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Interview With

Howard Mead

Jo Golding talks to Howard Mead, sales director of C&T Channel Matrix, who began in the industry at a young age, and how the sector is a hidden gem because of the passionate people who run it

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Howard Mead, director of sales for C&T Matrix

Excited for the Future

What is your professional background and what do you enjoy most about your role?

I have been working in this fantastic industry since I was 17 -years-old, so 31 years on and I still love it!  I started my apprenticeship in a folding carton company working through various production roles, until I became a production manager looking after die cutting and finishing. This was a great foundation which enabled me to move into a technical sales role.

I think this industry is a ‘hidden gem’ filled with lots of passionate people who get a lot out of what they do. I enjoy working with my customers and many of them have become good friends over the years.

How has the company grown over its time in business?

C&T Channel Matrix (C&T) started with a manufacturing centre of excellence in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire.

The head office for C&T is based in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire

We have seen significant growth over the past three years, becoming one of the leading suppliers for creasing matrix and associated products, worldwide. We have acquired several businesses to give us a foothold in major markets such as China, USA, Italy and India and we are looking at several other opportunities over the coming year to increase the Group further.  We also operate in over 100 countries through our distribution network.

For those who are unaware, what type of products does C&T Channel Matrix supply?

Every printer, folding carton or corrugated manufacturer needs to crease (score) and cut or perf their product in some form or another. It could be a simple crease down a B1 sheet to cutting and creasing a pharmaceutical carton or corrugated liner. C&T has a tangible portfolio of product solutions.  We have extensive technical expertise to really help our customers; this expertise is becoming more relevant when choosing supply partnerships due to the challenges of substrates, for example recycled board.

What products or machines from C&T Channel Matrix are you most excited about currently?

Innovation is our primary focus. We have a very strong internal development team made up from our engineering and technical sales teams. We have the resources of the extended group, as well as our associations with university development teams on long-term projects. This helps us to have a continual stream of new, exciting and innovative ideas.

C&T has over 60 years of experience in research, development and manufacturing

C&T has developed several ground breaking products in recent years: The Rapido Matrix is for fast application and for dealing with commercial print issues such as challenging capacity found on folders. The Corrugate Matrix is ideal for thinner recycled liners, also point of sale display with heavily printed litho-laminated products. Then the PINK Matrix is perfect for long running printed jobs that need excellent crease quality and can be chamfered easily by operators.

Self-Adhesive rubber profiles such as new Easy Sprint are used to eject the substrates off the cutting dies. And finally, the SPEEDPIN and KINGPIN are new innovative ‘pins’ that are used in the folding carton market to speed up the make ready process on Bobst and Iberica equipment

What do you think are some of the challenges print companies face and how can they overcome them?

Pressure is on production — we hear a lot about small marginal gains and that is what helps to differentiates many printers. Being able to produce as efficiently as possible, with minimum make-ready time and by maximising up-time and reducing waste, is essential. Printing presses are now capable of unbelievable speeds of 1800sph.

Pressure is on production — we hear a lot about small marginal gains and that is what helps to differentiates many printers

Finishing is still playing catch up. However, this is the area where big gains can be made. If you look at the detail, there are lots of small things that production teams can implement to gain quicker production.

C&T has released a number of innovative products

We have helped many finishing companies, folding carton and corrugated convertors improve their production process, not only for the end user, but for internal departments, for example a client has seen benefits to the folder gluing area within its business. Increasing production efficiencies will give improved cost of sales, reduce waste and increase profits. 

What ambitions does C&T have for the future?

C&T has a very clear strategy; create value for our partners by creating winning relationships.

C&T has a very clear strategy; create value for our partners by creating winning relationships

We will continue to grow our business organically with more acquisitions in the future and with further forward integration into our distributor network. C&T is looking forward to an exciting future!

Key stats

  • Mead started working in the industry at just 17-years-old
  • C&T Matrix has over 60 years of experience
  • C&T started with a manufacturing centre of excellence in Wellingborough
  • Innovation is a primary focus for C&T

For the full interview go to www.printmonthly.co.uk and search ‘Mead’.
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