Jenny Roper

For a younger David Lewis, the query ‘what do you wish to be once you develop up’ could have been barely tough. When your dad has named his printing enterprise after you and your sister Ruth, you most likely really feel no less than barely obliged to enter print.

Fortunately for each Lewis and his father Paul, taking up the household print enterprise was one thing he was more than pleased to do. Twelve years after Daru Graphic was based in 1971, 15-year-old Lewis junior joined the corporate, and ultimately took the helm in 1998.

Whereas nonetheless boasting the identical private title and really feel, the corporate has developed significantly because it was established. Initially a mono-only litho operation, the corporate “dipped its toe” into color work within the mid Eighties earlier than absolutely taking the plunge six years in the past in response to the altering wants of its prospects.

However maintaining with an ever-evolving market entails extra than simply migrating from mono to color work. As an organization specialising in quick turnarounds, Daru Graphic additionally wanted software program that may allow extremely automated job processing. 

“We first realised we needed to invest in an MIS in 2006,” says Lewis. “We were using FileMaker to estimate jobs, which was time-consuming and sometimes inaccurate. So we decided to invest in Tharstern’s SmallPrint.”

Labour saving
Whereas earlier than, workers needed to bodily retype particulars from a job bag to accounting software program earlier than estimates may very well be despatched out, SmallPrint automated this entire course of, eradicating any duplication of labor.

“In a small company, it’s important that you don’t waste labour on lengthy jobs,” says Lewis, “and installing an MIS also eliminated the possibility of human error.”

The SmallPrint system was good for the dimensions of the corporate on the time, says Lewis, however quickly one thing extra highly effective than estimating software program was wanted. The subsequent improve, Tharstern’s SmallPrintV4, was put in in 2008 and enabled Daru and its prospects to begin monitoring jobs all through the entire printing course of.

Quickly the corporate was nicely and really hooked on Tharstern and signed up for the subsequent version, Primo, as quickly because it was launched at Ipex 2010.

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For Lewis, this newest improve has introduced Daru nicely and really into the twenty first century. “Now I can really immerse myself in Tharstern and effectively run the whole business through it,” he says.

“As soon as we start a job with an estimate, every document, such as the first email, PDFs and RIP proofs that we might supply, is contained within that system,” he explains. “At the click of a button, you can open a job up and there are all your emails and artwork in the same folder. So we don’t have to go searching through archives looking for artwork anymore.”

That is notably useful, explains Lewis, in relation to a number of the blue-chip purchasers Daru caters for, who typically ask for proof of buy and POD particulars a 12 months after a job was printed.

“With the market as it is now, any edge you can get over other printers is crucial,” says Lewis. “Being highly organised and efficient gives you an edge.”

In addition to monitoring incoming jobs, Tharstern’s Primo improve additionally helps Daru handle its outgoing prices. Whereas beforehand the corporate needed to manually enter paper costs into its estimating system each time they had been up to date, now Lewis is distributed an e mail informing him that updates can be found to obtain to the Daru server. He simply has to hit the ‘update’ button when he goes on-line.

This once more, says Lewis, saves money and time, and eradicates the possibility of errors occurring.

One other method the Primo system aids transactions with suppliers is thru an inbuilt on-line ordering system.

“All I have to do is raise the order online and that gets despatched straight through to Howard Smith, Robert Horne or PaperCo,” says Lewis. “It saves a lot of time. And it goes straight through to the warehouse so we can place orders out of hours.”

It’s this potential to handle each ends of the enterprise in a exact and automatic method that Lewis feels is the principle good thing about the Thartsern MIS.

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“I became a heavy Tharstern user as the recession bit, and the amount of reports it gave me meant that, rather than just sticking my finger in the wind and hoping I was getting the price right, I knew exactly what I could offer,” he says. “That’s really important when you’re having to cut your prices.”

One other facet of the system that Lewis has been impressed by is its person friendliness. “What Tharstern has done with Primo is make it very Windows-based,” he says. “So if you’re used to Windows it won’t take long before you’re able to do some basic functions within the software.”

“Even back when we invested in SmallPrint, it was a very logical system to use,” he provides, citing this as the principle motive Daru opted for Tharstern over different contenders Optimus, Shuttleworth and Prinect. “You felt at home with it as soon as you looked at it,” he explains.

Receiving good-quality coaching from Tharstern has additionally been key to Daru’s workers feeling “at home” with the system, says Lewis. The crew got 10 days of coaching on the brand new Primo system, with a top-up day thrown in as a goodwill gesture, and any queries shortly answered on the telephone.

Stable assist
Service assist has additionally been available. “Tharstern’s back-up has been very good,” says Lewis. “There have been occasional problems, but then any software will have its moments. Nine times out of ten, it will be a small glitch, a tiny issue. But that will usually be fixed within 20 minutes or half an hour of placing the call.”

Lewis says that, as a result of Tharstern invested so closely within the newest replace of its MIS, one other improve most likely gained’t come alongside for just a few years. However he has had discussions with Tharstern, he says, a few new module that may additional combine in a single day supply costs into the system.

“That is definitely something we would be interested in,” he stories. “At the moment, we have found a work-around for the fact that a different overnight courier price will not be automatically factored into a job by the MIS. But it would be great if that carriage banding was automatically integrated into a quote.”

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Apart from this, Lewis is glad that Tharstern’s software program has just about all avenues lined. “Without wishing to sound sycophantic, I don’t think there’s anything much we wish it could do that it doesn’t,” he says.

And so Lewis would wholeheartedly suggest the software program to all different printers it doesn’t matter what their measurement. “Even if you’re a small printer like we were in 2006, SmallPrint allows you the chance to start small and then upgrade,” he says.

So to small household companies contemplating MIS software program, Lewis’ message is: make investments after which develop.


Daru Graphics was based by Paul Lewis in 1971 and was named after his two kids David and Ruth. Right this moment David Lewis is managing director of the corporate and it has developed from a mono litho printer, to a printer often “dipping its toe” into color work, into a totally fledged color brochure printer. Daru shares manufacturing amenities with Kingsley Print & Design, which boosts each firms firepower and means it may concentrate on fast turnaround work for a spread of commerce, blue-chip and print administration purchasers.

Why it was purchased…
The corporate initially invested in Tharstern’s Smallprint MIS in 2006 to scale back the guide intervention wanted for estimating. Daru upgraded to SmallPrint V4 in 2008 to additional automate estimating, job monitoring and deliveries, after which Primo final July. This newest improve has additional enhanced the automation of the system and is especially helpful in ordering inventory from suppliers and mechanically updating provider costs, says Lewis.

The way it has carried out…
Lewis has been very impressed with the velocity, traceability and repair assist offered by Tharstern. “Without wishing to sound sycophantic, I don’t think there’s anything much we wish it could do that it doesn’t,” he says.

Clarification: The Heidelberg XL75 five-colour press talked about within the authentic model of this  Me & My… is owned by Kingsley Print & Design, not Daru Graphics. The 2 firms share manufacturing amenities and a few press capability, however the pre-press and post-press tools can be owned by Kingsley.

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