Solopress win Company of the Year at The Printweek Awards 2024!

Solopress wins Company of the Year

It’s our huge pleasure to announce that Solopress has been named Company of the Year at the prestigious Printweek Awards 2024.

The awards evening, held at The Brewery in London on Wednesday 6th March, was held by the illustrious trade publication Printweek, celebrating excellence in the print industry. This ceremony is the highlight of the print industry calendar, celebrating outstanding performance and innovation within the sector.

Out of 16 competitive categories, the ‘Company of the Year’ stands as the most prodigious award, honouring a company that exhibits exemplary success in various critical areas including financial growth, technological advancement, investment in human resources, and contributions to the industry at large.

Printweek describes this award as “the ultimate accolade in the printing industry”, a testament to the recipient’s leadership and comprehensive excellence across all facets of operation.

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Solopress was selected for the title following a rigorous evaluation process, recognising its financial accomplishments, strategic investments in cutting-edge technology, and dedication to nurturing a skilled and motivated workforce. 

Judged by a panel of industry experts, the Company of the Year award recognises the best all-round performance from a printer. The panel commended our first-rate commitment to sound financials, excellent service, technological innovation and team development.

The award couldn’t come at a better time, with Solopress currently celebrating its 25th anniversary year. Since 1999, the Southend printer has been providing exceptional print solutions to businesses and print resellers across the UK. From Flyers, Leaflets, and Business Stationery to wide-format print and branded Promotional Products, Solopress has consistently delivered quality, efficiency, and reliability. 

Solopress extends its heartfelt gratitude to its dedicated team, loyal customers, and industry partners for their continued support and contribution to its success. As we reflect on this significant achievement, we are invigorated to embark on the next chapter of our journey, driven by the ambition to further enhance our services and offerings. 

We’re dedicated to achieving excellence in every aspect of our business, and it feels great to have our efforts recognised with this award. This achievement was made possible not only by our dedicated team but also by our customers; we thank you sincerely for your support! 

How did we win Company of the Year?

2024 Printweek Awards

Ultimately, we won because of a stellar bid encompassing three appendices:

  • Human Resources schemes and company culture
  • Investment in our plant
  • Charities, community and the environment

Printweek added: “Solopress has been creating some sweet sounds of late judging by their recent financial performance. Since 2021, the company has significantly grown sales and profits, and last year it acquired more than 55,000 new customers.”

One judge for the awards added: “Achieving results like this in such a competitive sector, you can’t help but be impressed. This is one seriously well-run ship!

Human Resources schemes and company culture

Comprehensive employee benefits and dynamic Human Resources initiatives have fostered a culture where colleagues feel valued. By pivoting to prioritise the well-being of our people, we’ve ignited a robust team spirit that’s been instrumental in navigating challenging market conditions and consistently exceeding customer expectations.

These schemes included:

  • Summer party: Summer 2023 saw us invite our colleagues’ loved ones along to celebrate the extended Solopress family!
  • Christmas party: Our seasonal celebrations include a luxury hamper for all colleagues and a fully catered banger of a party!
  • Surprise & Delights: ‘Surprise & Delight’ days are funded from the £35k budget we set aside to celebrate colleagues which included Valentine’s Day, May Cupcakes, Easter, Halloween, Pizzas and much more!
  • Internal Newsletter: This year we introduced The SoloExpress, a monthly newsletter featuring a message from Simon, Colleague of the Month announcements, a competition with valuable prizes for winning colleagues, and various company updates or projects.
  • Employee schemes: Cyclescheme, Sage Benefits, Pensions: In October 2022, we implemented a salary sacrifice scheme to help colleagues boost pension contributions and take-home pay, alongside existing perks like our cycle scheme and Sage benefits.

Investment in our plant

To support our growth, increase capacity and serve an influx of high-volume customers, we’ve been pursuing an ambitious programme of investment. This has been ongoing since Simon Cooper’s arrival, during which time we have acquired the HP Pagewide T250, the HP Indigo 100K B2, two Agfa Anapurna H2500i LED Hybrid presses, two HP Indigo 10000 digital presses and a Kongsberg C Edge cutting table.

During the period under review, we have made the following investments:

  • Heidelberg Speedmaster XL106 10P and new production site: With the purchase of a Heidelberg Speedmaster XL106 10P press in October 2022, we’ve acquired the capacity for B1 printing. Our recent £5m investment and 10,000 sq ft expansion means we can now print onto B1 sheets. The result? Greater speed, less waste, impeccable print quality and increased overall production capacity.
  • Magnus 800 platesetters: We have three new Magnus 800 platesetters from Kodak that can create up to 62 plates per hour. The Speedmaster itself features Autoplate XL 3 that can change the complete set of plates in under a minute.
  • Additional finishing machines for B1: The new machines that we have added to our plant list to support B1 print include a StitchLiner MkIII, an HT300 three-knife trimmer, two Polar 137 guillotines, two Horizon iCE folders and two Pitstop high-speed creasers.
  • Agfa Oberon RTR3300: In June 2023, we announced the addition of the Agfa Oberon RTR3300, a dedicated roll-to-roll, digital inkjet printer. The Oberon’s dual-roll feature means it can print on either one 3.3m wide roll or two 1.6m wide rolls in dual mode. This versatile functionality allows us to be more responsive to demand by adding to the adaptability and productivity within our large-format department.
  • Fotoba XLD 320HS: To accompany the Oberon, we also acquired a second Fotoba XLD 320HS, a large format XY cutter that’s able to trim the super-wide rolls that the Oberon uses. 

Charities, community and the environment

The period from October 2022 to September 2023 has seen us develop our social responsibility efforts with a number of exciting new projects.

We’ve been honoured to work with an impressive roll call of local and national charities, making donations, providing sponsorship or producing free-of-charge orders totalling over £40,000 during the period under review.

Our charity partners over the last year:

  • Prost8
  • The Endometriosis Foundation
  • Southend RNLI
  • HARP – Southend’s Homeless Charity
  • Southend Foodbank
  • Lady McAdden Breast Cancer Trust
  • Herd In The City
  • Morph’s Epic Adventure
  • The Printing Charity

Sponsorships in local sports

Our involvement with local sport has reached new heights this year, as we became official front-of-shirt sponsors for Southend United Football Club, on top of our existing sponsorship of their North stand. That’s in addition to our continuing relationship with Chelmsford Chieftains Ice Hockey and championing promising local boxer Hamzah Butt.

The Environment

This year we’ve launched a functionality to allow customers to contribute to carbon offsetting jobs on our top selling products. We’ve also introduced a carbon offsetting tracker so that customers can monitor the weight of CO2 they have offset through their contributions. We achieve this through our relationship with Climatepartner who manage carbon capture projects all over the globe. Since launching this we’ve offset 186,746 kilograms of carbon dioxide.