A long time ago, I interviewed former HP Indigo GM Alon Bar-Shany, and one of the things he said, was “we never invented the Indigo to print balloons, but it does.” It reminds me of the visit with CEO Patrick Donner from Traffic Print Online Solutions. He has invested in Xerox, HP, Scodix, and a fantastic range of other technologies, so a printing company like so many others, you could argue, but Traffic is not like all others. Every time others say no thanks, Patrick Donner and his team find solutions – and it looks great, and show the diversity the equipment can be used for – great company, great products, to us an inspiration. What do you think?
We have a high approach and high quality in printing. And we needed something more to give a higher value for this well printed goods. And therefore we invested in a SCODIX. We are in Braunschweig, at TraffiC. We are here for 25 years. At this place for two years because we built it new. Normally we started, as I told you, as a production agency in direct marketing. We started with direct mailings and everything. Twenty five years ago we started with personalized marketing and personalized printing. We started with the first color printing machine. And everything we do is personalized. It is individual. Actually we have a focus on direct marketing and we have a focus on web based marketing with campaigning like cross media that combining online and offline. And we do all these things.
Is the German market very competitive?
Yeah, it seems to be a competitive market. But we found our niche in this market. And for us, it’s not as competitive as it would be if we only were a normal direct mailing producer. We are not a direct mailing producer. We are more special.
Where do you position yourself in the value chain?
Our value chain started with high quality items we produced completely digital. We are always producing digital in digital printing, high volumes. But our approach is not to produce mass volumes with individual names or black and white personalization. Our approach is much higher. We want to make some more cool things individual.
Do you do the online-marketing campaigns you mentioned before in-house?
Yeah, of course. We have an I.T. department with 12 people. With 12 programmers and so on. We are programing web pages. We are programing campaigns. And that’s very important for individual production because you can only produce individual when you have the IT resources for it.
We noticed a decent amount of manual labour inside your production…
We automated all the things that could be automated. We have many automation in our company. But we always need for this individual communication hand packaging capacities. Because we are handling boxes, packaging completely individually. We are serving webshops for customers with individual content. And therefore we need a high volume of manual workers. But where possible, we automated.
What kind of considerations did you have before you invested into digital printing and enhancement machines?
We analyzed everything, what our customers asked for. And therefore we invested a little bit and risk a little bit with customer projects behind but always visionary. We are always visionary. Sometimes we create a product and afterwards we sell it to our customers.
What machines do you use in production?
We have two HP 12000 HD machines. We called them Bonnie and Clyde. And it’s very important for us – you see HD. It’s not a normal Indigo. It’s a HD Indigo because of the quality approach we have. Otherwise, we had a Xerox Versant as a back up color machine. A small one. And we have two Xerox black and white for all the mass communication we still do.
But that was not enough, right?
No, that’s not enough. Only the printing department. Yeah, we had invested in a SCODIX machine one and a half years ago. We have some more machines in the production like inserting machines and the Motion Cutter. You know the Motion Cutter? I saw the Motion Cutter. It’s “burn, baby, burn”, right?
Yeah. Burn, baby, burn. It’s a variable laser cutter. And you see all this mixture between HP, SCODIX, Motion Cutter. It is all digital. You can do all this by one and you can do it very individual.
What was the reason for investing in a SCODIX machine?
We just did some good printing on the HP machines. Before we had HP 10000, which was quite very good. And now we have to 12000. We have a high approach and a high quality in printing. And we needed something more to give a higher value for this well printed goods. And therefore, we invested in a SCODIX.
What is your opinion on the acquisition so far?
We use it for individual, very individual products. It gives us a chance to give our output a higher value. Yeah, it’s a fantastic machine. A very reliable machine. And we are very satisfied with it.
Do you also make money on it?
Yes, of course. Otherwise we would not have invested in it. We have about one complete shift. The machine is running and in the printing section we have two shifts – two or three shifts. We have a little bit more in two machines. But SCODIX is not for all the orders. It’s only for special orders. And I think one complete shift on the SCODIX is quite good for SCODIX.
Does new technology open new opportunities in the market?
We are serving existing customers. But we are developing many new projects which are possible with these opportunities.
And what would you say about your relationship with SCODIX?
That’s a good relationship, of course. We need it in our business. We are a little bit crazy. We are a little bit visionary. And therefore we need reliable partners. So we need the support below the line. Not enormous support, the normal support is quite good. No problem. But we need some more. When we have an idea, a crazy idea, we need a partner who is emotional like we are. For example, we are we are printing on substrates which are not recommended normally for HP or for SCODIX. We try it. And and we have to do this experience. On the one way it could work and on the other way it could not work. But if it works, it will be a fantastic product.