THIS IS A PROMOTIONAL ARTICLE PAID FOR BY CONECT ENTERPRISES
ProPrint: Tell us about Conect and Print N Cut?
Paul Coniglio: Conect was founded by my parents in 1987, initially as an adhesive tape supplier. It evolved into computer graphics supplier in the early ‘90s and then moved into the digital space when it took on Roland DG printers in 2001 and entered the sign and display and wide format markets. Conect which had a Victorian base bought Print N Cut which serves NSW and Queensland a year ago Today the business is a market leading industry supplier of hardware and media.
PP: Why did Conect buy Print N Cut?
PC: Conect acquired Print N Cut in November 2014 to extend our footprint across the eastern seaboard. Conect had a close working relationship with Print N Cut as our distributor over the previous three years, and Print N Cut was well established as a supplier of Roland Print and Cut technology and consumables across New South Wales and Queensland.
PP: Conect retained all the Print N Cut staff, what was the reason for that?
PC: One of the best parts about acquiring Print N Cut was the existing knowledge in the business. Lead by Gavin Breen with 30 years in the industry along with his father Kevin, Print N Cut was well known and respected in New South Wales and Queensland for their dedication to quality products and service. Since the acquisition we have added two more team members Rod Cumberland and Ben Ellis who have industry experience to meet the needs of our customers.
PP: Who are the key people at Print N Cut and their areas of expertise?
PC: Gavin Breen who has 30 years worth of industry knowledge and experience; Jessica Breen who is fantastic at customer service and administration; Craig Bernard, a qualified signwriter with 25 years’ experience, Rod Cumberland who has 20 years in the the sign and display and wide format print industry helping customers with solutions and knowledge; Ben Ellis in hardware, IT, sales, service and support; and Craig Paul in service, support, installation and training
PP: How many customers do you have and what kind of businesses are they?
PC: Today we have around 2000 active customers around the country. We also have a network of dealers for our exclusive products, so we reach many more than that. Our customers are across the board, small, medium and large businesses. They are operating in the sign and display, wide format and POS sectors.
PP: Why do customers buy from you?
PC: We are focused on their business. We are not in the business of just selling boxes or rolls of media. Our aim is to help our customers maximise their revenue opportunities. Because we have all been doing this for a long time and because we are continually updating ourselves with the latest technology, the latest products and and the latest trends and opportunities, both from here and overseas, we are well positioned to help our customers exploit the capabilities they have. There is a lot of crossover in applications from the one print technology, but not all printers are aware of the potential of that crossover.
PP: Can you explain what that means in practice?
PC: Yes, take a sign printer for instance, he may have a printer technology that will also enable him to print on textiles, but he just may not know that, nor know how to print textiles or T-shirts, what kind of media he needs, what kind of inks, how to set the printer. We are able to discuss with that customer opportunities that may be arising in textiles, how to print, what to print onto, where to sell into. We will be able to work with that customer, to supply their needs so they have one point of reference for production which printers really appreciate.
Or for instance you are a copy shop working with aqueous based wide format printing for indoor signage but you are looking for new opportunities, we would be able to suggest areas of growth and again have the means to make sure you have the capability to produce that work, for instance with customised T-shirt printing or with outdoor durable print for vehicle graphics.
Super Signs that are featured in this story are a great example, we have been working together ever since their business started working out of vans, now it is a big sign and display operation with a whole range of channels, and we have stuck together throughout their journey.
PP: How easy is it for print businesses to move into new areas?
PC: Many printers do not realise that much of the work they currently outsource can quite easily be produced inhouse, if they have a partner like Conect or Print N Cut who will take the time to advise them how it can be achieved, what the financials are, and how beneficial it can be. I was with a printer the other day who was outsourcing customized wallpaper, but after an analysis of the figures and the technology it became clear that it would be advantageous for them on every level to bring the work inhouse.
PP: What do you supply?
PC: For printers we work with both Roland DG and HP Graphic Arts, and I believe we are the only company in Australia to have both products. In materials we have a huge range of product to cover virtually every application.
PP: You have several exclusive products, what do these include?
PC: Print N Cut is the approved distributor for Italian-manufactured Siser heat transfer materials in New South Wales, Conect in Victoria, and we have a range of resellers in other locations. The garment decoration market is growing rapidly and being able to offer printed transfers to this growing market is a great way to increase revenue and profit. Siser is the world leader in heat transfer, we all know Italy is the fashion capital of the world, it has capitalised on the vast knowledge there and produced an unbeatable range of heat transfer materials. We are also the exclusive distributor for the Metamark material for digital vinyl producers
PP: You supply the specialist product Visual Magnetics, what is that?
PC: Visual Magnetics is an exciting product that is changing the retail space dramatically. With retailers looking to reduce costs and promote more, Visual Magnetics makes the instore change very cost effective when changing a space two or more times a year, which most retailers do. Whether it is promotions, re-skins or interior design fit outs, Visual Magnetics allows the creation of dynamic spaces across a range of commercial applications.
PP: Where are the biggest challenges for sign and display printers today?
PC: Keeping up with the ever-changing additional films, products and technology. This is where having a partner like Conect or Print N Cut really pays off, we are there to ensure that our customers are on top of the changes and are exploiting them for their benefit.
PP: The sign, display and digital wide format sectors have shown continual growth for more than 15 years now, do you think this will continue?
PC: Yes it will, no doubt about it. This is because the range of applications keeps growing, for instance garment printing is only at the beginning, personalised wallpaper too, while outdoor media is growing at its fastest rate yet, and the time between promotions in retail continually shrinks, which means more display and POS print is needed. This market is set to increase in size into the forseeable future.
Super Signs wins Conect AFL tickets
Victorian sign and display operation Super Signs was the lucky winner of the Conect AFL Grand Final competition, which saw two staff members enjoy a day of hospitality on Grand Final Eve, and the game itself on the Saturday.
The Conect competition was open to Victorian companies and ran in August and September, with entry gained via any hardware machine or bundle purchase for more than $25,000 from the supplier of signage production technology and materials.
Super Signs owner Paul Taylor was excited to hear the news that his company had own, he says, “When I received the phone call I couldn’t believe we had won, my thoughts went straight to who was going to go.”
The prize included two corporate tickets to the 2015 AFL Grand Final between Hawthorn and West Coast. This included entry and reserved seating at the AFL 2015 Grand Final and two tickets to the Grand Final Eve event, where they indulged in a three course menu with continuous beverage service throughout the evening. They were entertained by an expert footy panel including stars of the game, and were treated to a performance from a high profile musical act.
Super Signs purchased a HP Latex 360 from Conect in August to assist with a major contract which had a short deadline. Taylor says, “We had the opportunity for a major contract but only had seven days to complete the purchase and installation. To be able to rely on Conect to assist with the new machinery in such a short time frame, and their follow up service, is what made it possible for us to take on the contract and actually complete ahead of time.
“We continue to choose Conect because of the service they offer, I have bought different machinery over the years which has all been great, but it is the service that sets Conect apart from the rest. Having Mike Callander and the team on hand to help us with any problems that may arise is fantastic and is why we keep coming back”.
Conect Enterprises director Tony Coniglio said “Congratulations to the team at Super Signs on the win, I hope they enjoy the day. We have had a long term relationship with the Super Signs team, I could not think of more worthy winners.”
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