img_7796The photo finishing world has changed out of all recognition since the introduction of digitalisation to the consumer market. With specifications improving by the month, digital cameras have become the dominant way for regular users to document their lives. This new technology has brought both opportunities and challenges to a North London business

Colour Division Ltd. started business in the early 1970’s as a specialist print and copy store. Over the years its core business has grown to include design, digital and litho printing and photography. Company founder David Jacobs feels an obvious affection for his customer base:

“We have a very wide range of clients, from solo entrepreneurs to large corporates. They all see Colour Division as a problem solver, and we see our clients as friends.”

A respected business in the area, Colour Division was aware that the trend away from film cameras and “wet” processing towards the combination of digital cameras and home printers created opportunities for increased revenue.

Colour Division decided to offer its customers the convenience of immediate and cost-effective printing of their digital photos using self-service terminals with the picture quality that only a professional printer can bring. And when it came to choosing a hardware provider that would have the expertise, product quality and technical know-how they needed, they had just one partner in mind:  Mitsubishi Electric. David Jacobs, himself a professional photographer for nearly 40 years, continues:

“We wanted to work with Mitsubishi because we felt their print quality is excellent and they have a great reputation.”

With over 80 years’ experience in providing reliable, high-quality products to both corporate clients and general consumers all over the world, Mitsubishi Electric is a world-leader in the design and manufacture of electronic products. The company’s printing solutions for the digital photographic industry are based on proprietary Dye Sublimation technology, which delivers significant advantages over ink jet and other traditional printing technologies in terms of durability, UV and water resistance, instant touch-dry and high speed printing.

After consulting with Colour Division and determining their needs, Mitsubishi were delighted to create the partnership that would see it debut its first UK-based digital photo high-street printing solution in autumn 2009. Mitsubishi Electric made its Flexilab solution available to Colour Division, along with new Easyalbums and Easycalendars.

img_7698Mitsubishi Electric has created Flexilab as a flexible production system that gives print retailers the advantage of being able to offer a minilab solution that generates immediate profits. Expandable according to use, it is designed to fit the needs of any business, from large to small. Mitsubishi Electric considered the likely requirements of Colour Division’s customer base and designed a system that was simple enough for the public to use, yet still capable of running high-volume jobs if required.

Two Click-Lite customer-facing order terminals take customers smoothly through the easy-to-follow ordering process and allow them to edit, decorate and create calendars or frames from their digital camera card, USB, mobile phone via Bluetooth™ or CD/DVD before selecting the desired print size.

A Click IT5000 processing terminal sends print jobs to the appropriate printers or MPU (Mass Production Unit) and enables Colour Division to be able to deal with customers’ orders quickly and efficiently. The Click IT5000 allows for simultaneous connection of up to six printers, as well as film and flatbed scanners.

Finally, Mitsubishi Electric installed two CP9550DW-S printers to enable production of instant 4” x 6”, 5” x 7” and 6” x 9”, full-colour, bleed-to-edge photos. To accommodate Colour Division customers requiring larger-format prints, the company additionally installed a CP3020DAE 8” x 10” and 8” x 12” printer, which is also able to produce either a glossy or semi-matte finish. Mitsubishi Electric’s new MPU dry lab system was also installed to cope with high-volume print jobs and offer a complete management control solution, allowing for production of up to 800 prints per hour.

Along with its new, cutting-edge hardware, Colour Division also offers Mitsubishi Electric’s Easyalbum and Easycalendars kits. The simple-to-use kits allow customers to create stylish photo albums and calendars that feature captions and decorations, ideal as keepsakes or gifts.

With the Colour Division–Mitsubishi Electric partnership in its infancy, how does David Jacobs view the success of its new digital photo printing solution and the effect it has had on their revenue?

img_6936“The new service has definitely helped people notice us more. The speed of the MPU print devices combined with the Mitsubishi software means we can print within seconds of the client choosing their photos. The superb speed alone is a major selling point, and when you add that to the amazing picture quality and great cost, it’s led to our revenue for photo printing increasing.”

Mitsubishi Electric is equally happy with the partnership. Paul Jones, the company’s UK Sales Manager, comments:

“Our digital photo printers coupled with Colour Division’s reputation for a reliable, instant and friendly service has enabled us to strengthen our product offering within the market place. We think this partnership will be a success.”

David Jacobs comments on the potential for development of Mitsubishi Electric’s digital photo high-street printing products: “They could fit well into copying and printing stores like ours, as well as stores where the staff are used to digital technology – specialist camera shops or mobile phone stores, perhaps. Or even grocers, supermarkets, and post offices.”

The photo finishing world continues to evolve, but Colour Division now faces the future with confidence. With a satisfied clientele, its photo development revenue increasing and backed by Mitsubishi Electric’s reliable after-sales service, Colour Division is overcoming new challenges and seizing opportunities.

Mitsubishi Electric Europe Visual Information Systems Division   tel: 01707 278684    email: printer.info@meuk.mee.com www.mitsubishielectric.co.uk/vis

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