Sothis: 4 million euro invested in building and equipping a printing plant
Since its beginnings in 2002, Sothis Print has become one of the largest and most noteworthy print facilities in Romania, scoring in 2015 an impressive turnover of six million euro… And with good reason. Gheorghe Nicolae, General Manager of Sothis Print, provides details on the company’s specifics.
”Sothis is the name of a star that the Ancient Egyptians deemed unusually meaningful. Although the star itself is not explicitly pinpointed, modern astronomy reliably identified Sothis as Sirius – the brightest star in the Earth’s night sky. But what the naked eye perceives as a single star is actually a binary system consisting of two stars: Sirius A, and Sirius B. Just as a single star seems unable to achieve the greatness of two combined, Sothis Print was founded by the union of two companies, and this principle has guided its subsequent evolution to this day.
As pressmen, we believe in printed matter. For instance, the catalogue – one of the oldest forms of marketing – remains a powerful promotional tool, despite its increasing role as mere interface between consumers and the websites where the actual orders can be placed. As far as we can tell, customers still enjoy taking a seat to browse the traditional way through a high-quality printed catalogue, letting themselves inspired and won over by tangible representations of ideas and products. The recent shift in role hasn’t influenced a bit the catalogues’ vast array and popularity, strengthening instead their position as key ingredients in the multimedia marketing mix. As a result, at Sothis Print we have constantly augmented our capacity and flexibility in this particular area; now we are able to provide both digital and o¬ffset printing, complete with a wide range of finishing options, such as UV full or partial off¬set coating, customized punching, pasting, and laminating, among others. We also take pride in fulfilling just about any order, as «inferior» as it may seem, even though our facility can deliver highly sophisticated products.
A great digital printing option we offer is variable-data printing (VDP). It is a very effective means to address customers individually in a personal, direct way, without compromising in terms of speed and costs. VDP helps deliver thousands of unique documents, each of them tailor-made for each addressee, at the same rate as delivering an equal amount of copies for a single generic document. A proper software merges text and images into VDP files, ultimately printed full color with virtually the same look, feel, and high quality of conventional offset printing. Sure enough, there are many software packages available to output VDP print files, but Sothis Print has developed its own customized software. We are also able to generate any kind of barcode, from any kind of source”, says Gheorghe Nicolae.
Reaching a top-level market position, Sothis Print is ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certified, pending FSC certification. Both ERP and CRM systems have been implemented, with the goals of expediting the production flow, and of providing clients the means to oversee their orders’ progress. Color control is UGRA and FOGRA certified in line with the ISO requirements, while Kodak provides the workflow management. Another strong competitive advantage is the company’s highly experienced, well organized in-house DTP team. Technologically-wise, the production equipment meets the highest standards: four digital printing presses, three offset printing presses, and dozens of print finishing machines. Undoubtedly, all the aforementioned attributes are just as many reasons for which Sothis Print has been able to acquire over time dozens of large and very large corporate clients, and hundreds of small and medium-size clients.
Undeterred by the descending global trend in offset printing output, the company decided to invest specifically in offset equipment upgrades, reveals our interviewee. ”We acquired a Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 75 unit in order to replace the existent manroland 204, aiming to induce both a technological shift, and an increase in production capacity. From its startup in November 2015 until April 2016, we had already reached a total of 20 million runs through this new equipment.” However, the company’s growth venture doesn’t limit itself to technological improvements, it also targets larger premises: ”This year we are planning to start construction at our new 32,000 square feet plant, projected to become fully functional in 2017. We are talking about investment figures in the vicinity of two million euros, not to mention another one point five to two million euros assigned for purchasing new offset printing and finishing equipment. Furthermore, this expansion will trigger an employment growth by at least 10%, compared to the 130 employees the company employs at this time.”
The new plant comes as a natural addition to the existing ones, an 11,300 square feet offset printing and finishing production facility, and a 10,800 square feet packaging production facility. Beside these, the company also holds 6,500 square feet of administrative premises. The aggregate production capacity exceeding local demand, Sothis Print inherently expanded its sales to foreign markets. ”We have been exporting printed matter for some time now to Spain, Italy and Belgium. We are talking mainly about regular and luxury packaging, as well as various periodicals. Many of our multinational corporate clients required us exporting printed output to their subsidiaries based in several other foreign countries. Our company is now in position to provide, at lower prices, though, top quality services that exactly match those offered by similar Western European printing facilities” explains Marian Ologeanu, the Managing Director of Sothis Print.
Sothis Print by the numbers:
– sales turnover of 6 million euro in 2015;
– 130 employees;
– median age of employees between 24 and 32;
– dozens of large and very large corporate clients;
– hundreds of small and medium-size clients;
– production facilities of over 21,528 sq ft (2,000 sq m);
– printed matter exports to three European countries.