Devon-based Kingfisher Print and Design Ltd specialise in producing collateral for estate agents and property professionals across the UK. Such a market demands high quality printing, although the capability to deal with variable data and short print runs would be highly desirable.
Previously Kingfisher had experimented with digital printing products from rival companies, however it quickly became clear that the KODAK NEXPRESS Digital Production Color Press was capable of delivering the quality and profitability levels required, along with the ability to leverage variable data and deliver short print runs.
Many of Kingfisher’s current customers were eager to explore the potential of the NEXPRESS Press before the installation was even complete, and many jobs are now commissioned. Kingfisher is also planning a major marketing drive around the new capabilities the NEXPRESS Press gives it, significantly expanding its customer base throughout the UK.
With the property market rapidly gaining momentum, Kingfisher was keen to develop a robust digital offering, primarily for its core client base of estate agents and property developers, but also with an eye to expanding in to other sectors. This offering would sit alongside Kingfisher’s lithographic capabilities.
Kingfisher’s managing director, Ross Bellotti, explained: “The property market is highly seasonal, so we have to be able to respond rapidly to peaks and troughs. We’ve invested in web2print technology to help with rapid delivery, but we knew there was pent up demand for short print runs and runs with variable data. As the property market improves and competition increases, this demand will only grow and we need to ensure we were positioned to support customers quickly and efficiently.”
“A particular challenge we had with this market was to maintain the quality of print – high quality is a must in the property market and understandably so, few people would want to sell a major asset through an organisation using low grade marketing material. One simple example of how this demand for quality affects our choice of printer is we need any machine to be capable of handling 400gsm board, which is typically used by estate agents.”
Previously, Kingfisher Print & Design had experimented with other digital printing solutions available on the market; however Kodak’s NEXPRESS Press was unrivalled both in terms of quality and profitability.
As well as reliably delivering photograph-quality imagery, the NEXPRESS Press also has the ability to print a range of finishes including high-gloss, satin, matte, as well as watermarking, red-fluorescing dry ink and gold dry ink which Kingfisher hope to introduce in the near future. Ross explained: “We wanted to invest in technology which would let us offer something new to our customers, something our rivals simply couldn’t do, and that’s where Kodak came in.
“On the productivity front too, it was clear that the NEXPRESS Press delivered. The processing power and speedy calibration process means we’d benefit from more uptime and higher print volumes. It was also very reassuring to know that environmental concerns were taken care of, thanks to VOC-free inks, recyclable output and toner packaging.
Once Kingfisher made the decision to go ahead with the investment, Kodak oversaw the installation process and provided comprehensive training for two of Kingfisher’s operators in Germany. Ross added: “The training was top notch and the guys were even able to share their experience via social media, which was a great way of building a buzz both externally and internally.
From making the decision to go ahead with the purchase to having the machine ready to roll on the first customer job took around 6 months, including training, installation and testing, which we feel is a great turnaround for such a major project.”
Kingfisher now has a market leading digital offering, which sits comfortably alongside its lithographic capability. The innovation has been warmly received by Kingfisher’s existing clients with many eager to explore the possibilities the NEXPRESS Press offered before it was even operational.
Ross explained: “Variable data has huge potential within property marketing – even something as simple as an insert in a regional newspaper is far more impactful if data is localised. Being able to offer highly targeted marketing like this is a boon for agents and helps them stand out from their rivals. By the same token, effective marketing will also increase the chances of a sale, thereby creating a virtuous circle.”
Away from the property sector, Kingfisher also sees the NEXPRESS Press as being relevant to a wide range of sectors and is planning a major marketing campaign throughout Southern England in order to expand its customer base into fresh markets.
Ross explained: “The NEXPRESS Press was a significant strategic investment for us and brings us a real competitive advantage. Our marketing activity will ensure we get this message out to key vertical markets, thereby driving the next phase in Kingfisher’s growth and development. It’s an exciting time to be in business.”
Kodak’s Martin Mayo, Cluster Director of UK & Nordics, added: “Kingfisher is a great example of a business which has a clear direction - the senior team have a comprehensive plan of where they want to grow their business, and what they’re going to do to achieve this. It’s fantastic to know that investing in Kodak’s NEXPRESS Press technology is a key part of this strategy and we look forward to working with the team at Kingfisher as the company continues to go from strength to strength.”