Printer marks growth

WORLDWIDE Online Printing capped off nine years of growth by holding its first national convention for its 53 franchisees in Perth last weekend.

Founded in 1994, WOP has a unique business model based around two manufacturing hubs, in Perth and Sydney.

Managing director Clive Denholm believes the company is ideally placed to achieve further rapid growth and lift its market share in the printing industry.

“Printing is a $5 billion industry and there are no dominant players,” Mr Denholm said.

“There are 6,000 printing firms in Australia and 3 per cent is the maximum market share.

“There is so much inefficiency in buying power and processes. I think it is ripe for a player to dominate the industry.”

Mr Denholm believes WOP, while still a minnow with national turnover of $40 million, could be that player.

“In 10 years we could have a billion dollar turnover and 20 per cent market share,” he said.

The basis for his optimism is WOP’s hub concept, which allows each franchisee to handle design and customer service and send most of the printing to plants in either Cannington (if they are in WA) or Sydney (if they are in another State).

With other printing franchises, such as Snap Printing and Kwik Kopy, each store has its own printing equipment.

Mr Denholm said his business model uniquely took advantage of modern printing and communications technology.

“The hub concept gives you access to a wider range of products,” he said.

“It’s a solution to a national market.”

With overnight freight delivery to every State, Mr Denholm has no plans to establish additional manufacturing hubs.

“I would have a massive hub in Sydney before I would think about opening another one.”

Mr Denholm and his financial backers, who include Scott Print owners Dudley and Michael Scott, local venture capital firm Foundation Capital and Crystal Print, have needed deep pockets to get this far.

“In franchising, you spend millions setting up a system before you expand.

“We probably spent $4 million building the business before we made a return,” Mr Denholm said.

He said it was only 18 months ago that WOP finally started producing a profit.

Foundation Capital investment director Mark Dutton said WOP “fits exactly within our mandate, to back good managers with strong business models”.

WOP’s main business is still in its home State of WA, where it has 19 outlets.

This ranks it just behind another home-grown success story, Snap Printing, which has been going for 36 years and has 22 franchises in WA.

At a national level, the clear market leaders are Snap with 136 franchises and Kwik Kopy with 112 franchises.

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