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This was one of the challenges set by plant wholesaler zu Jeddeloh when it was looking to convert the production of its plant labels from offset printing to digital printing and move label production onto its own premises. Another requirement of the plant wholesaler was to be able to process substrate – a weatherproof, tear-resistant synthetic PE material – without interruptions. The bizhub PRESS C71hc from Konica Minolta effortlessly meets both of these criteria. The production printing system with High Chroma toner has been in use at zu Jeddeloh for over a year now and has helped not only to reduce storage requirements, but to improve logistics as well. The plant wholesaler can now offer personalised labels to all of its customers without high additional costs, giving the company a clear competitive advantage.
During the high season in spring and autumn, up to 90,000 plants leave the company’s site in Edewecht each day. Every plant is given a label that provides instructions on how to look after the plant as well as information on where to plant it. In the past these labels were standardised, produced in advance through offset printing. In batches of at least 500 plants per plant variety, labels featuring a brand logo were printed and placed in storage to be sold to the company’s three largest customers. With a range that included a total of 3000 “products”, the company’s storage racks quickly grew to 30 meters in length. It was equally time-consuming for employees to find the relevant labels. If a label was out of stock, it had to be printed on an office printer until more were produced at a later date. If a customer changed their logo, this sometimes meant disposing of entire batches. “And as we acquired increasingly diverse groups of customers, we had to add more and more layouts, which made the situation even more difficult”, explains Uwe Horstmann, the man responsible for labels and POS marketing at zu Jeddeloh.
These obstacles are a thing of a past now that zu Jeddeloh has invested in a professional digital printing system. After extensive consultation with Dirk Schmieg, Consultant at Konica Minolta’s authorised specialist dealer for production printing systems, Max Müller (based in Bremen), zu Jeddeloh promptly made the decision to opt for the bizhub PRESS C71hc from Konica Minolta. Thanks to its air-supported paper feed and reliable supply via a suction unit, the printing system is able to process a wide range of materials with weights ranging from 62 to 300 gsm. The system’s suction unit technology was particularly important to the team at zu Jeddeloh, as the synthetic label material has a tendency to become statically charged when processed in other toner-based printing systems. But the bizhub PRESS C71hc presents no such issue, confirms Horstmann. Since it was installed, more than 700,000 plant labels have been created on the printing system. Each label is printed double-sided on pre-perforated PE material and, depending on the format, the bizhub PRESS C71hc can print between 31 SRA3 and 71 SRA4 sheets per minute. The resolution of 1200 x 1200 dpi, combined with the High Chroma toner, produces hues that closely match the sRGB colour space and thereby “deliver results that are brighter than with offset printing”, says Dirk Schmieg.
A specially adapted EFI Fiery JobFlow workflow handles the processing of data and controls the printing system. “The shipping hall contains several shipping lanes in which the plants are collected according to the orders and recorded with a handheld scanner”, explains Uwe Horstmann. “In the background, a file containing all the relevant information is generated and sent to the workflow”. The workflow draws the necessary information from a database, such as the EAN code, price or product image, and creates the print data in the appropriate format as required. Everything is then sent to the bizhub PRESS C71hc, at which point printing is triggered automatically. Each employee is able to determine which labels belong to their order by means of an identifier on the border of the print sheet. The employee then simply has to remove the labels from the sheet and attach them to the plants.
“The special feature of the digital printing system is that it allows us to now offer personalised labels to all of our customers, including the smaller ones — not just to our three main customers as before”, says Horstmann. Product information can be modified, prices can be amended, logos can be changed and labels can be issued in different languages — all on demand. This has had a real impact, as it has led to a marked increase in the company’s order volumes. “To my knowledge, we are the only plant wholesaler that is in a position to offer this service”, explains Horstmann. Production is no longer limited to just plant labels: “We also offer our customers the option of having DIN A4 pegboards designed and printed, such as the kind seen in DIY shops. We even print price lists, information sheets and signs for nurseries on the bizhub PRESS C71hc”.
The investment has been worthwhile for zu Jeddeloh, as evidenced not only by the company’s increased order volumes, but also by the fact that a second system of the same type was installed at the company in November. “As a back-up to our first one”, explains Uwe Horstmann, “but also to expand our capacity”. At long last, the need for personalised labels in the plant trade has now been recognised.
We are the only plant wholesaler that can offer personalised plant labels
POS Marketing at zu Jeddeloh Pflanzen