Sydney firm ‘puts everything on the line’ with $400,000 investment

Sydney-based Staff Assist kicked off the transformation after the pressure of the global financial crisis made it realise it needed to push into new markets, said managing director Helen Cattell.

She said the 22-year-old company had shunned its traditionally conservative approach by spending $350,000 to $400,000 over the past year on a raft of new equipment.

She told ProPrint that while making such a large investment in a troubled market was risky, companies that stood still were doomed to go backwards.

The company may be stretched now, but it will ultimately benefit from the bold investment, she added.

“It’s been scary. We’ve been putting everything on the line doing what we’re doing,” she said.

“What we’re doing is going to take a lot of time, but the business is going to fly.”

This year saw the arrival of a Tecno Pack high-speed flow wrapper in May, a Whirlwind stringing machine in June and Minipack high-speed shrink wrapper in July to go with two Robatech hot-melt glue guns that are due on 1 September.

That followed last year’s investment in nine pieces of kit including a 30-station Horizon collator, Horizon bookletmaker and Ideal guillotine.

Cattell said the new machinery would allow Staff Assist to reduce costs, improve turnaround times and increase its service offering.

There will be a push to boost agency and publisher revenue by picking up new business in tag-strings and the flow-wrapping of magazines and promotional items, she said.

Existing printing clients will also have access to new services such as eyeletting, bunting and collating.

She said the company was still trying to fill the machines with ongoing work, but had a realistic chance of boosting turnover by 30-40% in the next six months.

Sales executive David Jurd told ProPrint that the growth plan included further purchases. “We’re now going to continue investing and growing. It will be top-end machines and specific machines with actual outputs we want.”

He said 60% of the company’s revenue came from trade work, 30% from agency jobs and 10% from commercial printing.

Staff Assist’s biggest publishing client is Otter Press, while it also does work for Blue Star, CMYKhub, Paragon Printers, Pacific Magazines, Saatchi & Saatchi and PMG Media, he said.

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