Making decisions, knowing the market and taking their businesses forward – nothing less is expected of CEOs in the online print industry. But how do those in charge view what’s happening in the online print sector?
The Online Print Symposium is just around the corner in April and, as in the past, the Initiative Online Print will once again be a topic of debate. That’s why I report here on beyond-print.de not only about what’s happening in the overall market, but also about what individual decision-making units, i.e. CEOs, are thinking and doing. That’s because the decision-makers in our industry frequently get an almost anonymized press. So first-hand information is provided here to portray and get a feel for where a number of online print CEOs from the D/A/CH region and Initiative members are at now and where they are headed in the future. That also includes decision-makers from the “smaller” online print providers. One of these providers that I frequently wowed by is Ortmaier-Druck. CEO Stefan Ortmaier was the first to respond to my questions – and his answers turned out to be far-sighted reactions…
Bernd Zipper: Keeping it short and sweet: what is Ortmaier-Druck and what distinguishes your business?
Stefan Ortmaier: Ortmaier-Druck has been producing print in the Bavarian town of Frontenhausen – on the outskirts of Munich – for more than 50 years. Our online store flyerpara.de has been handling the bulk of our daily order fulfilment since 2004.
We attach great importance to providing additional services like spot colors, proprietary formats, customer-specific print runs as well as to placing dedicated contact persons at the disposal of customers. Our customers also benefit from specific solutions, be it web-to-print or workmanship in the form of finishing or punching dies. And gang printing enables us to offer inexpensive prices. We are the top dog in the Lower Bavaria region. Furthermore many of our customers are based in the Munich, Ingolstadt, Regensburg and Passau metropolitan regions.
Bernd Zipper: Ortmaier-Druck has been represented online by flyerpara.de for nearly 15 years. How have your business and the platform evolved during this period? What print methods, products and services have been added and which have been discontinued?
Stefan Ortmaier: Ortmaier-Druck’s product range has been gradually expanded by adding new offset print, digital print, signage, textile print and silkscreen print products.
While you could initially only order flyers and posters on two types of paper from flyerpara.de, the product portfolio has been expanded and now includes many types of paper, brochures in proprietary formats, card fans, table displays and much more besides. You can combine more than one million products on the online platform. If required, products can also be printed using carbon-neutral methods. On request we also provide the option of having specific projects actioned in an environmentally compatible manner, thanks to FSC and PEFC certification. Our in-house fleet of vehicles enables us to deliver to customers practically throughout Bavaria. A great service, especially if they need things urgently.
Generally speaking we have an ideal blend of specific printing methods and a combination of gang printing and normal production. This is definitely our strength!
Bernd Zipper: How do you see the online print sector in Germany evolving in 2017 and beyond?
Stefan Ortmaier: Standard products will be produced primarily by the major online platforms, because superior capacity utilization enables them to offer lower prices. However there are scores of small and mid-sized enterprises that have great ideas and are therefore in a position to launch new products on the market or are able to serve a large number of niches by providing a particular service. Ortmaier-Druck takes its customers by the hand and mentors them through to the completion of their print products. Customers are thus provided with a single-source service ranging from specialist advice via design/layout to production of their print items. In my opinion what’s important is having a good relationship with the customer. It is of secondary importance where and by whom print products are manufactured, provided the quality is right.
Bernd Zipper: Mass customization is the customer magnet of the future. Which business activities do you see as having a key impact on sales in the future and why? Where can potential be exploited?
Stefan Ortmaier: I see potential in the wide range of new print products that are set to be “invented” in the future. And mass customization will enable them to be produced inexpensively. Many small start-ups are currently leading the way in this respect. As I already mentioned, what’s important is what the customer wants. We already offer plenty of items that we do not produce ourselves (e.g. promotional ballpoints etc.). That is set to grow. But of course we also have several specialties that we are keen on offering to resellers. These include, for example, punched-texture flyers and brochures or special finishes.
Bernd Zipper: In which areas is Ortmaier-Druck set to develop its offering? In which direction are you headed?
Stefan Ortmaier: We want to enhance our service provision even more – offering a 4-hour service for certain products, setting up service platforms for B2B customers, meeting special customer requests (possibly also embedded in customers’ own stores), offering an enhanced delivery service. And of course improving our performance in the niches that we occupy on behalf of our customers.
Bernd Zipper: How important are printing or production methods in an age when promotion frequently determines market success or failure?
Stefan Ortmaier: I think that this is taking more and more of a back seat. Ultimately the customer does not care how their order is produced or by whom. What is important is that the customer feels well looked-after, that they can get hold of their products easily and at least get exactly what they bargained for. And that is the service our professional contact persons and staff provide every day. Our comprehensive range of services means we are on the right track. Ortmaier-Druck is small enough to be able to provide an optimum service and large enough to meet all our customers’ print needs.
“Concentrating on proprietary skills and an expansion of (printing) capacity in a way that makes sense – this is the approach that Ortmaier-Druck, as an online print provider with family traditions, has taken for many years to secure its position in the market.” – Bernd Zipper
Bernd Zipper: In an age of social media, service and mobile pressures on online businesses as well as an extremely diverse range of customer requirements, it is becoming more and more of a complex task to position a business adequately in the marketplace. How do you achieve that?
Stefan Ortmaier: It is indeed tough. We do not have any large programming or marketing teams at our disposal, as is the case at our larger competitors. But by the same token we don’t have to be one of the major players in Germany or in Europe. We just want to be one of the best print companies serving our target audience and in our region. That makes everything more manageable. Of course we also offer international shipping. But basically our focus is on Germany or more specifically Bavaria. But up-to-date online store software is a must-have, even for this purpose.
Bernd Zipper: The IOP is a forum where various, to some extent competing members of the online print community meet. Why have you decided that your business should join this initiative?
Stefan Ortmaier: Communicating with “like-minded people“ just is fun, gives rise to new ideas and last but not least the one or other collaborative venture.
Bernd Zipper: If you were granted a wish in relation to the current and/or future online print industry, what would it be?
Stefan Ortmaier: I would wish that small and mid-sized enterprises get the opportunity to manufacture their products at roughly the same costs as the “major” online platforms.
My take: As a formerly conventional (old-school) print company, Ortmaier-Druck has not only online but also offline operations. Stefan Ortmaier, as a member of the print company’s senior management, has in my opinion assessed the market correctly and is not seeking to compete with the major players like Flyeralarm et al, but is pooling the target-audience-specific provision of conventional print products and other silkscreen and digital print products in his portfolio together with the appropriate level of service – and is focusing on southern Germany. A wise move.