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Harlow Printing wins major contract


A South Shields printing business which started in 1947 printing clock-cards has put their time to good use after winning a tender to be part of Government supplier framework worth £100m per annum.

Harlow Printing Limited is a family run business, now including the 4th generation. The newly awarded framework is with the Crown Commercial Services and will cover commercial and digital printing for clients including the NHS, education providers, the Ministry of Defence and many other government departments.

The managing director, Richard Walker said: “We are really delighted to have secured a place on the Crown Commercial Services framework. It is a huge testament to the great work of the team here, a number of whom have worked for the business for over 40 years. We are very proud of being a South Shields company which has grown steadily and developed from one shop in Frederick Street to the 100,000 sq ft operation we are today.”

Harlow Printing Limited was the UK’s largest supplier of time cards, producing over 2,000,000 cards every week, supplying local shipyards & the mining industry, which flourished in the 60’s & 70’s.

By the early 1980’s, with the emergence of computers, the decision to invest in web fed presses was made which opened up new markets, including the NHS. The following decades have seen Harlow’s expertise grow in the health sector, now the sole provider of the Personal Child Health Record, or “Red Book”, which is issued to every new born baby in the UK. Further innovation has led to the creation of a digital, growth plotting platform, iGrow software, licensed by 22 NHS Trusts throughout the country.

The business has been a member of North East England Chamber of Commerce for over 40 years. Michael Dickinson, Chamber relationship manager said: “It is tremendous for our organisation to have a member like Harlow Printing Limited in our network. They are a fantastic example of North East innovation and have built a strong company on their proud heritage. We also congratulate them on their success on the massive potential of the new UK Government framework news.”

The family tradition is still part of the heart of the business with David Parfitt working in its sales and development team & Jack Harrison as the Commercial Director. The family and company paid their respects to Brian Walker, Harlow Printing Limited’s Chairman since 1976, who sadly passed away on 5th February; the factory was closed for the day and a close family funeral was held in his memory.

The strong commitment to sustainability extends to the Harlow supply chain, with all merchants FSC accredited. An environmental garden is embedded on-site, encouraging biodiversity, as well as visits from the local South Tyneside schools, finding an unlikely resource to wilderness as part of their curriculum.

Optimistic for the future, Harlow Printing Limited remain in a robust position and continue to invest in innovation & sustainability, putting both at the core of their vision.

Photo: Richard Walker, managing director, Harlow Printing