IC Simplicity Publisher – April Newsletter

Valued IC Simplicity Publisher, 

Spring is here, and the encouraging start to the year looks set to continue. A great Spring Fair was followed by a slightly (weather) interrupted Top Drawer, but no matter the challenges, both Mother’s Day and Easter seem to have shown growth on last year.  

Whilst things certainly appear to be getting back to normal on the greeting card front, we are still facing challenges with regards to supply along with continued and more significant price increases. As was mentioned in our last newsletter The Imaging Centre have acted swiftly in the way we buy, and I’m pleased to say that we have almost reached our required stock levels on all boards which has had a positive impact on our turnarounds.  

However, we are still faced with the challenge of more significant price increases from suppliers across the board as well as huge increases to our energy costs. As a result, we have had to look at all areas of our business to try and reduce the impact of these increases to our customers. We have already analysed and streamlined our board offering (details to follow) and we will also be changing our fulfilment options going forward. In line with our environmental responsibilities, and to help streamline our offering in order to ease further price increases we have decided that from 1st August 2022 we will be reducing our single use plastics significantly by changing all of our cello bags to PLA Bio Degradable Film. We will continue to offer naked (including banding in 6’s) and eco label packing solutions.

Even with these attempts at reducing the impact of escalating costs, unfortunately price rises are unavoidable and following our initial increase back in January we will be applying a further addition of between 5-25% (depending on product specification) on May 30th 2022. A full price list detailing the changes will be dispatched to you via email by the end of next week.  

So, with all of the above in mind, why not beat the increase and get your orders in before the 30th May, to benefit from your current rates.
Turnaround Times:
Our turnaround times continue to improve and at the time of writing we have reached our first goal of achieving post Covid turnaround times. Our aim now and always will be to continue to improve these going forward.  We have made significant investment over the past 18 months on improving our system with this aim. Furthermore, I can announce that The Imaging Centre has also recently invested over £120,000 in additional finishing machinery in order to improve our output of Special Finishes which will quadruple capacity and reduce turnaround times in this area.  
Proofs: 4.5 Working Days
Print: 4.5 Working Days
Print & Packed: 6 Working Days
Special Finishes: 9 Working Days
Special Finish & Packed: 10 Working Days
You Said It We Did It:
Proof/Upload Portal: The new proof ordering portal is now ready to use and will be available on the system 1st Mayst. Uploads can now be added separately to proofs speeding up this process and proofs can be ordered directly through your portal. All IC Simplicity Publisher Members receive a single free set of up to 30 proofs per month this will now be monitored directly in the way of a voucher code, which can be used once monthly by each publisher. Additional sets or requests for more than 30 proofs will then be charged accordingly.
Please use the code MAY2230 for your 30 free proofs in May. 

Banding/Bagging In 6’s: The option to band and bag in 6’s has been added to all sites within the “Extra’s” category.  

Site Speed: We have had reports of slow site speed, having looked into this we can see that the speed of your IC Simplicity portal is most impacted by the size of the files uploaded. Most files will be around 1-2mb in size however from these findings we strongly recommend not exceeding 40mb for any file as this will significant slow down your own portal’s’ functionality.  

Creative Portal: We are looking at introducing a Creative Tool to IC Simplicity publisher, this will allow those users that are unable to create their own artwork to use a very simple creative tool to put together, digitally approve and upload artwork from scratch.
IC Simplicity Retail Update
After launching IC Simplicity Retail in July 2021 and initially having a successful first few months we made the decision in early December to put the project on hold in order focus our attentions on our core publisher group to overcome the global challenges we faced and are continuing to work through. Now that we are in a far more positive situation and with turnaround times back to where they once were and continuing to improve, we will be re-launching the campaign bigger and better. During the down time we have been receiving more feedback from Publishers and Retailers alike and have made some significant improvements to the system as well as having some exciting coalitions in the pipeline.
Our goal remains – to make more of our publishers designs available to more retailers and to give retailers more choice than ever before whilst providing an environmentally sustainable buying platform. IC Simplicity Retail will now be available to all IC Simplicity Publishers as an additional benefit included in their annual Publisher subscription. There will be no additional charges to join.  

As well as receiving feedback from publishers we have also been in discussions with multiple retailers, it has become very apparent certain retailers are taking to the concept sooner than others. IC Simplicity Retail will remain open in its current format for independents to try out new designs and publishers. In addition, we will now be looking to grow the platform and offer it to multiples and national retailers, where we have received the most positive feedback and have some really exciting prospects already in the pipeline. IC Simplicity Retail will become a cloud based on demand brokerage system for these retailers and we will use our experience over the years of supplying them to make this next step as “simple” as possible for publisher and retailer. 

As part of our re-launch, we will be looking to take on a further 100 publishers onto the platform, to promote 20 designs (+5 seasonal designs) through this portal. The next 100 publishers will be allocated on a first come first served basis, if you are interested in joining at no cost then please contact simon@theimagingcentre.co.uk.
New to The Imaging Centre:
In addition to the creative tool being added to IC Simplicity Publisher, we would also like to give our publishers more access to our experience and resource, by offering creative services and publisher consultancy sessions, designed to help publishers get the very most out of their designs. From simple set up sessions, all the way to how to become a publisher The Imaging Centre will be there for you from thought to finish. 

 Please also remember we don’t just do small jobs. With rising costs there has never been a more important time to ensure that you have all options and information available to you. Our HP Indigo B2 digital press offers the normal flexibility, quality and efficiency of Indigo Digital print but bridges the gap on cost between digital and more traditional print methods. So if you are looking at larger orders but also reducing your risk, why not get a bespoke quote. The B2 press is available for all single orders over 10,000 cards. Not only can we quote these orders bespoke but they will add to your IC Simplicity Publisher volume meaning that you could benefit from better prices on all of your orders.  

That’s everything for now, we will keep your posted on any further updates.
Until then, keep creating and keep smiling. 

Kind regards 
Adam & all of The Imaging Centre Team