Compact, Sleek and Personal
Managing Director, Tobias Stocker (far right), and his team.
They are a team of only six in total. But that's exactly
what makes the commercial print shop Tanner & Bosshardt in
Basel, Switzerland, strong: It is compact, sleek and personal. In
addition, everyone is willing to help each other out and lend a
hand in an emergency. Customers appreciate this flexibility.
It's 7 a.m. on the "Austrasse" street, in the
center of Basel, the six-person team at Tanner & Bosshardt is
going through the orders for the day, as they do every morning.
And, as happens most days, just a short while later a last-minute
rush order turns the entire schedule upside down. A regular
customer calls just before 11 a.m. He urgently needs 10,000
business letter sheets. Managing Director Tobias Stocker
doesn't take long to reach a decision and confirms the next day
as the delivery date. "Each department is only a short
distance away and easily accessible, meaning we are usually able to
wangle such short-term jobs between the departments without any
problem. This flexibility is one of our strengths," he says.
Stocker regards doing everything humanly possible to process
extremely short-term orders as a service: "If a customer
acknowledges that 'you've come to our rescue once
again,' then our commitment is the perfect customer retention
Highly Valued Team Spirit
Tanner & Bosshardt is a typical family business: One
person works in the prepress department and two in the pressroom.
Both finishing and administration are taken care of by one
half-time employee each. Stocker himself is a qualified typesetter
and in his own words "a jack of all trades". He deals
with all "unproductive" tasks such as customer canvassing
or the accounting. To that end he is a dedicated team player.
"We are such a small business that everyone has to lend a hand
in every area, for example in finishing. If the half-day employee
is not there, then both printers help with the packing. They also
take on the cutting, folding, scoring, punching, embossing or
perforating. We only use external bookbinders for the larger
matters such as thread stitching or adhesive binding".
The two Heidelberg Printmaster GTO 52 presses ensure high quality and short makeready times.
Seeking the Challenge
Around 90 percent of the clients are companies who use Tanner
& Bosshardt to manufacture their business and advertising
publications: up to 400,000 copies of business cards, letterheads
and envelopes or up to 10,000 flyers and brochures. "We are
looking for that something special," stresses Stocker. For
this reason the printers also accept demanding orders from
agencies. The Managing Director advises the customer to use
something which is eye-catching, for example envelopes made out of
transparent paper or printing in metallic colors. The company has
even published art books in small runs of up to 1,000 copies on its
two Heidelberg Printmaster GTO 52s.
Always at the Forefront
Stocker also recognizes the company's limitations.
"It is important not to stretch yourself too thin. It is also
important to be at the forefront in terms of technology and to keep
optimizing performance. You either produce top quality material
using state-of-the-art technology or you disappear from the
market." Bearing this in mind, he is more than willing to
invest in new machines, even if business is not thriving, as he did
about two years ago with the two Heidelberg Printmaster GTO 52s (a
two- and four-color machine). It was indeed a financial show of
strength and certainly helped the printers to make the
"quantum leap" as Stocker emphasizes. And in more ways
than one: The business can now print more precise screens. The
pinpoint precise print image also led to an increase in quality.
And make-ready times have been clearly reduced because the printers
can now be keyed in via a central command center. "It does
away with tedious tinkering about and that is important bearing in
mind our narrowly calculated prices," explained Stocker.
"We must produce our orders efficiently and rapidly using both
Specialty: Envelope Printing
Envelope printing is a huge market in Switzerland and an
important pillar for Tanner & Bosshardt. An important client
from Basel, for example, orders approximately half a million
envelopes and letterheads a year. The envelopes are printed in four
colors with the company logo, sender and franking stamp. Some
customers prefer to choose natural paper or very thin transparent
paper. These ambitious printing materials require extreme
precision. "We print on the final format. We can't simply
trim off a few millimeters from the made-to-measure envelope if for
example the logo is not suitably positioned," says Stocker.
Here it is a case of leveling out the unevenness of the envelope
somewhere in the area around the envelope seal with plastic
membrane on the counter pressure cylinder. To continuously print
the envelopes and only keep the sender's details in white is a
science in itself. "That is a 'biggie' even for
experienced colleagues. They curse more than once when it
doesn't work," says Stocker with a smirk.
Single-minded Pursuit of a Strategy
The Company Director still has big plans. He has his eye on
the small Suprasetter A52 to transfer film onto CTP exposure.
He also wants to increase the speed at which deadlines are met. One
of his favorite themes is digital printing, which he offers
together with a partner company. "Many people only see
digital printing as an opportunity to print small editions cost
effectively. But that is where huge individualization potential
lies. If a database is added, each copy of a letter or invitation
can be printed individually and uniquely," says Stocker. He is
pursuing this strategy with his team. "We are compact, sleek
and personal," Stocker says as he happily accepts that
customers cause havoc with his production timetable day in and day