Client Spotlight: The Lab Print Finishing

Andrew Carracher from The Lab Print

Die Cutting & Creasing Services of Edwardstown is a company with more than a 20-year history – but it now boasts a new owner, additional services, and a new name: The Lab Print Finishing.

New owner and director Andrew Carracher previously worked in the advertising industry, but he had been looking to buy a business for some time.

“This one kind of came from nowhere,” says Andrew. “I don’t have a background in print finishing, but some of the skills I have are adaptable no matter the industry or widget.”

He explains that since COVID, more printing is happening in Australia due to environmental factors such as travel miles and an increased demand for books and printed materials (despite recent technology trends), and more is being done on demand in smaller, but more frequent, print runs. The previous owner had built a healthy business and Andrew saw the potential to streamline operations, increase production output, expand services and add a piece of equipment that would reduce costs.

Their team includes 14 people, all of whom are experienced in the industry, and services include laminating, foiling, embossing/debossing and spot UV varnish, as well as die cutting. They’ve also started making aluminium blocks for embossing and doing hot foil stamping, a service they will offer to the printing industry.

“Our purpose is to bring clients’ print to life,” he says. “The practical function of our business is to embellish printed material and make it last longer, look better and feel better, so that our clients’ work stands out and gets noticed.”

The team works with one of Australia’s largest book printers to provide all print finishing and book covers. They also do a considerable amount of work in packaging, including for the wine and spirits industries, and all types of commercial printing work, ranging from business cards to wedding invites, brochures and more.

“We work with some iconic brands such as Penguin Publishing, Simon & Schuster, Harper Collins, Random House, Cadbury, Haigh’s, Adelaide Hills Distillery, and hundreds of others,” he says. “It’s always interesting to see our work on the shelves at book shops, in the supermarket or bottle shops.”

Challenges along the way

Although Andrew has only been at the helm for 18 months, he’s already faced his fair share of challenges including global paper shortages, staff shortages, buying and installing new equipment, and dealing with the buyout of a major client.

“There’s a bit of an endurance mindset when it comes to facing challenges,” says Andrew. “It’s like running a marathon, and you need to deal with issues as they come up, then have a plan with the best-case and worst-case scenarios.”

“Personally, I just love a challenge, and the harder, the better,” he adds. “Operating right at the edge of knowledge or stress, making decisions and reacting to situations is what makes the business planning and operation satisfying.”

Building a great business

Andrew believes that a great business is one that is stable, diverse, has staff consistency and is constantly evolving to meet and create new markets.

“Being stable allows you to plan for the future and predict where the clients are going to come from, so you can schedule production consistently,” he says. “Providing more services and products not only increases your potential for revenue shifts, but it also keeps the business interesting for yourself and your team.

“At the end of the day, a business is the energy of the staff that are involved,” he states. “Allowing them to create and craft their trade in an interesting environment is key to that.”

That energy seems to be flowing nicely, as the business has already increased turnover by about 20% in 18 months under Andrew’s leadership.

Accru Harris Orchard’s role in the journey

Andrew first came to Accru Harris Orchard when he was considering buying Die Cutting & Creasing Services about two years ago. Since then, he’s worked with James Orchard and members of the Accru Harris Orchard team, who serve as a sounding board, help with managing cash flow, and assisted throughout the purchase of the business and its new equipment.

Andrew says, “Accru Harris Orchard has been with us from the start. Their input through the purchase of the business was instrumental in assessing the risk, and their work in dissecting the numbers gave us confidence that what we were purchasing was in fact the business that we were going to be operating.”

He adds, “Our quarterly catch-up meetings have kept us on track and will allow us to move forward, creating a stable and viable business. I just know whenever I pick up the phone to call them that they always have the answers I need. Above all, they’ve given us the confidence that we’re on the right track in what we’re undertaking. James has really taken the time to understand our business and the people in it.”

Future of the business

Andrew explains that over the next few years, the team will work to realise the platform they’ve put in place with the new pieces of equipment, taking on new work, further streamlining processes with automation and building partnerships with clients.

“Ultimately, we’ll work on owning the whole customer journey, through a great service ethic and quality product,” he says.

To learn more, visit The Lab Print Finishing website.

Want to learn more about how Accru Harris Orchard can help you build a great business? Contact our team today.

About the Author

James Orchard
His unique selling point could be described as ‘getting’ it quickly. James has a real ability to grasp what clients are looking to achieve. He builds a clear picture fast, making sure that businesses can see the wood for the trees.

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