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Interview With

David Carter, DecTek Q&A

A company that shows no signs of slowing down any time soon, we caught up with David Carter, business development manager of DecTek to see what the focus will be for the business in 2023 and beyond

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David Carter, business development manager of DecTek

No signs of stopping

Introduce yourself and your role at DecTek

I’m David Carter and I look after the commercial management within the DecTek business. This takes me to all different areas of the business from manufacturing, right the way through to pricing strategy and some of the overall business strategy as well.

And where did the name DecTek come from?

So DecTek was born 20 years ago by the passion of our managing director Mike and it stands for Decal Technology. We started off as a resin doming business making resin domed labels and trophy inserts for a variety of markets so that’s how we started life. But we’ve grown to be rather more than that over the last few years.

DecTek is based in Pontypridd, Wales and has two sites for both its brands, DecTek Trade Print and Big Bang Print

Can you give us a bit of an idea of the structure of the company?

Yes, so DecTek is our umbrella brand, the manufacturing facility and the financial side of the business. Then we’ve got DecTek Trade Print which is our trade entity purely focused our on trade clients, and then we have Big Bang Print which is focused on our direct -to-end-user business.

From a sales and marketing point of view, they’re entirely indepentent entities but we all share the same equipment portfolio in terms of our manufacturing capability. We’re very keen that our trade customers are kept completely separate and they’re not going to run into competition issues against our end-user business. It’s really important to us that commercial separation exists between the two parts.

What services do you offer to a trade business that could be scaling back what they are producing in-house?

Essentially the DecTek business has grown significantly in the last five years. As I said, we started as a doming resin business but we now have a massive capability. Everything from traditional paper printing, right the way through to packaging, right the way through to fabric printing, signage, pretty much anything you can think of on flat material, we can print to it and make something from it. We even have laser cutting ability within the business as well.  So we are a one-stop-shop really for specialist print and for customers to be able to grow their portfolio.

Where they might be selling a car wrapping portfolio to a company, that company will no doubt buy other print matter and materials, so that customer who’s supplying the wrap, can now supply all of that customer’s print requirements using our services.

As well as being a solutions provider, a big part of what you do is consultancy. You’re not just an online shop front. Do you want to tell us a bit about that?

Completely. Rather than being a faceless entity, we are real people and we’re here to help. We see ourselves a bit like the ‘A Team’ of print. If you can find us, which is relatively easy, we will come and help you to make your project a success and delight your customers. That’s what it’s all about. It’s creating really unique solutions that you can sell to your customers that are unique to your business and that gives you an edge rather than just selling standard ‘me too’ products that anyone can offer.

Can you tell us about what some of the main focuses are for DecTek going into 2023?

This coming year we’ll be increasing our capabilities. That’s some -thing we don’t stop doing. We’re constantly adding more equipment to our portfolio. So as an example of that, we’ve just taken delivery of a direct-to-garment printing facility, which is something new to the business, and we’ll kick off with that very soon.

We have dye-sublimation which is another interesting area for us and we’re growing massively with that. We’ve just taken delivery of a 3.2m HP printer with white capability for banner printing, so that will be another big area that we’ll be into, and wallpaper and wall coverings, we see being very exciting. So there are all sorts of stuff we’re going to be doing this year, and it won’t stop it will just keep on going and there will be more and more we’ll be adding to our portfolio of opportunity for our customers.

We have also identified that there is a need to bring in youngsters into the industry and this is really important to us. So, one of the things that we’re looking to have for the future as our facility grows, is an Academy of Print.

That will be open to colleges and university students to come and actually use the equipment and understand how it works in a practical sense. So rather than just having the theory, they’ll be able to come and work with our expert team and learn about how that equipment works.

The quid pro quo for us of course is that we get to hopefully meet some really great youngsters and bring them in through an apprentice programme that  we'll also have running here and they’ll be able to join the team. Then they will hopefully build up their careers within the industry and take their skills elsewhere as they grow.

You refer to your strategy as ‘Land and Expand’, can you tell us a bit about that?

Essentially we start small with a client, typically they’ll come to us for a solution to a problem and then we will expand by offering them a much wider range of opportunities that they probably wouldn’t have known about and we expand their capability and their business. Their business grows as part of our growth and it’s a great relationship. As they grow we grow, and vice versa.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

I’d just like to say that we welcome anyone to come and get in touch with us and discuss any projects they have, and we look forward to meeting you all.

How can people get in touch with you?

Through our website www.dectek.co.uk is the easiest, most straightforward way to get in touch.

Industry allies

A popular choice for DecTek when it comes to choosing its cutters is Caldicot-based International Graphic Supplies

DecTek recently took delivery of its fifth Titanium cutter, a Titanium 2516 with router. The first cutter, a Titanium 1816, was installed in June 2020 and since then, DecTek has also installed a Titanium 3032, and another Titanium 2516 with a router to support its labels, signage, and short-run packaging department. In January 2021, DecTek installed a Titanium 0806 for its digital print department.

Mike Beese, owner of DecTek, says: “We have invested over £1m in new equipment and took on extra production space. The business now has an enviable range of digital print, cut, and finishing technologies.

“The IGS team are a major part of this strategy, their Titanium cutter price and performance model coupled with the machine reliability has allowed us to expand our products to include short-run packaging, custom packaging, bespoke boxes, and transit packaging.”

In January 2022, IGS received the award for 2021 European Distributor of the year from JWEI, the manufacturer of Titanium cutters and Beese was the one to present this to the company.

[L to R] Mike Beese, owner of DecTek presenting Peter Flynn, managing director of IGS with the 2021 European Distributor of the year award from JWEI

Speaking about how the relationship between DecTek and IGS began, Peter Flynn, managing director of IGS, says: “Our relationship has grown over the last two or three years and I class Mike and most of the guys at DecTek as personal friends. We were approached by Close Brothers which we work with as Mike was looking to invest in a new cutter. He already had a Zünd cutter, but Close Brothers suggested that maybe before he made that decision, he came and had a look at our machine and I hadn’t realised that DecTek was just over a mile away from one of our early customers, Zenith Print and Packaging.

“So, when I spoke to Mike and I said ‘Oh there’s a machine at Zenith, let me send you the directions’, he said ‘well I can actually walk there’. So, he walked up to Zenith, saw the machine there, and said ‘Yep, that’s the machine for me.’ As he was handing me the order, Mike said to me ‘if this machine works like I think it will work, I shall be giving you an order for at least five’. And to date, he’s been true to his word.”

The relationship has grown to a point where when prospective customers approach IGS that may not have the budget at the moment to purchase a machine, Flynn says he suggests that they go to DecTek and some of IGS' other cutter customers as well so they can get used to cutting and the packaging designs before they make their own investment.

“Mike for me, I would say, is our number one sales guy because I take people there and I’ll park up and have a coffee and let Mike do his thing. I call it the Mike Beese experience,” Flynn adds.

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