GI direct commissions screen's first high-speed, full colour variable printing system in Europe
Until now variable colour has been relatively slow and costly to produce. However, GI Direct's £4m investment in four Truepress Jet520 systems now allows the company to produce high quality, personalised transpromo and direct mail items at high volume and at very competitive rates.
"The majority of our direct mail and transpromo print today carries variable data and our clients are increasingly looking for highly flexible, high quality, solutions to maximise the value of their customer billing communications. They can now do this by combining targeted marketing messages in colour with their transactional communications - in one single document," says Patrick Headley, Sales Director of GI Direct. "Quality and added-value are the key elements that interest marketers today. The last few years have seen an increase in demand for personalised digital printing and higher quality mail packs. Specialist and expert services are in demand and that underlines our strategy and drives our investment in new technologies,"
GI Direct is the print arm of the GI Solutions Group and is one of the few firms in the UK to provide clients with a totally carbon neutral, 'data to doormat' fully personalised, direct response mail production in a single process. GI clients include many of the UK's leading blue chip companies, particularly in the financial and retail sectors.
The Group has evolved from a principally print and direct mail company 15 years ago to providing a wide range of marketing support services encompassing strategy, targeting development, full campaign management, creative print and mail and response capture today. Its goal now is to become a premier specialist supplier of colour transactional/transpromo products. This can be achieved only by providing fast turnaround, quality and cost-effective inline digital print on demand from small runs up to several million.
"Until now there has not been the digital press technology capable of meeting our criteria, that is quality colour, consistently, at the right speed and the right price of production," explains Patrick. "We chose the Truepress Jet520 after an in-depth review of the all the presses currently available. This system is the only one that meets all our criteria. It's an extremely competitive market where cost drives everything and we need to provide the very best quality at the most affordable price."
The groundbreaking Truepress Jet520 unites Screen's proven prepress and colour management technology with the latest developments in inkjet printing. The company's first major inkjet system, the press delivers a balance of exceptional performance, high print quality and low operating costs.
The Truepress Jet520 is a continuous feed, single-pass, digital variable printing system. Screen's renowned manufacturing and engineering skills combined with Epson's latest multi-tone Piezo DOD (Drop-On-Demand) inkjet print heads and water-based pigment inks results in a high level of accuracy, quality and reliability on both standard and uncoated stock. The Truepress Jet520 can print up to 64m/min which equates to 25,200 A4 colour pages per hour simplex, 50,400 pages an hour duplex.and 37,200 3-page leaflets per hour. GI Direct's presses are configured to run simplex or duplex and allows two campaigns to be run simultaneously.
Direct mail and transpromo printing is a highly competitive industry. "The UK digital print market is much more advanced than the rest of Europe, and so it is natural that a leading firm like ourselves should be spearheading investment in the latest very high speed variable colour technology," says Patrick. "The capabilities we have introduced with the latest technology from Screen makes mass variable colour truly affordable, with no compromise on quality. Response from our clients has been extremely positive and we forecast that our turnover will increase by £2m over the next financial year as a direct result of the new service we can offer."
The use of digital variable colour is undergoing explosive growth. GI Direct research from 2006 shows that almost two fifths of direct mail now uses some form of variable colour. In addition, transactional print (bills, statements and customer correspondence) is increasingly featuring targeted advertising messages, where use of affordable colour in 'white space' has been seen to dramatically improve response rates. "Our clients find that personalised colour marketing campaigns are very successful. Results show a 32.6% response rate to variable colour data campaigns and it is this response rate which is driving the increased use of variable colour direct mail. Continuing to innovate and keep pace with the changing market and evolving customer needs is critical. Volume has given way to value and personalisation. High production value, inline, personalised print where white paper becomes sophisticated, highly targeted mailers in a single process is increasingly the industry's focus and, as a result, our focus," says Patrick.
"There is a steady move away from prospect communications to targeted communications, and innovative printers need to view this as an opportunity, not a threat," says Brian Filler, MD, Screen UK. " At a time of falling direct mail volumes, printers need to change their traditional model to meet new demands, in particular by using new technology and data capabilities. With the launch of the Screen Truepress Jet520 we have made a serious commitment to become a significant supplier to the transpromo market worldwide. Screen has a long history as a precision manufacturer of innovative imaging technologies and the Truepress Jet520 signals an important new direction for us in a highly competitive market seeking high-quality, high-speed production solutions."
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