In LFR’s latest ‘Spotlight on...’ feature, we focus on Stanford Marsh. Well known in the CAD and technical space, the company has been making great inroads into the graphics sector. Is it one of the industry’s best kept secrets?
Stanford Marsh Group was founded in 1965 to provide wide format printing equipment, technical support and consumables to anyone with a wide format output need. The company has five offices throughout the UK and an annual turnover of over £13 million. Headquartered in Worcester, the company employs 85 people and - since its inception - has built a very strong presence in the CAD and technical space.
In 2010, Stanford Marsh decided to deepen its strategic focus into the graphics industry. As a result of this decision, the company has been heavily investing in the graphics space and created a new division - Stanford Marsh Group Graphics (SMGG) - specifically focused on the graphics space. Within the Stanford Marsh Group, SMGG has a dedicated sales force, service engineers and nationwide technical support coverage.
The company has an extremely broad solutions portfolio for both CAD and Graphics industries and is the only UK company that can provide in-house manufacturer-led service support, hardware and software sales of leading market brands including Canon, Epson, HP, Océ, Ricoh and Xerox.
As well as the CAD and Graphics industries, Stanford Marsh has also been targeting the relatively untapped 3D print sector with HP and Stratasys machines and this will become a greater focus over the next few years.
As an established, privately-owned company, Stanford Marsh Group is able to differentiate itself by offering compelling finance deals through its own in-house finance company and cash reserves. This enables the company to facilitate customers wanting to invest in the most up-to-date wide format digital printing equipment. As part of its offering, Stanford Marsh Group is also able to offer pre-owned, refurbished machines to its customers.
Jonathan Marsh, managing director of Stanford Marsh Group and son of the eponymous founder of the company, comments, "Unlike much of our competition, we control the end-to-end process - from financing the equipment - if needed - through to delivery, installation and on-going technical support."
"This enables us to ensure our customer service and experience is second to none," he continues. "We are not reliant on third parties and are able to adapt our processes to meet our customers' needs. For example, we are able to provide flexible and individually tailored finance programmes - rather than a one-size-fits-all approach - and have the ability to offer 0% finance to customers."
In recent years, the company has gone from strength to strength. In November 2012, Stanford Marsh Group was awarded HP's prestigious "Market Share Contribution 2012" Award. In simple terms, the company shipped more HP Designjet printers than any other UK vendor in 2012. This was the fourth year running that the company has won an award and pays testament to the longstanding success of the business.
In January 2013, the company was also appointed as a wide format print 'Accredited Partner' by Canon (UK) Ltd. This is currently the highest echelon within Canon's reseller channel programme and recognises Stanford Marsh's specialism within the wide format marketplace.
Epson also has good things to say about the company. Dominic Gurney, Account Manager, Pro Graphics at Epson UK Limited, adds, "Epson's Large Format Printing business unit has been working with Stanford Marsh Group for almost 2 years. They have been instrumental in helping to sell our SureColor range of outdoor signage printers in the UK. They have a strong belief in offering the end user the best value deal with a focus on making large purchases more affordable to smaller businesses that are looking to expand. With a range of finance packages available and their own team of engineers and software specialists on hand, they can provide support through the entire lifecycle of any product purchased."
And it's not just the manufacturers that sing the praises of Stanford Marsh. Canon and HP distributor ArtSystems' managing director, Steve Hawker adds, "SMGG have always displayed the most professional and passionate approach in all their business dealings, as a supplier we appreciate their honest and dynamic approach and we know from joint conversations with their customers that they display the same conviction in delivering the very best solutions and service possible for them."
On its ability to offer unbiased, knowledgeable and balanced advice, Jonathan Marsh continues, "We have expert industry knowledge and the benefit of being a totally independent supplier. We work closely with our customers to establish their print requirements and then use our expertise to supply the best-fit wide format solution that's available within the marketplace."
In terms of logistics, the company has its own dedicated fleet of delivery vehicles and drivers and strategically placed warehouses throughout the UK holding huge stocks of ink and consumables. Again, this ensures that the company is able to deliver products and consumables to its customers in a timely manner and retain control - and guarantee high standards - relating to the entire delivery process.
The company is definitely on the up. Jonathan Marsh comments, "We really are seeing dividends from our decision to further invest in the graphics space alongside our traditional CAD customers. Between 2010 and the end of 2012, we grew our customer base by 55% through a combination of acquisitions and more focused marketing activities."
In terms of the future, Stanford Marsh has seen a big interest in 3D printing from its graphics customers looking at ways of expanding their products and services. "The 3D space will be a key growth area for Stanford Marsh. We will soon launch a new dedicated website showcasing the 3D solutions we have on offer and will be creating a devoted team to target the 3D sector," continues Marsh.
"2013 should be a very exciting year for Stanford Marsh Group. We're in great shape and look forward to making the very most of the opportunities that lie ahead of us. It's very much a case of 'watch this space!" he concludes.
For more information on Stanford Marsh, please visit www.stanfordmarsh.co.uk
For more information on Stanford Marsh Group Graphics, please visit www.smgg.co.uk