Commercial printer Trykkpartner – based in Trondheim in Norway – was founded in 1992 with the production of diary and personal organiser applications at the core of its business. The company has a rich heritage in offset printing, but was also an early adopter of digital printing technology, having established its own division – Digital Partner – in 2000.
Yet despite this, in two decades Trykkpartner had still not found a partner that could provide the right combination of technology, support and services. While digital printing revenues grew from 2% in 1992 to 15% by 2011, the company wanted to make a more significant investment to help it substantially grow the digital side of the business.
In 2011, the company found that partner in Canon. The two companies worked together to develop a new strategy targeting the high-end personalised real estate brochures market, among other promotional colour applications. This was made possible with the company’s first investment in a Canon colour digital printer. The outstanding performance of that machine led to investment in another four and the full integration of the company’s digital and offset production lines.
Together with Canon’s Essential Business Builder Program consultancy and the ‘Selling Digital Print’ workshops, the investments have led to a 100% increase in digital revenues over three years – which has increased total revenues by 5%. With a turnover between €12m and €18m, Trykkpartner – with the support of Canon – has developed into the leading commercial printer in the Trøndelag region of Norway.
Originally, the majority of Trykkpartner’s revenue was generated through long runs of diary and personal organiser applications, as well as in the transactional print market, with the majority of output printed using the company’s offset production lines.
The company did invest in digital printing technology early on, having purchased a host of devices including two Océ VarioPrint machines for monochrome printing of transactional documents. Yet while digital revenues grew gradually – from 2% of total revenue in 1992 to 10-15% in 2000 – owners Ivar Moe and Stig Pedersen, who joined the company in 1997 and 2000 as Managing Director and Chairman respectively, were still looking for the right partner to provide the comprehensive package that would help it to grow its digital printing operations.
“We realised we had reached a significant juncture in our business” says Trykkpartner’s Ivar Moe. “We were struggling with shrinking page volumes, market demand for shorter run lengths and reduced turnaround times. Additionally, we needed to diversify our service offering with added-value applications to win new business. It all pointed to digital printing in colour, which we had known for a while, but we had experienced a few teething problems and needed help.”
The company had suffered a number of setbacks with its initial forays into digital colour production. Moe explains: “We had invested in array of different colour digital printing technologies, all of which let us down in terms of quality, reliability and flexibility. To sell digital print for commercial applications, the image quality has to be there as your customers are used to the high standards of offset. Unfortunately those machines were not up to the task.”
One of the key technical problems was inaccurate paper alignment causing persistent jamming. Moe continues: “If the digital printing division was to be a success, it had to be able to integrate with our offset production line and complement it so that we could switch seamlessly between jobs, running them simultaneously. This relied on us being able to feed the same quality paper through both lines. But the machines we had invested in previously lacked this capability, and the suppliers we had worked with did not offer the support we desperately needed.”
Owing to Trykkpartner’s existing relationship with Canon – because of the company’s previous investment in Océ equipment – the Print Service Provider (PSP) turned to the organisation to help it design a digital print blueprint that would safeguard its future. “The performance of our Océ VarioPrint machines and the accompanying support and service we had received alongside had always given us hope in digital printing, so we arranged a meeting with Canon.”
Discussing a new business strategy with Trykkpartner, Canon identified a number of growth opportunities. There was a real demand for high quality colour print applications such as short runs of personalised brochures for the real estate market. There were also, with the right capacity and production reliability, offset page volumes that would be able to be absorbed, both from within the business and externally.
“Canon showed us how we could make the most of these opportunities with the imagePRESS C7010VP. Beyond the necessary high image quality and competitive speeds, it could handle the same paper stock as our offset equipment,” explains an impressed Moe. “We also recognised that the finishing capabilities of the machine would provide us with a luxurious end-product that would capture our customers’ imaginations. This was a highly productive yet cost-effective machine – with a competitive cost per page – that could become a catalyst in driving our business forward.”
Following Trykkpartner’s investment in an imagePRESS C7010VP in 2011, the company was so encouraged by the machine’s seamless integration into the offset production lines and its capability to meet the objectives set out in its new strategy, that it purchased a further four imagePRESS C6010 machines. Today, all of the Trykkpartner’s digital printing work has been shifted onto the fleet of Canon devices. Together they produce approximately 10 million A4 pages a year – representing a 110% increase in overall page volumes.
As predicted, the company has a healthy revenue coming in from the real estate brochure market and continues to acquire additional print volumes from the offset commercial printing market. It has also upgraded an existing Océ VarioPrint machine to a 6160 model for improved performance for transactional applications for banks and insurance companies, and most recently, invested in a Canon imagePROGRAF iPF9400 wide format printer for additional production of advertising and promotional materials.
Digital printing has given us a new lease of life. Not only has the print quality been a success – our existing customers cannot tell the difference between digital or offset print – we have been able to expand our business and enter a range of new markets. These investments have led to a 100% increase in digital revenues over three years, which now accounts for 30% of our business, and our cost per page is down 10% overall. Canon’s technologies are enabling us to drive our business towards a profitable future. We have also been able to reduce labour hours by 25%, freeing up resources to be used more efficiently in other areas of the business.
Moe is also quick to point out the importance of working with a supplier that operates as a consultative partner:
Canon has been instrumental in this success, being on hand 24/7 to provide advice, inspiration and education on how best to harness the potential of these technologies. The ‘Selling Digital Print’ workshops that we’ve participated in have provided us with invaluable insight into producing, selling and marketing digital print and how to maintain this business growth, and we’re confident that, with Canon, we will continue to develop our business even further.