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

IC Simplicity Publisher – March Newsletter

Dear Valued ICS Publisher,             
 
I hope this email finds you well and that you have had a good start to 2022. 
In a continued attempt to improve our services and communication to our growing number of greeting card publishers, The Imaging Centre will be sending a monthly newsletter to all our IC Simplicity Publisher members.
 
From the orders coming through, recent news reports and speaking with many publishers at Spring Fair, it would appear that the Greeting Card industry has had a great start to the year and we look forward to working with you all to make this our best year yet. 
 
Whilst orders and demand for cards continue to grow, and 2022 has had a really positive bounce-back, we do also need to consider the challenges that the industry still faces. As was recently reported in PG here, soaring prices and global supply challenges continue to be a very real concern and something we are keeping a very close eye on. At The Imaging Centre we have had the foresight to pre-empt this and have reacted swiftly in order to minimise the impact on our customers. We have fundamentally changed the way we order and invested heavily into the bulk ordering of all our stocked board in order to overcome the challenges we all face. Even with that, I believe there has never been a more important time to work closely with your suppliers. If you have any concerns or need to make us aware of any changes to your ordering then please do contact your account mangers so that we can be proactive in finding solutions.
 
As prices continue to escalate, we are having to find other ways to combat this to keep your prices as competitive as possible. One area we can do so is by further reducing waste. We currently have a minimum requirement of 6 cards of any single design, with quantities after that being completely flexible. However, in order to reduce waste by making the most of our sheets and to hold prices at their current level, we will be keeping the minimum of 6, but also introduce multiples of 6.  
Turnaround Times:
Since installing and migrating all IC Simplicity publishers onto our new integrated operating system and Store Front we have seen significant improvements in our turnaround times. Our aim is to continue to improve this, so we will communicate these with our customers each month. Please note that these turnaround times are an average and not a guarantee as other factors can have an effect, for a more accurate turnaround time on a specific job please do contact your account manager. 
Averages are calculated from date of orders received through IC Simplicity:
 
Proofs: 5 Working Days
Print Only: 5 Working Days
Print & Packed: 7 Working Days
Special Finishes: 9 Working Days
Special Finish & Packed: 12 Working Days 
You Said It, We Did It:
We have been listening to all the feedback from our customers on the new IC Simplicity Publisher platform and are working through the requests and suggestions put forward. This section of our newsletter is intended to bring you up to date with all of the latest updates available on the site and to keep you posted on other longer term projects.
 
Proof Portal – The proof portal is currently being worked on. We will be separating the proof portal from the upload portal in an attempt to simplify this process. We have also decided to increase the number of free proofs our ICS Publishers can order per month from 20 to 30. Please do note however, that proofs do need to ordered within a single job to receive them FOC. You will receive an update shortly on how to process proofs using the new portal.
 
Upload Portal – Many of you have requested access to updating files live so they can be ordered immediately. This is something which we will continue to work on, however this is not currently possible due to changes in how FSC has to be recorded.  We have now arranged to run a daily automated script so any upload requests should always be actioned within 1 working day and in most cases within a few hours.   
 
Category Folders – Another request we have had from many customers is to reinstate sub folders for your cards, to house them by range or category. We have worked on this and managed to apply a fix. We can now “tag” files by range or category, so you can search by a description. This is already in place and can be actioned on your site at any time. We only need to know how you would like to file your designs: e.g. Designs codes IC001 – IC025 = Imaging Centre Range 1. When typing Imaging Centre Range 1into the search function it will only pull in design codes IC001 – IC025.   
 
Packing Options – As some of you require different packaging options for different retailers multiple packing options are also now available, if you need us to apply to your site then please contact your account manager.
 
Job Descriptions – We are working on showing more job details within your order history so that you can view the PO or Customer Name. This is ongoing and we will keep you posted on progress.
New Products & Services at TIC:
We are currently focussing all of our efforts on improving our current offerings, however we have lots of plans in the pipeline for new products and service so please keep an eye out for updates. 
 
Also do remember (as it may have been missed in the madness of the past 18 months) that the HP Indigo 15,000 is now completely up and running which means that our capacity and ability to run larger runs is hugely increased. If you have a large order (10,000+) that needs quoting, then please just get in touch. Not only will we quote bespoke for the job, but we will include the quantity ordered on your next volume discount review.  
 
On the larger press we can now print single sheet gift wrap, which like cards can be ordered completely on demand.
 
If you would like to discuss any of the points above or put forward any other suggestions, we’d be grateful of the feedback.  
Kind regards
Adam & The Imaging Centre Team

IC Simplicity Retail

Our brand-new service – IC Simplicity Retail– is officially launching at this year’s Progressive Greetings Live. 

IC Simplicity Retail will bring the Publisher and the Retailer closer by utilising our IC Simplicity technology. Retailers will now be able to buy anytime, anywhere, from all of their favourite publishers completely on demand within a single order. It will allow them to buy and access more designs from more new publishers than ever before. 

One of the key drivers for this project was to further reduce our waste and our impact on the environment, so the new service has been created with this at its forefront. The environmental benefits of this new offering are huge.

• All cards sold through IC Simplicity Retail will be plastic free, supplied naked with recycled envelopes and paper banded into 6’s to separate designs and add protection during transit. 

• We can significantly reduce our carbon footprint by reducing deliveries, as retailers can order completely on demand from multiple retailers in one consignment, this will reduce multiple orders going to single locations particularly during high season. 

• All cards will be produced on our top of the range HP Indigo Presses which are C02 neutral and carbon offset and use vegan friendly inks. 

• Exclusive board specifically designed for us by suppliers GF Smith will be used for all designs, a unique new board only available through this platform. IC Simply Eco 300gsm is a smooth uncoated FSC Recycled grade, which has been tried and tested and ready to go. 

IC Simplicity Retail also benefits the publisher too. Since launching IC Simplicity in 2016 we have had more than 600 publishers of all sizes working with us and hope that we’ve learnt a little bit from all of them. 

We want to use this service to further help give our publishers back their time to design. We are taking IC Simplicity a step further by not just producing your cards and sending to the retailer, but also now providing the platform for you to showcase your cards for the retailers to browse and purchase 365 days a year. For each of your cards we sell to a retailer we will give you, our publishers, 20% of the value back. 

There is a small subscription fee to be on IC Simplicity Retail site, however we are offering anyone that signs up in time for PG Live all Fees Free until January 2022

If you are interested in joining this exciting new project, then please get in touch. 
Simon Davis formally of Greetings Today has joined us to lead this project and is contactable on 01622 871449 or by emailing him direct at simon@theimagingcentre.co.uk 

IC Simplicity: For the Publisher, For the Retailer, For Everybody. 

Welcome Simon

The Imaging Centre are very proud to welcome Simon Davis who joins the team as New Business development Manager.

Some of you may already know Simon from Greetings Today:
Mark Naish, Lema Publishing’s MD commented, “Simon has been an excellent member of staff and the Imaging Centre will benefit from his experience, I wish them both the greatest success, something I have little doubt will be the case“.

We have an exciting new service launching soon, and Simon will be making contact with you all over the coming weeks to discuss.
If you would like to contact him directly, you can do so simon@theimagingcentre.co.uk

New Product – Gift Wrap

We are very pleased to now be able to offer our customers 50×70 gift wrap!
The first test orders have already rolled off the press and been despatched.

If you would like to order, head over to our IC Simplicity Centre website here:
For more information about gift wrap or any of our other products please get in contact and we will be happy to help.

January 2021 Update

I’d like to start by taking this opportunity to wish you, your colleagues and families a happy and successful 2021. Whilst the latest restrictions are certainly not what we had hoped for the start of the year, we remain positive it’s going to be a good one. 

We are delighted to inform you that our move over the Christmas period was successful, and we are now up & running at our new facility in Marden, Kent. We very much look forward to welcoming you to visit as soon as we are allowed, and it is safe to do so. 

The installation of our brand-new HP Indigo 12,000 press, running alongside our existing Indigo presses now not only means that we can increase speed of production, but also offer longer runs. It will provide an opportunity for publishers of all sizes and print runs to move to on demand.

In addition to widening the types of jobs we can now offer, the larger press will also give us scope to be more competitive on other stationery products and also increase our product offering, including the introduction of single sheet Gift Wrap. From the survey we carried out in 2020 we know this product will be very much in demand and as a new product may take a little while yet to ramp up to full production, however we are delighted to announce that gift wrap is NOW available to order and is available at 500mm x 700mm on two board types: 
Silk (Garda Digital 130gsm)  
Uncoated (Coral Digital 120gsm)

Finally, I would like to thank all of you – our wonderful customers- for your continued support, particularly over the past 12 months. We really do appreciate every single order put our way and this move would not have been possible without you. We now look forward to a successful 2021 and being able repay you by providing you with an even better and faster service than ever before. 

Stay safe, and all the best for the year ahead
Adam and The Imaging Centre Team

Happy New Year – Happy New Location!

We have started 2021 in our new warehouse – and we have lots of images to share with you soon!

If you need to contact us, our new address is:

The Imaging Centre (SE) Ltd
Units 3-4 Cedars (Warehouse)
Units 5-6 Cedars (Offices)
Willow Business Park, Pattenden Lane, Marden, Tonbridge, Kent TN12 9QJ

Our phone number and email address still remain the same:
Telephone: 01622 871449   Email: info@theimagingcentre.co.uk