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Tales of the Oldest Interailer - Part 3

By Admin.

Thursday 11th June 2015

Yesterday was my final supplier visit on this grand European tour and what a way to finish. I never thought Kurz were a garden shed organization, but I was surprised at just how big they are, and still family owned. Many thanks to Sonja and Wolfgang for making me so welcome and showing me around. While at the Kurtz factory, I was shown the latest developments in their digital foiling offering and for me this could be one of the big draws at Labelexpo this year. As with all things digital it has not been an easy development process and there are still some significant restrictions, but the quality of what they are getting is amazing and I have no doubt that this really will be the future of foiling.

This whole tour has been focused on me eating and drinking very well looking at how we can differentiate our offering . I think as printers Label Apeel we’re not alone in believing that if we bought a digital press then the potential for individualisation was ours to take. The truth has been a little more stilted. If you ask the marketing guys how they want to differentiate their labels they come back with one of two answers

1.We can sequentially number it

2.Let’s put peoples names on it.

I hate to say it but neither of these are ground breaking. Yes, I do know the “Share a Coke” campaign was printed digitally. No, I am not bitter that I did not get to print any of it (much). Yes, I have seen the presentation on how the campaign was done, about 35 times now, once 3 times in the same conference.

Heck, I hope that doesn’t come across as sounding too bitter, but I think as printers we have all got to wake up to the fact that despite the protestations of HP, Xekon, Screen et al. The machines they supply are just printing machines with some clever little additions and some cost saving to conventional printing under the right circumstances. The true differentiation for me still lies in the design, the delivery and the intellectual properties of the product produced, not the press (think I may have just kissed goodbye to my discount). That is why getting out of the office and meeting some of the smaller more niche suppliers on their home territory and exploring some of the weird and the wonderful stuff they do has been such an eye opener and I would highly recommend it. Of course you could just wait for Label Expo Brussels, but my experience is that somewhere between the hall exit, the Irish Bar and my office I lose a lot of the information. However that may just be me.

On a less industry specific note. When travelling in the UK, I think it is always nice to hear people speaking foreign languages. That is until you are stuck in a train carriage with them for 4 hours and they have been barking in to their mobile for most of the journey. So, when people started staring at me yesterday on the train I naturally thought it was the magnetic draw of my lilting East Midlands accent and that scowl was just a very Germanic way of showing interest. That was until I got up to go to the loo and saw that I was sat under a big and I do mean big sign with a picture of a mobile phone with a line through it. The word Verbotten was not printed but the message was quite clear to anyone who cared to look. So my apologies go to people in the carriage, the German Rail Company, and to my fellow countrymen whose reputation for being a little bit aloof and arrogant was only further confirmed by my stupidity.

Today, I am off to the FINAT conference, so if you want to know who got drunk, who said something inappropriate and who let slip what trade secret, then come back tomorrow and I will happily tell you all those stories that I am not involved in. Could be a short piece!