Grafenia CEO Peter Gunning outlined plans at the company’s Expoganza event in London last week. Held in the crypt of St James’ Church in Clerkenwell, the event featured the different arms of the Grafenia business, including its newest venture into signage. A 3-metre high totem with flashing lights has been built by Mark Eccleston, who will head the venture into signs following Grafenia's acquisition of ADD Signs.
The immediate aim is to find other companies in Merseyside and bring them into new premises that can serve as a business hub. Gunning says the appeal is to business owners that want to exit. “It is important to encourage people to approach us about joining. We are already getting good people making contact,” says xx. “We want quality companies where the people are passionate about signs.”
For Gunning the appeal is that signage has to be delivered locally. It is impossible to have a vehicle wrapped in China, he points out. Some items will be produced at the company's Manchester production centre, some at more local hubs while some will be needed to be created locally. “It is difficult to ship a 3-metre Bond sign,” says Gunning. “The sign sector is very much like the printing trade when we started printing.com. It is fragmented and small companies proliferate. We can bring together some of these companies.”
There will be a network of business centres where customers can order signage, fabric displays, conventional print or websites, linking the various product streams that Grafenia operates in. “The creative relationship is the key to unlock thus opportunity,” he explains. “The same person is responsible for buying all these services that every business needs.”
The same day print service fits in the same mould. It will be rolled out via ten pilot Nettl studios this year, offering a limited selection of products for delivery within a four-hour window to customers with five miles of the shop. “Nettl Now is for the children of the Uber generation used to instant gratification. They want it now. None of the competitors can do this. They may print and dispatch on the same day, but cannot delivery on the same day,” he says. “When you have to have it, next day is not good enough.”
Nettl Now will exploit the network of Studio outlets. Many, like the Wimbledon Studio, are part of print shops. It will be one of the pilot stores, running a poster printer, Xerox Versant, laminator and business card cutter and it is already targeting the very quick turnaround market.
Customers logging on to the Nettl website will enter their postcode to find if the service is available and then can specify the product and upload artwork as well as selecting a delivery time. The file is sent to the Nettl outlet that will produce the job in a print ready state and a courier ordered to pick up in three hours' time.
“We have the network to enable this,” says Gunning. “If it is not going to be us with a same day service, then who? We are uniquely placed to offer a same day delivery to a client.”
The hope is that this client will then be enticed to try some of the other less demanding services under a halo effect. “We think it will bring more work to the Nettl studios, a virtuous circle,” he says.
Grafenia invited around 350 to the Expoganza event event where it staged a series of talks throughout the day from using the web to attract new business to the use of euro linguistic programming techniques to build sales. Grafenia continues: “There are still many people who have tried the internet and failed now find they have clients asking to work in this way.
It also provided the opportunity to display a wide selection of fabric covered displays, including many new designs. “Everything came in the back of a Transit van, and we can take everything down and be packed away inside an hour,” he says.
Peter Gunning was on hand at Grafenia's Expoganza in London last week where the company unveiled new fabric products, introduced its new sign venture and spoke about Nettl Now, a same day print and delivery service piloting shortly.
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