Online print company Saxoprint has recorded double digit sales growth in recent years, and last year generated sales of over €100 million in commercial printing. Its product range has undergone a significant change in this time. Standard commercial printed matter such as flyers, posters, catalogues, and brochures are still the main focus and account for 80% of its business, however packaging and finishing represent a large growth market. ‘Our business model is based on cost leadership,’ explained managing director Klaus Sauer. ‘We use special algorithms to bundle the orders received via the web shop into gang runs and distribute them to the respective machines.
‘With us, every order is individual. As well as a good price, delivery reliability and speed are important,’ confirmed Klaus. Customers from all over Europe order from Saxoprint, whether private individuals, business customers, agencies, or resellers, who now account for a not insignificant share.
International customers are looked after by a call centre in London staffed with native speakers. According to Saxoprint, the answer quota, in other words how quickly telephone calls are answered, is 98%, and the repeat order rate is over 80%.
High efficiency and speed are important here. Up to 5000 orders are produced daily in three shifts. This is only possible using industrialised processes and the most modern equipment. With this in mind, the company has invested over €70 million in new solutions in the past seven years.
The latest installation in the press room comes in at an impressive fifty metres – a Speedmaster XL 162 eight colour perfecting press with the world’s first CutStar roll sheeter in this format on a machine from Heidelberg.
CutStar in other formats, such as 50 x 70 or 70 x 100, has been available from Heidelberg for many years. This means that the full flexibility to use sheets or roll fed stock is now available in 7B format. More than anything, this significantly reduces the make ready times. This means that Saxoprint now has eight printing presses with a total of 36 printing units from Heidelberg: five large format Speedmaster XL 162 presses, one Speedmaster XL 145, and two Speedmaster XL 106 presses, both of which are equipped with the CutStar roll sheeter.
The experts from Heidelberg and BW Papersystems Stuttgart GmbH spent two years working on the development of CutStar. The Speedmaster XL 162 with CutStar has been in use since January of this year, and Klaus Sauer is more impressed than ever: ‘Once again, our partnership with Heidelberg has paid off, and the project was handled with the utmost professionalism by all sides,’ he said.
With CutStar and just one reel change, the same number of sheets is fed as with three to four paper pallets. Fewer make ready and stoppage times as well as uninterrupted operating stability make the new Speedmaster XL 162 at Saxoprint nearly twice as efficient. The cutting performance of CutStar has a tolerance of less than 0.3 millimetres, well above that of industrially produced paper stacks. This means that the cut sheets in the delivery can go straight into post press. The previous step of vibrating against straight edges is no longer necessary. Another plus is the double gripper technology in the press delivery. The controlled guide at the front and rear edge guides the sheet reliably from the last printing unit to the delivery pile. These innovations mean that the previously required sheet brakes and therefore the print-free corridors are a thing of the past. The best possible use can be made of the print area. This means that a dozen different jobs or 400 different business cards can be printed on a single sheet of paper with a width of 160 centimetres. ‘We have succeeded in compensating the 10% increase in the price of paper through innovations and increased efficiency. This is all the more significant since paper accounts for up to 30% of our costs,’ reported Klaus. In addition, paper on rolls are around 6% cheaper than paper sheets.
Saxoprint was established in 1999 with 22 employees. The online print shop ‘meindruckportal.de’ was launched in 2006. The first Heidelberg press was installed in 2011.
Today, the company employs 550 people at its site in Dresden and last year received an award for excellence in apprenticeship from the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce. Every year it trains 20 young people. ‘More than anything we need skilled workers who can put our multi-million investment in machinery to efficient use,’ said Klaus in explaining the company’s commitment to apprenticeships.
Every year, the company processes over 25,000 metric tonnes of paper and images 1.2 million square metres of printing plates, 700,000 square metres of which were produced without chemicals and water in 2018. The pre-press area is home to a new large format Suprasetter, while the post press area boasts an entire phalanx of Stahlfolder machines, which prepare the high output from the printing presses for the saddle stitchers and perfect binders.
‘What I like about the Heidelberg machines, apart from the high level of automation and ease of use, is the high technical availability. The make ready times on the Speedmaster XL 106 are consistently under two minutes,’ explained Klaus. Paper waste is 20 to 40 sheets, which contributes to the green production credentials. According to Klaus, CO2 emissions have decreased dramatically in recent years. Over 10% of customers also order climate neutral printed products.
The business field is presently being extended with packaging such as the Saxoprint easy box. With this innovative product solution, a wide variety of packaging types can be conveniently customised online in freely selectable formats in a 3D designer, and ordered in runs of one and up. The target group is anyone who wants to enhance their product by giving it a customised packaging – regardless of the size of run and at attractive prices. ‘There is a harsh wind blowing, but our business is going well and we know the adjustments we need to make to be successful in the long term,’ confirmed Klaus.