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Eastern European Print Industry Increasingly Focusing on Quality and Specialist Applications

Polish print shop Cezar invests in Heidelberg
Speedmaster CD 102 DUO

Eastern Europe is set to enjoy above-average growth in the print market over the next few years. In order to make the best use of existing market potential and promote sustained growth, dynamic companies like Polish printshop CEZAR are investing in flexible presses for specialist, high-quality applications.
Market research figures for Eastern Europe predict clear growth in print production volume until 2012. In the label printing sector, an increase of 3.7 percent is expected (Western Europe: 2.9 percent); for high-quality folding boxes and flexible packaging, increases of as much as 4.2 percent are anticipated. Western Europe, on the other hand, is expected to see slow growth of between 0.7 and 1.7 percent in these two sectors of the print market (sources: Industry Statistics, PIRA, Jaakkoo Pöyr, GAMIS). Around 200 km north-east of Warsaw, these forecasts are giving cause for optimism. CEZAR Ltd., headquartered in Bialystok, the capital of the Polish province Podlasie, has earned itself a good reputation over the last ten years both at home and abroad. It specializes in high-finish bottle labels.
Winning new customers with specialist applications
The printshop's most important customer is currently Diageo, one of the world's leading producers of spirits. CEZAR produces more than a billion labels every year for this global company, including labels for well-known brands such as Bols and Smirnoff. These are high-finish print products manufactured using UV coating and gold and silver foils. "Specially configured presses and a lot of technical expertise are essential in winning a customer such as Diageo," explains Cezary Nazar, owner and Managing Director of CEZAR. It was only after months of preliminary discussions and two intensive quality audits that CEZAR was commissioned to print jobs for the Polish market on a trial basis. After another audit, they finally won the contract. The labels tested met the requirements and Diageo commissioned CEZAR with printing not only the whole order volume for the Polish market but also volumes for neighboring countries. "It was not just the quality of our labels, but also our infrastructure that won the contract," says Nazar. As well as presses from Heidelberg, the company also has its own transport fleet with six trucks, ensuring print products produced in Bialystok reach their destinations in Russia, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia on time.
Future-focused with made-to-measure print technology
Despite the company's success, Cezary Nazar never rests on his laurels and searches tirelessly for new customers and markets. His goal is to double his workforce to around 500 and increase his annual sales to Euro 100 million by 2010. With the help of a highly diversified product strategy, the company is trying to both absorb fluctuations in demand and open up new market segments. In addition to label printing, which accounts for well in excess of 50 percent of total sales, Nazar is intending to step up production of high-quality packaging. Hence the printshop's latest investment - a new Heidelberg Speedmaster CD 102 Duo which went live at Bialystok in October 2004.
The purchase of the new press was preceded by intensive market research. "We needed a powerful offset machine for inline production of print products with a high level of surface finishing which would deliver long-term advantages and sales arguments for us in terms of quality, flexibility and cost-effectiveness," says Nazar. Intensive consultations with Heidelberg employees from the Customizing section, during which all issues were discussed and details explained, established the type of press needed to meet these requirements. Heidelberg developed a customized specification for the Speedmaster CD 102 DUO with flexographic units before and after the offset printing units and additional CoolCure UV inertization device for inline production whose flexibility enhances production efficiency. CoolCure is particularly effective in simplifying the processing of temperature-sensitive materials such as foils.
An intensive test phase followed at Heidelberg in Germany in order to analyze the proposed concept. This process lasting several months resulted in a 70x100 machine which doubles CEZAR's previous print capacity and creates additional long-term opportunities in inline production and surface finishing.
Flexibility for innovative print products
"13,000 print sheets an hour and flexographic units before and after the six offset units represent a quantum leap for us in terms of production," Nazar explains. The customized press can handle a wide range of inks and coatings - from conventional inks, aqueous coatings and UV inks and coatings to Metalure or pearly-luster-effect pigments - either alone or in combination. Cezary Nazar explains: "The configuration allows us to carry out sophisticated surface finishing processes in a time- and cost-efficient manner in a single pass and with the very best print quality." It also supports a wide range of printing stock, from cardboard up to one millimeter thick to coated, uncoated or metallized papers, plastic laminates and foils. "We are using this flexibility in terms of material and inks to win new customers and orders. We use creative designs and print samples to demonstrate what we can achieve. This allows us to emphasize our print expertise and stimulate new demand," Nazar explains.
An ambitious businessman, Cezary Nazar is confident he can make full use of the capacity of his new inline finishing press by increasing packaging orders, and hopes to win additional - and in particular time-critical - orders from large companies thanks to the new high-performance Speedmaster Duo. Since the press was commissioned a few weeks ago, CEZAR has already won new orders. "We had been in contact with Gillette for some time and were waiting on an opportunity to demonstrate what we could offer them," says Nazar. When they were finally given this opportunity, the new "Duo" enabled the company to take on a rush job for Gillette for an advertising campaign featuring the English soccer star David Beckham. The data for the job was provided on the Wednesday, the print run was completed by the Saturday and the finished advertising material was being used in London on the following Monday. "This was only possible because the entire job could be produced in a single pass on our new press," says Nazar, who is confident that the investment will pay for itself in a few years.
New press as key component of marketing strategy
Investments in print technology such as the Heidelberg Speedmaster CD 102 Duo are a key element of CEZAR's marketing strategy. The possible applications of the latest print technology often form the main thematic focus of customer events organized by the company in Warsaw. "We invite selected representatives of large international companies, agencies and label and packaging designers to discuss innovative technologies and products and demonstrate what our company can do. Customers from Germany and the UK are particularly interested in our portfolio," says Nazar. For additional customer marketing, CEZAR enlists the professional support of international advertising and PR agencies. When it comes to convincing new customers, this is something that even Nazar finds a challenge: "Professional marketing is vital but so is ensuring customer loyalty through personal contact - that is the reason why I spend a lot of my time visiting customers." This agile entrepreneur rejects the commonly held idea that Eastern European printshops can only retain a competitive edge as a result of lower wage costs: "The key to our success is 'Competence in print'". Successful negotiations with international customers are dependent not only on good prices, but also on modern printing technology, technical expertise and a consistent focus on quality.
CEZAR Ltd. was founded in 1989 as a small commercial print company and has since developed into one of Poland's leading printshops for high-finish labels, inmould labels and luxury packaging. CEZAR has a workforce of around 250 and is headquartered at Bialystok with two other sales and prepress sites in Warsaw and Gdansk. Its best-known customers include Diageo, Gillette, the Polish trading group PMB, British American Tobacco and vodka manufacturer Polmos Bialystok. Since 1995, CEZAR's annual sales have increased tenfold to today's figure of around Euro 15 million.  
Machine park
Several Topsetter 102 recorders are used in the prepress. In addition to the CD 102 DUO, the printroom also features a Heidelberg Speedmaster 52 and three Heidelberg Speedmaster 74 presses. In the finishing department, several POLAR cutters are used along with machines from the Heidelberg finishing portfolio. The workflow department uses Prinect Printready System, Prinect Prepress Interface and Prinect Image Control.

CEZAR Ltd. (Bialystok)
Szosa Baranowicka 78
15-521 Zascianki, Poland
Tel.: +48 85 740 25 40
Fax: +48 85 741 88 22
E-mail: cezar@cezar.pl
Internet: www.cezar.pl

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