Quebecor’s blueprint for success
Quebecor World Plc is among the world’s largest commercial printing and media companies, offering a wealth of experience, creativity and innovation, combined with the most advanced technological methods in the industry.
The organisation’s UK operation, based in Corby, Northamptonshire, is the largest single commercial web offset site in Europe. Its seven state-of-the-art presses operate continuously, printing a broad range of products for customers throughout the UK and Europe.
Angus Jurkschat, sales and marketing director at Quebecor, elaborates: “We are a medium to high-volume web offset printing business that specialises in the production of time sensitive publications, such as weekly magazines, fast turnaround flyers for the retail sector, mail order catalogues, magazines and free newspapers, and government information leaflets. Quebecor has been an established printing company for over 40 years, yet Quebecor World Plc was established in 1999 following a merger between Quebecor Printing and World Colour.” Despite being a global company, Quebecor prides itself on co-operating closely with all of its clients: “Customer focus is one of the key factors in the success of our business, and throughout our operations we always like to think global, but act local,” says Angus. “Although we work as part of a large printing conglomerate, we are always able to deliver a local solution in whichever geographical location our client operates in. It is vital that we offer a bespoke, personal service to each customer as each project has different requirements.”
Angus explains that, in order to remain competitive, the business continuously updates its production facilities: “We have a continuous programme of investment and improvement as printing technology is key to the success of the business, and manufacturers are introducing new innovations on a regular basis. The trend at the moment is towards machines that are larger, can run a lot faster, have higher levels of automation, and require less people to operate them. This means that a larger volume, of higher quality, is produced in the same time.
“Our newest investment is a state-of-the-art 72 page press, capable of producing 72 pages of A4 at very high speeds,” he continues. “We commissioned the machine in late September 2006, and it is now in full production, printing seven days per week at up to 43,500 copies per hour, and we are extremely happy with the quality.
“The press features spine gluing and rotary trimming, meaning that on certain paginations we are able to print the product, glue the spine, and then trim the edges,” Angus expands. “This results in a complete product being printed on one machine, cutting down the speed to market of the publication and eliminating the need for other separate stitching and binding processes. We are currently the only company in the UK with a 72 page configuration press with spine gluing and rotary trimming, which puts us in a very good position in the market.”
Angus elaborates on the importance of efficiency to the business: “It is crucial to our operations. We have witnessed a considerable deterioration in market price in recent years, and the only way to remain successful in these conditions is to operate as efficiently as possible. We aim to have as much uptime as we can, with our machines running as fast as possible and producing the minimum amounts of waste per run. Over the last two or three years we have managed to significantly cut down our cost base by installing equipment that enables us to be more efficient, minimise our waste, and be more competitive.”
He believes that the industry will become increasingly competitive: “Although there are definitely opportunities for further growth, the market has been suffering from an over supply problem for some time. As a consequence, the industry is consolidating, and I believe that this will continue so that we see fewer, but larger players in the market and large printing groups. In terms of manufacturing, super-plants are the way forward, and the way to spread your costs effectively. Many of our competitors are closing their smaller factories, and some of the smaller players in the sector may be forced out of the business.”
Despite these challenges, Angus is confident for the future of Quebecor: “We will continue to drive efficiencies, and invest in new technology in order to be more efficient and productive. I would like to see us continuing to expand our share of the magazine market, whilst increasing our amount of commercial printing operations. Whilst nearly all printers operate the same, high-quality machinery, the key factor that differentiates us is our people. We are a people driven business, and in a market that is increasingly needing less people, I think that they will become increasingly important in our future success,” he concludes.
Products: Web offset printed products