Investments in finishing generate long-term added value
The business started by the two brothers André and Oliver Fischer in 1995 based on the simple buying and selling of print products has developed into a very successful service provider of transactional printing and dialogue marketing: the company A&O Fischer GmbH & Co. KG in the metropolitan region of Hamburg (www.aof.de).
The philosophy of the two proprietors is a major factor behind the company's growth. As Oliver Fischer explained in an interview: "We always want to provide our customers with the best solution and to be that little bit better than our competitors." To ensure that these aims are achieved, the enterprise is constantly investing in the future to create added value for its customers while also optimising its production facilities. In 2016, a new production line was acquired for printing and inline finishing. It consists of a Canon Océ VarioPrint i300 sheet printing system and the new Müller DocuTrim from Müller Paper Handling Solutions based in Kranzberg in Bavaria.
Two wishes had top priority during the decision-making phase of the investment at the end of 2015. "We wanted a high-performance inkjet sheet-fed printing system, and, above all, we wanted to be able to print with full bleed while having a flexible solution for inline cutting down to edge-to-edge products!" There was only one system solution that came into consideration for such a task: The Océ VarioPrint i300 together with the Müller DocuTrim. This inline combination satisfied all of A&O Fischer's requirements.
The Müller DocuTrim receives colour-printed SRA4 sheets inline from the Océ VarioPrint i300 and trims them on the fly on all four sides to produce the final DIN A4 format. The sheets are then collated to form job document stacks of up to 2000 sheets with or without offset. At the end of the system, they are finished as required and three Müller inserting systems (Müller 8300 or Müller 8500 multiformat) produce the finished letters. Müller is currently developing further functions for the Müller DocuTrim for dynamic perforation, hole punching and creasing.
Thanks to the new Müller DocuTrim, full-bleed layouts can be produced in an inline configuration with the printing system. As an option, the document stacks produced for insertion also include edge-to-edge inserts that no longer have to go through the laborious processes of pre-printing, trimming, folding, storage and being fed into the machine through separate insert channels.
The content of documents such as letters and inserts is personalised on each sheet and updated on a daily basis. Furthermore, content is automated in a highly secure, fast and flexible process in the customer's CI for dialogue marketing campaigns. This low-cost process also includes full bleed and takes place on one production line. At the same time, customers can flexibly individualise their material thanks the sheet-fed printing process. Companies based in Germany in particular appreciate this service – energy providers, financial service companies, start-ups as well as small and medium-sized enterprises. As recently as 2016, A&O Fischer acquired a large customer thanks to these additional services. The company processes over 500,000 sheets a month on the Müller DocuTrim. The upward trend is continuing due to high demand and because the service can be offered at very competitive conditions thanks to the optimisation of the firm's production facilities.
As managing director Oliver Fischer reports: "We are very satisfied that we were offered the Océ VarioPrint i300 together with the Müller DocuTrim and also with the fact that we were ultimately able to implement the project to the standard we had imagined. This experience confirmed what we already knew from working with three Müller inserting systems: that is to say, where Müller's skills and know-how lie and how reliably the systems work. This was a major factor in our purchasing decision. We knew we would be working with a partner we can trust, whose service and equipment quality we appreciate and with whom our collaboration has always been very good."
Output management is just one of A&O Fischer's business segments. Besides the transactional business and dialogue marketing, they are also involved in incoming mail processing for companies and fulfilment service. Around 40 employs ensure that everything runs smoothly at A&O Fischer. In production and elsewhere, they are very flexible in the jobs they do: every employ can operate every machine.
From 2015 to 2016 alone, the company experienced over 30 percent growth in turnover and is expecting a further 15 percent rise for 2017. "We base our activities on our customers' wishes: we ask what they want. Generally speaking, we can provide whatever the customer wants and place our customers' requirement at the forefront of the solutions we offer," assures managing director Oliver Fischer. A&O Fischer always has a keen eye on innovation and invests in the future, particularly in digitalisation. The enterprise is breaking new ground with its "LetterXpress.de" online hybrid service and is addressing a target group it has previously not reached: small and medium-sized enterprises with very individual and fluctuating mailing volumes who are on the look-out for capable and uncomplicated partners, and who then quickly come across A&O Fischer's online services and then often establish a very long-term partnership.