit every year and are looking to acquire a couple of print companies. When we moved to bigger premises four years ago we grew 60% in the first year and 40% the next year.

“Growth hasn't been as big more recently, but we're still looking at 22% to 23% a year. We want to grow by acquisition and by taking on bigger premises, which would double our size overnight.

“We try to grow where other printers retreat. Some companies don't reinvest in equipment but we do every year. We took on the Ricoh 9110 last year and are looking at the new HP Indigo 5000 series.”

His company was named after his sister Carly who was born the year his grandfather launched the company in 1982. Father Graeme handles large-format work and mother Kim, accounts.

Gladstone-Smith said that the Horizon spend was largely triggered because the firm produces a lot of monthly magazines, which put its ageing binding and creasing setup under pressure and limited capacity, adding that previously they had to hand insert anything over 40pp.

After reviewing the setup, he decided to re-equip the bindery.

The firm opted for the 4,500bph SPF/FC-200L because of its highly automated features and ability to produce A4 landscape brochures, which it previously outsourced.

“We do a lot of short-run quick-turnaround jobs with a time of 24 to 48 hours and so keeping them in-house makes everything smoother,” said Gladstone-Smith.

He added that the productivity impact on its monthly magazine production was also felt immediately, describing the SPF/FC-200L as “a game-changer” in terms of short-run capacity, and freeing up team members to work on other machines.

He was equally impressed with the Horizon CRF-362 creaser-folder which he said had been “an absolute godsend” for producing menus, brochures and cards.


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