Privately owned and operated, Inkwise has transformed from a mainly coldset printer into a company that offers one of the country’s most diverse trade print offerings.
Born out of the Ashburton Guardian Print Works, Inkwise owners Steve Gallop and Bruce Bell have grown the enterprise into the only print company in New Zealand that offers coldset, heatset, sheetfed and digital under one roof. Operating as Inkwise since its 2014 move to Rolleston in Christchurch, the company’s team of 60 staff keep the presses running 24/7, six days a week.
Brent Goldsmid, general manager at Inkwise, says, “In the Guardian Print days we were mainly coldset, printing newspapers. Our first heatset press moved us into retail catalogues. Our newer technology Goss M600 now sees us in the magazine and catalogue market with a range of clients from Toolshed and Mitre 10 Mega to Stoney Creek and NZV8 magazine.”
One of only two heatset web printers in the country after the closure of Ovato last year, Inkwise provides print services to a range of businesses such as print shops, graphic design houses, and agencies.
Brent says, “As a trade printer we provide the opportunity for traditional sheetfed and digital printers to offer their clients a competitive alternative for larger publication runs that they may have previously not considered. They can keep their client with them across the full spectrum of their work.
This keeps that client close and avoids them looking elsewhere.
“Traditionally, web print does not have the rapid turnaround times of sheetfed work due to the number of publications booked well in advance. However, at Inkwise we can be a lot more flexible due to the nature of our business and our willingness to work with our print partners.
“Our ability to offer both web options, coldset and heatset, under one roof means we can do a greater variety of jobs, such as a newsprint text with a gloss art cover. No one else can offer that.
Inkwise’s management team clocks up around 130 years in the business and many of the company’s production team members have worked there since the Guardian days. There is not much they haven’t seen or done. Brent says, “We offer plenty of experience to help our partners come up with the right offering for their client.
“Right now, we see several New Zealand companies are ‘onshoring’ their catalogue work. Over the period of Covid-19, and with increased transport costs, printing offshore was not as attractive. Many of these companies have remained with us having seen the quality, turnaround, and cost benefits we provide. As run sizes have declined, the benefits of offshore printing have declined with them. Printing locally is a much better option now.”
Inkwise supports over 60 families in the local community, as well as support for local sports clubs and charities.
Brent says, “When you buy local from a locally owned and shareholder operated business, you are dealing with real people who have skin in the game. We care; our team cares; and we stand by our work. Buying offshore does not have any benefit for the towns our print partners do business in. Any profits we make stay here for the benefit of our communities. You might save a few hundred dollars buying offshore, but is this the right thing to do by your community?”
With solid commitments to the environment and print in general, PEFC and FSC approved Inkwise takes sustainability seriously, recycling plates, paper and chemicals. Brent says, “We firmly believe there will always be a place for print and we are seeing more and more research about people wanting the tactile feel, smell and look of a printed object. There is pushback on digital mediums and an inherent mistrust developing around social media and online scamming; it is hard to scam someone with a catalogue.
“While rising costs around shipping, distribution and raw materials make this a tough market, we work closely with our partners to ensure we have the right stock option, distribution channel and cost model to make it work. Again, skin in the game matters and where companies such as Inkwise thrive, it ensures clients have alternatives to the large entities out there that reduce the options available.
“We also value our mill direct relationships with mills all over the world. It is a horses for courses scenario meaning we can supply numerous options to suit the job and client. Inkwise has always bought reel stock direct from the mills, but we are now also securing palleted sheets from those same mills.”
He concludes, “As a New Zealand owned and operated business, we are not part of a large group that competes across all market sectors nationally. Doing trade work is a great way to increase your business without increasing your costs. We offer security and we work with our partners on a trust basis.”