Jones and Palmer invests for finishing flexibility


Report and accounts and corporate comms specialist Jones and Palmer has upgraded its stitching with a new Horizon SPF-200L bookletmaker as it prepares to flex to changing client needs.

The firm's machine was in production a day after delivery
The firm's machine was in production a day after delivery

The circa £70,000 IFS supplied line was installed last month, but ordered just before lockdown to replace an old Muller Martini stitcher bought secondhand in 1986.

“It’s safe to say it was well used,” joked manufacturing and HR director Stephen O’Brien.

“It was the ability to be flexible that really appealed with the new machine. We could have bought secondhand again, but this gives us the flexibility to go to A4 landscape and be able to flex, rather than just offering the ‘standard’,” he added.

The SPF-200L’s ease of use and ability to handle both litho and digital print were also big draws, as was the firm’s positive experience with its Horizon BQ-470 binder, which it bought to bring square back reports inhouse around eight or nine years ago.

“You just get the feeling that you’re not buying a box off the shelf with Horizon, it’s a little bit more. Yes, it’s a box off the shelf, of course, but the Horizon learning and technology behind it makes it different.”

Capable of 4,000bph in A4 portrait and 3,500bph in A4 landscape, the automated line features a number of quality control functions covering elements including wire-feed and sheet alignment. It has a touchscreen GUI that simplifies makereadies and enables on-the-fly adjustments.

Jones and Palmer has a roster of bluechip clients spanning sectors including construction, energy, life sciences, and retail with brands such as Arix, Henry Boot, Ocado, Superdry and United Utilities on its books.

The circa 50-staff Birmingham business offers a 360-degree corporate comms service, from design and photography to print and web design. Its production centres on a Koenig & Bauer Rapida 75 and a Ricoh Pro C7100.

While the majority of its front-end and office staff were working from home well before lockdown, the business continued production throughout the period with a skeleton manufacturing crew, largely because, as O’Brien puts it, a lot of what the firm does is “delivering last year’s news” in the shape of financial reports.

“A lot of what we do is print for ourselves, because we do a lot of corporate reporting. We do a little bit of commercial work to plug the gaps.”

While he said the commercial jobs had all but dried up, its main work had been steady since lockdown as the firm had been busy producing reports for the December year ends and, as they completed, projects for March year ends started to come in.

“What’s probably happened is that rather than having a massive spike in April and another in June, it’s probably evened out a little as things take a little longer at the moment. So, this ‘season’ has probably just been spread over a longer period.”

However, he added that the key focus now was trying to forecast what would happen next year and the impact the pandemic might have on clients' plans for their next reports.

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