See this amazing story about the German printing company Schaetzl Druck & Medien from Donauwörth. The company is today managed by Ulrich Schätzl who is the second generation of the family-owned printing company. Schätzl Druck & Medien used to be a conventional litho printer but decided years ago to become a printing company focusing 100% on digital production. Ulrich Schätzl refers to this as bringing more and a higher value to the customers. WIth investments in HP Indigo’s and Scodix Digital Enhancement, binding equipment especially suitable for extremely short runs and of course a comprehensive workflow the strategy works.

In this film, Ulrich Schätzl speaks about the value that digital enhancement with the company’s Scodix is giving both them as a company but even more important their many clients.

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We are in Donauwörth, at Schaetzl print emotion. Welcome.

I’m within the company for more than 20 years. Yeah, we had a long history in the second generation. My father founded the company in 1981, and we got bored in 2013, about how it is, so we are used to be a litho printer. And my board colleagues and me, we had a really intense discussion about what you want to do, what we are passionated, and what could be the future of this business, and we decided to become a digital printing company. And that’s what we are today.

We took many hours discussing, with brainstorming, but we finally, we were convinced that personalized prints, short-run prints and printing on demand is the future of printing, and together with do it online, so that is what we would like to do. And then we started the transformation process over four and a half years, and now we are up again and happy that we did what we decided.

First of all, we thought about how we can do it, workflow-wise. So, we know we want to do mass customization. We wanted to process many single jobs a day in big bulks. We did an investigation about the tools and processes, that was the first thing. Then we decided on what quality level we want to service products. It was then, deciding for the printing technology, which is HP Indigo today.

And after that, we came to the point how to differentiate from other colleagues and other products. We realized that printing is not a one-dimensional thing. It should be [multi-sensorical 00:02:08]. Really soon, we came to the idea how we can enhance digital printed products, and that we started to research in the market, what could be the best solution for us? And I think in 2017, we decided to buy a Scodix. That’s what we are. We are digital high-end and digital high-end enhancement. That’s what we are today.

The tipping point was that we want to do, let’s say human-to-human products. Not long run flyers, they are not valued by the customers. We want to do products that are valuable for the person who gets the product. So we focused on children books, photo books, calendars, all these picture-based stuff. And this is typically copy one. This is typically online, and this typically done within one or two days. So, short turnaround times. And that’s what we want to do. We had no idea if it succeed or not, but we are bored with the others and we said, “Come on, let’s bet the game. Let’s bet it,” and we won. That’s a simple story.

You do a good digital printing network and customers out of Germany, mainland Europe and US. We try to figure out what could be the demand, what is the growing demand for the future, and what could be the needs. We realized that a lot of start-ups are coming up, focusing on marketing and technology, and had no idea and don’t wanted to care about production, [inaudible 00:03:44] and distribution, and that’s the area where we are in, so we are a print service provider and servicing two tech and marketing focused start-ups.

Yeah, that was … after the decision we took 2013, we first decided the workflow system. Then we had to buy new and add new assets. The complete production chain from printing, glue binding, case creation, and case-making and casing in, up to the fulfillment and shipping.

It was a huge amount of money we spent, but we were convinced and passionated for that, to aim that goal and go that way, and that’s the business.

Really good. It was a transformation process, and we had to change the mindset of the staff as well, because they were used to … had job periods of one to three weeks, and now it’s up to same day, two days max, three days, where you do a hardcover book. But I’m really proud of my team. 95% went with us the way and the trail we go. It’s a good mixture of young people with fancy ideas and really experienced ones, and that is what make us successful. It’s the people over there. Because assets, we both can buy the assets, but I can’t go on the assets.

It is a total different mindset, and from my perspective it is a better kind of selling because you’re talking about processes. You’re talking about long-term commitments. You’re talking about integrating the customers back into our workflow system, and this is something which takes more time, more lead time to close the deal, but afterwards you have a continuous flow, and usually our customers are growing and we help them growing their business and we grow as well.

The criteria for selecting a vendor is first, state-of-the-art technology in the specific kind of production. Let’s say printing, as well enhancement, as well finishing. We always try to be up-to-date and use the best available, and for us, investible equipment. Zero make ready. Scalability due to peak, because we are a peak-driven company. That means we do 50% of our turnover in Q4, and we need reliable technology due to the peak seasons. Christmas is 24th December, it’s no doubt we have to be up and running in that period.

Our production size and format is the B2 format, so coming from HP Indigo. And one main criteria is, are we able to have a continuous workflow in B2 through all the production steps, and of course, Scodix can do that. That’s the first thing. How good is the technology to be connected to our automated workflow process? How good is the technology rep-wise to process many, many jobs in a really certain defined period of time? And how good is the quality that we can offer to our customers, because we have to offer the best quality to get satisfied customers.

Then together with the investment of the machine, over the defined period of time, how many operators we need? And what is definitely finally the output, and together with the B2 size, what are the costs per sheet? That’s a simple figure. And that’s one reason why we decided to buy the Scodix.

The last two years, the market develops and requests multi-sensorical products, not just printing, to get something varnished, to get something race foiled or flat foiled, or hologram foiled. Whatever. So, to make this products more valuable, or not so easy to be copied, usually people are not used to see this kind of products. And that’s the kind of added value.

So, how can we do this for our business? With the Scodix technology, we were able to enter new markets or to extend the product range of our customers, doing photo books, calendars, with enhancement, like foil or varnish, or greeting cards. It’s a perfect example for digital enhanced products. And for the other stuff. And that’s what enabled us to grow our business and to get new customers to enter new markets and of course do this in a really short turnaround time, and that’s pretty successful.

To set this kind of business up, no. But to develop the business, to dedicated direction, yes. And to get known in the market as a specialist for this type of products, this type of, let’s say valuable products, yes it is. Definitely.

The customer have to see and feel multi-sensorical, the products to get convinced of that there is added value on the product if we do enhanced products. And the customers have to feel it, and we created the sample box to send it out and get the customer used with this topics. What we did first, do it online for the B2C market, and now with the sample box especially, we want to transfer these emotional thing, this print emotion, to the commercial print market, and for that we founded our own online portal called PrintSmarter. Essentially it is smart and easy, and of course, we are focused on enhanced products. That’s our tagline that we want to follow.