Nettl Now, Grafenia's new same day print and delivery service, is making its first deliveries today (6 March).
Launching in Manchester, the first of 10 planned pilot areas, the four-hour service will have its print work produced at the group’s Trafford Park hub.
The service started taking orders on 27 February with first deliveries from today. It is due for rollout in the other areas, including in London, Birmingham and Glasgow, by April, with the plan to have it in place across all major regions by the end of the year using the group’s network of partners.
Chief executive Peter Gunning said: "The software is ready and the platform is ready so now we need to do it for real with real customers, so we will be making some general announcements and then letting all of our Nettl and Printing.com clients know that they can give us a try.
“What’s interesting from looking at early orders is that we have had two thirds of customers wanting orders as quickly as possible but some are specifying a future date and time. This may be an area of convenience that we hadn’t expected.
“There is a little bit more work to do just to make the roll-out work. We want to cover all postcodes in all major cities."
The products available include business cards, leaflets and flyers, reports and booklets, and banners and posters. Jobs are uploaded, pre-flighted and sent to the production site, which then has to produce the job within three hours, ready to be collected for delivery.
Nettl has partnered with UK Mail for the delivery side of the service. The firm has more than 2,000 same day delivery vans in its fleet and offers live driver tracking. The delivery collection is booked automatically at the same time as the order is placed.
A number of printing companies already offer same day services for specific clients, but Gunning believes Nettl Now is the first such offering to do so via an open-to-all e-commerce site.
Away from Nettl Now, the first intake of 'Nettl Cadets' began their placements in January at the 230sqm Nettl of Birmingham Business Store. A second Academy is planned for launch in Manchester later this year.
The project gives successful applicants the opportunity to experience a real-life professional studio environment straight after graduation, and work on live projects with the oversight of experienced creative and print experts.
Chris Lowe, Nettl’s director and unofficial ‘head professor of Nettl Academy’, said: “I see the Nettl Academy as a way for design graduates to gain some experience, get on-the-job coaching and real-world training. It gives them a leg-up and teaches them how to ‘job’ in a busy, funky design studio. We hope the experience will make them more employable.”
Lowe also admitted that Nettl partners find recruiting is hard work, despite the surfeit of graduates, so the Academy serves a second purpose: to identify potential employees or paid interns.
Nettl is now seeking applicants for next term. Students can enrol at www.nettl.com/uk/nettl-academy.
Nettl recently announced that it had signed up its 100th Nettl partner and will be showcasing Nettl Now and its new signage business, Nettl Signs, at PrintWeekLive!.
Last month, Grafenia issued a second profits warning ahead of its year-end results.