Sporting equipment supplier, Mr. Cricket has brought lucrative personalisation services in-house following investment in Roland DG printer/cutter technology, saving more than £10,000 every year. A TrueVIS SG-300 printer/cutter was installed in late 2016 and has streamlined the company's business processes, boosted profit margins, and delivered greater control over the quality and delivery of personalised apparel and equipment.
Merrick Fuller opened the Mr. Cricket store specialising in cricket equipment six years ago in Burwell, near Cambridge, serving local cricket-mad customers as well as supplying personalised sportswear and uniform to a local independent school. Fast-forward to 2016 and business was booming, with a huge increase in the demand of personalised uniform, sportswear, match apparel and cricket kit from more than 100 sports clubs and six local schools.
Mr. Cricket is a veritable Aladdin’s cave of cricketing equipment. It is managed by Merrick, a keen cricketer and Sky Sports Cricket Coach of the Year 2009 and supported by Paul Redfarn ex-England U19 Captain, alongside an additional five members of very knowledgeable staff. The team provides expert help and advice for all cricketers – regardless of age, experience or ability – either face-to-face, over the phone or via its online shop.
As business grew, the cost of outsourcing personalised printing services soared to approximately £20,000 per annum. Merrick Fuller explains: “Whilst we supplied the kit ourselves, we had to outsource the personalised print services and as the business boomed, we found it increasingly expensive. We also had less control over the quality of the finished products and the turnaround times of orders, so we looked to bring the printing in-house.”
A self-confessed ‘total novice’ when it comes to printers, Merrick met with Grafityp, an approved Roland DG UK dealer, which recommended the TrueVIS SG-300 printer/cutter that offers a massive range of production capabilities at an incredibly attractive price point.
Since its installation Merrick estimates that the printer has already saved the company ‘thousands of pounds’ while enabling the addition of new print services including banners, sponsor boards, branded items and much more to Mr. Cricket's portfolio.
Merrick explains: “We mainly use our Roland machine for printing names, numbers, club badges and logos to personalise sports and school wear and we’ve seen a big uptake on that part of the business. However, we’ve also recently created a cricket scoreboard-style wedding table plan, and printed sponsor-branded wrap-arounds for cricket stumps!
“With our Roland printer, we’ve more opportunity for growth as we are able to offer more services; everything is now under our control and we can confidently meet customers’ needs quickly, whilst guaranteeing the quality of the end-product.”
In terms of challenges faced learning to use the printer/cutter, there have been very few. Those Mr. Cricket has encountered, Merrick puts down to his self-confessed novice with printers’ status: “For us, the challenge has been learning how to use the design software rather than the print software and technical support from the Roland DG team has been very important to us. When we’ve made silly errors, they’ve supported us brilliantly. They’re very accommodating and helpful and you never feel like you’re calling them with daft questions.
“I also went on a Roland DG training course last month, the Intermediate Digital Print Course, which was incredibly useful for us as it’s our first experience using this type of printer. We’ll definitely look at attending further courses at the Roland DG Academy as our confidence grows.”
It’s not just Merrick Fuller’s confidence that is growing though. Following on from the success of the Mr. Cricket business, he has launched the Mr. Hockey website, with a Mr. Custom Clothing site in the offing.
Merrick Fuller concludes: “These new sites have been established thanks to the natural growth of our customer base and their expanding requirements. The additional services that the Roland DG TrueVIS SG-300 printer/cutter has enabled us to offer has been a key part of this success.”
For more information on Mr. Cricket, please visit www.mrcricketshop.co.uk