Wallace Print Group eyes growth in 2014

Hannah Jordan
Thursday, February 20, 2014

Kent-based printer Wallace Print is looking to bolster a year of investment in 2013 with further expansion and new equipment in 2014.

Investment in a new Fuji flatbed printer will follow 2013's Summa plotter and mezzanine investments
Investment in a new Fuji flatbed printer will follow 2013's Summa plotter and mezzanine investments

The company installed a new Summa plotter six weeks ago to run alongside its existing Roland plotter, to help the company keep pace with growing demand, according to managing director Gary Wallace.

A circa £150,000 spend in 2013 also included the addition of a 20sqm mezzanine floor to the firm's 1,100sqm Rochester facility, to house a new Seal wide-format machine as well as new automated hemming and eyeletting machines, Wallace said.

He added: “I have also created a specialised collate-pack-fulfilment area with specific bespoke tables as adding the back-end solution has enabled us to win more work. We’ve also added a team of fitters who are up and down the country every week. This was about natural progression,” he said.

Wallace said he invested an additional £30,000 last year on the company’s websites and e-commerce platform, which now accounts for around 30% of its £2.45m annual turnover.

“This is our fastest moving revenue stream and a critical area that most printers are missing. It means immediate cashflow as soon as clients purchase. I don’t want to elaborate as it is my best-kept secret and strongest growth area, but if printers do not adapt to this technology they will continue to struggle or just merely exist.”

Wallace said the best decision he had made last year that really bolstered the company’s growth was to focus on motivating his staff. “Rather than have one person responsible for production I have spread the responsibility and management roles across the different areas. So now we have leaders in each department: studio, digital printing, screen printing, finishing and fulfillment, distribution and fitting. We now all pull in the same direction.”

With a solid base in place, Wallace said he was looking to invest a further £150,000 in 2014 in a fourth flatbed to add to its existing Océ Arizona 250 GT wide-format printer, installed in December 2012, and two Fuji Acuity Advance machines.

“This will be another Fuji machine as we have a 30-year-old working relationship evolving from our humble screen printing origins. When this new machine is in place it will give us the capacity to be a £4m-plus turnover company,” Wallace said, although he added that he was targeting “a conservative” growth in turnover in 2014 to £2.65m.

To accompany the firm’s steady growth the business was looking to add around four new staff to its 16-strong workforce, he added.

"SMEs like us will flourish in 2014 if the correct markets are targeted as there is enormous growth potential now the economy is gathering pace," Wallace said. 

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