How we innovate

For Printed in Guernsey to grow within a small market such as the Bailiwick, we have to work smart as well as hard (as fellow joint managing director, Andy Fothergill, has alluded to in previous articles in En Voyage). We love to innovate and welcome taking on challenges set by our customers while producing print jobs from a variety of sources across a diverse range of print technologies. We attend all the most important print trade shows and always keep ourselves up to date on the latest systems and procedures available in this hi-tech industry. Also, we ensure the whole team is trained in the latest techniques on the most modern machines. It makes complete sense.

At Printed in Guernsey we are also developing our reputation as a trusted, reliable and cost-efficient supplier to international business as we also layer contracted fulfilment work on top of our local responsibilities. In our case, this is mostly personalised, bespoke postcards and greeting cards for several online providers. These business partnerships provide extra print volumes and a stable source of revenue for us, but without the use of extremely clever technology, meeting their requirements would be very challenging for print production. But we have an innovative solution. Here’s how it works and some of the challenges we must overcome: The customer might be enjoying an exotic holiday in Thailand or wants to send a birthday card to a friend or family member. They simply take or select a photo on their phone, add a message and address, then they click ‘order’. This data comes straight down the digital pipe to us here in Guernsey. Gearing up to service the demand and get all the cards printed and dispatched on-time is our first challenge as order volumes are unpredictable. From one day to another they could fluctuate from a few to thousands. Then we have scalability challenges in peak volume periods such as Christmas, Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day where tens of thousands of orders need to be produced within a tight turnaround time.

Of course, we need to track each of these orders through the factory ensuring the right image is combined with the appropriate message and the correct address ready for posting. It is an extremely complex task. So how do we do it? The answer to these challenges is our innovative automated workflow system. Our software adds a barcode and groups orders together so they can be printed with others on the sheet. This makes sure we print in the most economical way. A batch of orders is then sent automatically to our digital press where they are printed, then laminated, cut out, scored and folded. We then scan the barcode on the printed item and the correct address is printed on the envelope via inkjet and the card inserted. Clever, eh? After printing, each one is then taken to Guernsey Airport and posted to a single address which can be anywhere in the world. A photo taken in New Zealand could be printed on a card in Guernsey and dispatched to South Africa all within 24 hours. On a weekday it will be printed and dispatched the day it arrives with us. In the past, a traditional print job would take 30 to 40 minutes to process before we are even ready to add it the production list.

Using our automated workflow system, we can process many thousands of orders 24 hours each day. In 2023 we printed and posted over 1,800,000 cards from our factory in Guernsey, sending holiday images and greetings worldwide. Each order value can be counted in pence so it’s clear to see that without innovation in the form of automation none of this would be possible. As the rate of technological progress accelerates, we will monitor developments in the print industry and will continue to harness innovation to give the best possible service to our customers in an ever-changing world.