Running a successful business over almost a quarter of a century with consistent growth clearly indicates a business that is doing something right. Since Terry Howe started his business in 1993 the print landscape has changed dramatically, around the country and in home town of Adelaide. Terry Howe Printing though has maintained an upward trajectory throughout the past 23 years, and is today positioned exactly where the owner wants it to be – capable of delivering a broad range of services to the market.
Beginning as a straight forward jobbing printer with a single Itec Perf and Press and Multi, Guillo and collator the company has grown its services to ensure its clients have their needs met. Those services today include commercial printing - both offset and digital – annual reports, book printing, wide format printing, and Promtional Products.
The work ranges from the simple to the complex, when ProPrint visited for instance the company was printing a 2,200 run 376pp plus covers full colour book on its five colour plus coater B2 Sakurai press and a straightforward two colour job on its Heidleberg SM52.
Eric Howard, customer services manager at Terry Howe says, “We provide a full service to our clients. For example the book that we printed we distributed as well, which included printing the envelopes, inserting the book, and preparing for Australia Post with the Post Paid franking. This has become another Service which has assisted our Clients getting there final product delivered promptly.”
The latest market expansion has been into the signage sector. Howe says, “We were putting an increasing amount of wide format work out to the trade due to Client demand.
Understanding the growth potential and need to offer our customers quick turnaround we took the risk.”
Today the company has a Roland Solvent Print and Cut roll-to-roll system and a Fujifilm Acuity flatbed with Roll Option. One of its three designers now works full time on sign and display. The company is just putting the finishing touches to a new bigger and dedicated wide format print room.
Howe says, “It is providing the services that our customers appreciate. They now have only one point of reference for their print and signage, they know we produce top quality work, and they appreciate the service we provide.”
All print production is now in-house. Howe says, “It is an added value service that we can now provide.”
The company has been printing with digital technology for the past eight years, and currently has a suite of Fuji Xerox digital presses. Howe says, “They pump out the work and the quality levels are right up there. The digital presses enable us to provide on demand print. In the past for instance when we had an order for business cards we would have to with to 20 orders to gang them up on the press, now we can print them straight away and have them with the client the same day.”
That does not mean the company is limited to standard fare though, it does produce business cards for clients in the financial sector that have all kinds of embellishment on including emboss, spot UV and foil. Howe says, “Flexibility is one of the pillars of the business, and this includes the staff, where everyone is multi-skilled. So we have one person who handles the guillotine, the folder and the collator, another person who prints with the GTO and diecuts with the Heidelberg cylinder.
Entering the mailing and distribution market has meant the company has learned to use the full suite of associated software solutions such as Excel databases and Adobe CS, in particular the mail merge functionality in InDesign. Howe says, “Clients increasingly want us to handle the whole job, and we want to be able to provide that service. We have invested in training and staff development and will continue to do so. We started off printing single colour business cards and flyers and now we provide a comprehensive service where putting ink on paper is only one part of the solution.”
The client list at Terry Howe Printing is long and stable, there are a significant number of customers that have been with the business since it began almost a quarter of a century ago. Terry Howe himself is the sales manager, and his assiduous networking continues to deliver results. Pulling out the client list from 1993 that is on cards it is remarkable how many of those clients remain with the company to this day as he goes through them. The company, and its clients, value the personal relationships they have developed over the years, and as with everything Howe aims to make life easy for the customers.
THPS have a strong customer referral base, not having a sales team allows them to be more competitive without compromise to quality and service.
The company is a year into its new building which is three times the size of its previous space. Like all aspects of his business, Terry Howe does not over extend. New production solutions are brought on board only when the numbers stack up. The latest addition is the Iris inline auto laminator.
The new building has also enabled the company to expand its print management service, where it holds inventory for its clients and distributes the print on an on-demand basis. Howe says, “This means for our clients we take the management, storage and distribution of their print out of their hands, which some clients find appealing, it is one less thing for them to have to think about.
The move to the new building has also meant the NBN national broadband network coming to Terry Howe Printing, and it is by all accounts impressive. Howard says, “File downloads are virtually instant, it is superfast.”
In many ways Terry Howe Printing is a remarkable story, with consistent growth and expansion over the past 23 years while all around the print industry has been through highs and lows and massive consolidation. The story of this print business is one of considered growth, with a focus on sales and a determination to understand the needs of its customers and orienting the business to meet those needs.
The company has also invested in serious environmental credentials, it has achieved the PIAA sustainable level 2, and two years ago it installed 130 solar panels on its roof, which provides about 60 per cent of its energy needs. P