The Easy Signs success story
Easy Signs, easy by name and easy by nature. Their mantra is “making signs easy” and they back this up by delivering on price, quality and service.
So, what is the Easy Signs story, Andy Fryer, one of the Directors spoke to WFOL.
Where Easy Signs came from?
Just over 12 years ago, after having spent a couple of years reselling and then importing and selling massage tables (all online), Andy Fryer and his co-director Adam Parnell decided to make a change. Working with a local printer, they started up Easy Signs – a full service Print Shop.
|Andy Fryer - Director||Adam Parnell - Director|
Leveraging the experience of the local printer, they built a business that looked and felt like what a print shop looked like at the time. They started with a team of 4, a Roland XC540 Printer and a Roland Plotter, they sent the team out on the road, all over Sydney, to visit potential customers to measure, estimate, quote and ultimately sell and install signs. They built quite successful business employing at one time over 20 estimators, installers, admin and production staff.
The Easy Signs business, built up in the Sutherland Shire of Sydney, was growing to the point that they had to change premises to manage the business growth, but also the then 24 employees. Business was good, however Andy and Adam, who had strong IT and business backgrounds, decided that the pain involved in the normal print shop business, of having a team out on the road, measuring, quoting and installing signs, took away from what they saw as their core strengths; sourcing the raw materials (they had built up a strong understanding of and a strong network within, China) printing and production.
Andy and Adam, could see that as it stood they were like many other print shops in the tough Sydney market and understood that to really grow and succeed that they needed to create a real difference. They saw their future had to be in an online world.
Any major change/restructure of a business invariably involves a lot of pain, unfortunately more than half of the Easy Signs team at the time were made redundant and those remaining, including Andy and Adam, had to learn a new way of doing things.
Easy Signs today
Fast forward to today, what has Easy Signs become and what differentiates it from its market competitors. Andy Fryer told WFOL, that there are a few key competitive differentiators, including;
Turn Around – over 75% of their products are produced within 24 hours (there are a few exclusions including fabric, where there may be a need to import specific materials to meet unique customer requirements). There website provides clear guidance on each products turnaround times.
Customer Service – easy Signs has a 14-person “Happiness Team”. Their specific role is to work with all clients to ensure the best outcome. This involves responding to all customer enquiries, identifying possible issues before they occur, which also includes monitoring all online requests, ensuring that artwork provided by customers is correct and where required contacting customers. They have a target of responding to customers within 60 minutes.
Pricing – they pride themselves on being able to utilise; their bulk buying power, removal of the middleman in dealing with most suppliers (particularly overseas), utilising best in class equipment and continual process improvement, in order to provide the best pricing available in the market today.
Equipment – as noted previously Easy Signs utilise best in class equipment, this equipment includes:
o 2 x swissQprint Nyala2 UV Flatbed Printers
o 2 x HP3200 Latex Roll to Roll Printers
o 1 x HP570 Latex Roll to Roll Printer
o 1 x Seal Laminator
o 1 x Kongsberg XP44 Digital cutting table
o 1 x Tekcel CNC Router
o 1 x Fotoba Cutter
o 2 x Automatic Eyelet machines
o 2 x Rolls Roller Tables
o 1 x Miller Banner Welder
Drop into the Easy Signs website at www.easysigns.com.au and you will immediately get a sense of the importance that they place on customer experience. The site provides user friendly access to their online ordering system. There is also easy access to their Happiness Team, when customers have questions.
So how do they know that their customers are happy, they measure it. Using a software package called Trust Pilot, a few days after each transaction customers received a request (via Trust Pilot) for feedback. Whilst this may seam standard, what Trust pilot provides easy Signs is raw feedback. Easy Signs cannot go in and change, alter or modify the responses.
When a customer does provide negative, or less than glowing feedback, then the Happiness Team again swings into action – what can they do to rectify any issue and how can they ensure other customers do not encounter the same or similar issues.
Easy Signs understand that there will always be times when issues arise, but it is how you respond to those issue that is the measure of your customer service ethos.
Andy took great pride in telling WFOL that currently they have a 9.6/10 customer satisfaction rating, which in any business is an exceptional outcome.
The business world has also recognised Easy Signs, with a ranking of 23 on the Smart Company, Smart 50 list. They also won the Innovator of the year award for 2017, an award that historically is not awarded to manufacturing companies.
The Australian Financial review also rated easy Signs 55th, on its Fast 100 list for 2017. It rated highest of the 3 manufacturing companies on the list.
The future for easy Signs
3 years ago, on the back of growth, the Easy Signs business moved to its current Ingleburn premises. When they leased the property, they estimated that it was four times the size of their then business requirements. Leasing out half of the warehouse and production floor, they saw this as future proofing.
Today they are the sole inhabitants of the premises and are currently looking at additional space to utilise as storage, to free up the whole floor at Phiney Place, for production. This will provide space for new equipment, potentially more people and may open up new business opportunities that are currently swirling around the heads of Andy and Adam as they look to the future.
For now, Easy Signs continue to live up to their mantra “making signs easy”, or should that be “making signs, faster, easier, less expensive and providing exceptional customer service” – yes that may well be too long, but probably sums up this exceptional success story.