14 January 2018 xPrint Companies

Laybourne steps down from lead role at Real Digital

After 11 years as managing director David Laybourne is retiring from Real Digital, after orchestrating a smooth transfer of the business.

David Laybourne, managing director of Real Digital for 11 years, has stepped into retirement, leaving production director Barry Stephens to fill his spot.

The move has been expected and comes after completion of an investment cycle at the Croydon print and marketing business. This culminated last year in installation of two HP Indigo 12000s and winning new contracts to take advantage of these B2 format digital presses.

Over the last year Laybourne has reduced his working week, coming in for three days a week rather than for a five-day week. At the same time Stephens has relinquished a day to day involvement in production allowing a new management team to take the reins in his stead.

“We have spent the last 12-18 months building a new management team, making a huge focus on development and training” says marketing director Chris Tagg. “This means that Barry doesn’t get involved in production unless there’s a problem and he has been taking a more strategic role.”

Stephens joined the business in 2006 at the time that Laybourne became its managing director.

David's stepping down has been a natural process and customers have been kept informed. The question was around the timing and having completed the investment and set up significant transactional, packaging and fulfilment contracts, the timing is right.”

The company completed a project, sending wristbands to ticket holders attending a golf tournament last year, matching the bands to a personal letter and encoding an NFC chip to allow access on the relevant days.

Real Digital has been one of the first all digital print operations to focus on transactional and direct mail work, adding packaging fulfilment last year. This is a direction that will be further developed in the coming years. The company uses Screen inkjet machines alongside the HP Indigos and Xerox presses.

At the same time as growing in new directions, says Tagg “we have seen volumes in the core market pick up in the last 12 months. There’s still demand for traditional mail.

“We will add to the board at some point, but there is no rush. We are trying to do everything very strategically in terms of the longer development of the business..”

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Real line up

Real line up

Barry Stephens, David Laybourne and Chris Tagg has led Real Digital until the end of the year with the retirement of Laybourne. The move comes following a period of investment and as new contracts get underway adding new directions to the business. Stephens steps up to become managing director.

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