A software developer and printer has created a print academy for print sales training courses for people and groups including trade associations.
The academy in Islington, London, opened its doors last month and targets people involved in print but who are often not from the industry or those who have a good print background but lack technical expertise.
Ivor Solution founder and projects director Ivor Jacobs said: “We are a hybrid business, producing our own software and marrying it to print.
“In the main our customers are trade: resellers of print, print managers and stationery companies. Many are not geared up to understand the ramifications of printing and software.
“Young people don't always understand the difference between a digital, litho and a platen press or that a duplex job on a litho has different deadline implications to 100 A4 sheets on digital kit.”
Ivor Solution runs five Heidelberg GTOs, two Ricoh 911s, Xerox and Presstek machines. Software includes an integrated Cognitu MIS.
Jacobs said clients could also use the academy to hold sales meetings with their customers, who in turn could learn about Ivor Solution.
Managing director Spencer Slee said: “Many customers lean on us to support them, which we happily do. But that has been in an unstructured manner, helping out as required.
“However, this is quite costly and ineffective. A better way is for us to provide them with the tools to give them the confidence to do it themselves.”
Slee added: “This is especially true with the introduction of Ivor Solution’s new Resellers Gateway website for print ordering.
“Customers opting to take on the Gateway and introduce it to their clients will be encouraged to attend seminars on the changes print can now be priced, designed, ordered and administered.”
The typical office-products dealer, for example, was fast becoming the destination for customers' printing needs in addition to general office consumables, he said.
“We are looking at ways to support this activity with minimal investment. This can be by training their existing customer service and selling teams, supporting them throughout the sales cycle.
“An established office products dealer can win an additional 15%-20% revenue from its existing customers without increasing its overhead using our Reseller Gateway.”
Designers are another category with different training needs; for example they may have carried out a rebrand for a client and come to this company for the initial print, he said.
“We ask them if they are missing an after-sales opportunity” explained Slee. “We provide online templates through a white-labelled website that the designer can give their client, to say ‘here is not only your design, but a method to protect the integrity of it going forward and the understanding how to have the system integrated’.”
The print academy occupies 100sqm close to London's King's Cross, at the side of the Ivor Solution premises.
The company has created several modules divided into awareness and training and is creating collateral and samples for the academy to give the delegates.
“Print is very hard to bring to life, so the training room will be very much a product showroom. It isn’t just really nice works of art we want to capture, we want to show all types of print.”