Leach forms innovation department following senior appointments

By Richard Stuart-Turner, Tuesday 20 June 2017

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Large-format graphics specialist Leach has taken on new senior staff and formed its own innovation department.

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Leach: "We're trying to increase our rate of innovation and new product development"

With an annual budget of £250,000, the new department will be tasked with constantly researching, developing and engineering new ideas and products for the graphics display marketplace.

Mike Willshaw joined the Bradley, West Yorkshire-based company this spring in the newly created role of head of innovation and will lead a six-strong innovation team, which is made up of staff from across the business with different areas of expertise and knowledge.

Willshaw, who has had a 20-year career designing consumer goods, packaging, FMCG, medical and promotional materials, has experience in manufacturing technologies, 3D printing and design consultancy.

Leach managing director Richard Leach said: “We're trying to increase our rate of innovation and new product development. A big part of our strategy is not to deliver print in boxes but to integrate large-format display print into buildings.”

“To do this, quite often you need to create new ways of thinking in terms of print display structures, illumination and process improvements so that the kind of ambitious schemes that designers love to create in a hugely impactful large-format print environment are deliverable within a reasonable budget.”

He added: “We want to make sure that we are designing things that will benefit the market and are technically good solutions from an operations point of view. Mike’s talents take our design capabilities to even greater levels.”

The innovation team has already got to work and last month the company launched its new Product Wall, a merchandise display system with integrated illuminated graphics which is available in any size up to 15x3m.

Elsewhere, Dale Broadhead has also joined the firm in the newly created position of business development manager.

Broadhead, who has taken up the role in the last few months, has a 20-year sales career and Leach said his experience will stand the company in good stead to achieve its projected 15% growth this year.

Leach has a current turnover of £12m and just over 100 staff, having appointed 15 new employees in the past year. The firm is planning to recruit a further six staff, across all areas of the business, before the end of 2017.

The company predominantly serves clients in the retail and exhibitions sectors as well as museums. Last year it celebrated its 125th anniversary and secured its most lucrative contract to date – a £2.5m assignment to produce a new visitor experience for the National Museum of Kuwait.

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