All flags – Signs and Banners: West Australian and proud of it
WFOL had the opportunity to chat to Peter Wagener, managing director of All Flags and get some insights into working a successful signage and banner business in the “wild west”, tucked away in the outer suburbs of Perth.
Peter and Rhonda Wagener, are the owners of All Flags, a business that started way back in 1990. A business that grew out of a need identified by Peter back in his yacht rigger days. As a yacht rigger Peter amongst other things, built flag poles. He found that one of the most asked questions of him back then was “where can I get flags designed and built for my new flag poles”.
Out of this need Peter started what is now All Flags. A one man show to start with, Peter and Rhonda (who has a background in banking and insurance administration) steadily built the business. Initially the business ran primarily screen printing, creating flags and then spreading into banners and all types of signage.
A real watershed moment came when the All Flags business undertook a large banner job for a Perth church client at the turn of the century. Asked to produce 180, 3.4m x 1.5m screen printed banners – Peter and his team found that it was a nightmare job logistically and they just knew there had to be a better way. All Flags made the decision to move to digital, in fact they became the first print business in WA to go digital. The church banner job, which took weeks to produce back then, would now be completed in hours.
The move to digital also meant a complete revamp of the All Flags operation, requiring a complete update to all their equipment and technology. From that time on Peter and Rhonda have always ensured that they run only the best and most technologically advanced equipment. Today they are EFI's largest user in the region, and EFI’s most remote site worldwide.
As is the case with many companies to grow they have had to acquire other businesses, this has not been the case with All Flags, however Peter has always seen this as bringing the people with the right skills on board, not buying business or customer bases.
All Flags now employs 32 people, covering the skills required to complete a job from start to finish, from estimating and quoting, to printing, finishing, delivery and installation. They are truly a one stop shop, with every facet of their business run under the one roof. The only time that any work leaves their print shop is for powder coating and who knows this may change in the future.
As for equipment, with a new flat bed on the way, they will have:
Roll to Roll
• Vutek 5300 solvent printer 5m wide 4 colour 360 dpi
• Vutek 5330 solvent printer 5m wide 8 colour 720 dpi
• Vutek 5r LED UV printer 5-meter-wide 8 colour + white 1200x1200 dpi
• Vutek FabriVu 3360 3.2-meter-wide 8 colour oil based disperse dye 720 dpi
• Vutek FabriVu 340 3.4 meters wide 4 colour water base disperse dye 2440 dpi
• Vutek 1652 1600mm wide 6 colour + white UV 720 dpi
• Vutek QS2000 2m meter wide 8 colour UV 720 dpi
• Vutek LX3 LED UV 3.2m wide 8 colour plus white1000 dpi
• Vutek 24f sheet size 2400x1200 print bed, 4 colour + white LED UV 1200dpi
If all their machines ran for 21 hours they could produce around 50,000 square meters of high quality print in the one day – not bad for a business in the outskirts of Perth.
So, having the best machines and the right people is not the only key to success. Peter told WFOL that there are four key areas that business can use and promote, to drive their businesses, being; price, speed, quality and service. All Flags have chosen to focus on three of these – quality, speed and service.
If customers want something quick at a cheap price, using less than optimum materials then All Flags is not for them. They pride themselves on high quality, Australian made products that are value for money, meet the clients needs and very importantly go the distance.
All Flags believe that building relationships is the key to not only maintaining but growing a successful business and in saying that they still see “face to face” interactions being at the heart of what they do. Online is certainly a piece of the puzzle, but Peter and his sales/relationship team are constantly on the road, talking to their existing customers and meeting new and potential customers.
All Flags motto is “Creating better brand together” and to Peter and Rhonda that means, working as a part of their customers team, not as just a resource. Peter told WFOL that many of his customers are very pedantic and can at times be hard to deal with, but by working closely with each of them, understanding their needs, that they will and have built partnerships will last a long time – some of their clients have been with them for over 20 years.
All Flags is a true Australian business (West Australian business – if you ask the All Flags team), all its employees live and work in Perth. They do not have overseas partners, or even interstate contractors. The only time they use or purchase non-Australian products is when those products are simply not available from an Australian supplier. All Flags holds the Australian Made certification and is very proud of that.