Making Our Mark in Data-Driven Print and Imaging.
imageData Group is a family owned and managed business that leads the way in data-driven print and imaging. With its roots firmly in the Yorkshire and Humber region, the company was founded in Beverley in 1983 by Roger Birkin. The company made its mark by introducing printed barcoding technology into the UK and has continued to forge ahead, excelling in variable data printing and the management of the complex data to print requirements for the retail, corporate and public sectors.
Benefitting from a gap in the market, with a factory on Priory Road in Beverley and offices close by on Flemingate, the business grew quickly. In 1989, the company moved into colour printing, staying ahead of the competition and building on their ever-growing customer portfolio. As a result, the establishment of Image Colour Print occurred, creating colour backgrounds using lithographic technology. In the early 1990s, imageData Group was formed and in 1994 the company purchased and moved into a purpose-built site at Willerby, East Yorkshire, housing the head office departments plus a lithographic and screen print factory. Following this, the Group achieved record growth and Roger Birkin further expanded the business with the acquisition of a Leeds-based print company.
In 2007, imageData Group invested heavily in a 68,000 sq. ft. eco-friendly plant in Howden, East Yorkshire, strategically close to motorway networks for both the north and south of the UK. This site houses a range of advanced digital presses as well as pick, pack and fulfilment services and is regarded as a high-tech site of digital excellence with many environmentally friendly features including; motion activated lighting, water collection from the roof for cleaning purposes and a wildlife pond.
Roger Birkin remains Chair of the company and is still heavily involved in the business, always striving to keep ahead of the game in technology, plant and equipment. There are 220 employees within imageData Group, 197 of which are across the two East Yorkshire sites. 60% of their workforce has been with the company for five years or more and they have a culture of promoting from within. For example, a member of their IT department studied a BSc in Computer Science and Information Engineering at The University of Hull and has worked at the company since graduation. He has worked in various roles within the IT team, building up his experience to become a software developer and most recently being promoted to Client Systems Project Manager.
imageData Group also owns a small format digital print company based in Brighton, specialising in secure print and personalisation. From here, they are perfectly positioned to serve customers in the south of England.
The Group has a total of 170,000 sq. ft. of print factory space across the 3 sites. Helen Birkin, daughter of founder Roger Birkin, is imageData Group’s Managing Director for the corporate, trade and public sectors. Helen joined the business in 1999 at the age of 18 and has been with the company ever since.
The company’s annual turnover is now £23m and it has achieved year-on-year increases in turnover. imageData has over 280 clients within the Humber region from a wide range of sectors including; retail, manufacturing, construction, leisure, publishing, local authorities, educational establishments and marketing agencies.
This is a growing company which continually invests in new machinery and technology. In the last 4 years, imageData has invested £5.5m+ on new plant machinery and equipment, keeping the company at the forefront of print technology. In fact, they were the first company in the UK to install an iGen-150 digital press providing near lithographic quality, perfect for high volume printing and high-spec quality images and purchased the world’s first Inca Onset R40iUV large format digital printer. In 2007, the company had one digital printing press and now they have eight, one of which is an Inca Onset X3 large format UV inkjet press worth £1m and installed December 2015, taking digital print technology to another level. imageData Group’s Managing Director for retail, Paul Price said; “This machine is the first of its kind in the UK and is the fastest, highest quality flat-bed machine on the market today, in fact it’s twice as fast as any other digital printer we have. In the world of technology, everything changes so quickly, shelf lives are short and we don’t want to get left behind, investment of this level is crucial for us and our clients’ future requirements. Technology will continue to drive the way we shape and develop our business”.
But it’s not just about printing, imageData has strong data processing and IT capabilities, all of which are a great benefit to their customers, often saving them considerable amounts of time and money. As well as advanced finishing, collation and packing services. This is a company with many USPs; innovative, data and technologically driven, fast and flexible but first and foremost responsive to customers’ needs. Helen Birkin said; “we pride ourselves on providing wide ranging and bespoke services, we can provide small labels or large building wraps, we can print on many substrates, from material as thin as voile to solid oak doors. Sainsbury’s was our very first client and remains a client today, we are extremely proud of the longevity of our customer portfolio”.
imageData is a progressive company that creates opportunities and delivers to the full, from acquisitions to joint ventures. This is a company that has developed many local partnerships with suppliers and distributors. “We use over 200 suppliers from within the HU and DN postcode areas, including four large local transport companies; we also obtain many of our raw materials locally. Encouraging the local supply chain to grow creates long-term economic sustainability for the area and improves overall quality. Long-standing relationships, quality and service are key to our business”, Helen continued.
This business model is working, imageData is now a dominant player within the UK’s print industry and is set for continued growth and innovation for the next decade and beyond. A report by Smithers Pira, a worldwide authority on packaging, paper and print industry supply chains have estimated that the total digital printing market will reach 225% of the 2013 value by 2024. imageData Group’s strategies for the future include; achieving a turnover of £30m+ by 2020, keeping abreast of technological advancement, further investment in machinery, growing their workforce and doing more business locally.