Mike Beese continues to be open to new opportunities. DecTek, Pontypridd-based managing director, believes that in order for businesses to survive and thrive in the tough world of commercial printers, they must be innovative, adaptable and diversifiable to retain existing customers as well as win new ones.
And to do this requires investment – in Beese’s case a lot of investment.
Since the summer of 2020, when Beese reviewed the business and plotted a future growth strategy, DecTek has invested more than £1m in new equipment and taken on extra production space to house the kit. In that period he’s taken delivery of a Canon Colorado 1650 large-format printer, a Canon imagePress C810, a Duplo DuSense Pro DDC-810 ‘sensory coater’ and DC-646iPro multi finisher, and two Vivid Matrix laminators – one for laminating, one for foiling special effects.
DecTek has also taken delivery of five – yes, you read that right, five – Titanium cutters from International Graphic Supplies (IGS). The company’s first Titanium cutter, an 1816, was installed in June 2020 and this was swiftly followed by a Titanium 3032; a Titanium 2516 with router; and a Titanium 0806, to enhance DekTek’s digital print department.
The company received its fifth Titanium cutter, another 2516 earlier this year, to support its labels and signage as well as its short-run packaging offer. DekTek was a specialist in domed labels before the pandemic. However, Beese realized the opportunity to profit from the rapid growth in e-commerce due to people ordering goods online.
“What we realised is the world is highly responsive today, so you’re expected to sample, respond and dispatch very, very quickly,” says Beese. “And a lot of companies are also focused on shorter runs and they’re not buying the increased volumes that they were [pre-pandemic] because they’re cautious of the market. So this particular cutter [the 2516] was bought to support our short-run packaging, where we can respond to sampling for the client.”
He adds that when he took the decision to invest in another cutter he didn’t feel the need to investigate what other manufacturers could offer because he knew exactly what the Titanium was capable of doing as he was already using four of the machines.
“In the beginning, I originally bought Zünd equipment, but they’re a much higher price,” says Beese. “Because of the expansion of the company and because we are buying in new technologies, you can always invest in the print [side]Finishing technology is expensive, however.
“So I had to look for something that was affordable and that I could align with my printing equipment, because although you can buy a printer that might cost you £50,000, £100,000 or £200,000, if you’re then spending £100,000 on a cutter behind it, that is going to limit your capabilities of what you can buy in – it’s going to eat into your cashflow on purchasing. So, I had a look through the marketplace very cautiously for this model, which is much cheaper than the main brands that are out there.”
Although the company tested the first Titanium cutter it bought – Beese had sample products produced on it and went to see a demo before taking the plunge – he no longer seeks this assurance.
“We have complete confidence in the equipment. We know how the machines perform and we know their capability so all we do now is spec up a size requirement and the tooling around it and we order it in and it starts performing straight away.”
The cutters were brought in to serve different purposes. Some can be used for cutting only while others can be used for routing. But the idea is that each piece should support another. “department and layer”DekTek has been able to diversify its business through this acquisition. “offer new products and new manufacturing cycles”.
Thanks to the company’s familiarity with the Titaniums, installation of the latest model was a “breeze” as Beese and his team know what’s required to house the machines. “So we have the electrical supply in place, we have the compressed air in place and the site where it’s positioned is already prepared. When we take delivery now it’s seamless. It’s a couple of hours setting up in the morning and by the afternoon, you’re up and running.”
The speed of setup is partly down to the machine’s ease of use and its straightforward interface. The machine also has a barcode reader, making it even easier for the operator.
“When you export the file from Adobe – or whatever software – it will export a barcode and attach it to the job,” explains Beese. “We have a barcode reader that finds that particular job on the system straight away and then the job is pretty much setup. It’s very intuitive and very simplistic to run.”
The Titanium 2516 is capable of cutting at speeds of up to 1,200mm/second depending on the material and a maximum thickness cutting of 50mm, again depending upon the material. It can handle a wide range substrates including corrugated board and honeycomb board, corrugated board, car stickers and EPE foams.
Beese claims that the company is not only cutting paper, acrylics, and board but also cutting textiles. “We’re manufacturing sample packs for some big names in industry. They send us quite a diverse range of sustainable products for testing and the machine has been cutting them and eating its way through the work. We’ve been cutting some very intricate products.”
The cutter produced jigs, which has been a surprise product that has helped the company increase its product line. “We have flatbed printers so we’re actually printing directly to components and using the machine to produce jigs, which are used on the flatbeds to support production.”
Beese says that there have been no issues whatsoever with the latest addition to the company’s equipment armoury and as a result he can’t find fault with the machine. Beese has no issues, no matter how small, with the level of service and support offered to him by IGS. “exemplary” on every single deal he’s struck with the firm.
“They understand our needs, understand our business, understand the opportunity and the potential, so they’re always looking at the next machine for you. So what they will say is ‘don’t look at this year and the now, look at the opportunity six months down the line’. It’s amazing support. What they also do is they find customers for you. So if they have a client base that wants to buy the equipment in and that client can’t afford the equipment, then they will pass that client on to you, so they’re actually finding you routes to market as well which is quite unusual and very appreciated.”
Beese believes the company has benefited from the new machine in many ways. For starters, it has increased the range of services DecTek offers customers and it’s also helped to increase turnover.
“We had our best quarter ever at the start of the year. We increased turnover by about 16% and that’s a lot in the current climate.”
DecTek also used the cutter to meet customer demand for short-run, fast turnaround jobs. “Everything is lastminute.com these days and it’s all about this Amazon next-day culture, so the cutter helps to support that demand. What is also nice is we used to have cutters supporting separate printers, but now we’ve created a cutting department so the three [different models of] cutters are now aligned and we have one operator running three cutters, so it’s also brought us greater efficiency.”
Given Beese has already bought five Titanium cutters and struggles to find fault with any of them he says he would definitely recommend the machines to other companies and he’s already thinking about buying another model.
As for whether or not he’s looking to further diversify the company’s offer, the answer is a resounding ‘yes’. “It’s what we do, it’s what we get up in the morning for. We’re always looking to diversify.”
It’s an approach that has worked well for the company so far and long may it continue.
Speed reductionMaximum 1,200mm/s
Maximum cutting thickness 50mm
Maximal cutting size 2.5×1.6m
Cutting materialAll types of corrugated paperboard, greyboards, KT boards, PVC expansion sheets, honeycomb boards, car stickers, light slide and PP gum.
Price From £48,000
ContactInternational Graphic Supplies 01291 560580 www.igsdigital.com
Mike Beese started DekTek in his kitchen 19 years ago. The initial setup was incredibly modest – all he had was a printer, resin dome setup and a fax machine, which were all financed on credit cards. Fast forward almost 20 years and the company now employs 36 people across two sites in South Wales, totalling more that 2,780sqm.
Customers are usually trade resellers that are located across the country and to whom it supplies a wide array of items, including millions upon millions of domed labels every month. DekTek also produces name tags, signs, mugs and table mats, PVC banners, custom packaging, and a wide range of other printed collateral.
Why was it purchased…
To capitalize on customer demand for short-run, quick-turnaround packaging
What has it done?
Even better than Beese had hoped. “It’s helped us to grow turnover and it’s given us a greater manufacturing capability. We built the business on low volume, high frequency and higher margin, and these machines support that focus.”
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