When Lee Smith posted his availability for a print sales position on LinkedIn, he wasn't expecting to be running a completely new digital print department less than a fortnight later. Such is the pace of change at Basildon-based Fraser Display, when you dig a little deeper; it's easy to see how a common thread runs through the business.
The biggest giveaway is the huge vinyl graphic on the wall of the company's workshop that bursts at the seams with point of sale displays packed ready for despatch to blue chip brands and their outlets around the UK. "Yes is the answer, now what's the question?" is on show for all to see and it resonates throughout the business, as Smith goes on to detail.
"We respond to requests from our clients that to other suppliers look crazy," he says. With tales of the entire team pulling all-nighters, huge volumes of high quality output readied in a matter of a few days and customers returning for new projects time and again, Fraser Display's recent investment in a Mimaki JV33-160 printer and matching CG-160FXII cutter has added a new dimension to the company's capabilities.
Experience and reputation
Smith’s initial role was to sell printed output, but he quickly became aware that buying in the work was costing the company dearly. "Within a week of starting my job, I put a proposal to the owners that resulted in being asked what wide format printer I wanted," he recalls. "My previous experience and the reputation of the Mimaki JV33 meant it was a simple decision to make and the samples I received from Granthams convinced us all it was the right choice."
He also alludes to the reputation Granthams has of high levels of customer service and a long heritage in the industry. When the system was delivered a week later, he found the training matched his expectations too. "Granthams' technician taught me what I needed to know on the printer, but he also went through the artwork workflow on the Mac too," notes Smith. "He really knew his stuff and the Mimaki FineCut plugin software made it easy for me to pick up what I needed within Illustrator."
The Mimaki JV33 and CG-FX currently reside in the old boardroom - space made for them whilst the company develops a mezzanine floor to allow finishing to be conducted in the same area as the printer and cutter - but the company's owners don't appear to mind. "We're getting more value out of the space than we were before," says Smith, "and the JV33 hasn't stopped since we had it installed. It's more than paying for itself already because we're so busy, printing thousands of pounds of output a week at the moment."
Bespoke displays – and more
Fraser Display has a strong reputation for supplying a broad range of retail point of sale systems, bespoke manufactured branded display units and even exhibition stands, but Smith is keen to point out an evolution in the business brought about by its investment. "We might be a display company but we've got the capabilities to exploit every avenue," he says. This has been realised with contacts Smith has brought in who are purchasing products that range from banner stands to wallpaper, vehicle liveries to posters and Fraser Display's new brochure is designed to promote this to a wider market.
Strong in-house skills
Produced entirely on the Mimaki JV33, it's something Smith is justifiably proud of. "We wanted to create a short run of a few hundred brochures that showed what our skills are but pricing it up for traditional print made it unworkable." Turning instead to his in-house capabilities, the brochure consists of over a dozen different materials; all printed on the Mimaki and with the cover being made from a printed self adhesive vinyl laminated to thin board it simply required a local supplier to guillotine to shape before final make up.
With a new website, an enviable contact list of FMCG brands and agencies with challenging projects waiting in the wings and a strong combination of in-house skills and equipment, it's easy to see why the phones keep ringing. "Our strong relationships help us to win new business for the company," concludes Smith, "and we're already approaching the point that we'll need more digital print capacity very soon."
Doubtless when the time comes, they won't hang around long before they decide what to do.
Further information on Fraser Display’s portfolio of capabilities can be found by visiting www.fraserdigital.co.uk. Granthams complete list of wide format solutions are detailed on www.granthams.co.uk.