Stanford Marsh: Big Plans For Small Shops

Stanford Marsh want to talk to you, and they mean business. Their name might not be as familiar to copy shops as other major UK distributors but they plan to change all that, and they are in it for the long term, not some new kids on the block.The Worcester-based firm has a national network across England and Wales, with offices in Bristol and Derby, offering not just sales, but service, training and back-up on major manufacturers' products, as well as consumables.Founded over 30 years ago, it is a true family firm, with Chairman Stanford Marsh himself taking a keen interest in the current direction of the company. It was his vision of the future that turned the traditional drawing office equipment suppliers into a major force in CAD based large format plan printing.He saw that conventional methods of drawing plans and drafting would be changed completely by the advent of computers and digital printing and that architects, engineers and local authorities - their major client base - would be certain to make the changes.This wasn't an overnight revolution by any means, as original software and hardware was basic by current standards, but gradually the traditional hands on tools were replaced, or complimented, by digital alternatives.Matching the old with the new, the company also manufactured traditional map cabinets until recently, and still supplies them as branded items.

Spanning both disciplines gave the company not only history but an experienced eye on future developments. This is a company in it for the long term, not a quick sales killing. This means an interest in the continued customer back-up, not just an immediate sale, which is why a twenty strong sales force is matched with a similar number of trained engineers.With a total staff of over a hundred, Stanford Marsh prides itself that many individuals, from executives to van drivers have been with the company for several decades, underlining the personal investment in people as well as product.The head office, on an industrial estate on the outskirts of Worcester, is functional rather than flash, and while plasma screens and other hi-tech aids are planned for the training centre and showroom, it is very much because they will be useful rather than to just impress. When you have blue-chip clients like the Bank of England and Lloyds, as well as a number of health and local authorities, you don't need to show off. The name speaks volume.

The company expertise is in CAD and plan printing machines, both analogue and digital, and are able to sell and service kit from Océ, HP, Ricoh and Canon as well as Xerox. Because of their experience and long term view, they are interested in supplying equipment to fit customers' needs. They know there is no future in providing hardware that won't satisfy the need, and more importantly a correct placement will provide a happy marriage of client and supplier for years.What's got them particularly excited is the new Xerox 6204 which has the smallest footprint in today's market of any multifunctional digital CAD printer, offering copy, scan and network printing. This is a machine that could well be one for the copy shops making affordable poster prints available, as well as the established plan print market.

This 914mm width scanner and printer will go up to A0 plus on paper up to 112gsm, including tracing paper, and uses two roll options for output size. It can print 4 A1s per minute and is completely self contained if needed with touch screen scanner/print operation.It's a 256 greyscale printer but the scanner will recognise all shades of a colour original, taking it in at 600 dpi - much like a standard copier. It was designed to be a stand-alone solution for plans on major building works, engineering projects and the like, but as a result its frill-free functional form could well fit the bill in a busy, space-critical on-demand print shop.The toner-based machine delivers high-quality large format prints at a price inkjets could not even look at, and comparable with smaller copiers. Slim, fuss-free and functional this is a printer with a wide range of uses.Stanford Marsh can sell you other printers - they have a whole range of new and refurbished machines in the warehouse. They offer a free evaluation and estimation service and aim to tailor a printing solution to individual customer needs. They can take in and trade exisitng machines and have a finance department that can sweeten the deal.

Because they have their own fully-trained engineers on the road to back up all machines in their range they can offer flexible service contracts, again suited to customer perference. They maintain 90% of over 5,000 of their machines out nationwide at any one time, most of them being large format plan printers from the various manufacturers.A meterage charge on machines like the Xerox 6204 will cover everything including the media, using only the manufacturer's own recommended product. This is designed so that you only pay for what you have used, allowing ninety days credit in effect on new stock.

They may be CAD plan print specialists, but Stanford Marsh's years of experience in the industry give them a competitive edge in being able to offer a complete package to the copy shop. Give them a bell and see if they have a profitable solution for you.We agree with them about the 6204 and will be road testing one for you in the next issue.For more information call Stanford Marsh on 01905 458000, fax 01905 754057 or visit their website www.stanfordmarsh.co.uk