There are very few print businesses that can say they have ridden the tide of continuous change and market evolution and remained successful throughout their existence. Thomas Leach Colour is a company that has not only sailed through the industry challenges; it has excelled since its inception almost 120 years ago.
Founded in 1901 as a print and stationery business primarily working in the Oxfordshire area the company has evolved to become the complete solution provider. Now offering design, sign-making, display and packaging work, PoS, mail & distribution fulfilment, digital & litho small and large format print, many of these services were beyond the company’s scope until it purchased a large format printer and a DYSS X7-1624C digital cutting table from AG/CAD.
A Komori B2 press, a large format Océ Arizona 360 and the DYSS X7-1624C are part of an investment program that has seen the 22 employee business invest over £1m in the last few years. Commenting upon the investment strategy, Thomas Leach Colour Sales Director, Dave Mullord says: “We found that more customers were looking for vendors to provide a single source solution to fulfil complete marketing campaigns that often incorporated large format print projects that included posters, banners and PoS displays. The customer needs were clearly evolving and we knew we either had to invest, or subcontract the work out and face the consequence of losing process control and the additional cost-constraints. We bought our first large format Océ Arizona 3 years ago; but hand cutting limited our finishing capability. We knew we needed a digital cutting table and the DYSS X7 was the answer.”
Identifying the Limitations
The Océ Arizona enabled the print specialist to process a greater range of substrates and increase its offering to customers. However, the operator of the Océ was also tasked with hand-cutting; a laborious task that had a number of limitations for Thomas Leach Colour. Firstly, the company could only cut straight-line profiles with any level of precision – shaped profiles still had to be subcontracted out. The precision and edge finish quality of hand cutting was often inconsistent and liable to operator error. Additionally, the company was unable to cut vinyl, acrylics, display units or car graphics. Without a digital cutting table, Thomas Leach Colour realised that hand cutting was a labour intensive process that limited precision and cut-quality whereas the alternative of external subcontract cutting had a cost and lead time consequence.
DYSS Provides the Solution
Acknowledging the company needed a digital cutting table, Thomas Leach Colour conducted its due-diligence in reviewing the marketplace. As Dave Mullord continues: “We reviewed the options and had demonstration jobs processed by the leading vendors. The performance characteristics between the leading suppliers were quite similar. However, the service, the attention to detail and the attentiveness to our specific needs put AG/CAD streets ahead. Furthermore, from a cost perspective the DYSS was a more attractive proposition with an extremely robust build-quality and industry leading software with KASEMAKE.”
Choosing a machine that would complement its large format printer, Thomas Leach Colour specified a DYSS X7-1624C with a 1.6m by 2.4m cutting table and a Superhead configuration with an oscillating knife tool, routing head and creasing wheel. This selection is complemented by the K-Cut Vision Pro system and the KASEMAKE CAD software.
The Benefits of the DYSS
The arrival of the DYSS opened new doors and created opportunities for the Oxfordshire based outfit. First and foremost, the DYSS has eliminated external subcontracting costs, reduced lead-times and provided the potential to target new market sectors. As Dave Mullord states: “The DYSS and Océ complement each other perfectly. They have opened new doors for our business and we are targeting new opportunities with great success. The combination has opened up the sign-making industry for us, adding to our turnover. This is a huge success and we project it will increase our turnover in the future.”
Added to this projected growth, Thomas Leach Colour has the flexibility and capability to process decals, wallpaper, vinyl and much more. “The growth we are witnessing is coming from the DYSS X7 giving us the ability to open new revenue streams and target work previously beyond our remit. >From an internal perspective, we have eliminated bottlenecks, streamlined our production and reduced our lead-times to create extra capacity.”
“As well as streamlining our business, we have reduced our costs considerably. The K-Cut Vision System delivers impeccable precision whilst the Superhead generates exemplary cut-quality. Both elements have eliminated waste and scrappage. There is no-longer an element of error that can be attributed to human error. This is particularly prominent on pop-up displays where the cut quality, precision and fit is a critical factor. Large format print has rapidly grown within our business and the DYSS X7 will enable us to rapidly evolve this side of our business. We are extremely pleased with the DYSS and the way it works in synergy with our large format printer is a delight for our business,” concludes Dave Mullord.