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  • Portfolio - In-Depth Interviews

    Articles focussing on a key industry individual, be it an MD of an international company, or

    an industry go-getter

  • print pensord

    24 | August 2008 |

    People factor propels Pensords growthAfter five years at the helm of magazine printer Pensord, Tony Jones explains to Laura Blows how he has fulfilled his aim of doubling the companys size/turnover within this time, through his focus on people and relationships.

    Im not comfortable being credited as the person who changed the fortune of pensord: its a combination of being in the

    right place at the right time, and the team

    we have here, says tony Jones, Ceo of

    magazine printer pensord.

    Modest he may be, but it is Jones

    focus on people, be it customers, staff or

    suppliers, which has certainly helped

    turn the fortunes around at this once

    struggling company.

    Five years on from his management

    buy out (MBo) in June 2003, Jones

    has made good on his stated aim to

    double the companys size within five

    years. pensord now produces more

    than twice the volume of work, from

    121 to 330 titles, and has increased its

    financial performance by almost double,

    through an 8 million investment in

    equipment and a renewed dedication to

    customer and internal relationships.

    However, south Wales-based pensord

    was not enjoying such auspicious times

    at the start of the Millennium. in 2000,

    Jones was brought in to head up pensord,

    which was loss-making, under-invested

    and suffering from low morale; the whole

    business needed a lot of attention, he says.

    Jones set about improving the

    business as much as possible, but with old

    equipment there was only so far we could

    go without significant investment. He says:

    i had a choice: i could either walk away,

    putting peoples jobs at risk; i could just

    put up with it which was never a serious

    option; or i could undertake an MBo.

    so the decision to conduct an MBo

    was made, and so came the possibility

    for investment.

    pensord quickly took up this

    opportunity, investing in three Heidelberg

    speedmaster eight-unit B1 perfector

    presses, and a Heidelberg five-colour B2

    cover press incorporating a coating unit.

    A high-speed saddlestitching line

    and two folding machines have also been

    acquired since 2003, along with a new

    Buhrs mailing line and perfect binding

    equipment installed in January 2007,

    bringing pensords investment in kit to 8

    million since the buy out.

    on the prepress side, pensord was

    an early investor in Agfas delano web-

    based file delivery and approval system.

    Using delano, clients are able to quickly

    and easily upload files, which delano then

    automatically flightchecks and rips. the

    file is then placed back onto the system

    ready for the client to approve.

    darren Coxon, commercial director

    Pensords chief executive Tony Jones: My aim was to change the culture of the business through honest, open communication.

    of pensord, says: eighty percent of our

    periodical clients use delano and this is

    rising. Agfa has informed us that within

    18 months we were the leading company

    using this.

    While the investment in kit and

    software helped to rejuvenate the company,

    that alone does not transform a business,

    Jones says.

    He explains: As pensord was so

    underinvested, it was necessary to invest

    heavily in a short period of time, to make

    the company more efficient, modern, and

    to bring it up to date.

    Companies put a lot of focus on

    investment in kit, but not always enough on

    people and relationships. investing in kit is

    just throwing money at an issue unless you

    make sure that people are motivated,

    well trained and able to maximise the

    efficiency benefits.

    improving the nature and attitude of

    the business was Jones first goal after the

    MBo. He says: My aim was to change the

    culture of the business through honest,

    open communication, building trust with

    our customers, staff and business partners.

    to kick start change, the pensord

    Charter was launched in december

    2003. derived from Jones own personal

    values, the charter formalises pensords

    Pensord.indd 1 15/8/08 15:59:59

  • business ethics of putting the customer

    first, delivering quality, service and value

    for money, acting with honesty and

    integrity, developing a spirit of teamwork

    and committing to a broader social


    However, as Jones says: Anyone can

    just create a set of words and put them up

    on the wall; we want to make sure that we

    live by our values.

    Having established a charter, the next

    step was to implement a free share option

    scheme in February 2004 for staff, which

    relinquished 25% of the company. This was,

    Jones says, to reward staff for their loyalty,

    as many of them had worked for the

    company for a number of years,

    and to motivate them to provide best in

    class service.

    Another initiative Pensord introduced

    was its Pensord People Development

    Academy. Launched last summer, the

    scheme helps establish how best to help

    individual staff members progress, be

    it through NVQs or internal training. It

    has also achieved the Investor in People

    standard, which (based on information

    provided by IiP and the British Printing

    Industries Federation), only 2% of printing

    companies have gained.

    The next stage was to live up to its

    social responsibility aim, by creating a

    charity fund, which has since gained

    charitable trust status. Pensord raises

    money for its trust in three ways: by

    employees participating in fund raising

    activity; donating 1 for each print

    project the company quotes on; and by

    contributing a share of the profits. The

    current employee-chosen charity Pensord

    is raising money for is the Hospice of the

    Valleys, for which 35,000 has been raised

    so far.

    Along with its social responsibility,

    Pensord takes its environmental impact

    seriously. It has achieved the ISO 14001

    environmental management standard,

    which ensures Pensord minimises waste,

    promotes recycling, reduces energy

    and harmful emissions and works with

    ecologically sound suppliers. It has also

    obtained both FSC and PEFC certification,

    providing an assurance of traceability.

    Through the charter, shares scheme

    and charitable work, customer interest in

    Pensord began to grow, Jones says. He

    explains: We were keen to spend a lot of

    time with people, letting them know our | August 2008 | 25


    Members of the Pensord team celebrate achieving its Investor in People status

    objectives. In that way we can ensure we

    deliver high levels of service and optimise

    our efficiency rather than wasting time

    complaining about price, which is a market

    condition we cant change.

    We have always been strong

    in customer service and have many

    long-standing, loyal customers. As a

    stable and progressive independent

    company, we take a long term view and

    customers appreciate the security and

    continuity of relationships which arise

    from this. Customer retention is high, so

    we must be doing something right.

    Due to his background in marketing,

    Jones says that he does not tend to talk

    to customers about print, but instead talks

    to them strategically about their business.

    Another way Pensord seeks to understand

    the needs of its customers is by being

    a long-term supporter of the Periodical

    Publishers Association (PPA) as well as

    becoming the inaugural strategic sponsor

    of the Independent Publishers Advisory

    Council (IPAC).

    It is due to its understanding of

    customers needs that Pensord began

    offering digital editions to its customers

    earlier this year. Jones says: Other printing

    companies may shy away from digital

    editions, thinking that it will take business

    away from them, but our aim is to serve

    publishers needs and we see these

    services as complementary to the

    printed product.

    Working with YUDU Media, Pensord

    offers digital versions of publications, from

    simple page turners through to hyperlinks

    and audio and video content embedded

    within the pages. It can also provide

    publishers with tracking technology,

    enabling them to obtain statistics about

    user activity.

    Implementing digital editions is part of

    Jones plans for Pensords future growth.

    He says: We are looking to extend our

    publisher offerings through providing

    added value beyond our printing services.

    Digital editions are one example of this

    and personalisation is another area we are

    watching with interest.

    During the next five years our

    turnover will continue to grow and it is

    likely that non-print services will contribute

    significantly to this. Acquisitions may also

    be a possibility, but that depends on the

    right opportunity coming along.

    Pensord may be anticipating a bright

    future now, but one could think that not

    every moment over the last five years was

    so enjoyable. However, Jones says he

    enjoys a challenge.

    He explains: Personally, life got easier

    for me after the MBO, even though there

    was a lot of risk in the early stages. The

    most frustrating thing for me is that things

    never happen quickly enough, but as we

    have achieved all we set out to over the

    past five years I cant complain.

    The most difficult time throughout

    my career was actually the three years

    before the MBO, as I wanted to grow

    the company but wasnt afforded the

    investment to do so.

    Jones has certainly managed to grow

    the company now, and the reason for this

    success, he says, is simply sticking to what

    Pensord is good at.

    Instead of just taking any work, we

    have a clear best product policy and have

    all our equipment geared towards work

    of a magazine type format. This allows us

    to be more competitive, with a lower error

    rate and happy staff and customers as

    everyone is doing what they are good at,

    he explains.

    When asked which achievement he

    is most proud of, it is to the companys

    people that Jones turns his mind. He

    says: The change in culture is what I

    am proud of, winning the hearts and

    minds of those involved with Pensord.

    We have built a business of open and

    honest communication. We have invested

    in people, and are making good, steady

    progress, but we are not complacent and I

    will never say that we are fully there.

    The past five years has seen the

    company grow beyond recognition, and

    with Jones dedication to people and

    relationships, Pensord will hope to see

    many more years of this success.

    Pensord.indd 2 15/8/08 16:00:51


    wwwPredicting the future of online advertisingOnline advertisings upcoming issues and trends are the topic of conversation between the CEO and UK MD of digital marketing company AdLink, and Brand Managements Laura Blows.

    Chatting away in a bustling hotel restaurant in Londons

    Soho district, Stphane Cordier, CEO of digital market-

    ing solutions provider AdLink may not seem like your

    standard clairvoyant.

    But having worked in the world of online media for 10 years,

    he is well placed to predict the key developments in the online

    advertising world.

    More and more big name advertisers are shifting their

    international campaigns from TV to the internet. They are

    taking advantage of the various online marketing channels,

    along with emotionally appealing and personalised advertising

    formats, to actively involve target demographics in their brand


    The question is, where will this trend lead?

    German-based company AdLink Group is formed of fi ve different

    segments: display advertising, affi liate marketing, online direct

    and one-to-one communications, domain marketing, and email


    Its clients include Renault, Mitsubishi, Peugeot, Zurich,

    Vodafone, Virgin and Orange.

    Last summer, the fi rm changed from having managing directors

    for each of the segments in each country to one overall managing

    director per country.

    Cordier explains the benefi ts of this: The type of online

    advertising required depends on the needs of the product being

    advertised, for example whether it requires brand awareness

    or increasing sales. With this new system we can now change

    the types of media being used while a campaign is still running

    without hassle.

    By consolidating the different aspects of the company, AdLink

    is mirroring a trend throughout the online industry. There has

    been a series of big acquisitions, such as search engine giant

    Google buying web advertising network DoubleClick for $3 billion

    in April 2007.

    Cordier says: Consolidation is a good thing, as it will

    professionalise the industry, raise standards and making it easier

    for people to buy online.

    He compares the current online situation with the 1970s debates

    about the relative marketing merits of TV and radio advertising.

    Cordier explains: Most brand managers now understand the

    individual online marketing segments but there are not 50 years

    of track records showing how to combine these, so it is still an

    area of discovery.

    Some industries have explored online marketing very effectively,

    Cordier says; notably the motor, mobile, travel, hi-tech and fi nance


    But that group does not include fast-moving consumer goods.

    Cordier points out that as people are increasingly shopping online,

    the FMCG sector is going to have to rise to the challenge and deliver

    more and better online marketing and once it does that online

    marketing will explode.

    Online may be due to explode in the near future but it is already

    at a healthy size in Europe. Cordier quotes the Internet Advertising

    Revenue Report 2007, conducted by the Internet Advertising Bureau

    and PricewaterhouseCoopers, which revealed that in 2006 western

    European online advertising was a 7.9 billion market, with the

    UK accounting for 3.1 billion of this, followed by Germany and


    It also found that the UK, Germany, France and Netherlands

    have an almost equal percentage of online advertising share of

    between 9 and 13 per cent, with Netherlands having the highest

    amount, followed by the UK. In contrast, Italy and Spain only

    account for around 4 per cent of online ad share.

    Cordier is not surprised to fi nd that the UK is a key player in

    the online advertising market. As an Englishman living in Paris,

    he has noticed that the UK is nine to 15 months ahead of mainland

    Europe in terms of adopting new online technologies.

    Nicky Lapino, UK MD for AdLink, adds that while the UK

    may adopt new technology more readily, it is not the country

    Nicky Lapino managing director AdLink Group UK

    58 | January/February 2008 | brand management

    Nicky Lapino joined the AdLink Group in 2005 when she was tasked with launching its affi linet affi liate marketing business in the UK. In July 2007 she was appointed UK MD of the entire UK AdLink Group business.

    Lapino was previously MD of affi liate company Commission Junction, where she launched the company in the UK before moving on to become COO of online advertising company dgm.

    Adlink.indd 2 28/1/08 15:07:35

  • brand management | January/February 2008 | 59


    Stphane Cordier chief executive offi cer AdLink Group

    Stphane Cordier has been CEO of AdLink Group since 2002 and since his appointment, Cordier has enhanced AdLink Groups portfolio into a full-service provider of turnkey solutions for permission marketing, performance-based marketing and brand marketing.

    Before joining AdLink Groups executive management team, Cordier was vice president of European Media at DoubleClick Inc.

    wwwwwwwwwwww wwwwww

    wwwPredicting the future of online advertising

    developing the technology itself. That accolade goes to the USA

    and Scandanavia.

    But she adds that the UK is more used to buying without seeing

    the goods fi rst-hand. Cordier says: In Europe, the further south

    you go the more people want to touch and smell what they are

    buying and walk away with it instantly. But in the UK catalogue

    shopping has been popular for a long time, meaning people have

    accepted ecommerce more readily.

    Despite regional differences, Cordier says that the overall

    amount of online marketing in Europe is expected to double in

    the next fi ve years, according to independent consultants Forrester

    Research, from 7.9 billion to 16 billion and by 2012 online

    marketing will represent 18 per cent of total media budgets.

    This increase in online advertising is being driven by a number

    of trends. For instance, Forrester predicts that the number of

    European consumers with home broadband access will rise from

    47 million to 83 million in fi ve years.

    Cordier also predicts that there will be a budget shift from TV

    to the internet. He says that a study by the European Interactive

    Advertising Association found that time spent online now accounts

    for 20 per cent of European media consumption, with TV suffering

    the most from this. He also feels that online adverts will become less

    generic, and will instead become more emotional and personalised

    in their targeting.

    One area that Cordier feels will make a massive impact is

    mobile internet, with online marketing research company emarketer

    predicting that the number of mobile internet users worldwide

    will reach 982 million by 2011.

    He says that the number of people accessing the internet on their

    mobile phone will grow rapidly due to increased broadband access

    and fl at rates, and from the increased popularity of communities,

    multiplayer mobile games, user generated content and location-

    based services.

    From this, Cordier says that mobile advertising spend has

    been estimated to increase by 1,000%, from $1.4 billion in 2007 to

    $14.4 billion in 2011, accounting for a fi fth of internet advertising

    global spending.

    Cordier adds that mobile still has some barriers to overcome,

    such as advertisers investing in mobile-compatible web sites.

    He says that another issue is that at the moment mobile phones

    cannot display a barcode that a shop till can read, meaning that

    advertisers can currently send users money off vouchers to their

    phone, but without a barcode it is impossible to track who is

    using the voucher, how much they spent and what products they


    But whatever the precise issues, Cordier, Lapino and their

    colleagues at AdLink know that with internet advertising in all

    forms evolving fast, the future should be very rosy indeed.

    With 17 offi ces in 12 European countries and the USA, AdLink Group features fi ve specialist divisions. These are:

    AdLink MediaDisplay marketing specialist that reaches more than 86m internet users, or one in two internet users in Europe.

    affi linetaffi linet provides online advertisers with an affi liate digital distribution channel. affi linet has over 1,500 affi liate programs and 400,000 websites registered throughout Europe.

    net:dialogsnet:dialogs is the specialist for online direct and one-to-

    one marketing. It provides consulting, conception, creative execution, campaign implementation and campaign optimisation.

    SedoSedo is the domain marketing specialist with more than 8.8m domains available for sale. Sedo offers domain parking, domain name appraisals, domain name transfer and domain brokerage.

    compositecomposite offers email marketing. As a supplier of permission marketing, composite hosts over 15m email addresses in six countries and, through its brokering network, has access to 50m records worldwide.

    wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwWith 17 offi ces in 12 European countries and the USA, With 17 offi ces in 12 European countries and the USA, With 17 offi ces in 12 European countries and the USA, wwwWith 17 offi ces in 12 European countries and the USA, wwwAdLink Group features fi ve specialist divisions. These are:AdLink Group features fi ve specialist divisions. These are:AdLink Group features fi ve specialist divisions. These are:wwwAdLink Group features fi ve specialist divisions. These are:www AdLink MediaAdLink MediaDisplay marketing specialist that reaches more than 86m Display marketing specialist that reaches more than 86m

    wwwDisplay marketing specialist that reaches more than 86m

    wwwinternet users, or one in two internet users in Europe. internet users, or one in two internet users in Europe.

    affi linetaffi linet provides online advertisers with an affi liate digital

    one marketing. It provides consulting, conception, creative wwwone marketing. It provides consulting, conception, creative wwwwwwexecution, campaign implementation and campaign wwwwwwoptimisation. www www wwwSedowwwSedowwwSedo is the domain marketing specialist with more than 8.8m domains available for sale. Sedo offers domain parking, domain name appraisals, domain name transfer and domain brokerage.

    AdLink Group

    Adlink.indd 3 28/1/08 15:07:39

  • years ago. The day began with Horsfield

    and his creative director travelling to RR

    Donnellys old site in Krakow to press

    pass the catalogue.

    It was on press at 6am on a Sunday

    morning and it quickly became apparent

    that what was coming off the press bore

    no resemblance to the proofs. It took

    five hours to get the print anywhere near

    the proofs, and even then it still wasnt

    right, Horsfield says.

    While there, both Horsfield and the

    creative director were taken around

    RR Donnellys new plant, featuring five

    24pp Heidelbergs running alongside two

    perfect binding lines and three stitching


    Finding out that Mamas & Papas

    had not been able to take advantage of

    this site as the catalogue was too large,

    Horsfield promptly requested a quote

    for a smaller sized catalogue without its

    laminate finish. The result was a saving

    of 50,000 each time on the catalogues

    produced twice a year.

    Horsfields expertise at producing

    high-quality print is the result of years of

    Nick Horsfield, print manager at designer nursery store Mamas & Papas, explains to Laura Blows how he transformed the companys catalogues into high-quality printed products, using in-house proofing, colour management and high-definition cameras.

    experience in the industry. He began his

    career working as a graphic designer for

    seven years, before becoming a trainer at

    print shops.

    He then acquired experience in sales

    roles for first a repro company then a

    digital print organisation. It was at this

    time that Horsfield saw the job ad for

    Mamas & Papas. Following an interview

    where Horsfield explained how various

    printed products did and did not work,

    the job was his.

    The first catalogue Horsfield worked

    on for Mamas & Papas featured block

    blacks and had no detail. Realising that

    this needed to change, upon his return

    from Poland Horsfield began looking at

    how to manage colour internally, as the

    company was using an external repro

    company that was not calibrated to the

    Krakow site.

    Soon two Epson 4000 proofers,

    calibrated to RR Donnellys Polish site,

    were placed at Mamas & Papas HQ in


    With an array of Mamas & Papas brochures from over the years spread over the table, Nick Horsfields mild-mannered

    tone hides his underlying passion for

    quality printing.

    He picks two brochures, identical

    at first sight, and uses a magnifying

    glass to compare the differences. It soon

    becomes apparent that for Horsfield,

    good is simply not good enough.

    Explaining his attitude to quality,

    Horsfield says: With our catalogues

    the print quality could be fine to many

    but we want to really show the detail. A

    layman may not notice but thats how

    critical we are.

    It takes a sharp eye to notice the

    difference between the two brochures,

    but its thanks to Horsfields critical look

    that Mamas & Papas bi-annual product

    catalogue has been transformed from

    an unremarkable product to a catalogue

    that has many marvelling at how such

    quality print has been achieved.

    Mamas & Papas prints 205,000

    copies of its twice-yearly product

    catalogue, in four different versions;

    one each for retail, wholesale, home

    shopping and franchises.

    The cover is sheetfed printed in the

    UK by Taylor Bloxham, with the 288-page

    text section and binding taking place at

    RR Donnellys Krakow plant in Poland, on

    Heidelberg 24pp web presses, as the job

    has been specifically designed for that

    press. The catalogue is printed on UPM

    Finesse stock. This has been the case

    for four years but Horsfield is currently

    reviewing papers.

    Horsfields skills were put to the

    test from his very first day working for

    Mamas & Papas, over three and a half

    32 | April 2008 |

    Continued on page 58


    The daddy of printNick Horsfield: on a

    quest for quality with designer nursery store

    Mamas & Papas

    With our catalogues the print quality could be fine to many but we want to really show the detail. Nick Horsfield, Mamas & Papas

    InsightInterviewApr08.indd 1 2/4/08 09:19:46

  • The daddy of print

    58 | April 2008 |

    Continued from page 32


    Since Mamas & Papas took proofing

    in house, Horsfield says the company

    has moved to the next step of colour

    evolution, closed loop colour. This

    involves adopting the ISO 12647-2 colour

    standard, which allows us to press pass

    by number rather than by eye, Horsfield

    says. Technically we no longer need to

    press pass but we still like to do so for

    artistic reasons.

    For Horsfield, once he had improved

    the colour consistency, the following

    stage was to increase the level of detail

    within the printed images themselves. For

    this, high-definition wide-back cameras

    were used for the product catalogues.

    Now we are producing pinsharp

    quality that is colour-correct, says

    Horsfield. The photography features a

    great deal more detail. For instance, a

    normal camera phone has five million

    pixels, but our cameras have 60 million


    Looking into the benefits of

    screening became another factor in

    Horsfields improvement process. He

    says: Screening is particularly suitable

    for catalogue production, its very good at

    showing the subtle differences in clothes

    and flesh tones.

    Mamas & Papas uses a mix of

    stochastic and hybrid screens. The cover

    was converted to a Staccato 10 screen,

    with the text area produced on a Staccato

    20 screen. For general print, a hybrid 350

    screen is used.

    For Horsfield, it is just as important

    to not cut corners and concentrate

    on the processes before printing as it

    is to concentrate on the printing itself.

    He explains: Its not a matter of simply

    printing, but what happens beforehand

    that is so important. Thats why it is more

    and more key for me to get involved from

    base one.

    The last 18 months have seen

    Horsfield fine tune the supplier base.

    From a production and screening point

    of view, Taylor Bloxham is our premium

    printer, despite being a relatively new

    addition, he says. Price is always a factor

    with printing, Horsfield admits, but Taylor

    Bloxham is used due to its expertise in


    For large format printing, the printing

    firm Leach is used. With printers a lot of

    getting it right is in the relationships, we

    can call up our printers for last minute

    work as we have close relationships,

    Horsfield says.

    This relationship led to both Leach

    and Mamas & Papas working together to

    produce a new process called STIK two

    years ago. Using STIK for POS graphics,

    magnetic window graphics are printed on

    a vutek press. This eliminates the need

    for a specialist installer to fit them, instead

    they are easily placed onto the infill.

    Previously the graphics cost 275

    each, which featured an aluminium

    frame with magnets placed around the

    outer edge to which the graphics are

    connected. Using vutex has reduced the

    cost to 135 each. Eleven of Mamas &

    Papas newest sites use STIK, with the

    rest being converted gradually as they get


    On Horsfields suggestion, the

    graphics for Mamas & Papas POS work is

    now produced in-house, as over 100,000

    used to be spent on external companies

    producing the work for the companys 30


    This has saved the company money,

    Horsfield says, but even more so it has

    resulted in faster reaction times. All the

    POS work is sent out on a Thursday, and

    Mamas & Papas is producing around

    250,000 pieces a year, not a lot for a

    commercial printer, but a lot for Mamas &

    Papas, says Horsfield.

    Heading up a team of one me

    Horsfield works closely with many

    departments at Mamas & Papas HQ.

    While Horsfields responsibility is the

    catalogue, he helps and offers advice

    to those on the creative team and the

    marketing directors.

    The changes to Mamas & Papas

    printed work have been a gradual, but

    smooth process. There has never been

    a set path: as we face one issue it may

    lead us down another direction to solve it,

    thats why flexibility is key, Horsfield says.

    This gradual change to Mamas &

    Papas print has allowed Horsfield to

    save money for the company since day

    one, but he stresses the importance

    of spending that bit more for a better

    finished product.

    He explains: Cost has never been

    questioned when it comes to improving

    the quality of print. We are constantly

    challenging our budgets. For example

    a job may cost 17,000 but if we can

    produce it better for 20,000 thats fine,

    as long as we know the cost implications

    up front. We can also change the spec of

    a job to stay closer to the budget, such as

    moving from B1 to SRA1 to save money.

    Continuing this improvement process,

    Horsfield is currently evaluating the

    software programme CMYK Optimizer

    that will produce calibrated PDFs, as well

    as producing a look and feel guide as an

    internal bible.

    Horsfield is not one to rest on his

    laurels, but he does feel ready to admit

    now that from a print production point of

    view, I think we are nearly there.

    Mamas&Papasformedin1981,afterDavidandLuisaScacchetti struggled to find a suitable pram for their first


    ThecompanybeganinHuddersfieldasawholesaler,importing prams from Italy

    Therearenow31stores,sellingahostofnurseryequipment, toiletries, furniture, maternity and baby

    clothes, with the 32nd shop opening soon in Nottingham

    Mamas&Papasgoodsareavailableinitsstores,through wholesalers, home shopping and online


    In2006,thefirstinternationalfranchiseopenedinAbuDhabi. There are now stores in Dubai, Kuwait City and


    Mamas&Papasisexpectedtoachieveaturnoverofapproximately 130 million for 2007/8

    Mamas & Papas

    Mamas & Papas catalogue is produced twice yearly

    InsightInterviewApr08.indd 2 2/4/08 09:19:49


    40 | December 2008 |

    Taking one for the teamThe PPA Magazine Production Person of the Year accolade was awarded to Ross Harman of Incisive Media for his focus on teamwork and standardisation. Laura Blows finds out how he incorporated these values into his, and his colleagues, work.

    Ross Harman from Incisive Media has lost his voice. A welcome respite for the rest of his colleagues, he jokes, but it isnt enough to

    stop the PPAs latest Magazine Production

    Person of the Year from expressing his

    surprise at winning and the impact it has

    had for production at his company.

    He tells PMM: Our whole production

    team are excellent, and I cant say Im

    particularly better than any of them so

    winning the award was a nice surprise. A

    lot of the time production is the forgotten

    team, but the award has been in the

    company newsletter so now the whole

    company is more aware of the work we do.

    It is this focus on teamwork that

    impressed the PPA Awards judges enough

    to give the accolade to Harman, stating:

    Ross dedication and initiative in creating

    and bettering internal systems for his

    team is impressive. He deserves to be

    commended by the industry at large.

    As the judges note, Harman

    doesnt just talk the talk with regards to

    teamwork, but has taken decisive steps

    to improve the way Incisives production

    team works. Having originally joined in

    2002 in a consultancy role, Harman is now

    production executive on Incisive Medias

    Central Production Team, comprising of

    16 staff.

    His role is to handle the production

    for three of Incisive Medias titles; Post

    Magazine, Cover and Professional Broking.

    He describes his duties as handling the

    production sides of the magazines by

    chasing clients, flatplanning, ensuring the

    display and classified adverts are okay to

    print, liaising with printers and producing

    e-books of the magazines.

    These may be his responsibilities,

    but Harman has gone beyond the call

    of duty in order to make the production

    department work in a standardised manner.

    A key area of this has been bringing the

    handling of classified adverts in-house.

    Harman says: We used to outsource

    the handling of classified adverts to various

    companies, but we brought it in-house

    around two years ago. I wanted to ensure

    that classified worked the same across the

    board. Display advertisements are also in

    house, and since classified came in-house,

    we now have the scope to handle more

    reprints internally. Its all running smoothly,

    but we still have repro companies for

    backup in case any problems emerge.

    Another area ripe for standardisation

    was flatplanning, as Harman explains:

    The flatplanning system was all over

    the shop. Whenever I had to do some

    cover for people who were off work I

    would find everyones individual systems

    and processes difficult to learn. It was

    like an uphill battle. Im trying to get

    everyone onto the system I created so that

    whenever we have to cover for someone

    we can just get going with the work

    without complications.

    As the magazines that Harman

    handles are printed at Wyndeham Heron,

    which uses Agfas Delano online file upload

    and approval system, he was responsible

    for integrating Wyndehams system into the

    workflow. He explains: Wyndeham Heron

    came to us about three years ago with

    Delano, and at the time we were a guinea

    pig for it, helping Wyndeham trial and

    understand the system. Im pleased we got

    involved with Delano, as it has really helped

    us here a lot.

    Despite Harmans dedication to

    unify production, this was not initially

    Incisive Medias Ross Harman: I wanted to ensure that classified

    worked the same across the board.

    a career he had considered. I wasnt

    really aware of production as I came

    from a background in graphic design.

    However, my design knowledge helped

    with production, as understanding how

    software applications work, such as

    Adobe InDesign and Photoshop, has

    helped me find solutions to production

    problems. I also get to do some design

    work for Incisive when needed, he says.

    Harman will also take on a new

    role from January, managing a team to

    bring online advertising management in

    house, as well as monitoring and tracking

    the adverts performance. While looking

    forward to this promotion, for Harman the

    biggest challenge will always be managing

    different teams requirements. He says:

    Its a juggling act; the sales team always

    want more time but the printers have their

    own requirements, so just getting that

    understanding between teams is the most

    difficult part of the job.

    It may be a challenge, but for Harman,

    teamwork is also the best and most

    important part of his job, as well as the

    very reason he won his award. He says:

    The best thing about production is the

    professional relationships that occur

    between clients, the team and myself. If

    you are in production but are not good at

    building relationships you fall at the first

    hurdle. If youre good at that youre doing

    the job right.

    Ross_Harman.indd 1 11/12/08 14:14:42

  • ITS SAID THAT THE GRASS IS always greener on the other side and Mark Crane, print manager for Alliance & Leicester, decided to find out just how green it is. During

    his career he has moved from the supplier side of print over to the customers, and has never looked back.

    He says: Crossing over from supplier to customer has given value to Alliance & Leicester as I can offer an informed judge-ment. I have the technical knowledge to understand what can be done for what price.

    If you have only been on the buyers side throughout your career, it may be hard to understand the whole range of what is out there. Knowing how prices are broken down is vital for me as I know when its not right.

    Alliance and Leicester has over 250 branches in the UK, all of which require display advertising, point of sale and in-store promotional leaflets. Crane is responsible for producing the retail print for all of this, as well as direct marketing, door drops and inserts. Alliance & Leicester produces 600 million inserts and between 700 to 800 million individual printed items a year.

    Crane heads a team of three print buy-ers, whose role includes the day-to-day management of the job to ensure it meets deadlines and liaising between all com-panies, like a relationship manager. He says the department is a close team, and that their motto is a good product for a good price.

    The inhouse studio produces all work which is then tendered out to its preselected database, with a 24-hour turnaround on quotes.

    These are then evaluated and awarded, sometimes with as little as little as two hours to spare. The studio is notified as to where the files are going. He adds that every piece of work is checked thoroughly, going through five departments to be signed off.

    He adds that a print job can be turned around in as little as two days if needed: media inserts tend to be commissioned on a six-week cycle, with direct mail normally taking two weeks.

    Alliance and Leicester has a database of around 20 suppliers from a number of sectors. Crane says: This has allowed us to build good strategic relationships that add value. It also shows a commitment from us that as long as they continue to work to their usual standard, they can continue to expect work from us.

    Price is a major factor, but even more important is the quality of service, deter-mining who is the best choice overall to do the job.

    As well as updating the supply data-base, Crane is currently working on the companys CSR policy, ensuring that the report is adhered to. One part of the report

    is about commitment to the community. For this, Crane says that he tries to ensure local printers are used, and all its print is produced within the UK.

    Environmental issues are part of CSR. As well as implementing a recycling scheme, a carbon offsetting policy group has been formed, looking at various ways to reduce the amount of carbon its activi-ties produce. It has standardised on a part-recycled grade for this reason and to

    promote uniform quality.Crane says: I went through an

    exercise of proving that recycled grades are just as attractive in terms of price and looks as virgin fibre.

    Standardising paper has provided Alliance & Leicester with the security of improved colour consistency, but Crane warns that colour will always be a problematic issue. To help combat this, he has taken a number of steps.

    The key one is by issuing a number of colour branding sheets, such as silk and gloss versions, for a variety of print techniques. These sheets are sent

    throughout the supply chain, making sure that everything, from artwork to finishing is created in a consistent manner.

    Crane says: The sheets have eliminated a number of colour errors that used to occur. I believe that if we set out standards from the word go then we will achieve consistency.

    While Crane accepts that the environ-mental standard ISO 14001 is currently a hot topic for printers, he says that he would still like to see widespread adoption of the colour standard ISO 12647. He says: If your business is to put colour on paper then surely you should be using industry leading standards.

    Alliance & Leicesters print manager, Mark Crane, explains to Laura Blows how having worked as both a print supplier and customer has helped improve the companys printed products.

    Crossing oversupply chain



    Mark Cranes experience in production helps in buying

    SupplyChain.indd 1 14/1/08 14:56:02

  • In his role as head of publications at the Central Office of Information, Philip Brimley looks to inject quality, service and value for money into central government printed communications, writes Laura Blows.

    with six suppliers (although this is set to

    change); and a framework for typesetting

    with five companies.

    There is also a framework for design

    work, with half of the COIs creative work

    being put through the framework, and

    half of the design produced in-house.

    For internal prepress checking either the

    Adobe CS3 preflight software is used or

    Markzwares FlightCheck.

    Brimley says: In print everyone

    seems to say they know someone

    who can do it cheaper, but we

    assess our suppliers on more than

    just financial issues. We also look

    at their CSR policies such as ISO

    14001 accreditation, which is rising in

    importance on the political agenda.

    He adds that his team constantly

    evaluates the suppliers on the

    frameworks, visiting them at least

    once a year to get a feel as to how

    they work as a company. Having

    a two-way talk with them gives us

    confidence about how they work.

    For procuring paper and print, mini

    tenders are often conducted by selecting

    those companies most suitable for the job

    at hand.

    Brimley says: This is so not to waste

    suppliers time with tenders they are

    unlikely to win. We want our suppliers

    to be confident that we play fair and if

    they receive a tender from us they have

    a fair chance of winning it. We know we

    are getting this right as the difference

    between the quotes is quite tight.

    We also give our suppliers positive

    feedback on a monthly basis, explaining

    how many tenders they won, how many

    were sent out to them, how many they

    responded to and if they did not win the

    tender, where they came on the list. We

    pay within 30 days, so our suppliers know

    that we provide them with a guaranteed

    cash flow.

    The software used to manage the

    tenders also ensures fair play, as Brimley

    28 | June 2008 |

    Continued on page 66

    InSIgHT InTeRvIeW

    Careless print costs money

    Having always been attracted to a

    career in print, working for companies

    such as Remploy, the employment

    services provider for disabled people, and

    HMSO (Her Majestys Stationery Office),

    Brimley began working at COI 10 years

    ago as an account manager.

    Brimley took up the post of head of

    publications procurement a year ago. He

    heads up a procurement team of four,

    although 22 project managers feed the

    work into the procurement team.

    He says that his role is to make

    sure government legislation is adhered

    to regarding procurement, including

    european directives, as we would be

    breaking the law otherwise.

    Overseeing the juggling of central

    governments print buying requirements

    with the procurement rules that

    must be adhered to is no easy task,

    but Brimley modestly describes his

    overall strategy as just making sure

    the basics are done well so that the

    rest gets organised a lot easier.

    A full range of printing services is

    offered by the COI, including web offset

    printing, envelopes, sheet-fed litho,

    posters, binders in plastic and board and

    printed plastic products.

    To procure print, COI uses three

    frameworks: one for printing, which has

    76 companies; one for paper supply

    If central governments most important aim is arguably to improve the life of its citizens, then the Central Office of Information (COI)

    works at the heart of this aim, ensuring

    that central governments messages are

    actually received by the public in the most

    memorable, but cost effective way for

    taxpayers money.

    That ethos calls for strict

    requirements when buying print says

    Philip Brimley, head of publications for

    the COI.

    He explains: The principles of our

    procurement are that we do a good

    spec that is sent to suppliers in plenty

    of time so that the suppliers have a fair

    amount of time to generate a quote,

    and competition rules must always be in

    place. We should also promote innovation,

    and should encourage SMes to work

    with us.

    Producing value for money, quality

    work is certainly a major part of the COI

    print departments challenges. With 1,600

    to 2,000 tenders produced annually and

    2,500 tonnes of paper used, the COI

    handles an annual print spend of 5

    million, a paper spend of 4 million and

    a typesetting spend of 1 million in its

    procurement of central government print.

    The COI was formed in 1946,

    replacing the wartime Ministry of

    Information. It works with central

    government departments and quangos,

    but not local authorities, to produce

    information campaigns, whether they are

    internal or for the public.

    These central government

    departments ask the COI to create many

    different methods of communication,

    from Tv advertising to DvDs and CDs.

    The print aspect plays a major part in

    this, with anything from business cards

    to white/green paper reports or direct

    marketing materials being produced. A

    few notable examples of COI-produced

    work are the Preparing for Emergencies

    booklet and the recent London mayoral

    elections printed communications.

    Philip Brimley: Our vision is to make ourselves so good at what we do that people would have to be crazy not to use us.

    InsightInterview.indd 1 6/6/08 13:08:05

  • This booklet is available in Braille, large-print and audio versions. Visit

    or ring 0800 876 6444.This booklet is published by the Greater London Returning Officer

    City Hall, The Queens Walk, London SE1 2AADesigned by Sherry

    Printed by Communisis PLC on minimum 50% recycled paper

    April 2008

    Careless print costs money

    66 | June 2008 |

    Continued from page 28

    InSIgHT InTeRvIeW

    explains: Once the COI has sent out

    tenders to suppliers, the quotes returned

    are locked down by our tender software,

    meaning that no one can see what the

    quotes are before the tender has finished.

    This ensures that there can be no

    allegations made of favouritism, as no one

    can be accused of watching the tender

    and calling up favoured companies

    advising them to adjust their quote.

    At the end of the day we are

    very much accountable to people and

    administrators, so we have to be able to

    justify our decisions.

    Proving that the COI operates in a

    manner promoting competition is just

    one issue facing Brimley and his print

    procurement team. During his 10 years at

    the COI Brimley has noticed turnaround

    times of print procurement reduce


    He explains: Overnight turnaround

    used to be rare when I started working

    here. They are not the norm yet, but they

    are becoming more common.

    The creative stage of a project has to

    go through a longer process due to the

    public sector nature of the work. The COI

    has an information department which

    advises the publication department on

    which languages the project may need to

    be translated into.

    There is also a translation department

    with 400 freelance translators and four

    project managers, capable of translating

    projects into 49 different languages.

    Sometimes the project will also need to

    be converted into a sign video for the

    deaf and an audio tape for the blind.

    This can include some more unusual

    considerations. Brimley gives a recent

    example of a project promoting fruit and

    vegetables being sent out to schools.

    Along with the various translations, we

    also had to change the images of the

    fruit for different ethnic groups to images

    of fruit that they may be more used to

    eating, he explains.

    Having risen to the additional

    challenges of public sector procurement,

    and assuring that quality suppliers that

    meet COIs clients print needs are on

    the framework, Brimley could be forgiven

    for resting on his laurels and letting print

    procurement simply tick along.

    However, Brimley is not one

    for such laissez faire attitudes,

    and instead continuously plans

    for both immediate and long-term

    improvements to the print procurement

    offering that the COI provides.

    Obtaining colour consistency is

    an issue Brimley is currently tackling.

    We have implemented a colour

    management policy, he explains,

    because we are constantly buying

    print from different people within the

    framework and we found that the

    colour will sometimes look different.

    To overcome this, COI developed its

    own colour profile guidelines earlier this

    year for its suppliers to match. Brimley

    says: The benefits of this are already

    beginning to show as less money is being

    spent on wet proofs.

    The COI profile is also being rolled

    out to its external design agencies,

    with the COIs in-house Macs colour

    calibrated using eye-One Match software,

    helping our printers produce work that

    is ISO 12647 compliant. Internal proofing

    is conducted using an epson 7600 printer

    driven by gMg ColorProof o4.

    While Brimley and his team may

    have a wealth of experience in the print

    procurement sector, they are open to

    supplier suggestions for ways to improve

    the print production process; in fact they

    positively encourage it.

    Brimley explains: In the last three

    months we have started implementing

    our innovation scheme. On the specs

    sent out we say that if a supplier can

    think of a way we can do the job that will

    increase the benefit to the client, they

    will be guaranteed the job if their idea is


    So if a supplier does not win

    the tender based on price, but has a

    successful innovation idea, they will

    become the first choice supplier. He adds

    that he is currently working on promoting

    this scheme to suppliers.

    Updating the paper framework is

    another project for the COIs publications

    department (see PMM May 2008).

    Brimley plans for the updated paper

    framework to host a wide range of

    suppliers covering silk, matt, gloss and

    uncoated grades in both sheets and reels.

    Once the paper framework is updated,

    work will begin on updating the print

    supplier framework.

    An e-tender site is currently used for

    large eU framework and contract work,

    but the print and paper tenders are not

    conducted on the site, but instead are

    faxed to suppliers.

    Brimley is optimistic that both the

    paper and typesetting framework will

    move online to an e-procurement site this

    year. However he admits that moving the

    print framework online will prove to be a

    more complex process compared to the

    paper tender due the large number of

    print suppliers.

    By continuously finding ways

    to further improve the publications

    department, Brimley is confident that

    the COIs clients receive quality print,

    good service and value for the taxpayers


    He explains: The central government

    departments choose to use us for their

    print requirements as we have the print

    expertise they may not have and we can

    provide them with value for money. Our

    vision is to make ourselves so good at

    what we do that people would have to be

    crazy not to use us.

    The London mayoral elections communications were just one of many central governments print requirements procured by the COI

    This booklet is available in Braille, large-print and audio versions. Visit

    or ring 0800 876 6444.This booklet is published by the Greater London Returning Officer

    City Hall, The Queens Walk, London SE1 2AADesigned by Sherry

    Printed by Communisis PLC on minimum 50% recycled paper

    April 2008

    Discover more market sector articles at

    InsightInterview.indd 2 6/6/08 13:08:17