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Highlights of the start of 2024…..

BlogGarments and Apparel How we do it Our ethos Trades PrintHighlights of the start of 2024…..

Highlights of the start of 2024…..

The underpinning thread of the start of 2024 has been: –

  • What have we learnt from the last few years?
  • Equally what has it taught us? 
  • How have we changed? 

The pace of change is now monumental in society and expectations have never been greater on what people expect and when they expect it. We’ve watched our peers across the graphic arts industry and needless to say, failing to innovate and develop genuinely leads to a weakness in the marketplace. We’ve been fortunate that we’ve never put all our eggs in one basket, having a split of sheet-fed digital print, large format print and garments has meant we’ve been able to juggle the ebb and flow of customer business requirements. It has also allowed us to build a base where we can meet customers’ needs by being a reliable partner.

I will be the first to say, that this level of pace of change, has put pressure on all staff across HAD-Print. I am grateful for the commitment and support the extended team has delivered. The demands and the requirements to be commercial there are extremely challenging. However, this has meant we’ve been in the position to say yes more.

Admittedly some of these changes and developments detailed here started at the end of 2023 however really only came to being implemented properly in Q1 and Q2 of 2024.

Full replacement of our ageing pro-production digital press, which has significantly “beefed up” our performance benchmark.  Our ageing Canon Imagepress 6011 was retired last year, leaving us with 2 Canon Imagepress C700’s and a C800. We were well aware of the challenges we faced with customer work that required something more robust. 

The opportunity arose to bring in a Canon Imagepress c10000vp, which didn’t just support our need for more board stock compatibility but also the long sheet format. It has since wowed us with its near litho-like print quality and speed performance. 

This addition to our studio really puts us in the capabilities of probably the punchiest digital print firepower in Calderdale.

Meeting the needs of customer expectations both timely and capacity issues, has meant further expansion with our garment print department. We’ve now brought embroidery in-house, giving us a cracking capacity for production with a multi-head machine. In our true form, we have “started at a relevant point for us on the ladder”, getting the balance between quality expectations and capacity has taken us on a deliberate path. The extreme learning has been highly significant over the last 2 months. This is very much an enabling opportunity for our garment printing provision, as it builds capacity, coupled with the DTF our garment print and embellishment offering has never been greater.

The tail end of 2023 saw us launch our subscription print service for regular business consumers of print. We now have several clients on this scheme and reaping the rewards of being on contract and having a schedule of dedicated print when they need it, at a competitive price point.

Trades’ “advantage club” launching soon, will have two tiers to the club, which will offer access to packages and promotions relevant to “trades” based businesses, when coupled with our subscription offering, we will future enhance the offering on the “advantage club”.

Supporting our offering to trades-based businesses we now have access to some new brands within our product ranges:-

Jobman – highly functional, well specified Scandi workwear – absolute top of the class.

Jobman Workwear – again a silent giant which is gaining ground in the UK. A sister brand to Craft Sportswear – which is renowned for its performance in running and cycling. Jobman believes Workwear should withstand the toughest conditions. Using strong, proven materials in their garment puts them under rigorous scrutiny at the point of specifying. This is matched through being a Scandinavian brand with high sustainable credentials.

Regatta Professional Navigate range presents excellent opportunities for stylish branded workwear.

Regatta Professional. A well-known name, which sits in a portfolio of well-established brands like Craghoppers – which is well-known in the outdoor industry. This pedigree of performance has moved on to Regatta Professional. Creating apparel which is well designed, well specified and has good price points.  The interesting movement for 2024, is their Navigate range, which sees a two-colour tone option delivered into the selection which enables smart apparel to work with your branding.

Another new item for May 2024 is we are now on the authorised network for Joma Sportwear. Supporting our offering for Grassroots football and meeting some of the challenges or gaps presented by our existing wholesale partners, we now have a fuller offering for sports apparel.

Improvements made to our plan printing facilities; we’ve always had the capability for print printing bureau service. We have a number of tradespeople who use us for the service. We’ve just replaced our monochrome plan printer, so the capacity for speed and A0-sized drawings is back to where it has been previously.

New product range: short-run (50-250 quantity) presentation folders. Building on previous experiences and product knowledge our Castle Range of presentation folders, provides an easy access route to small quantity presentation folders. Pre-set-up templates, and standardised pricing, see the utilisation of the upgraded digital press mentioned earlier and better utilisation of our digital die cutter. 

Talking of Digital Die Cutter – one job recently completed was The Kirkwood at-home collection boxes. Very apparent that the combination of digital print and digital finishing opened up this opportunity making it effective for them to use us. We have joined The Kirkwood Business Club which has a two-fold effect of supporting them, plus creating a vibrant business cohort to which we now belong.

Maintenance of “keen pricing” in a rising market…. We know this is challenging, not just for you but also for us. We endeavour at every point to keep things as keen as we can. Nothing goes without review, including large format items, where through better supply chain relationships we’ve brought in the same without incurring additional costs. Paper and board – we are again harnessing management of relationships with suppliers to purchase more effectively. We’ve shifted our habits in the last year to again build better relationships with one of our key garment wholesalers, where on larger projects we are getting more leverage to help maintain competitive pricing.

We still have the challenges of the power at what now seems an excessively high unit cost due to our supply being through our landlord. However, we are doing our best to mitigate this through upgrades to lighting within the print studio.

What’s on the horizon….

• Greater level of templates existing cutting formes for digital die cutting

• Opportunities for more embroidery within our garment offering. We have some blisteringly impressive work to be scheduled through our Direct To Film (DTF) transfers for t-shirts and hoodies

• Further building of our garment product offering to the outdoor education and leisure sectors 

• Scope for a wider offering in selected sports apparel 

• Addressing our product and pricing offering around book printing.

Whilst this is the highlight, much has been going on here at HAD-Print. We endeavour to innovate our offering for you, the big challenge, is if you don’t say or talk to us, we can’t exceed your expectations with our offering!

We know that we will always be innovating and changing. We have watched businesses we have respected disappear from the marketplace in the last few years, and I will say openly their challenges have been around innovating and supporting customers. I like to think we are pushing the boundaries and developing new exciting things within HAD-Print, which will hopefully keep us fresh. However, we always welcome conversation around pushing the boundaries and developing how we support you.

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