MBA kicks off £3m equipment spend

By Simon Nias, Friday 25 May 2012

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MBA Group has bought two Pitney Bowes APS inserters and an FX10 encloser to kick off an investment programme that is expected to top £3m over the next nine months.

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The north London-headquartered print group is planning a £1m upgrade to its mailing capacity, with Pitney Bowes and Buhrs, allied to further investment in litho and colour digital printing.

MBA Group chairman Bachar Aintaoui said that the multi-vendor spend would likely include colour digital kit from Xerox and litho print from Heidelberg, which is a long-standing supplier to the company.

"We are primarily focused on buying products that will add value to our business and increase efficiency, rather than just looking to add capacity," he explained.

"We're investing in more colour technology for our site in Warrington to bring that in line with what we have in London and give us true disaster recovery for our business."

MBA's £3m equipment spend, which will begin on 1 June with the installation of the Pitney Bowes machines, reflects the ongoing growth in its own business since signing a £70m contract with Vertex last summer.

"We're growing reasonably well," said Aintaoui. "The figures for this year will be £40m – up from the £31m we had last year – and we will continue to show progress over the next 12 months, which we're pretty happy with.

"The addition of Warrington has been a success – it's added capacity and also true DR for our business; we've not lost any clients and we're generally selling more of the colour digital as part of our multi-channel marketing approach."

Aintaoui added that it was important for print companies to keep moving forward and investing, as many did at Drupa, where he said his impression was that people had "clearly gone with a view to reengineering their business rather than just making a speculative visit".

"Printers can't keep moaning [about the state of the industry] because nothing's going to change – things will never go back to what they used to be," he said. "Businesses need to reengineer to be able to offer a much better proposition to their customers and to show a better return on investment.

"We need to work harder for our customers, which is why most of our investment is focused on true efficiencies that will allow us to deliver more for our customers to help their businesses."

He added that Benny Landa's Nanographic printing presses, while undoubtedly the star of the show at Drupa, needed to deliver on their promise before they could be considered a viable option.

"There was a lot of interest around the Landa presses at Drupa; I went to the Landa show and the truth is it sounded convincing but the challenge is to deliver on quality, to deliver on cost reduction, but above all to deliver production machines not prototypes," he said.

"I understand they needed to capitalise on the timing of Drupa but by their own admission the technology is not ready. Until they deliver on all of that we won't be joining the queue to sign for a machine."

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