For the past 25 years, McGowans have been leaders in the development of the digital print industry in Ireland. They’ve recently invested over €2 million in new equipment to further enhance their digital printing capabilities and introduce new services.
We spoke with Sue O’ Grady from McGowans to find out more about the company and the new services they can now offer.
Can you tell me about the services McGowans offer?
McGowans offers customers a turnkey solution within the communications arena. Whether you want to print a few business cards or a few thousand flyers, we cater for all business needs. Small and large format digital print is at the heart of everything we do, so no matter what size your company is, we’re here for you. From printing a compliment slip to wrapping a warehouse, we promise to make your ideas happen.
Within the small format arena, we excel in retail point of sale with years of experience creating eye catching in-store displays and theatre through one of the best cardboard engineering departments in the country. Our business stationery capabilities range from business cards to reports, brochures and books and our new HP 10000 allows us to print large format wedding albums, menus and magazines, allowing clients to really stand out from the crowd with a supersized print.
Another area of focus for us here in McGowans is in the direct mail market. We operate one of the fastest and most flexible machines on the market, the Gruntzmacher, with a capacity in excess of 1,000,000 items per month, at speeds of up to 10,000 envelopes per hour and the ability of packing up to 7 items into DL, C5 or C4 envelopes.
Of course, we don’t stop there, printing a vast array of occasion print, particularly for the wedding markets and event/award ceremonies. We are also the first printer in Ireland to launch a personalised print website, whereby customers can design their own photobooks, calendars, occasion cards as well as our new kid’s corner which showcases Irish artist Carla Daly, selling world maps, nursery door signs, height charts and so much more.
How long have McGowans been in business and how many people do you currently employ?
McGowans was established 25 years ago by Mal McGowan, who operated out of a small shop on City Quay in Dublin. Mal predominantly served the architectural markets with a rare colour copier and 3 employees. Advancement over the years has seen the McGowan team grow to 100 between 2 facilities in Dublin and Belfast as well as operating over 25 machines.
Where are you based?
Combined space of 100k sq ft across:
Unit 3 IDA Industrial Park, Poppintree, Dublin, D11EPR2
Unit A1, 17 Heron Rd, Belfast, BT3 9LE
Who are your target markets?
We have a broad range of target markets, spanning from print brokers to big brands and of course SME’s. We are in the process of obtaining ISO 9001 certification which will improve our business and management systems, as well as streamline and improve our efficiencies. This of course is all in an effort to enhance our service to our customers. Our expertise in retail is very much reflected in our longstanding relationships with Lidl, Primark and M&S, and more recently with brands like L’Oreal, and Brodericks, and with ISO, we will be able to penetrate the pharma markets which is an exciting prospect for us.
You’ve recently made a large investment in new HP equipment. Can you tell me some more about this new equipment and what it means for your business?
Investing €1m in the HP Indigo 10,000 was a decisive strategic move for the company, making us the first to market with this technology in Ireland. Its B2 platform keeps McGowans ahead of the curve and allows us to go beyond the smaller, digital quantities by bridging the gap between litho and digital. Not only in terms of quantity but also print quality – the 10,000 offers our customers the flexibility of digital and essentially allows McGowans to become a one stop shop service to customers.
It also allows us to produce more short-run personalised jobs and create larger format products using specialised substrates. We expect it to attract new business opportunities and expand creative possibilities available to existing customers.
What are the pros and cons of digital printing versus lithography?
The bridge between litho and digital is closing as advancements in digital technology from partners such as HP and Durst are vastly improving. Traditionally, there is a stigma attached to digital output devices as they were at best, rudimental in the early days. These days, we often outstrip the conventional devices on aspects like quality and productivity. It’s now not only a question of us being more affordable for short runs compared to traditional methods, but we can often improve the finished product in tighter timescales than other methodology.
What percentage of your output is for the direct mail market and how has this business been impacted by digital advertising?
In terms of DM in percentage terms, it’s currently 10% but the expectation is to double this growth to 20% over the next 12 months. The addition of the HP 10000 allows McGowans to print larger quantities which obviously compliments the direct mail market for industries like insurance and finance, for example, who send large volumes of DM to customers.
Digital has obviously changed the landscape of communication with the explosion of social media, however this market is saturated and studies have shown that people have a greater reaction and association to physical material versus virtual. Receiving an online communication omits engaging the senses – the sense of touch, and the physical side of marketing and advertising. As humans, we love to touch, hold and feel, and this can be delivered through direct mail. That’s why adding value to direct mail pieces through machines like the motioncutter only enriches communications with engraving and namecutting.
The Motioncutter looks like a cool piece of tech. What’s the take up been like for the personalised services such as name cutting and engraving?
It is a very cool piece of tech! We invested in this machine because we recognized designers in particular want to have access to technology that will give their design an added value. The cutting and perforation capabilities are quite standard, though still fascinating to see in action. But the two key advantages of the motioncutter is its engraving and namecutting functions. For really high end jobs such as invitations, and packaging, the laser partly mills the paper, leaving you with a visually stunning result on paper or paperboard. It’s also excellent for adding security features on tickets etc. The namecutting again adds an illustrative extra to something like a personalized invitation, where you want the recipient to be wowed by the piece of print. The machine itself is only in McGowans since June, so we are in the process of promoting it to design agencies in particular.
Can you explain to our readers what the Faster Displays Point of Purchase system is and what the advantages are?
If you are in retail or in any business in fact where you use the traditional roll up banners, then Faster Displays provide a trouble-free, economical option. We were thrilled to win the exclusive distribution rights for Faster Displays, which hail from a team of innovators in Barcelona. They had a vision to design and create a system that ends the difficulties automatic POP can create. Their invention was a simple, efficient, fast-assembly system that is revolutionizing the world of POP. We have found so many of our clients have tried, tested and continue to re-order from a range of over 25 designs, from exhibitor product stands and 3 shelve tables to a wide range of totem signage. It genuinely takes less than 30 seconds to assemble as it literally pops up, and looks sharper than a roll up as the gloss finish gives it such clarity.
You’ve also recently installed a Durst Rho 1312 in your Dublin premises. What additional types of printing will this equipment allow you to complete?
This investment adds to the company’s ability to attract customers in markets such as fashion and cosmetics due the quality it affords us at a digital level. It prints stunning high level quality with smoother tone levels, so printing cosmetic campaigns, as an example, will be no problem to us.
The Durst 1312 will also print at speeds of 650sq m per hour, which benefits our customers in terms of increased productivity and improved image quality. In terms of diversity, the 1312 prints across a range of applications from hard and soft foam sheets, up to 4mm thick, to aluminum, acrylic gloss, PVC papers and corrugated boards.
What’s next for McGowans?
It’s obviously been a busy 18 months for us here in McGowans! We have invested heavily, with €2m on new technology with Durst, €1m with HP and a further €240k on the motioncutter and its all with a view to growing the business. Rebranding the company has also been a refreshing journey to undertake as the new brand, coupled with new technology and recruitment reflects the McGowans passion and commitment to deliver the very best in printing and print innovation to our customers.
We’ve navigated our company through the harder times and are genuinely inspired by the upturn and motivated about the future. Delivering for our customers in ways that improves the quality of their products as well as increasing print speeds is of paramount importance to us, but of course we also want to attract new clients and grow the company. Between our two sites in Dublin and Belfast, we are confident that our future is bright.
What’s the best way for people to get in touch and find out more?
Call us, email us and let us call you – whatever works!
For further information or to discuss any business opportunities, please contact Conor McDonald @ +353 86 820 1958 or Brian Crawford in our Belfast office @ +44 2890 730 960
Alternatively please email [email protected] for a quote or call back today, or to request a sales brochure or sample Faster Display.
If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with me on [email protected]