Growth Despite General Downturn
A few years ago the Sikora print shop in Offenburg had to decide
whether to continue to run with extremely outdated equipment and
hope for the best, or to invest in new machinery and try to hold
its own with the competition.
The family business chose to update its equipment and is now
thriving. With its latest acquisition, a Eurobind 500 adhesive
binder, the company continues its strategy of eliminating
outsourcing expenses and offering all services in-house.
Bernd Sikora (57) has been a printer for over 25 years and is
as enthusiastic as ever. In the 60s he decided to change careers
and began working at a print shop. It was not long before he was
printing from his basement and by 1978 he had opened his own shop.
Today his company has over 10 employees and a trainee and annual
sales of over a million Euro.
Years ago Bernd Sikora faced an important decision. His machines
were outdated and he was not able to remain competitive in either
price or quality. Sikora invested in new machines and today he is
at the helm of a growing business.
Sikora-Druck now can rightfully claim to be a modern,
one-stop print service company. All orders are carried out using
computer-to-plate technology. Printing is done with a Heidelberg
Speedmaster SM 52-5 and a Printmaster QM 46-2. In postpress Sikora
is well-equipped with the Stahlfolder TD 52 and a POLAR 92 cutter,
which features a stack lift, jogger and transomat for edge-precise
piling. With this technology Sikora is able to offer everything in
the format class that larger print shops offer.
When an order came in a few months ago, for which perfect
adhesive binding was needed, Sikora had to make a decision. His
15-year old adhesive binder could not provide the desired quality,
and thus he went on a search for a new one. He chose the Eurobind
500 because "it's easy to use, can be manually readjusted and thus
delivers excellent results," Sikora explains. The adhesive binder
is used for high quality print products like banks' and
corporations' annual reports, brochures, and documents over 80
pages long. The print runs range from 200 to 2000. "This is an
ideal use of the Eurobind 500," says Bernhard Gansert, Postpress
Product Manager at Heidelberg, adding, "This is an optimal machine
for small, high-quality runs and thus fits in perfectly to
Sikora-Druck's business plan."
Simple technology and error-free production
Many of Bernd Sikora's customers require good adhesion
quality. The jogger on the block infeed helps achieve this goal.
Two form rollers with controllable gluing lengths for the spine as
well as side gluing disks provide for clean gluing and high-quality
adhesion. The vacuum cover feeder with integrated double scoring
unit ensures a clean spine edge. "Operation is simple, the sheet
feed is reliable."
An important factor in the purchase of new equipment was the
market position of the full-service print shop. Thanks to its
re-structuring the company is now able to meet the diverse needs of
its very different customers. Sikora serves smaller regional
clients in different business sectors, but works as well in press
runs from anywhere between 100 and 500,000 copies. Its positive
experience with Heidelberg, above all in the service sector, was
another factor in the decision to buy the Eurobind 500. "Our
collaboration, which has been running smoothly for decades now, has
now even gotten better, since the new machine was delivered on such
short notice and we were able to start work immediately on a very
important order," comments Bernd Sikora.
Adhesive binding at its best
"Ever since we've had this machine we've been able to
react more quickly and flexibly to our customers' needs. We can now
work independently of suppliers and that means less stress for my
team and for me," Sikora reports. "Despite the difficult economic
times last year we achieved a sales increase of 30 percent," he
adds. "This year many companies in our region had to come to terms
with enormous sales decreases or even had to close, yet our sales
remained even. We're proud of that and of the fact that our
customers come back to us because they value our service and