2024 Print Leaders Forum: David Walton, CEO, Omnigraphics

2023 was a significant year for us following the acquisition of Omnigraphics and MMTB from QMS Media in June 2023. Since the acquisition, both operations have continued to achieve solid growth, servicing new and existing clients in their respective areas while also being able to assist each other in delivering national campaigns and customer orientated solutions.

Our capacity in our two production facilities in Melbourne and Brisbane has allowed us to provide unmatched speed to market while delivering cost effective solutions nationwide. Not only that, but it has also presented us with growth opportunities and new clients in both markets. New equipment has also presented new opportunities for growth, with the inclusion of six new printers across the two sites, Fujifilm Acuity Ultra R2 5m and two Epson S80600L’s in Melbourne as well as two Fujifilm Acuity flatbed’s and an EFI 30F flatbed in Shailer Park. We have also expanded our finishing capabilities at MMT with new mounting tables and laminators.

The priority for us this year is further growth in our existing markets as well as expanding our presence in the retail/point of sale market, as well as in the exhibition space and sport signage. Expansion through acquisition in the soft signage space is also on the radar for us in 2024-25. An established business in Brisbane or Melbourne that is the right fit for our group would be a good inclusion. We will also look to restructure our team into national roles to better service national based campaigns and improve our output with a new internal system allowing for better management of workflows.

Another focus for us is sustainability and will hopefully be bringing some exciting news in the signage recycling space in 2024. We are in the process of developing a sustainable solution for clients to supplement the signage we provide. We’re currently undergoing the accreditation process with third-party auditors. With this accreditation it will allow us to supply transparent and reportable data on our production processes as well as data on potential recycling projects.

We’re also in the process of accrediting ourselves as a Tier 1 supplier, with a target of being able to support clients looking for a Tier 1 supplier for any of their sustainability commitments across both Omnigraphics and MMTB. This will enable us to report back to our clients on improvements such as using sustainable energy and offering more sustainable or recyclable products. With this not only offering a recyclable product but a pathway for that product to be recycled.

We have seen significant growth in the out of home space over the past year, proving that while the digital era has transformed the marketing landscape, print materials is still holding its own. Despite the replacement of print to digital, there’s solid growth in the static space in regional areas and the innovation that we are seeing is allowing us to complement digital advertising with static advertising alongside it, which is exciting for us as a business and also for the wider print industry. With investigations into static rotations aligning closer with digital periods it may mean more OOH static change overs. Some customers are also looking at share of space on digital and not wanting to share that time, static is a great media which offers 100 per cent share of space and can deliver messaging to everyone that views it 24 hours a day seven days a week.

Economic factors will continue to be a challenge for the industry this year. Advertising and marketing spend is always the first budget to be cut during challenging economic times but hopefully we will continue to see low inflation rates and interest rates come down which will help drive some growth in our sector. There was some shrinkage in the market over the past 12 months, which saw several significant players in both the print and supply space fall over. I think this consolidation is likely to continue this year and will bring some competitiveness to what’s being offered because there will be less players and more market share to be gained.

My main piece of advice for emerging leaders in the industry is to know your product and understand your client base. Having a knowledgeable and supportive team around you is important but you need to ensure that as the leader of the business you understand the needs and requirements of your clients. This industry is so diverse, you can go from doing a print job for a local panel beater one day to an ASX-listed company the next, and therefore understanding the requirements and governance of each client is key. My other piece of advice is to never overextend – make the right investment in the right equipment at the right time, understand your exposure and manage risk vs reward prudently.

This first appeared in Australian Printer magazine. Read the original article here.

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