by | 5 September 2019 2:47 pm
By Jason Cramp
TG Graphics was founded in 1981 in Montreal. The company started as a small enterprise, selling personal computers to the general public. In the late ’80s, the focus of the business changed when it became one of the first Roland distributors in Canada, carrying a range of products from pen plotters and vinyl cutters to high-performance, wide-format printers.
Through the years, the company has evolved to offer a complete line of brand name materials, equipment, and qualified technical service. It provides solutions for companies seeking to start, grow, or expand their businesses in all areas of signmaking and durable graphics. TG Graphics prides itself as being a service-oriented company, and its small business philosophy has been the cornerstone of its operations since day one. As such, TG Graphics is now divided into four solutions, each providing a mix of equipment and material to make it a turnkey solution: printing, dye sublimation, engraving, and computer numerical control (CNC).
In 2011, the company expanded into Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba to serve the signmaking industry across Canada. This year, TG Graphics teamed up with Epson America to open the first Epson Solution Centre in North America located at TG Graphics’ facility in Mississauga, Ont.
Sign Media Canada recently spoke with Al Proulx, the president of TG Graphics, to discuss the reason for opening the technology centre, what it will showcase, and what benefits it offers to print and sign shops.
Sign Media Canada (SMC): Why did TG Graphics partner with Epson to open this print technology centre?
Al Proulx (AP): Fifteen years ago, most customers wanted to see the printer in action prior to making a purchasing decision. Many buyers were just joining the industry and, as such, they had little or no knowledge whatsoever of printers in general. They came to our facility to see the equipment before diving into the printing industry. As the industry became more mature, the need to see the printers seemed to wane, and customers started to buy equipment largely based on specs they read in brochures or on the web. However, it seems like we have now come full circle.
Most print and sign businesses are once again interested in seeing the printing equipment and many also want to truly test the printer’s capabilities. The reason for this change is fourfold:
SMC: Does the technology centre showcase more than just Epson printers?
AP: Our partnership with Epson has allowed us to showcase a wide range of Epson printing equipment that caters
to various market segments such as the sign industry (S Series), the dye sublimation industry (F Series), the promotional industry (DTG Series), the photo reproduction and proofing industry (P Series), and the technical industry (T Series). Although we cannot carry the entire Epson line, we currently have seven Epson demo printers and potentially more to come.
Although TG Graphics’ core business has always been the wide-format printing industry, our partnership with Epson will expose our traditional clients to new printing applications and, in turn, it will expose TG Graphics to new customers, too.
That said, the technology centre features much more equipment. As mentioned before, in addition to selling other brands of printers, we also want to educate customers on the importance of finishing equipment to the overall success of their business. After all, depending on the type of print jobs, finishing can be labour intensive and human error can be very costly. With the increase in wages and the difficulty in finding qualified staff, finishing equipment is the best way for owners to start increasing margins again.
SMC: How can a print or sign shop make good use of this technology centre?
AP: First of all, everyone is welcome to visit us anytime. However, to maximize the experience of our demo centre, it is recommended that customers schedule a demo. One of our reps will follow up to make sure they understand the customer’s expectations. This will allow us to be better prepared and tailor the demo based on the individual needs of each customer.
Some customers will only want to see a generic demo, which basically means they just want to see the printer operate before making a purchasing decision. This simple demo can be very efficient and will typically take between 20 and 30 minutes.
Other customers want to see how the raster image processor (RIP) software works; they want to see runs on different printer platforms to compare colour gamut and production output before making a final decision. We also offer customers the possibility of running their own files and print media if they want. This type of demo will typically last a few hours.
We also have customers who want to see a full production environment. Basically, they want to see a file printed, laminated, cut, and mounted. Our demo centre is designed to accommodate these requests. This is particularly useful for people who are fairly new to the industry and want to get a better understanding of the full process of delivering a job. This type of demo will also typically last a few hours.
Finally, we allow more experienced print and/or sign shops that are looking for industrial finishing equipment to perform tests or even run a small-to-medium size job using our equipment. We know running a job will allow shops to better understand the true return on investment (ROI) of the finishing equipment. It is not uncommon for TG Graphics to spend half a day with customers who need this type of demo experience.
The important thing to know is our sales and technical support team is there to help educate customers. Whether it translates into a sale or not, we are confident that transferring as much knowledge to the customer as possible is always a good thing. Clients who are better informed are more confident and are better prepared to convert challenges into opportunities.
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