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Northumbria Print & Distribution takes the digital route

Northumbria Print & Distribution takes the digital route

Since 2006, Morpeth-based Northumbria Print & Distribution has provided a comprehensive range of output for businesses throughout the North East while also building a solid reputation for delivering great quality print at very competitive prices.

The company’s founder and owner, Graham Johnson, explained: “The print business is competitive, hectic and very fast-moving. Our customers rely on us to deliver the right product on time and we have built our reputation on this. Price is important, but so is our ability to deliver the broadest possible range of printing options, which is why we are continually investing in the latest equipment.”

For many years, Northumbria Print & Distribution focused on two and four colour litho printing and the production of high-quality flyers, leaflets, personalised stationery, business forms, brochures and invitations. Now, while litho remains an important part of the business, the company has also invested in digital printing technology, which enables it to offer large format posters and banners, canvas printing and framing and, most recently, personalised gifts and printed textiles.

Graham continued: “Digital printing has transformed our workshop and our business as we are now able to service the needs of many more customers. Previously we would have outsourced the work, which reduced our profit and made it harder for us to be competitive.”

However, in Newcastle-based Your Print Specialists (YPS), the provider of large format digital print solutions in the North East, Northumbria Print & Distribution found the support it needed to ease its route down the road to digital printing. The relationship between the two companies actually began in the 90s, when Garry Brown, the MD of YPS, worked for another company that supplied Graham Johnson with his lithographic inks and supplies.

Garry revealed: “Since the day we first opened our doors here at YPS over 10 years ago, Northumbria Print & Distribution has been a loyal and innovative customer. The big difference is the type of products it uses.”

As a traditional commercial printer, Northumbria was used to the rigours of the competitive commercial print market but was also interested in emerging digital technologies and the added revenue streams they could potentially achieve. Following a brief trial with a second-hand wide format printer, Graham knew that his customer base definitely had a requirement for wide format print and, in 2014, he decided to take the plunge with the purchase of a Mimaki JV33 1.6m solvent inkjet printer.

He confided: “We viewed this initial investment as a toe in the water for us and we very quickly reaped huge rewards in terms of increased turnover and profit. Accordingly, we invested in a new Mimaki CJV 150 integrated print and cut solvent printer and a Mimaki UJF 3042 UV direct to object printer. Most recently, we have purchased a Mimaki dye-sublimation printer to facilitate the printing of textiles, garments and larger personalised gifts. We’ve also beefed up our finishing capabilities too with the acquisition of a new laminator and a bubble-free applicator.

“While our litho business is still performing well, the addition of digital printing has really enabled us to expand the conversations we have with our existing customers and prospects, many of which have considerable wide format requirements. The fact that we are now able to fulfil this demand has allowed us to increase revenue streams relatively quickly and seamlessly.”

A key reason for purchasing the dye-sub printer was to provide an existing estate agent client with regular, high volumes of printed mugs and Graham confirms that this work alone has justified the printer’s purchase price.

He continued: “We are now working to further increase revenue by developing a new web site that is dedicated to the promotion of dye sublimation printing solutions. We have specialist heat presses that enable us to print on mugs, T-shirts and many other products and it is this sort of versatility that will help us develop and grow into this exciting new business area.”

Garry Brown added: “Northumbria Print & Distribution is a great example of what can happen when a commercial print shop takes advantage of a rapidly growing sector and uses it to develop its existing customer base. The new technologies now enable it to supply signage, POS, labels, posters, banners, T-shirts, promotional items and so much more besides. Here at YPS we are immensely proud to be involved in supplying the company and watching it evolve into a truly one-stop print shop.”

In conclusion, Graham Johnson said: “These are exciting times for our business and we are very much looking forward to further developing our new digital capabilities. We couldn’t do it without the excellent support and encouragement of YPS and feel confident that it will continue to help us grow in a controlled and sensible way to positively meet the challenges facing the modern print industry.”

For further information on Northumbria Print & Distribution, telephone: 01670 504646

 For further information on YPS, visit:

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