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Hybrid PrintMAX LFR Interview

Following the surprise announcement last week that printMAX has been signed up by Hybrid Services as a reseller for Mimaki solutions, LFR met with Hybrid Services’s Stuart Cole and printMAX’s Michael Bolton to discuss whys and wherefores of the new agreement.

Since the introduction of the Mimaki JFX200 and 500 UV LED flatbed machines, the demand for Mimaki’s industrial products has greatly increased over the past year.  Stuart Cole, National Sales Manager for Industrial Products at Hybrid, explained that the company was looking for new resellers to help meet the demand from customers for these new solutions and printMAX was an ideal fit.

He says: “So impressive are the new JFX200 and JFX500 LED UV solutions – and such is the market potential – we recognised the need to grow our channel in order to satisfy customer demand.  We’ve known the guys at printMAX for a long time and seen what they’ve done in the wide format print market place; it was becoming increasingly obvious that the company had the potential to sell Mimaki solutions combined with all the qualities that Hybrid values in a reseller.  printMAX is a high-profile, friendly yet professional reseller with a loyal customer base.  They are also very proactive in terms of marketing and customer support and have a similar ethos to us in terms of how they carry out business.”

The proof is in the pudding: more than half of printMAX’s annual sales are repeat business and - once they’ve purchased machines from the company - 85% of customers continue to buy consumables.  This customer retention rate proves that printMAX is able to deliver on the promises it makes.

Up until now, printMAX’s name has been synonymous with Roland DG printers.  printMAX’s Managing Director Michael Bolton says: “Whilst we’ve long been renowned as Roland DG’s no. 1 UK reseller, we’ve always kept an open mind with regards to other vendors’ products.  We have an extremely loyal customer base and some of these businesses were looking for us to supply them with industrial print solutions.  Mimaki has a broad selection of products which offer a great introduction to industrial printing and it became clear that including these products in the printMAX portfolio would be key to our future growth strategy.”

Whilst the main focus for printMAX will be Mimaki’s industrial print solutions, the company will also be selling products for the sign and graphics sector; the rationale behind this being that many of the industrial products are sold with Sign and Graphics printers in bundle deals.

Stuart Cole says: “Mimaki’s industrial print solutions are incredibly impressive and we need a higher level of reseller activity to get the message out there and meet the demand from the channel.  It was the right time for both parties to commit to working together with the economy ever-improving and a greater demand for bigger, flatter and faster digital printing solutions.”

Michael Bolton adds: “Now we have our position within the Roland channel secured, we will boost our expansion by diversifying and focusing on Mimaki solutions.  Our Roland business has grown by 20% per annum for the last 5 years and we expect this growth to continue; the Mimaki business will be incremental to that.  Over the past three years we have grown our business by 100% and – with the Mimaki solutions now on board – we’re looking to do the same again over the next three.”

Longevity of the new relationship is at the forefront of both companies’ minds.  printMAX is putting its money where its mouth is and has recently launched a new website which is both e-commerce and m-commerce enabled, making it even easier for customers to do business with the company.  

Additionally, the company is just finalising plans to move to new premises 2.5 times larger than its existing ones in order to create space for a flagship showroom for both the Mimaki and the Roland product ranges.  It also extends Hybrid’s geographical coverage in terms of demonstration facilities.

The relationship is already reaping rewards.  Since the announcement was made last week, printMAX has already sold its first JFX500-2131 machine to one of its most loyal customers, with plenty more expected to follow.

For more information on Hybrid Services, please call: +44 (0)1270 501900 or visit the company’s website at: www.hybridservices.co.uk

For more information on printMAX, please call: +44 (0)1420 511539 or visit the company’s website at: www.printmax.co.uk

[Image shows - from left to right - John de la Roche, Michael Bolton, Stuart Cole and Chris Martin.]