Signs of Quality, Technology and Success

Kemsigns Group

“We have always been on the cutting edge of sign making techniques and technology,” Mr McCabe says. “We have evolved from hand cutting vinyl to buying one of the first computerised Gerber Edge vinyl cutters. We were also one of the first digital printers in the country.”

Headquartered near Melbourne, Kemsigns Group’s attention to detail and its dedication to innovation and technology have helped it earn a stellar reputation in Australia and New Zealand. Every detail, from the artwork and the material and design specification, to the use of quality materials in the manufacture and installation is attended to carefully.

Kemsigns’ professional team is trained to design, print and install signage to meet the needs of even the most exacting of customers. Kemsigns’ services not only include supplying and installing signage, but project management and store fit-out requirements for retail clients.

The diverse array of signage Kemsigns creates includes shop front signage, indoor and outdoor signs, light boxes, Corflute (tradename for corrugated plastic sheeting) signage, industry and safety signage and signage for events or sponsorships. Lettering services include cut vinyl, 3D, foam, architectural and acrylic lettering. The company also designs banners for occasions such as exhibitions, corporate functions, sporting events, weddings, anniversaries and birthdays.

The company is highly regarded for its car wraps – large panels of vinyl that are wrapped around a vehicle. These wraps can be applied to any type of vehicle including cars, vans, trucks, motorbikes, buses, golf carts, boats, mobile billboards, service trucks, trailers and even airplanes. Eye-catching designs can be created with full colour high resolution photographs to capture the attention of potential customers. The wrap can also protect the paintwork of a vehicle against stone chips and minor scratches.

Kemsigns provides a wide variety of high quality products for multiple uses such as window frosting, feature walls, magnets, poster prints, stickers, self-adhesive labels, acrylic domed badges, product identification labels, business cards and other items that promote the brand identity of its clients.

In addition to all this, Kemsigns produces a range of products made of recycled plastic diverted from landfills. These include bollards, fencing, a variety of signs, street and park furniture, litter enclosures, wheel stops and kerbing sections, pathway markers, traffic cones and speed restrictors like speed bumps.

Kemsigns has other environmentally friendly practices such as its “Harvest” program. This is a manufacturing waste material recycling partnership with Transpacific Cleanaway, one of Australia’s leading recycling, industrial services and waste management companies.

Also, the company has invested in upgrading its resources with the latest and most technologically advanced digital printing and cutting equipment which consume less energy than their predecessors. In 2010, Kemsigns converted its Mimaki JV5 Format Digital Printer to the Digital “Eco” Ink System. This produces eco-friendly ink product for digital print applications and offers a more accurate colour reproduction and longer lifespan.

To design and develop this vast array of products, Kemsigns maintains an on-site design studio to accommodate the business needs of its clients with services that include design consultation, brand identity advice, logo creation, general graphic design, marketing material design, 3D design and drafting, illustration services, custom artwork, reproduction, re-branding and advertisement design.

Kemsigns’ equipment includes a Tekcel CNC Custom Router, which cuts woods, metals, plastics and composites used for the creation of 3D products and shapes. The company also has three Mimaki CG Series plotter / cutters to create unique and stylish form-cut designs and shapes to accurately replicate a client’s specific branding requirements. This process can be applied to a wide variety of material substrates, including reflective, matte and gloss vinyl, Lexan and more. Kemsigns is also an authorised 3M Converter. 3M provides Kemsigns with the latest products and materials needed for signage and car wrap installations.

Mr McCabe says that Kemsigns’ investment in technology makes its signs stand out in the market; but educating its clients about the advantages it can provide poses an ongoing challenge. The 2008-09 worldwide financial crisis had an impact on the company, as a lot of clients were downsizing and cutting budgets for signage. According to Mr McCabe, while a lot of regular work is coming back, it can be a challenge for Kemsigns to compete with many of the smaller companies who may undercut its prices.

“A lot of companies compete with us by lowering their costs,” he shares. “A company like ours has expensive, specialist, state-of-the-art machines, experienced staff and amenities. Other companies may save costs by employing fewer and less experienced staff and using less advanced technology and lower quality materials, and be able to offer cheaper signage. But the essential issue for clients is, does that company have the knowledge, experience, resources and technology we can provide?”

To combat these alternative companies, Kemsigns emphasises quality and safety and educating clients on the importance of these factors. “Most people don’t understand the difference between high-quality signage as opposed to the cheap signage in the market. It all comes back to quality, health and safety – having high-quality reflectors rather than the cheaper reflectives which don’t achieve what the client needs in terms of visibility and longevity. Kemsigns uses prismatic reflectives because they reflect back on more angles while metalised reflectives only reflect back on a certain angle. This difference is especially important when it comes to vehicle safety because high-visibility is needed on the side of road signage.”

Mr McCabe says that educating clients about the advantages of the company’s products comes down to good old-fashioned research and due diligence. “We contact the buyer and determine who is in charge of the project. Sometimes, it takes time to get those names, but once we do, we emphasise the safety benefits of our signage.”

Kemsigns uses products and core materials that meet stringent acceptance levels and avoids using cheaper imported products. There is great importance in using material that provides customers with quality products made in Australia. “We emphasise selling the high quality end of products because we’re aware that the $2 per metre vinyls won’t last in the Australian sun,” explains Mr McCabe.

Another way Kemsigns stands out from its competitors, is in its approach to discovering the needs and wants of customers. One client is in the process of rebranding and renaming. It takes a lot of work to facilitate a project like this and it involves a great deal of communication. Mr McCabe elaborates, “We have to know ahead of time which colours and materials to work with. We are constantly going back and forth with the client, demonstrating which colours to fine-tune, and supplying them with the brand and colour specification and outdoor life expectancy of a particular product. Then we have to incorporate this information into their signage manuals. There is considerable work involved when a customer wants to create a design, create artwork around those ideas and drawings, approve the artwork, and then manufacture the signage. We’re available every step of the way during the process.”

This dedication to quality and service has helped Kemsigns build a strong portfolio of clients including Mazda, Parks Victoria, Wacker Neuson, Bendigo Bank, McCall Security, Terex and Varley. Subway Restaurants are another notable client with whom the team has worked for a number of years installing signage at its restaurants throughout Australia. According to Mr McCabe, Subway has been so pleased with the work that it has been recommending Kemsigns to other companies throughout the country.

Other projects include the constant ongoing rebranding of State Emergency and Ambulance Services (SES) trucks and stations throughout the State of Victoria.

Kemsigns has ambitious future plans for expansion, including moving into larger headquarters, purchasing laser equipment, and starting large scale manufacturing for pylon and LED work. “We’re also looking for business partners who are interested in becoming part of a wholly Australian owned and operated franchise and opening more stores in other states,” shares Mr McCabe.

Kemsigns has enjoyed success for over three decades by providing quality material and investing in the latest technology for its products. By educating its customers and clients about why high-quality signage is important, as well as listening to customer needs to provide perfectly customised solutions, Kemsigns will continue to be one of Australia’s premier sign manufacturers and installers. Mr McCabe always advises clients, “Don’t just look at the price; always look at the quality, and ask questions about the product so your company knows that Kemsigns will give you what you need.”

Making Sense of Management

Management is the art, or science, of getting things done through people. Sounds fairly straightforward – except for the fact that people are not robots waiting to do our bidding. People have their own minds, motivations, and goals. So how do managers keep operations – and the people behind them – running as planned?

July 20, 2018, 9:02 AM AEST