Lesley Simpson from IR Talks to Justin Murray on Digital Print Management
Justin, you are well-known in the print trade and I understand you have recently sold that
interest to its production director Scott Meader to allow you
to set up Print Project Management (PPM)
Yes, and I’m getting very excited about what PPM will do in
2012 and beyond…
When it comes to implementing the creative ideas of
clients it’s often more difficult than it seems to ‘make it
happen’ which is where PPM comes in. It will operate mainly
in large-format print, acting as a central contact point for
clients with more challenging print projects. It will provide
practical advice combined with sourcing and managing
print, including installation.
PPM the missing Link
You describe PPM as the “missing link between designers
and advertising agency to print manufactures”. Is that
another way of saying you’ve turned print broker?
No. Print brokers are about reducing overall print costs for
their clients, acting as a go-between and commoditising
print, which ultimately, takes precious margin off the print
manufacturers – which is not what PPM is about.
Print brokers are often tasked with undertaking printing
projects they have little experience in handling and put a
solution together based on the cheapest competent printer
to produce the raw print, an installation team, which often
does not communicate with the print manufacturer – all of
whom are working from a brief from a designer who has
probably never even been to the site/s in question nor
worked with, or communicated with, any other party but
the end client.
PPM is designed to manage and oversee all these specific
areas of the process, ensuring there is no loss in translation –
and that artwork gets the sign off when it’s needed!
Complex and detailed printing projects should not be
commoditized and the success of the whole project is
about pulling teams together behind the scenes to make
Print, what it’s all about?
How will PPM actually operate then?
Because PPM will have an open book policy all the costs are
transparent to the client and there’s no need to hide names
of those involved in the process. Once the project costs
have been collated, PPM can agree a rate for the complete
project with the client – or if it’s an ongoing situation, can
work out a percentage rate or fixed day-by-day rate.
You say you will save end customers time and money. Given
that PPM will be aiming to profit from this arrangement can
you elaborate on how that will be the case?
One of the main advantages is that as we are not acting as
‘middle men’ so we can put forward installations
contractors’ normal day rates, where print brokers and
manufacturers can put on a 25-50% margin for instance.
Also, when undertaking large print jobs, there are hidden
costs which people may not appreciate. A client may need
to have their own mid-level PAYE staff member who will
spend many hours attempting to manage their own side of
the project though they may have little knowledge of what
the project entails – perhaps time taken from their main job.
You say PPM has reliable suppliers and installers. I assume
this a list you intend to grow?
Yes, we have people set up to work with PPM, and it is a list
that will grow – but I’m not prepared to give up my trade
Digital Print Management is about finding solutions
You obviously have a certain amount of contacts among
designers and advertising agencies already. But you will
want to grow that pool of potential customers and getting to
the right people is notoriously difficult – especially when it
comes to educating the right people about new niche
applications etc. What’s your plan there?
Because of my background I do have lots of contacts in the
creative space, and part of PPM’s strength will be the ability
to go to them and push the boundaries of what they
understand they can do with print – either on it’s own or as
part of wider project. At the end of the day,
designers/agencies are always looking for new ideas.
We also have a strategy that will see us focus on creatives
via various design websites etc.
How do you think the print sector will view an operation such
as PPM, and do you think others will follow a similar path?
I think the industry will look favourably upon what PPM is
doing. It should help push large-format forward in the minds
of creatives – and we’ll make sure the parts of the process
run smoothly and that jobs are completed with the least
amount of stress for everyone.
Project Print Management is Digital Print Management Business.
For more information on Digital Print Management or An edited version of this interview can be seen on our video page.