Beehive Industries taps into print to help those in need

A Sydney-based social enterprise which operates a commercial printing, fulfilment and mail-house business to fund the support of over 200 socially isolated senior citizens has been boosted by the installation of a Konica Minolta AccurioPress C3080.

The new press has already been put to good use producing the cookbook ‘Share a Meal, Share a Conversation‘ that not only provides easy recipes but also shows to easily connect to a video call to maintain connection during COVID-19.

Beehive Industries has operated from its factory in Darlinghurst for nearly 50 years and now with its beefed up print capabilities is putting out the call for printers that may be interested in partnering with the not-for-profit, which is registered with the NDIS.

Brendan Lonergan CEO at Beehive Industries says around 225 people – many with disabilities including mental illness – are supported by the print work with many of them volunteering to help pack up jobs and fulfil mail-order campaigns.

Lonergan says in return they benefit from social interaction, enjoying regular meals, day trips like cruises on Sydney Harbour, playing Bingo and doing craft activities with each other.

“We only get funded for about 14 per cent of the folks we look after so we need to find 86 per cent of the funding through our commercial business which does packaging, commercial printing and mail house services,” Lonergan told Sprinter.

Beehive already does print work for a number of large organisations including Telstra, the NRMA, Racing NSW, Legacy and NSW government departments including the Department of Primary Industries and Environment.

But it has been slammed by COVID with the facility having to close its doors for 11 weeks, which coincided with it losing $200,000 in government funding.

Now Lonergan is looking to rebuild the business and gain more work to keep his team busy and engaged.

“The print work we do also includes assembling material and mailing it out for customers,” Lonergan said.

“We like to keep the people we support actively engaged as the bulk of them are seniors living alone in housing commission, boarding houses and homeless shelters.

“The work they do keeps them engaged and gives them a sense of purpose and value.”

Working with other printers

Not only does Beehive Industries have a reliable and steady workforce, it also has large amounts of space for mail order campaigns and kitting work.

Lonergan says this is attractive for many print businesses that may like to offer a full service solution to customers, but don’t have the physical space or staff to ensure the job can be done.

“We work in with other printers because a lot of them don’t have a big long table that allows for material to be assembled. Quite often the printer will have the equipment  but they don’t have a lot of room or staff for assembly week,” Lonergan said.

Konica Minolta relationship

Lonergan said adding the AccurioPress C3080 has really moved the business into a new league.

“Having the AccurioPress C3080 has gotten us into a new class of work because the print quality of the machine is fantastic,” he said.

Having the AccurioPress C3080 installed allowed Beehive Industries to produce in-house its ‘Share a Meal, Share a Conversation‘ cookbook which encourages the use of video call technology to cook a meal and enjoy a chat.

The book, which was bound by Sydney’s Twin Loop Binding, was launched last month with the team from Konica Minolta – including outgoing managing director Dr David Cooke and production and industrial print general manager Sue Threlfo – along with the NSW Governor Margaret Beazley.

To access a copy of the book, please click here.

Konica Minolta production and industrial print general manager Sue Threlfo commended Beehive for the work it does for the unemployed and disadvantaged.

“We are proud to be associated with their commercial printing program which offers both an excellent printing, assembly & fulfilment process, and also an opportunity for their members to learn the skill of digital printing,” Threlfo told Sprinter.

“The Share A Meal book is a great example of an excellent digital print job, and also a great story about bringing people together.”

Message to printers

Lonergan has a simple message for printers.

“A printer becomes more useful to their customer if they can offer them a complete service,” he said.

“All printers know that the customers are all ringing five or 10 printers and beating them down but a printer who can say we can design it and print it for you and we can also assemble it and mail it out for you will have an advantage.

“We’ve been a mail house for 49 years, Australia Post comes here everyday.”

Social impact

Lonergan also points out the other benefit of partnering with Beehive Industries is the opportunity such a partnership will bring when it comes to securing state and federal government contracts.

He says government tenders now require supplier companies to prove what they are doing to generate a positive social impact.

“So what happens is a printer needs to show the social impact of what they are doing in order to get a look-in to bid for the work,” Lonergan said.

“So we work in with organisations where they do part of the work and they say we are getting Beehive to do the assembly and mailout side of this work so that gives them eligibility to bid for this work.

“We are a social enterprise and we are also a NDIS service provider so if these print shops work with us, this gives them access to this work. So there are a lot of partnership opportunities as well.”

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