A few years ago, Cardiff-based Horizon operated in the competitive commercial printing sector. Today, the business has transformed itself into a full-service marketing agency. The transformation has been supported by a Ricoh Production Print solution that has enabled Horizon to offer customers a complete, end-toend service, win new marketing projects and differentiate its offering from other marketing agencies.
Horizon is a South Wales based marketing agency providing a range of services, including marketing communications, PR, web design, graphic design and print. The company is a business-to-business agency and its customers are mainly located in the South Wales region. Horizon had started as a commercial printer, but has transformed its business capability to offer a complete range of marketing products and services. Today, printing accounts for 30 percent of the company’s total annual revenues, which have grown in the last few years from around £200,000 to £700,000.
The business has invested in more staff with a range of marketing skills and has even moved to a new office. Part of Horizon’s business transformation has been its approach to developing and evolving print services.
Kevin Ogden, managing director at Horizon, says, “Commercial printing is getting more and more competitive, particularly so in the recent economic climate, and in order to grow we needed to expand and broaden the scope of our business offering. Customers were also asking for more services around the print work we were doing. We didn’t want to abandon print, but rather make it part of a broader marketing and communications service that we could offer to customers.”
To make print an effective, high-quality part of its service, Horizon needed to improve its printing capability and response time. The company had been using two digital printers that were nearing end of life. But these were slow, expensive to run and could not produce the level of litho-like print quality that customers had started to expect.
After reviewing a variety of different suppliers, Horizon decided on Ricoh’s high-end digital colour printing press to replace the two existing printers. Ogden says, “The package that Ricoh offered was better than anyone else with regard to quality, efficiency and cost. We were also impressed with the effort Ricoh put into understanding our business challenges and coming up with the best fit deal for Horizon.”
Horizon has installed a Ricoh digital colour press as part of its Ricoh Production Print solution, which also includes field service, helpdesk support and access to Ricoh’s print knowledge and expertise. The Ricoh press is the mainstay of Horizon’s print service, producing standard print jobs like business cards, flyers and leaflets, through to high-quality calendars, brochures and annual reports. Horizon has complemented the Ricoh package with a range of finishing equipment so that almost all of its print work can be done in-house.
“The Ricoh press handles more or less everything we throw at it and it’s very consistent and reliable. And it’s allowed us to replace our two previous presses with a single press which adds to cost reduction,” says Ogden.
The service and support element of the Ricoh solution includes local access to Ricoh’s UK-wide network of digital print engineers.
“One of the critical things about our transformation from printer to multi-function marketing agency has been the ability to give clients a complete, end-to-end service. When we pitch for new business or work with a client, we’ll look at a project from start to finish. Now we have all the resources in-house and one of the key resources is the Ricoh production print technology, which enables us to offer a high-quality print element as part of the marketing solution,” says Ogden. “We might develop a marketing campaign for a client that would involve a range of services - consultancy and planning and website design, copywriting, PR - but also built into the campaign is printing items like brochures, direct mailers and posters.”
Having an on-demand print capability in-house means that Horizon does not need to buy in work or compete with other print suppliers. This helps to make Horizon’s end-toend service more attractive and more competitively priced. Ogden says, “Without a doubt having the in-house Ricoh print solution - along with the high quality output it delivers and the speed and efficiency - has helped Horizon win new business. Indeed, we are starting to get more print business as well.”
Despite improving the quality, efficiency and speed of its print capability, Horizon has actually seen its operational print costs fall by as much as 50 percent. This has been achieved through a combination of replacing two printers with the single Ricoh press, increasing efficiency and productivity and having a more cost effective click rate from Ricoh.
Ogden says, “Over the last few years our business strategy has been to build and grow Horizon in a different direction: from printer to full-service marketing agency. Having the in-house Ricoh print solution is a business differentiator which sets Horizon apart from other marketing agencies because they cannot offer the complete, end-to-end in-house service, or often the quality, of print that we can deliver to clients.”
Through a combination of re-location, strengthening marketing services and the impact of the Ricoh digital colour print solution, Horizon expects its annual turnover to reach £1 million in the next year or two.
what our client said
“One of the critical things about our transformation from printer to multi-function marketing agency has been the ability to give clients a complete, end-to-end service. When we pitch for new business or work with a client, we’ll look at a project from start to finish. Now we have all the resources in-house and one of the key resources is the Ricoh production print technology, which enables us to offer a high-quality print element as part of the marketing solution.”
Kevin Ogden, Managing Director, Horizon