Simpson Group planning for the future

By Max Goldbart, Tuesday 17 January 2017

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POS specialist Simpson Group is developing a three-year plan to introduce more automation and target new markets.

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Simpson and Hodgson with the new collator

The Washington, Tyne and Wear-based outfit is considering investment later in the year to improve automation levels and integrate systems.

Managing director Mark Simpson said: “We are in the middle of the business planning phase, outlining together a three-year plan in view of technological changes and market-wise to see what we do to gear up for that. 

“There are a few things we are considering, integration of systems, automation, how to integrate pre-press and MIS systems more effectively. We will then look to target new market sectors.

“We employ a lot of casual staff, where the hours aren’t guaranteed and I’m never quite comfortable with that so we want to try and create higher-value jobs but to do that we want to deliver more value per hour.” 

The plan was first discussed after Simpson invested in a £230,000 Smart-Tec collator last September, which has transformed collating from a hand-operated process to full automation, drawing from retailer spreadsheets to hone accuracy.

On 14 October Simpson was visited by local MP and shadow public health minister Sharon Hodgson, along with her husband Alan. Hodgson asked to visit Simpson’s Influence Mall, Europe’s only simulated mall, after she saw a tweet concerning its 10-year anniversary celebrations, which took place last September.

“Being the MP for the local area Sharon was very interested in what local businesses are doing to grow and secure local employment, she’s a very nice woman, very interesting and had lots to say,” added Simpson. 

Hodgson said: “It was a pleasure to visit such a thriving local business and learn more about what they do here in Washington. You can see how much thought and creativity has went into the development and upkeep of Influence Mall and it’s great to have something like this right on our doorstep." 

Simpson runs four large-format digital machines, including an HP Scitex FB 11000, along with a Ricoh Pro C7100 small-format machine. It also runs litho, screen printing and digital finishing equipment, which includes a 2015-purchased Crest 3200 X-Y RSC cutter.

The 110-staff business turned over around £12m last year.

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