Briconautes - Central Purchasing Agency
We paid a visit to the production site in Brive-la-Gaillarde (France), which prints all communication for a network of stores specialised in DIY and gardening, i.e. more than 400 Briconautes stores, affiliates, gardening centers etc. Briconautes is a subsidiary of Mr. Bricolage, group owner of the brand. It’s basically a kind of central purchasing agency. Its customers however are vastly different. Important to realise is that the budget and requirements of the umbrella company, in relation to its independent stores, is not the same at all. Another factor to consider is that local establishment is crucial when talking about DIY and gardening stores. Because of this, the central purchasing agency in Brive-la-Gaillarde needs to develop a wide range of products and services.
Products in user story: ValueJet 1638UH - ValueJet 1638X
HOW DO YOU CREATE A 360° COMMUNICATION?
Pointing at the two ValueJet 1638 printers, “with Mutoh, we are able to work on every classic substrate available on the market” explains François Dalcantarat, the agency’s Communications Director. “Every substrate” means both flexible and rigid substrates: banner (adhesive or not), backlit PVC, vinyl, micro-perforated films, M1 fire resistant or blueback paper, Dibond, PVC, Aquilux, magnetic and much more.
Catalogues, signs, loyalty cards, parking signalisation, commercial furniture, indoor & outdoor wide format prints, pricing displays: the entire retail environment of the stores network is being supplied by the Brive agency and produced using the two Mutoh digital printers.
“What I appreciate the most about Mutoh is the attractive ratio between ink consumption, the simplicity of the machine and its reliability. Both printers require very little maintenance and can endure huge fluctuation in the production without any diffuculty. We even let the new 1638UH run all night.” Even though having prior experience with Mutoh printers, François Dalcantarat still has to confess that the new 1638UH has allowed them to increase productivity by four times, a considerable asset.
At the Briconautes agency, you can find a workshop together with a graphic design and a commercial department, but also an audio & video recording studio, as well as an editing room. Radio advertisements, in-store ads, tutorial videos... everything is produced in-house. The agency offers a very wide range of solutions for its clients, with print playing a crucial role in this.
The print offering is based on the complimentarity of the two Mutoh printers: a 1638X for flexible substrates and a 1638UH for rigid substrates and special applications. And special they are! The team has to double its ingenuity in order to optimally use the limited production space, but in turn also open up new possibilities for their clients. “We divert the printers from their common use on a regular basis. We want to produce what’s not yet on the market: LED light Aquilux pedestals, foldable totems for podiums and receptions...” The site has even printed kilometers of tarpaulin that served to guide real, living frogs during a rescue operation.
PERSONALISATION : MARKETING FOR ALL AND MARKETING FOR EVERYONE
The stores receive a catalogue of 80 to 100 pages, which shows them the range of possibilities. Nonetheless, at Briconautes, personalisation reigns. A paradox for a central purchasing agency? Perhaps not. The agency runs a network, but supports its individual stores. Audio and video ads are customised for each region, each event and each store and are on top of that produced in-house. As for the workshop: “We have a 1638X for flexible substrates, a 1638UH for rigid substrates and specialty applications, a Ricoh printer for variable data, an Evolys card printer and for finishing: an EBA and Steeltrak cutter, a Neolt and Fotoba cutter and a Major and Pitnez Bowse folding machine. The workshop corresponds to our limited available space, which allows us to satisfy all requests.” With a machine park like this, the agency can personalise the entire production. In other words: the printing is custom-made.
From small to wide format, the production tools exploit every personalisation opportunity: ranging from adapting to a store or event, up to adapting to the end-customer.
Supported by the variable data of Ricoh and the card printing of Evolys, the 1638UH is part of the personalisation on multiple levels: POP advertising on demand, personalised catalogues and loyalty cards, adapting to the store’s style and client names. The agency is also developing its graphic design department in order to satisfy an increasingly personalised demand. “We have to support our clients’ marketing and their development.”
All of this starts with advice, but in order to follow up, the production tools have to be very versatile. E.g. A client wants to stop catalogues because he isn’t satisfied with the ROI. The agency suggests him to reduce the amount of pages from 24 to 16 and launch a street marketing campaign. They tell him not to worry and print a 16-page catalogue, flyers to distribute and street billboards for in the streets. As a result, the client’s company has been able to improve its communication and enhance its relationship with its customers, thanks to the catalogues and the local event. Marketing thought it, digital printing did it.
The network stores are even pushed to come up with new ideas and new developments, adding the missing final touch: personalisation of the point of sale. In this way, the company finds itself printing wallpaper for one and decorative frames for another.
Personalised products on demand of the customers, a trend of retail marketing and a new model for the sales points of the stores network. The standardised production typical for a central purchasing department takes on a completely new form thanks to digital printing and the versatility of the two Mutoh wide format printers.
To deploy the visual communication of the franchisees and independent stores throughout France, the Briconautes central purchasing agency required robust multifunctional tools. The choice was made to use wide format printers of Mutoh, more specifically the 1638UH LED UV hybrid and the 1638X.