Taylor Bloxham Group has relocated its direct mail subsidiary FastAnt Direct to a new site in Leicester, in a bid to double direct mail output within two years.
The move to the new circa-1,500sqm site, along with the installation of a secondhand Xerox 495 continuous-feed duplex printer, took place in August, and will cost around £80,000 a year plus £250,000 for the Xerox.
Previously sharing with its specialist POS operation Instore, the two will now each run from their own facilities, within two miles of each other, meaning the group has four sites including its main commercial print site plus FastAnt fulfilment site. It is aiming to double FastAnt’s output within the next two years and group chief executive Robert Lockwood said it had already upped capacity by 25% since the relocation.
Lockwood said: “Over the last year we have seen 40% growth in the direct mail business, which had outgrown the space available to it. This might have been a blip not a permanent thing but we had enough confidence in what people were doing that we added another level, which required additional space to house it and fulfil what the customers require.”
Lockwood hailed a “renaissance” in direct mail UK-wide as part of the reason for the expansion and said that his biggest challenge now was trying to obtain skilled staff, especially in light of the new Amazon distribution hub that opened in 2016 in Coalville, Leicestershire.
“I think people have seen the results of targeted direct mail campaigns and have realised that there is a place for them in the marketing mix,” he added.
“Going back a few years when data wasn’t so selective they were seen as a mass communication tool and not something where you are actually engaging with a customer.”
Lockwood also confirmed that Taylor Bloxham is fully prepared for the upcoming changes in the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), due to come into force in May 2018, and that clients were already being briefed on any impact this may have.
As part of the move, the second Xerox 495 continuous-feed duplex printer, a machine that has now been discontinued, came in to partner with a number of Buhrs enclosing lines at the 22-staff site.
“The 495 is a machine that we are very familiar with and for us we were finding that we couldn’t turn around clients’ jobs when there was a peak in demand,” added Lockwood.
A new direct mail director was appointed last year, paper industry veteran Andy Thompson, with the day-to-day running overseen by managing director Matt Wennington, who has been in place since FastAnt launched around eight years ago.
Founded in 1938, 200-staff Taylor Bloxham Group turns over around £28m, 50% of which is derived from direct mail and POS. Following an electrical fire at its main site in May, it invested around £1m in two new Muller Martini finishing lines.