A new trade only web-to-print service aims to become a printer's "secret weapon" for outsourcing.
Exaprint has just launched in the UK. The company has been established for fifteen years in France, where it typically processes some 2,500 orders a day. It also has operations in Spain and Italy.
Its new UK operation has been set up by managing director Simon Cooper, whose background includes production and business development roles at Pureprint Group, Precision Printing and CGI Europe.
"It’s a platform for print-related businesses to outsource products they don’t produce themselves. A ‘secret weapon’ to help you manufacture goods for your customers," Cooper explained.
"It gives a smaller business the ability to behave like a bigger business."
The service is focused on design and print professionals, and only registered users see pricing details for its range of products.
Cooper anticipates that printers will use the service for non-standard products that can't be produced in-house, and as an overflow option when their own capacity is full.
The range spans typical printed products such as stationery, leaflets and brochures, but also includes unusual and high-value items including specialist substrates, laser-cutting, security products, 3D varnishing and promotional drink cans.
Cooper added: "People would love to have access to a Scodix press, but aren’t necessarily going to spend £250,000 on one of their own. We can pool their requirements."
Exaprint does not manufacture itself, but works with a range of specialist suppliers. Cooper has already established a network of print partners in the UK, and expects that 90% of jobs ordered will be printed here.
"Some peripheral products will not be produced here in the beginning, but if volumes become sufficient we will move the work here. And some UK products will be added to the range and shipped to Europe," he said. "The intention is to manufacture everything in the UK eventually."
The sophisticated IT backbone includes pre-flighting and job tracking, along with templates for thousands of different product combinations. There is no fee to use the platform.
Early users include London-based Rapidity and Healeys Print Group in Ipswich.
Healeys sales and marketing director Kelly Harris praised the ease-of-use of the online interface, and said: "Exaprint means we never have to say ‘no’ to our customers. The range of options is superb, and the level of service from proofing through to unbranded, direct-to-client delivery is excellent. I can see us using it more and more".
Rapidity managing director Paul Manning described the service as "well-timed".
"It's online, it's easy-to-use, you can get a price quickly and we have confidence they're going to do the job properly. It's really good," he said.
Exaprint has set up an office in London, employing four customer service staff.
"We understand it’s going to take time, but we want to become part of the fabric of the printing industry in this country. My message is ‘come and try it’," Cooper added.
The firm is offering a £35 discount to new users as an incentive to try the service. More details at www.exaprint.co.uk.