A printer reduced to ruins in the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake has risen from the rubble to become one of the new stars of New Zealand’s premier print industry awards.
Spectrum Print has completed a remarkable success story, recovering from total decimation to debut as a Pride In Print Awards Supreme Finalist for its production of the Market Gardeners Ltd Annual Review 2014.
Having previously collected numerous Gold Medals at the prestigious print event, to win the Business Print Category and be acknowledged at the next level of quality is a massive achievement, says Spectrum general manager Guy Phillips.
This is particularly so when considering the very viability of its CBD-based business employing 60 staff was thrown into jeopardy just before 1pm on February 22 four years ago, he says.
“We were in full production and our factory ground to a sudden halt – it was immediately inoperable, with floors ruptured and liquefaction everywhere,” says Phillips. “Staff dispersed urgently to care for family/friends. The site was too badly damaged to return to and we never have.”
However, the firm quickly enacted contingency arrangements to ensure that no clients were left 'high and dry'. “We shifted a core production team temporarily to Wellington and Spectrum was run from Format Print during March 2011. All work-in-progress was shipped to Wellington for finishing.
“Our Blue Star sister companies were fantastic, every site weighed in to help. We also ran work at other Christchurch print shops and had Spectrum staff deployed around the city press-passing the work to ensure Spectrum standards.
“Our Heidelberg A1 SM102 press had to be shipped to Kuala Lumpur for refurbishment. We became a ‘virtual’ printer with customers and sales staff, but no press power. However, all Spectrum work was delivered and we’re proud of that.”
Phillips says all staff were initially retained on full pay. “Those who were not required were released to assist with food distribution in Christchurch. Those Spectrum families who lost their houses were shouted an offshore holiday courtesy of the company. A small gesture, but appreciated at the time.
“Unfortunately by July 2011, Spectrum had no choice but to make production positions redundant, having paid all staff for six months. We were able, however, to support local South Island printers, spending over $3 million across 18 months after the quake.”
Having retrenched to a core staff of eight or nine people and moving through three different office locations during the period, Spectrum was ultimately able to re-establish its production footprint in a large print-specific facility shared with Kiwi Labels in September 2013.
“Offset, toner and ink jet – the ‘new’ Spectrum has a wider basket of print capabilities than ever before. We offer high quality, full production capability utilising the most modern equipment across both offset, digital and wide format print,” Phillips explains.
“We have also been able to re-recruit some former staff and have now built back up to a workforce of 26. We’re excited to be here.”
Pride In Print Awards manager Sue Archibald says it is fantastic to see Spectrum both back into full production and clearly at the top of their game.
“It is a reflection of the grit, determination and amazing attitudes shown by our friends in Canterbury – not only to return after such destruction but be better than ever,” says Archibald. “This is a true reflection of what Pride In Print is all about.”
Despite the upheaval experienced since the 2011 earthquake, Phillips says his firm was never going to take a backwards step on quality.
“We have a longstanding reputation for impeccable quality, onto-it service and the best people in the local print market. The pride and quality in our work has been around from day one – something that will never change.”
Looking to the future, Phillips says the drive is to continue to grow in predominantly the local market.
“We are not trying to take over the world in the print space and are focusing on aligning ourselves with customers that want that extra quality, want to source print from a local producer and expect a high level of service.
“Our team loves the Canterbury region and is focused on helping our clients grow their business with the help of great print work. Spectrum Print has always had a reputation for high quality work and we continue to achieve this with the great people we have on board.”