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Aggressive approach yields world-class operation

SCOTT Print’s recent transition to world-class printer status was triggered by a series of problems that was threatening the company’s treasured top-end reputation and position in a highly competitive market. The results of two years of research to resolve the problems and set a new course for the company went into production late last month. They include two state-of-the-art printing presses worth $6 million and a $1 million pre-press facility that has become the Asia Pacific showcase for the big German manufacturer, Heidelberg. The new 65-tonne Heidelberg Speedmaster XL105s are brand new printing technology and were 10 years in the development. Scott Print’s are the first to be installed in the Southern Hemi-sphere and the company is the only one outside Germany that has two of them running in tandem. Reflecting on what brought about this $7 million investment, Scott Print general manager Andrew Neale told WA Business News it represent-ed the end of a journey and the start of a new one”. A number of problems built to a critical point more than two years ago, Mr Neale said. “We were flat out and could not take on any more work, and that’s just not good business,” he said. “Increased demands on quality, productivity and ultimately, service – the very things we hang our hat on – were becoming threatening. We were struggling with print jobs because of their complexity.” Mr Neale said demands by clients were getting harder to meet, which led to mounting frustration among the company’s press operators, and skyrocketing maintenance costs. There was also competition from the eastern states and particularly Asia, which was also investing in new technology. A strategic market review led to the decision to upgrade the pre-press/production facilities to enhance the company’s quality, service and cost advantages, and is so doing, add some new points of difference. Two years of research followed, centred on the world’s four major printing press manufacturers. “At the Heidelberg factory in Germany, we saw the Speedmaster XL105 in its infancy. We waited, watched and looked around. In this business, there are no prizes for being a trailblazer,” Mr Neale said. “The Speedmaster’s development was a big commitment for Heidel-berg. They also had good infrastruct-ure and support facilities.” The new technology’s high speed and quality satisfied the upgrade and increased capacity side of the development strategy, and a new point of difference was added on the environmental side.After much testing by its own people in Germany, Scott Print made the decision in May and the new machines were up and running by late November. Mr Neale said they were currently operating an average of 18 hours a day, six days a week. The benefits have been almost instantaneous, providing the com-pany with a price competitive, but high speed, ultra-high quality product output and thus, a local and regional competitive edge. Capacity and productivity have been increased and the company also expects a dramatic drop in maintenance costs. The two Speedmasters do the work of three older presses and are up to twice as fast as current comparable presses in WA. The environmental superiority of the Speedmaster was also a factor and an important point of difference. Scott Print’s market review revealed that its clients – predom-inately large corporations, the federal and state governments – were obliged or had committed to meeting international environmental standards, already a major factor in Europe and the US. The Heidelberg technology utilises vegetable-based inks, water-based, 100 per cent recyclable varnish, cuts pre-run paper waste by up to 50 per cent and extracts harmful vegetable-based spray powders. Scott Print was the first company in WA to achieve ISO 14001 environ-mental accreditation. It has a workforce of 55 and turns over more than $12 million a year.

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