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Ahead of the Curve

Anglo Printers

Rob Fletcher talks to Padraic Kierans, managing director at Anglo Printers, about keeping the business in the family and how it has adapted to continue its success in the industry

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(L to R) Simon McCormack, incoming president of Drogheda and District Chamber of Commerce, and Padraic Kierans, Anglo Printers’ managing director, as Kierans departed the position after two years

Adapting to print industry change

Printing has always been seen as something of a family business, with many sons and daughters following their parents into the market in one way or another. This could prove crucial as the industry strives to remain vibrant by bringing in new talent with fresh ideas.

Ireland-based Anglo Printers is one company where this focus on family is more than apparent, with Padraic Kierans serving as managing director and brother Peter as sales director. Their father founded the business back in 1983 and Padraic reveals that Anglo Printers looks set to remain in the Kierans family for some time to come.


Anglo Printers’ Padraic Kierans says: “We have a focus on investment in new technology to keep us at the forefront of the Irish printing industry”



“We have the next generation working here; Peter’s son is currently working as a print trainee,” Kierans says, as he describes the company as a family business.

He continues: “The business was created to deliver programmes and race cards for the horse racing industry, a specialist area that my father was a big fan of and had a keen interest in. We still provide these products, but they only form a small part of what we do. We now also provide print across a variety of sectors, including educational, publishing, finance, and leisure, as well as operating in the general commercial print sector with books, magazines, flyers, and business cards.”

Standing out

This commitment to change is something that has served Anglo Printers well over the years, as by establishing itself as a trusted print-service-provider in different areas, this has enabled the company to maintain a steady flow of work over the years.

Kierans comments: “What sets us apart is that we are a full service provider, so we provide a creative and a pre-press design department, as well as digital and litho printing, and a full finishing service.

“The print industry has been in decline in Ireland and the UK for a number of years, but we are seeing some good green shoots of recovery in regards to demand for print at a different level. We don’t have the same volumes that we would once have had, but we do have significant demand for smaller quantities, more frequently. This is where we have created a niche for ourselves; we are able to be very competitive at this level. We’ve built up a really strong reputation of being able to meet demand in a very short space of time.”


“We very much have a mindset to stay one step ahead of our competitors when it comes to investment, be it machinery or software,” says Kierans



Kierans admits that he did not initially follow his father into the industry after starting out as an accountant and later moving to the UK to work in the bar industry. However, since moving into print and taking the helm at Anglo Printers, he has discovered a love for print.

“I enjoy it, like any business it presents its challenges,” Kierans says, adding: “I still get a buzz from tendering for work, as well as talking to clients and creating relationships, and producing a product from start to finish.

I still get a real buzz from tendering for work, as well as talking to clients and creating a relationship, and even creating a product from start to finish


We tender for a lot of work and are very successful here, so we do a lot of work for the likes of Irish Rail, delivering to all their stations across Ireland.”

Setting up for success

Keen not to rest on its laurels, Kierans places an emphasis on the need for the company to expand, with Anglo Printers committed to an ongoing investment programme. Kierans says this is crucial to the company’s wider strategy as it strives to remain ahead of the competition.

“We very much have a mindset to stay one step ahead of our competitors when it comes to investment, be it machinery or software,” Kierans says, adding that this recently led Anglo Printers to invest in new finishing technology from Friedheim International.

In November, Anglo Printers installed an MBO K80 combination folder, which can run at speeds of up to 230m/minute, features touchscreen controls, and allows users to make adjustments to both the buckle plates and roller settings. Although the machine has only been in a place for a matter of months, Kierans says he has already noticed a significant change in production at Anglo Printers.


Anglo Printers is based in Drogheda, Ireland



“Because we are producing lower volumes but more frequently, our turnaround on jobs is more demanding, as we have less time to switch from job to job,” he explains, adding: “Rather than running at long run lengths, the K80 automation makeready was an obvious choice for us.

“At this early stage, we are seeing a 50 percent lift in our speed on section work. The machine was installed in November, and we have now also acquired a T535P MBO from Friedheim International. This is just going in now and we expect it to give us better options in smaller sizes and will allow us to move jobs quicker.

“We always buy our finishing machines from Friedheim because when you purchase a piece of kit from them, you aren’t just getting the technology, but also the after-sales and service they offer. Friedheim can help you maintain a machine in good shape for a number of years after and I think this really sets them apart from others. We have purchased a lot from them in the past five years.”

Friedheim can help you maintain a machine in good shape for a number of years after and I think this really sets them apart from others


Looking to what the future might hold for Anglo Printers, Kierans is very clear in his approach to business, saying that the firm will maintain its focus on investing in new kit to support its growth aims. Kierans also reveals that the company plans to upgrade its software in the near future in order to enhance its overall workflow.

“We have a focus on investment in new technology to keep us at the forefront of the Irish printing industry,”

Kierans says, adding: “We have business plans set for growth for the next three years, and the next stage of this will be to invest in new software to improve our workflow. We regularly talk with our partners to see what technology is out there, so that when we get the opportunity, we can have a look at this kit and possibly invest.”

Initially Anglo Printers invested in an Optimus print management information system and still uses it to this day, with a great relationship made with the Optimus team.

Investment in new technology may be a big commitment at first, but if you are able to identify the solutions that your business needs to grow, then this could be a very shrewd move that could help you gain a real advantage. Anglo Printers is a working example to show that this model works and with further movement planned in the near future, the company is only setting itself up for further success.


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