Verhagen Grafische Media has taken a big step towards ‘customer-focused automation’ after implementing the KODAK PRINERGY Workflow System and KODAK INSITE Prepress Portal System. The investment will allow the company to process an increasing number of orders, meet ever-shorter turnaround times, and handle smaller print runs more cost effectively.
A strategic choice
Last year, Managing Director Arjan Verhagen won the Veldhoven Entrepreneurs’ Trophy for managing to ‘achieve growth in sales and expand the company’s customer base despite difficult times in the graphics industry, by focusing not only on printing, but also on the creative process that precedes it’.
This was a strategic decision, explains Verhagen: “Without losing sight of production, we made a clear commitment to the preprint process – we wanted to sit down with the customer at an earlier stage. For example, marketing departments know ‘what’ they want, but not ‘how’ to achieve it – and this is where we can help. We think through the answer together.”
Working smarter together
Verhagen gives an example of the company’s approach: “For one major client in the packaging industry, we do very little printing work. However, we’ve developed a complete traffic system with a database, and as a result we’ve built up a strong bond with this customer.”
Another example involves producing training guides: “This large project involved many prepress hours for our operation. Nevertheless, we put together a system that enabled the customer to speed up amendments and corrections to the guides.
“The result of this smarter way of working is fewer prepress hours billed. However, this approach has strengthened our relationship with the customer, which in turn has generated new orders.”
Nigel Street, Regional Business Manager for Unified Workflow Solutions, Kodak EAMER
comments: “This is an excellent example of how Kodak’s expansive portfolio includes easily integrated software solutions that have a major impact on the way operations can adapt their business approach. Verhagen Grafische Media is keen to improve the quality of the conversations it has with customers and Kodak is delighted to be able to help translate those discussions into more creative and profitable results.”
Capitalising on market developments
Verhagen Grafische Media employs 32 staff. Eleven people work in the hybrid printing shop, which has four offset presses and two production printers, while another eleven employees focus on the prepress process of communication, consultancy and creation: “These departments are a cost item for many graphics businesses, but the income they generate is highly significant to us,” explains Verhagen.
The company produces a wide range of media – from business cards to books, from websites to digital newsletters – for a diverse customer base: “We’re noticing a clear shift from print runs to printouts,” comments Verhagen. “Print runs per order are getting shorter, the number of orders is on the rise, while lead times are getting shorter. Moreover, the frequencies of periodicals are down, or they’re being replaced by digital versions.
“Of course, you can’t reverse these trends – all you can do is try to capitalise on them as effectively and as quickly as possible.”
Achieving more with Kodak
Verhagen opted for the KODAK PRINERGY Workflow System and KODAK INSITE Prepress Portal System in response to these changing market demands.
For Verhagen, one of the major benefits of the investment has been the KODAK PRINERGY Rules-Based Automation Software (RBA) in the KODAK PRINERGY Workflow System, which automates key steps: “We wanted to be able to do more for our clients, while keeping the same number of staff. We’ve drawn up a long-term plan based on automating our production and processes using the KODAK Systems.
“In the first instance, we made sure that plate production was running optimally for the print shop. And we’re now working to bring the workflow in line with our existing Management Information System (MIS), to ensure we have access to the right information at any time.”
Improving customer service and adding value
Verhagen has also put the KODAK INSITE Prepress Portal System to good use: “Our order managers now upload most files themselves, which means they learn the process and then explain it to our customers.
“Also, file checking by the KODAK INSITE System is already saving us time and significantly reducing errors.”
In the near future, Verhagen plans to offer the KODAK INSITE System to selected clients under the existing Verhagen ‘Kompasweb’, in addition to the customer-specific systems the company has already developed in house: “This will enable us to further automate our production process, and at the same time add value and improve our service to our customers.”