Offset 5020 is a print shop managed by Gerald Watzal where discerning customers feel well looked after, even out of normal business hours. The machinery that enables the rapid completion of print orders comprises two new Speedmaster CD 102 presses from Heidelberg.
The frankness of the confession made by Mr Waltzal is initially rather surprising, "I'm really the wrong person to ask about the functionalities of my printing machines. It's hard enough for me to use my cell phone," fibs Gerald Watzal. Visitors to Offset 5020 in Salzburg, Austria tend to be a little suspicious of the owner's alleged dislike of technical details as it fails to quite fit in with a strategy of sustained corporate success that clearly produces results. In practice, this means that Gerald Watzal is spared the task of digging through operating manuals for printing machines because he has hired a machine operator to relieve him of the burden. And there is more: Watzal also employs someone whose job would be the envy of many printing industry experts. All year, this employee does little else than evaluate printing-industry-specific hardware and software at trade fairs and on-site at the suppliers' - a trend researcher hunting for innovation within the print media industry, so to speak. Watzal's trend researcher spent a week at drupa so that his boss only had to fly in for two days to make the final decisions with regard to new investments. "I'm spared the menial tasks, really, which gives me the opportunity to concentrate fully on my business," says the manager of currently around 55 employees reflecting on his privileged circumstances.
To say that Gerald Watzal struggles with his cell phone is a complete exaggeration. After all, Watzal's cell phone is the telecommunications hub in a quite breathtaking success story. Why is that? His cell phone stays on virtually 24/7 and when the Salzburg entrepreneur takes a call, an expedient solution usually melts away all the customer's worries. "There's only one thing that really helps to stop the moaning and price haggling in our sector, and that's printing," says Watzal. "If you can provide customers with a fast, complete solution at unusual hours, haggling over every cent is the last thing that occurs to them." One example of this is the complete solution that Offset 5020 provides to the electronics retailer Hartlauer. They print flyers and posters with the current bargains for dozens of Hartlauer branches and deliver them punctually all over Austria, week in, week out.
Watzal's cell phone also serves as a hotline for customers who require consultation on printing matters outside the official opening times. These last-minute queries have often turned into long-standing business relationships. "95 percent of our clientele are regular customers," says Gerald Watzal. Some of these have even become his friends. "For others, I'm a bit like a hairdresser: they talk about their life and keep me up-to-date, so I'm something of a confidant," he says. He even recently went on vacation with two customers, both of them advertising agency bosses. There are not many printers who have the opportunity to share a passion for beautifully printed paper with customers after work and during their vacations. The vacation had to be taken in the run-up to Christmas because in contrast to many companies in the sector, Offset 5020 is open on the days surrounding the Christmas and New Year celebrations. The company's policy is to operate counter to the calendar, even with regard to concerted capital investment activities.
Last September, Offset 5020 installed a Speedmaster CD 102 printing press with four inking units, just as the frail economy was beginning to flag. One month later, in October, a Speedmaster CD 102 printing press with five inking units and one coating unit was delivered to Salzburg-Siezenheim. The delivery of the machine set a new milestone: it was equipped with the 100th Wallscreen installed world-wide. "To date, our strategy of counter-cyclical investments has always paid off," said Watzal. Especially in Salzburg, print shop closures in the province during recent months have resulted in a greater demand for efficient printing service providers.
As sophisticated as it might appear, the purchase of the second Speedmaster CD 102 was not originally intended: "In fact, to begin with, I only intended to replace one of our five-year-old Speedmaster printing presses, but the productivity gains that we very quickly achieved convinced me to buy another," explains Watzal. The gains in productivity obtained with the two Speedmaster printing presses are conclusive evidence of the ongoing development of the Heidelberg machines. The figures clearly demonstrate this: print shop capacity has increased by 25 percent, primarily because ink changes are easier on these machines. "Inking and makeready times are shorter by three to four minutes for each four-color set. Printing speeds are faster by 15 percent as a result," says Watzal, entering into uncharacteristic detail. At Offset 5020, the machine operators perform around 10,000 ink changes per year, so faster machines achieve considerable time savings. This allows more time to be spent on productive tasks such as the printing process itself. At the headquarters in Salzburg, far away from the metropolis in Vienna, where most agencies are based, an cost-efficient approach is vital. When accepting rush orders from companies in Vienna, Offset 5020 has to compensate for the long distances involved with higher-performance machine capabilities. "We work hard to ensure that our customers in Vienna don't even notice that we are located 300 kilometers away. And we are doing so with increasing success," says a satisfied Gerhard Watzal. Companies in Vienna are placing an increasing number of orders, which currently contribute to 25 percent of annual turnover. A few years ago, Watzal hired a customer service representative in Vienna, who was charged with caring for demanding creative customers based in the capital. The two new Speedmaster CD 102 printing presses are a central component of the Salzburg-based printing company's business strategy. The machine configuration of one Speedmaster press with four ink types and one with five ink types plus varnish is also part of this strategy. 50 percent of orders are processed using four colors and 35 percent using spot colors. Applying a coating of dispersion varnish is therefore advisable so that goods can be delivered more quickly. Speed is paramount, because Watzal is never quite sure when his cell phone might ring again.
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