The quaint city of Uxbridge, England seems hardly befitting as the home of Britain’s most prominent private printing ink manufacturer, but knowing that Shackell Edwards is also the United Kingdom’s oldest private ink company proves the site more appropriate for the historical establishment.
Founded in 1786 on London’s Fleet Street, Shackell Edwards prides itself on its heritage and contribution to the development of the ink industry in the UK and Ireland while maintaining its unique service and quality.
As one of the only manufacturers to boast of its legacy in the ink industry, the company recently finds itself having to compete with larger industrial conglomerates mainly stemming from continental Europe; thus, its status as the oldest ink manufacturer in England depreciates over the years.
“Unfortunately, the history of the company doesn’t stand in good stead anymore,” David Tait, sales editor for Trimite, a privately owned paint company in the UK, lamented.“The fact that we’re the first private ink manufacturer in the UK doesn’t matter if the product isn’t up to [the job].
“In 1986, we published a history of the company, but most companies abroad are modern and don’t care how long you’ve been in the industry,” he added.
So how is Britain’s oldest and most productive private ink manufacturer able to keep its head above water in heavy competition with European producers?“The European manufacturers are more interested in bulk production,” said Mr. Tait.Shackell Edwards is able to “manufacture specialized products” and cater to individual customer needs because of its locality and privatization.As a guarantee of speed and customer satisfaction, Shackell Edwards’ Colour Mixing Service promises a rapid reproduction of any specific ink employing color blenders to match the customer’s request.Mr. Tait claimed the company is “not as automated as the European manufacturers,” partly because Shackell Edwards does no exporting of its own goods and can produce “smaller and more specialized” results.
In an effort to reinforce the benefits of its local service, Shackell Edwards promotes its Technical Support team:a group of chemists that provides on site assistance to printers.With three manufacturing sites and nine service centers, the company assures immediate and efficient responses to customer service demands.
Owned by Trimite, a 65-year-old privately owned paint manufacturer in Uxbridge, Shackell Edwards’ individuality and historical personality is not affected by the ownership of the larger corporation.Trimite manufactures in the U.S. as well as the UK, and expands by selectively acquiring smaller manufacturers whose specialized products augment the company’s product collection.
“Trimite is private as well,” stated Mr. Tait, so Shackell Edwards is not affected by its ownership and “remains privately owned still.”
Shackell Edwards now prepares for the competitive industry by updating its technology and product selection.Having recently come out with a new range of Impact inks and Jewel, a range of silver inks, the company aims at moving at the forefront of the industry by constantly improving upon its well-established product quality and customer service reputation.
No longer able to rely on its heritage or historical status for customer dependability but maintaining them as vital facets of the company’s character, Shackell Edwards focuses on promoting its steady product enhancement and its performance consistency.With a progressive history behind it, Shackell Edwards is sure to uphold its position as Britain’s oldest and number one private printing ink manufacturer for decades to come.
Specialization, Service are Shackell Edwards’ Strengths
By Juliana Kenny, Ink World Associate Editor