Printer forecasts 200% growth in two years due to mining boom

Manager Paul Cavalier said he expected similar growth in the next 12 months for the firm, which is located in the small New South Wales town of Gulgong.

"We're fortunate, because we're in an area where they're building mines everywhere out here and we're one of the only companies that can service the mines," he told ProPrint.

Print Storm added Ulan Coal Mines to its client list in 2012 and also hopes to pick up work from the Cobbora coal mine, which will be built 30km away, said Cavalier.

Construction was due to start in mid-2013 but has since been delayed.

Cavalier said the growth in turnover in the past year had been accompanied by a reduction in headcount, from 14 to 12, as Print Storm had automated its workflow.

Print Storm has also benefited from an expansion of its web development services, he said.

The firm hired its first fulltime web developer three years ago and added another at the end of 2012. There are also plans to establish a dedicated division called Web Storm, said Cavalier.

[Related: City printer expands into mining boom town]

"We're really ramping up our web work now. It was something we needed in our area, because there was nobody offering those services," he said.

Web development currently generates 20% of turnover, with 30% coming from offset and 50% from digital, he said.

Print Storm has just diversified into another area by becoming the Australian distributor for O2 Hurricane Canless Air.

Cavalier said he was impressed when he read about the product on the internet – and offered to become the local distributor when he found out the US-based manufacturer wouldn't deliver to Australia.

"We made the decision to give it a shot and see what happens. We buy canned air all the time and use it to clean out our digital machines. They're quite expensive and only last 10 minutes. We were going through them all the time."

Print Storm added 300sqm of floor space at the end of 2012 so it would have a dedicated room to store bulk shipments. Cavalier told ProPrint that business had been brisk since he received the first local order on 21 March.

However, one area of diversification that hasn't worked for Print Storm was last year's move into photobooks.

"That was a complete flop. We had some major problems with the software we purchased," said Cavalier.

"We made a major investment in it. We spent a lot of money getting it ready. It's something we probably are going to branch in to, but it's been put on the backburner for now."

[LinkedIn: What clever forms of diversification have you heard of?]

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