24 May From printing supplier to strategic partner
Over the past 20 years, Andi has grown to become one of the biggest suppliers of printed materials in the southern Netherlands. The company’s expansion is not a coincidence. Andi is more than a mere supplier; we create added value for our clients through smart deployment of offline resources and the latest print solutions. We brainstorm to help you find the best option to meet your needs.
Frank Alofs, business manager at Andi, is excited to talk about how Andi developed from a printing supplier to a strategic partner for smart print solutions. Clearly, Andi deliberately chose to make this strategic shift.
You’ve grown significantly over time; what do you attribute that growth to?
“At first, Andi was simply a ‘printing house’, as people used to call us. Need 5,000 envelopes? We’re who you call. Thanks to active sales, however, more and more of our large-scale clients came to rely on our knowledge and quality. This change transformed our way of working. As we started serving bigger and bigger companies, we faced increasingly complex issues. Fortunately, a solution-driven mindset is written into our company’s DNA. As far as we’re concerned, challenges are there to be overcome. By actively designing and developing smart print solutions to meet increasingly complex client needs, Andi was able to keep pace with the growth of its clients. We have always been a company that listens well to our clients and uses that knowledge to build a long-term relationship. We have become a reliable printing partner for major local, national and international organisations. Operating on the basis of client needs is a solid part of our company’s deepest foundations.”
What did that shift in client demand look like?
“As we started serving larger clients, their questions were less and less about our print products, instead focusing on the printing process: the organisation, turnaround times, inventory. Big companies need to be able to trust their systems fully – coordinating, integrating and automating as much as possible. That’s a long, complicated process. We are proactive about brainstorming with our clients about ways to improving their printing process in every way. We are happy to share our knowledge, simply because it benefits our client. It’s really not that hard to use a client-driven approach, as long as you actually maintain that focus. Clients can build on that foundation.”
What methods do you use to optimize print processes?
“We come up with ways to structure the production process as efficiently as possible. For instance, we can deliver all sorts of fully customised printed materials, making it easier to process packages and labels on an automated assembly line. Need the barcode to be in the top right corner of the box? Then we’ll put it in the top right corner. Need every box to be three centimetres thinner, so five boxes can be stacked on a warehouse rack instead of four? We’ll make it happen. It sounds simple, but lots of printers just don’t have the tools to facilitate it.”
“The ordering process can also be optimised. We developed an ordering portal that is adapted to each client’s preferences. That means that each of our clients has their own Andi web shop, containing the products that the company has commissioned us to produce, at the prices we agreed to. Right there, all our clients save their purchasing teams tons of time. They can rest assured that an Andi delivery van will pull up to their door regularly, and that everything will be correct. Developing and optimally filling a system like that takes a lot of time before the launch, but its benefits are measured in years. Proper preparation really makes a difference!”
How does this improve the bottom line in terms of costs?
“Andi has access to the latest technologies to ensure that every print order can be produced as effectively as possible. Whether we’re talking about high-volume offset printing, low-volume print-on-demand projects, or the increasing use of inkjet printing for variable large-scale volumes: we can handle it all. This dynamic production model makes it possible for us to offer a good price-quality ratio. However, total cost of ownership is where clients see major benefits. Since we work with our clients to design optimal production methods and more efficient workflows, we facilitate structural cost-cutting measures. That’s where clients ultimately save serious money, achieving far more than saving a few euros on individual print orders. This approach really benefits the bottom line, which is much more important – especially to bigger companies.”
So Andi is more than a printing house?
“Absolutely, we’re much more than that. We live in a 24-hour society where lead times are far lower than they used to be. That makes it vital for a company to know that they’re getting what they need. A company should never reach a point that they can’t sell their product because the right manual isn’t available yet. Andi also handles inventory management for some clients. Once a specific product drops below the agreed benchmark, our production department is notified, and the printing presses start running. Client sales should never, ever be held back because Andi can’t deliver. We anticipate estimated use and limit inventory by delivering on demand – even before the client realises they need to reorder. That’s proactive service in a nutshell.”
And proactive client service also includes smart print solutions?
“It definitely does! There’s a huge difference between giving clients what they ask for, and actively brainstorming to anticipate a client’s needs. Suppose a client commissions us to print 5,000 catalogues at the start of the year, with the aim of having enough for the whole year. Of course we could just print them and be done with it; that’s easy money. Instead, we ask: why 5,000? There’s a fairly good chance that the catalogues will be slightly out of date even before they leave the warehouse. Nothing stays exactly the same for a year anymore. The end result: a sales team that has to head out with outdated sales tools, end customers who can’t rely on availability of the products listed in the catalogue, and a huge stack of paper catalogues that can be rerouted into the recycling bin. There are smarter ways to do that!
We have new technologies that allow us to print smaller runs of the catalogue once a month, ensuring it’s always up to date – for the same costs. That gives our clients an effective sales tool that stays relevant, prevents unnecessary storage and waste disposal costs, and benefits the environment. Every printed brochure or catalogue that gets tossed before it’s even used is simply a waste of money. We always opt for long-term solutions based on smart print strategies, ensuring that the client achieves the best possible returns within the available budget. We all benefit from that efficiency – and that’s what Andi is about.”