100 years (nearly) of Printing …

Who would have thought that visiting a printing factory owned by a company founded 98 years ago would be so interesting and thought-provoking?

Here we all are outside The Angel Hotel afterwards (our venue of choice for lunch).

Yesterday eleven curious members of Deepings NWR arrived for a tour of Warners Midlands plc in Bourne, Lincolnshire. Situated in the center of the town on West Road, all traffic from the west (A1 or Stamford) pass by their original premises (a former red-brick brewery) unknowing what goes on inside and behind. Such is their commitment to reducing their carbon footprint and living alongside their residential neighbours. Emissions of any kind are scrupulously monitored for any negative effects.


Why do we go?

In March an advertisement in the Bourne Local magazine from Michael Warner their Sales & Marketing Director invited ‘curious members of the public’ to email [email protected] to arrange a ‘Free Tour’.

I thought… hmmm… sounds like a clarion call to Deepings’ lively-minded ladies to find out more.

Several emails later and a pre-tour health & safety on site risk assessment later our tour date was fixed in the calendar for 18th April at 10:00am. That morning was sunny and beautiful.

During a challenging introduction to printing we learned all print consists of the following basics:

Four ink colours produce every printed colour : Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black (CMYK)

  • Any image has had these four inks applied one at a time by the printing machines
  • Colours are printed in tiny dots comprising the colours we see by eye
  • Perception of colour is different for each person
  • 16 pages are the perfect print run multiple

Leaving the boardroom we donned our high-viz visitor vests and commenced our tour, first outside, then through various areas of the old and new factory buildings amidst the staff operating the enormous print machinery from computer workstations or moving raw materials and finished products around on fork lift trucks. Ear-defenders were mandatory in some parts of the plant to protect staff hearing.

Michael’s tour allowed us to appreciated the end-to-end process of printing the kinds of magazines, leaflets, catalogues and publications they undertake for their clients. Their clientelle is nationwide and includes some very well-known brands. Despite this Michael was more keen to stress that breadth of work was more important than reliance on individual clients and every job was treated in exactly the same way for quality and consistency purposes.

The most inspiring part of the tour (for me) was learning how Warners has adapted working practises to operate sustainably. Their commitment to International Organisation for Standardisation [ISO] was incredibly impressive. Far exceeding these standards for many years and always seeking ways to REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE was a welcome breath of fresh air. A company putting standards before profit is something not talked of enough in today’s economic circles.

  • ISO 90001 Quality Management
  • ISO140001 Environmental Management

If we had been allowed ONE photograph inside the factory I would have pictured the enormous rolls of raw paper which originate from either Calendonia or Scandinavia in Forestry Stewardship Council forests [FSC]. Michael the quoted tons of paper used every day – yet never once have I seen the lorries that must arrive with new paper and exit with waste paper to be recycled for purchase and re-use from the plant at Kings Lynne. We learned that this paper is truly sustainable and that the European area forest has increased in the last 20 years.

Waste paper reduction relies heavily on technology as well as the experience of the printers at the plant. All waste is collected at every stage and carried through pipes to a shredding machine powered by a catalytic converter. The shredded wastepaper is sent to the Kings Lynne paper mill for recycling. It joins the residential paper product waste collected by South Kesteven District Council.

The future for Warners seems in capable hands – their passion for quality printing in a sustainable way is evident. As an independent, family-run business, they pride themselves on a unique company culture and reputation for flexibility, high-quality work whilst respecting their residential neighbours and investing in the local community. They are looking to a combination of young talent and technological innovation to maintain and grow their business for another 100 years.

I think we will all look at the printed matter that arrives through our letter-boxes with new found respect.


Thanks to Michael Warner, Sales & Marketing Director at Warners Midlands plc and 4th generation custodian of this marvellous printing company in Bourne, Lincolnshire.

Latest Comments

  1. I was impressed by the low staff turnover. Many have worked for Warners for decades and new staff are taken on, often to replace retirees. Their apprentices, currently 9 of them, are taken on with the guarantee of a permanent job at the end.

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