Gundlach Packaging Group, a seventh-generation family-owned printing business, are the first company in Europe, and the second worldwide, to install the Scodix E106 Digital Enhancement Press for beta stage testing. Gundlach CEO and Managing Partner, Dr Uwe Schürmann talks about the industry trend towards short-run packaging for versioning and personalisation, and how enhancement can increase sales with impact right at the point-of-purchase.
Considering Gundlach is heavily invested in gravure, flexo and offset technology, why take such a pioneering role in digital enhancement?
A driver for most companies at present is digitalisation. Not just in the world of print, everywhere. Despite our lucrative use of litho technology digitalisation is in fact a part of our business model; because whilst digital products cannot substitute packaging, as a tool for enhancing processes digital technology is proven and is now significantly impacting the way a lot of packaging is produced. It’s a trend that is only set to increase. As such we continually review new technologies from the digital sector, and when we first saw Scodix at drupa last year, we could instantly see substantial opportunity for our business.
Common challenges in packaging include balancing standardisation against fragmentation, the difficulties of short runs for versioning and personalisation, shorter and shorter timescales, and increased competition in a challenging economy. Scodix provides the solution. It’s fast. Make-readies are practically eradicated. It enables products to be personalised with repeatable precision. The packaging market is still in the early stages of digital technology adoption, many are now investing in digital printing but digital enhancement in a B1 format is still the frontier.
Do you think your customers understand the benefits that digital enhancement will bring to their businesses?
Packaging is such an important part of a brand, it’s one of the few tools marketers and brands can use to communicate with consumers at the point of purchase. Enhancements create nuances. Embellishments can be seen and touched, they create value, differentiate brands on the shelf and arguably influence the purchase decision significantly. Gundlach customers absolutely understand the importance of shelf appeal and understand how something new and attractive can deliver a positive consumer experience and impact sales.
Scodix technology is not just an upgrade to the next technology, it’s not the ‘new’ hot foil embossing. It’s a whole new world for packaging. A new way of doing business. We’ve been working with our employees, holding workshops on how the company should innovate, and working closely together with Scodix to re-think packaging. It’s our conclusion that enhancements won’t just be the finishing touch anymore, it’ll be an integral part of the process. We will continue to print high volume runs with offset, but then we’ll be able to segment the products using digital enhancement. Or personalise each individual product. That’s a whole new way of thinking about the product, how the customer interacts with the product, a new way of designing it, marketing it. It opens up possibilities for new customers or new market niches who’ve previously faced too many barriers to using enhancement.
What impact do you think the Scodix E106 press will have on your business?
Scodix technology will provide a competitive edge for the Gundlach business. We can easily differentiate our services and provide value-added products with a very healthy margin. With no tooling and basically no set-up cost we see the breakeven point easily to be more than 10,000 sheets. But in addition to those more obvious benefits, we see a lot of potential for the growth of the business.
Gundlach’s strategic vision is threefold – digitalisation, growth, and internationalisation. The company is growing in Germany and exports already account for 85% of our business, but we aim to expand further in Dubai – where we have another facility – and beyond. Digital enhancement is a fundamental part of that strategy.