On Boxing Day, 2015, disaster struck. A river burst its banks and Carrick Signs was flooded. Every single printer and every item of stock was destroyed. Managing Director Mandy Roscoe went home to cry and then picked herself and her business up. With help from Perfect Colours and HP, Mandy started over and today her business is in better shape than it’s ever been.
A month’s rain fell on Manchester in 24 hours and the business that Mandy had taken over just weeks before was completely swept away. It was worse than anything she could have ever imagined. ‘Nothing could be salvaged,’ she says. ‘I wasn’t sure I still had a business left to run.’
However, with an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ attitude, the staff and their families came to the rescue to clear up the mess. Perfect Colours and HP worked round the clock to replace the damaged machines and, miraculously, the company was up and printing again within three weeks.
Since then, Carrick Signs has gone from strength to strength, not least because of Mandy’s forward-looking view when it comes to technology. Although her experience was in screen printing, she quickly realised that making the transition to being able to print directly onto the substrate was the way to go. The result of this foresight was to invest in an HP Scitex FB550 – a hybrid large format printer. It was just what the business needed and within six months, they purchased a second.
‘If we can print it, we’ll print it,’ says Mandy. ‘It’s when we decided to get into printing direct to board, that’s when the flatbeds came in, three or four times faster than screen printing. We do an awful lot of Foamex and Corex and we’re developing work through a strong web presence.’
‘So the HP Flatbeds are pretty quick,’ adds Kirsty Davies, Assistant Office Manager, ‘which obviously really increases the amount of print we can get out on a daily basis – on all sorts of different substrates – it means we’re not turning jobs away.’
The two FB550s are the busiest printers at Carrick, but the company didn’t stop there. They’ve also invested in four HP latex printers, ranging from a 64” to a 126”, allowing them to move away from solvent printing and offer a higher level of quality to their clients. The Latex prints emerge dry and odour-free, so production is not only faster, but the workplace more pleasant. It’s meant a change from 24-hours drying time to being able to use the prints immediately.
According to Mandy, ‘I do believe the investments I’ve made in the HP hardware technology over the last couple of years have allowed me to offer better quality products to my customers, expand into new applications and get a much faster turnaround on print jobs.’
But it’s not only the technology Carrick Signs has got right. They’ve created a series of microsites to give their customers a unique online experience. Milosz Nasadowski, Office Manager, and Alex Davies, Web Designer, have collaborated on these sites to allow customers to navigate through a number of applications, giving them new information on what can printed. The company now has microsites for corrugated plastic, foam boards and ‘selfie frames.’
Since the low point of the flood, business had been growing year on year – they’re busy to the extent that Mandy quite often finds herself helping out on the production line! ‘We’re looking to target the interior design sector this year,’ she explains, ‘with an incredible range of personalised wallpapers. We’ll continue to change our business to suit a dynamic market. By developing and strengthening the relationships with our clients and suppliers, we’ll endeavour to provide high-quality, technologically-advanced solutions for our customers’ ever-changing needs.
‘I can’t believe how things have changed since that day in 2015,’ she continues. ‘It seems like a distant memory now. By going into partnership with Perfect Colours and HP, things have totally turned around and we’re going from strength to strength.’
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