Virginia Hayward transforms print processes with Apogee

Virginia Hayward transforms print processes with Apogee

UK-based business, Virginia Hayward, which sells a range of luxury gift hampers, is now able to work ahead of schedule by seven days, with 80% less man hours required – all by engaging with Managed Print Services (MPS) and Outsourced Document Services (ODS) from Apogee.

The client

Offering a range of luxury gift hampers to suit any occasion, Virginia Hayward typically operates with 115 full-time employees – except in the lead-up to Christmas, where an influx of temporary workers triples staff numbers to cover the increased demand. Operating out of one central site in Shaftesbury in Dorset, Virginia Hayward prints tens of thousands of dispatch labels a day.

The challenge

In short, the frequent performance issues of Virginia Hayward’s existing MPS was having a detrimental effect on productivity – and in the lead-up to the festive period, this affected not only the dispatch team, but interrupted work in other areas of the business. Furthermore, it was also damaging the standard of Virginia Hayward’s service, since bespoke print materials could not be produced reliably.

The main challenge was that, while Virginia Hayward aimed to send hampers accompanied by high-quality labels with bespoke messaging, its existing MPS was not sufficiently equipped to produce the desired materials consistently. This resulted in frequent print jams, especially during high volume print runs.

This was a particular issue during the months leading to Christmas. Due to the increased demand, Virginia Hayward’s dispatch team was forced to forgo producing the high-quality labels to avoid print jams – instead having to downgrade to simple A4 sheets in plastic envelopes. However, having to fold these sheets to fit the envelopes proved to be a heavy manual burden on the team, meaning that many colleagues from non-related departments had to routinely stop working to assist, in order to ensure that orders were met on time.

To overcome these issues, Virginia Hayward needed to transform its processes – especially since, as well as continual issues with productivity, its image as a luxury brand was being damaged by basic labelling materials when faced with a lack of a better option.

The solution

Following conversations with Apogee’s team, Virginia Hayward engaged with a number of services to transform its processes – including MPS, Creative Print, Print Management, ODS and AutoMail.

Firstly, the entire site was subject to a full print audit. This illuminated that Virginia Hayward, under its previous print provider, had been working with a multitude of different types of print equipment, all originating from different companies. With only an internal IT department on-hand to perform repairs, the combination of different models and toners made this a needlessly complicated process.

In order to streamline processes and bring the client’s printing up to a consistent standard, multiple new specialist label printers of the same specifications, model and toner were provided through a full MPS. These machines were the most suitable available on the market, since, as a multi-brand supplier, Apogee is free to offer products and services that are not limited to one single brand.

This also freed up the time of Virginia Hayward’s IT department to focus on more important strategic tasks – and since this MPS also included Apogee’s 24/7 print support within the price, this meant that the client could proceed without needing to expand its IT team.

The second step was to redesign the high-quality hamper label to be compatible with the updated printers – with a change of stock, appearance, design, tactility and acetate being proposed by the Creative Print team. Eventually, a new design that was befitting of a luxury brand was finalised, following regular reviews with the client.

Thirdly, assessment of Virginia Hayward’s workflows – namely, when processing information to print on the label – were found to be inefficient, with staff having to manually collate information stored across multiple databases. This process was streamlined exponentially by transforming it into an automatic workflow, through the introduction of sophisticated print management software – with full on-site training provided.

Lastly, further efficiencies have been created through Virginia Hayward outsourcing high-volume print runs through Apogee’s AutoMail service. Now, print marketing campaigns such as the Christmas brochure – a print run of 40,000 copies – are printed and sent directly to customer homes through Apogee’s ODS Facility.

The outcome

“Before, the most efficient we could get in our dispatch department was to be able to provide work for the current day, plus one in advance,” said Alex Walker, Head of Operations at Virginia Hayward. “Under Apogee, we are able to cover the current day, plus seven; with the number of hours that our dispatch team are working reduced by about 80%. When you consider how we were operating in 2021, the change is incredible.”

Increased efficiency is a direct result of engaging with this combination of managed services. Upgrading to a MPS has allowed Virginia Hayward to achieve its goals of delivering high-quality bespoke labels, to the high standard that is expected of a luxury brand – with device uptime maximised and technical support readily available when required.

Similarly; staff time is being utilised more effectively with the help of both the automatic processes provided by the Print Management software and the physical production of marketing materials through Apogee’s ODS.

Another advantage to this increased efficiency is that Virginia Hayward has made significant steps to being a more sustainable business. Not only has waste been reduced significantly – most notably, with the usage of plastic envelopes no longer being required with the new high-quality labels – but the reduced man hours have also resulted in considerable energy savings.

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