Signet Celebrates its Fabulous Forty
16/04/2008 - 2008 marks a milestone for Signet, as the company celebrates its 40 year journey from small industrial ink supplier to leading national packaging manufacturer and distributor.
Ace Marking Systems as it was then known, was established in 1968 by John Winson, supplying industrial inks and marking systems to Queensland businesses from their Brisbane base. A short time later John was joined by his brother Bob Winson.
Since then, Signet's unique ability to innovate and evolve has seen it expand its operations to all corners of Australia, with 208 staff and an annual turnover of $65 million.
Managing Director, Mark Brennan said that the company's affinity with market demands and technological change has driven Signet's growth.
"Looking back, the products used in the supply chain and the way they are purchased have changed dramatically over the past 40 years, and our vision has always been to embrace, invest in and develop those new ideas." He said.
In 1993 Signet was among the first to adopt a catalogue-based direct marketing strategy with the release of Your Buyer's Guide.
Featuring unprecedented published prices, and a choice of phone or fax ordering, Your Buyer's Guide brought new purchasing convenience to Signet's customer base and the opportunity to reach out to prospective new markets.
Today Your Buyer's Guide remains a cornerstone of the company's marketing strategy, along with Signet's website, the purchasing facility that was introduced in 2000.
"Again our website was the first in the industry to offer published pricing and the ability to order 24 hours a day over the internet." Mr Brennan said.
"Of course technology has not stood still, and the site has been constantly evolving, right up to its recent relaunch in February this year.
"Eight years on we are proud to remain at the forefront of e-business in our industry, and our site has become a highly personalised, database driven account management portal for customers Australia-wide," he said.
The efficiency of its catalogue and internet based sales tools has also allowed Signet to increase its product offering, which now includes some 2,000 stocked packaging, health and safety and industrial marking items.
Many of these products are manufactured by Signet, and over time the company has expanded its investment in plant and product development, with the establishment of an aerosol factory in 1999 and the opening of its plastic film manufacturing site in 2001.
With the constant growth of its product and geographical customer base, Signet's distribution network has also undergone significant change since the early days.
"I think the instantaneous nature of our technology has had a direct impact on customer expectations when it comes to the speed of supply." Mr Brennan said.
"And for a company like ours, it has meant developing a distribution network that can deliver any product, anywhere in much shorter time frames.
"That is why today we have warehouses in Sydney, Brisbane and Townsville, and all of them operate under a strict series of service guarantees."
Away from the cold hard realities of daily business, the heart and soul of Signet has been its community involvement ventures.
1999 saw the beginning of a long-running partnership with Australian sport, which has included support of athletes including Emma Snowsill, Tamsyn Lewis, Chantelle Newbery, Naomi Flood, the Australian Paralympic Team and Australian Surf Lifesaving.
Most recently, Signet became the only business in the packaging industry to be named an official supporter of the Australian Olympic Team.
"This is perhaps the most exciting venture in Signet's 40 year history, and a great way to celebrate the company's 40th anniversary. "Mr Brennan said.
"In fact at every turn in Signet's history, so much has been achieved by simply engaging with our customers, community and industry - at the 40 year mark, this is the secret behind Signet's vitality."
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