Image of a man using one of Sharp's Light Production Printers.

Direct Insurance Group revolutionises with light production printers and interactive displays.

With five offices worldwide and more than 120 staff, Direct Insurance Group prides itself on its service driven ethos, retained from the core family values inherent in its humble beginnings. Uniquely amongst insurance providers, the organisation operates both broking and underwriting divisions, allowing them to produce client work quickly. However, dated technology was threatening to derail growth by impacting their ability to transact business efficiently, and the outsourcing bill was mounting. Furthermore, the business wanted to impress clients and staff by elevating the appearance of their offices with modern visual solutions, which they also hoped would serve as an effective cross-office communication tool.

An image of booklets printing

Reliance on inefficient technologies and outsourcing

A primary challenge within the insurance industry is a slow move towards innovation. Neil Milner, Group Operations Director at Direct Insurance says: “Our industry has been slow to adopt technology, but our customers are wanting to save, so brokers are rushing to automate to meet that demand.” This can often lead businesses to implement inefficient environments, or not consider potentially beneficial devices.

With this in mind, Direct Insurance takes professionally printed proposals to the finance market on behalf of clients, and were entirely reliant on expensive outsourcing to deliver those proposals. Neil says: “We estimated that we were spending between £10,000 - £20,000 annually on outsourcing our client proposals and exhibition brochures.”

Furthermore, the basic printers being used company-wide “were very slow, which was manageable as a small company” says Operations & Facilities Manager at Direct Insurance Oral Fuat, “but as we started to grow we needed something that could facilitate a more professional approach.”

As well as streamlining, another consideration was security. Neil says: “In an increasingly connected world it was vital for us to future proof.” Oral Fuat adds: “We needed technology that protected our confidential documents from potential external or internal threats.”

Lastly, it was important that staff had the tools to communicate. They needed a solution that would look impressive to clients, but also allow for the employees to collaborate, and deliver on time sensitive projects. Neil says: “We’ve recently opened new offices, some out in the US, so communication is vital, particularly with a new branch.”

Yielding results with a consultative approach

Direct Insurance first approached Sharp simply looking to switch provider for a better service. “We went to Sharp’s central London showroom having an idea of replicating our current offering, just in better hands” says Neil. “We were initially looking to replace our two standard printers, but out the corner of my eye I noticed the larger brochure-capable machine. Out of interest we had a demonstration, along with a demonstration of some of Sharp’s other products, and we left thinking our print solution and offices weren’t where they needed to be.”

Therefore, Sharp’s first solution was to overhaul the print process. By installing an MX-7090 light production device, Direct Insurance would no longer need to worry about outsourcing costs. Neil says: “During our demonstration I was shocked with the quality of the device, it was print shop quality! After discussions with Sharp it was decided that if we reinvest those outsourcing costs we’ll make huge savings on our overheads.”

Furthermore, Neil says: “We’re really busy and growing, no one has the time to manage a print job or remove jams from an inept machine. We wanted the ability to print quality everyday materials at pace.” Cloud, mobile, and USB ready, it was decided that two MX-3070 multifunction devices, an MX-2651, and an MX-2630 would be a cost-effective solution, enabling users to print upwards of 26 full colour ppm. Additionally, secure print release fail-safes built into each machine would future proof documents, requiring a unique pin before the user specifies which machine to print to.

Sharp’s final solution was to bring Direct Insurance into the digital age by integrating next-generation Sharp visual solutions into its London Lime Street head office. An interactive BIG PAD touchscreen was proposed to provide an immersive inter-office communication medium, and to make presentations more impressive. Two strategically placed immaculate professional display screens were also selected to help elevate the general office appearance.

Customer-centric service, driven by technology

Now utilising Sharp’s Pro Series Colour Light Production Printing System for all their client proposal brochures, Neil says: “We’ve seen huge cost savings by reinvesting. Being able to print our outsourced documents in-house has given us more control, we’re more reactive to new business, and we’re not reliant on print companies. It’s so impressive to put something high gloss and fully bound in front of clients.” He adds: “I think each person getting one of those in meetings adds more weight to our message, it shows that we’re taking it seriously.”

By replacing their standard office machines with a light production device better-equipped to support the business, Oral Fuat says: “Everything’s so much quicker. The device has more storage which means I’m not interrupting what I’m doing every 5 minutes to refill paper or change ink. We can even customise the interface dependant on what we need, again streamlining everything.”

Furthermore, the devices are now secure. “What’s great about our new Sharp devices is being able to store print jobs on the device until we’re ready to release them” says Oral Fuat. “We don’t want anyone having access to confidential prints, so by having pin authentication on our machines our documents are more protected.”

Lastly, Oral Fuat says: “We have two professional displays, one in reception for clients and one in our kitchen and communal area for staff, both look sleek during meetings and client visits.” Neil also says: “The BIG PAD we have in our boardroom can be accessed from any of our global offices, we can deliver impressive presentations, you can make changes on screen and as you type they’re getting a live feed on the other end. It’s definitely improved communication and collaboration.”

He concludes: “Sharp have been fantastic, we came out of each meeting feeling refreshed and thinking there was actually a lot more we could be doing to take our business to the next level.”

If you would like to know more about Sharp solutions and how we can help improve your business reach, please Get In Touch for a demonstration.