Dutch full-service print provider, Molenberg Media, has invested in three KODAK Systems to meet the needs of its fast-growing customer base. The company has installed two KODAK NEXPRESS Digital Production Color Presses and a KODAK DIGIMASTER Digital Production System. The investment has streamlined Molenberg Media’s operation, boosted productivity, and enabled the company to broaden its print portfolio.
Molenberg Media delivers print products for large corporate organizations, as well as materials for retailers in the food and non-food sectors, such as builders’ merchants. Its retail customers range in size from local businesses to chains with 450 stores.
“We make all kinds of materials that you see in shops, such as displays, leaflets, shelf cards, posters, and large-format canvas banners,” says Molenberg Media’s director and owner, René Molenberg.
With business thriving, Molenberg Media has relocated its 40-strong team to new premises in Zwolle: “Last year, we posted 62% sales growth, and in the first six months of this year it was actually 100%,” continues Mr Molenberg.
Molenberg Media handles the entire print process for its customers – from concept design to production and fulfilment. The company has developed an app that lets customers order materials from stock, and even put print jobs together online, using their own layouts. Top-quality printing then rolls off the KODAK NEXPRESS Digital Production Color Presses.
Trusting in Kodak
With Molenberg Media serving an increasing customer base, the company soon found itself outgrowing its print systems: “When we started out in 1996, we thought it was a big deal if we managed 50,000 impressions a month,” explains Molenberg. “Today we are registering two million impressions, across a wide range of products and formats, and in short and long runs. For this kind of output you must have highly reliable machines that consistently deliver top-quality print.”
The KODAK NEXPRESS Digital Production Color Press has been at the heart of Molenberg Media’s production line for ten years. “We were one of the first in the Netherlands to install a NEXPRESS Press,” adds Molenberg.
The company was quickly won over by the NEXPRESS Press, and as the business expanded Molenberg turned once again to Kodak: “We have been working with Kodak for so long, many of our operators have grown up with the NEXPRESS Press.”
With a very healthy order book, Molenberg Media took the decision to invest in three KODAK Presses at once.
Two NEXPRESSS Presses were installed at their new premises in Zwolle: a KODAK NEXPRESS SE3600 Press and a KODAK NEXPRESS SX3900 Press – the very latest system, boasting 120 A4 pages a minute, the fastest on the market.
Finally, there is the KODAK DIGIMASTER EX150 Digital Production System, which is used for black-and-white production, an investment prompted by growth in volume: “Previously, we used the NEXPRESS Press for short-run black-and-white printing,” says Molenberg. “But the scope of production has broadened so much that we believe it pays to have a separate production printer for high-grade black-and-white printing.”
Demanding consistency throughout the run
For Molenberg, producing consistently high-quality print throughout the entire run is crucial. “It is essential that the last copy of anything we print is every bit as good as the first. We deliver to 1,200 branches every week. Materials are replenished all the time, and are delivered in mixed batches. So when they end up side by side in the store, any colour variances would immediately show up on the shelf. And consistency is just as important for corporate customers. For example, a card we are currently printing for one customer in reflex blue must look exactly the same over three years.”
Getting creative with substrates
According to Mr Molenberg, another major benefit of the NEXPRESS Press compared with other digital colour machines is its substrate versatility: “From leaflets and banners to plastic cards, all types of media can be printed on the NEXPRESS Press, in CMYK, plus RGB for an expanded color gamut or coated in line with gloss or spot varnish.”
The wide choice of substrates has enabled Molenberg Media to develop an entirely new application – the trolley ad, a card that is placed as an insert in shopping trolleys. In the past, they were printed on paper, and required an expensive coating treatment. These trolley ads now roll off the NEXPRESS Press in a single operation.
The NEXPRESS Press also handles all kinds of paper, again making it ideal for printing corporate customers’ in-house materials. “The larger companies tend to have a mandatory house style, with a set choice of papers. This is not a problem for us, they all run smoothly through the NEXPRESS Press. This leads to greater customer satisfaction – we never have to agree on a compromise, as we can always deliver exactly what they want,” comments Mr Molenberg
Running unmanned for six hours
It’s not just the consistent quality and flexibility that prompted Molenberg to invest in more KODAK Systems. “With the NEXPRESS Press and DIGIMASTER System, you get ‘productivity without labour’. From my office, you can see the NEXPRESS and DIGIMASTER Platforms running. When people visit they are amazed to see there is hardly anyone operating in the production area.
“Automated production is the way forward, especially when you run so many different jobs. Although we produce many short and long runs in quick succession, we are running almost continuously – we have hit 95% uptime!”
At the Zwolle facility, there is no permanent operator working on the KODAK NEXPRESS Press: “In theory, we operate a single day shift, which is sometimes extended – but in reality the two NEXPRESS Presses keep on running in the evenings.
“Whoever is on duty checks how things are running, tops up the paper and gets the next trolleys ready. And with additional delivery stackers, the presses can run for six hours unmanned.”
Maintaining a slick operation
The full-service package that Molenberg Media provides – concept design, production, fulfilment – ensures clients receive their orders faster, and at a very competitive price: “They know there are 14 highly skilled people ready to help them. We have to be on hand at all times to get point-of-sale and other promotional material in every store on time.”
Underpinning Molenberg Media’s print and logistics operation is a web-to-print system that ensures every step in the chain runs flawlessly: “The NEXPRESS Press and DIGIMASTER Systems are vital cogs in our well-oiled machine,” concludes Mr Molenberg.
Olivier Claude, General Manager for Print & Vice President Commercial Business EAMER, Kodak, finally comments: “Molenberg Media is an ideal example of how investing in digital can prove pivotal to the growth of your business. They have seen that there is no compromise in terms of quality and output. And, importantly, they have witnessed the extensive creative potential it brings as well.”