Central Mailing Services secures £10m Oxford University contract

Richard Stuart-Turner
Thursday, October 20, 2016

Central Mailing Services (CMS) has won a £10m three-year contract that will see it deliver a range of print, fulfilment and mailing services for Oxford University.

The business has handled all of the university’s direct mail work, fulfilment and postage for the past eight years and has now extended that relationship after winning a competitive tender process.

Mitesh Chouhan, managing director of the Kings Norton, Birmingham-based company, told PrintWeek: “Eight years ago they had their own mailing centre in-house and wanted to use someone for overspill work but couldn’t find a supplier.

“This is because there were a high number of items to fill – up to 12 into polybags – and short runs of around 500 to 600. Local companies all said no to it, but we took the work on.”

He added: “They used us for that for three years and then they closed their mailing centre but as part of the deal we bought some of their equipment and they integrated it all into CMS.

“They then decided to go to tender about six months ago, not just on the direct mail side but on all of their journals as well, and we won the whole thing.”

CMS will continue with its existing arrangement to print and mail the university’s short-run direct mail work, printed on its Xerox and Konica Minolta digital kit.

An as yet unconfirmed external supplier will print the journals and from November onwards CMS will store them, print carrier sheets, pack them using Norpak polywrappers and then mail them out. The company will be responsible for the delivery of the main runs of around 170 different journals and will also manage back issues.

“We’ll have to build a bespoke stock management system per journal and will need to keep the last five years worth of stock per issue by month,” said Chouhan.

“Daily information will be sent to us electronically and we will pick and pack these orders every day.”

The business has taken on a 465sqm third site to accommodate the minimum 400 pallets of journals required by the terms of the contract.

The new site is around five minutes drive away from the firm’s 1,580sqm headquarters and its other 465sqm unit, which was taken on last year as part of a £500,000 investment programme. All three sites are leased.

Central Mailing Services, which also serves clients in the performing arts sector, B2B customers and small businesses, has 60 staff and a turnover of £6.5m.

Chouhan said the contract win would enable the business to take on an additional five or six staff and would potentially boost its turnover to £8m.

Earlier this year the company also spent a further £150,000 on new equipment and software.

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