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Communisis’100-year-old marketing business gets a modern transformation with help from HP


“HP offered more
than just a printer—they
offered graphic arts

— Andrew Lydiatt
Group business manager, digital

After years of struggling with the question of quality versus quantity, UK-based Communisis discovered that, with the right technology, you really can have both.

Quick facts

  • Communisis turned to the HP T300 Color Inkjet Web Press to produce highly personalized customer communications.
  • The company also counts on a number of HP Indigo digital presses for high-quality short runs.
  • The HP Exstream software platform revolutionized the way Communisis handles its data.

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For more than 100 years, the marketing services provider has produced quality marketing products, including direct and transpromotional mailings, for its customers. But recently the company’s conventional printing devices were starting to prevent it from keeping up with the competition. That’s why Communisis decided to refresh its business with digital printing, and it chose the HP Indigo press 5500 as its launching point.

According to the managing director of Communisis’ specialist production and sourcing division, David Rushton, choosing HP just made sense. “Technology moves very quickly,” he explains. “The one thing we had to get right was quality output that would meet the market requirements. That was the main criteria in terms of selecting HP.”

The HP Indigo press 5500 proved to be so successful that just after installing the first press, Communisis bought a second. It also added two HP Indigo press w3250s for higher-volume work. Then the real transformation began in early 2010, when the company installed the UK’s first HP T300 Color Inkjet Web Press.

Higher quality, lower costs

The revolutionary HP T300 web press has transformed Communisis’ digital offering. The company can now produce higher volumes of personalized color prints and offer a range of new formats, thanks to the press’s breakthrough production speeds of up to 400 feet (121 meters) per minute.

Andrew Lydiatt, digital group business manager at Communisis, says, ”The personalization capabilities of the T300 and the HP Indigo digital presses enable something of the immediacy of the personal online web experience in print.”

Andrew Lydiatt

“Now we can create
virtually everything on
demand: millions of
runs of one.”

And, by adding full-color personalization and variable data using its new web press, Communisis can offer customers the newfound ability to send high-value, targeted direct mail pieces.

Making sense of data—efficiently

At the same time Communisis installed its HP digital presses, it also invested in its prepress and data management software. For this side of its business, the company turned to a different kind of HP solution.

“We manage very large amounts of data for our customers,” Lydiatt said. “This ranges from basic name and address details to CRM records that include buying habits, sales and billing information and full-color images. To enable us to handle all that data efficiently, we became a preferred service delivery partner for implementation services associated with HP Exstream.”

HP Exstream pulls together data for the most relevant channel, whether to feed email campaigns or Communisis’ digital presses. So, although customers supply data in a variety of formats, the HP Exstream handles it.

A powerful combination

The combination of the HP T300 Color Inkjet Web Press and HP Indigo digital presses has also allowed Communisis to designate certain printers for highly specific tasks, increasing the company’s efficiency. And with HP Exstream, job scheduling has become easier.

The increased capabilities of its HP presses are already attracting new business. In fact, in March 2011, Communisis installed a second HP T300 Color Inkjet Web Press as the company’s digital printing work continues to grow. Lydiatt explains:

“Having the flexibility of all our HP presses has brought
more customers to the full-color variable data market.”