Dundee printing firm Tradeprint was moving towards profitability before the Covid-19 pandemic sent orders plummeting.
125 of the firm’s 164-strong workforce have been furloughed as orders have reduced to around 20% of normal levels.
The virus hit at a time the firm was seeing the benefits of a multi-million pound investment in a new technology platform.
Newly filed accounts show Tradeprint’s revenues increased by 8.6% to £15.1 million for the year ending June 30 2019.
However, pre-tax losses for the company – which operates from two sites in Dundee – increased from £2.4m in 2018 to £2.8m last year.
Managing director Charlene Douglas said the firm was approaching profitability in the current financial year.
“Revenues went up last year and we also turned off some unprofitable revenue streams in the fourth quarter, otherwise our sales would have been higher,” she said.
“Trading this year has been healthier – we had a boost from the election at the tail end of last year.
“We were still not quite profitable but we’d been happy with how we’d been trading until Covid-19. We have 125 staff furloughed just now and we’ll bring them back as the volume increases.
“Other businesses in the industry are trading at between 10 and 30% of what they do normally. We are right in the middle of that range.”
Ms Douglas stressed that Tradeprint had been well supported by its parent company Cimpress which bought the Dundee firm in 2015.
As the only UK-based manufacturer within the global Cimpress Group, Tradeprint’s strategic importance has increased.
Uncertainty caused by Brexit helped Tradeprint secure additional revenues from other Cimpress companies, Pixart in Italy and Vistaprint, who both trade extensively in the UK.
Tradeprint was also the first Cimpress firm to deploy a new ecommerce platform that allows other printers to connect to the back-end of the software to become a fulfiller for products Tradeprint does not print in-house.
“It means it is easier for us to expand our product categories without having to invest in new machinery and worrying about start-up costs,” Ms Douglas explained.
“It’s a way to share Cimpress’ global capability throughout the world but we have also developed our own fulfilment network locally for certain specialist items we can’t print.
“If someone places an order on our website the order flows right through the platform and lands with them ready for production.
“It’s received great feedback. One of the things we have been focused on is delighting our customers in terms of product range, quality and delivery times as well as competing on price in a highly competitive market.
“A lot of our customers use us for the customer experience we give and the advice we can give them.”
Tradeprint has also advanced technical capabilities to connect to other companies’ software so that orders come through automatically.
Ms Douglas said the current workforce would be able to serve the business to around a £20m turnover.
Tradeprint recently donated 500 face masks to welfare organisations as well as providing free labels for hand sanitiser production to local distillers.