Novus Print New technology – new markets
Posted on 06 Jul 2018
Novus Print  New technology – new markets
Novus Holdings is one of the largest commercial printing and manufacturing operations in Africa. Today Novus Print, a division of Novus Holdings, is a market-leader in heatset web, offset printing, publication gravure printing, sheetfed printing, digital cut-sheet printing, digital inkjet printing and coldset printing. With over a 100 year history, how has Novus Print managed to stay relevant amidst the increased pressure on the print industry?

The answer,according to Conrad Rademeyer, Group Executive of Novus Print, lies in the business’s ability to adapt, its excellent relationships with clients, as well as the technology it uses, which has allowed the business to bring cutting edge offerings to market.

‘With continued and substantial investment since 2000 into state-of-the-art technology, our plants are equipped with the most advanced equipment available in all areas including pre-press, press and post-press. The on-going implementation of faster and better technology ensures highly efficient, fully automated production processes that deliver quick,
high quality printing of almost any format,’ said Conrad.

He continued, ‘We are a customer-focused business. This is not a forgotten value at our company; it goes to the core of everything we do. For example, we identified a need in the publishing industry for a solution that would allow for publishers to print in the country of origin, due to lower inventories and order trends. This was identified by working with clients in the publishing industry.’

This resulted in the company acquiring the Kodak Prosper 6000C press with Kodak Stream inkjet Technology – which has proven to be a win-win for both industry and the business. The Prosper can span from small quantities to high volumes which gives Novus Print a great spectrum of mobility in the market.

David Clayton, General Manager of Novus Print Solutions, commented, ‘The press has helped us to attract overseas clients, whilst at the same time transforming the local market. Price points, across the spectrum of both long- and short-run jobs, were sufficiently attractive that a wide range of clients could benefit. Everyone wants to get a lower critical run, but over the course of a year that title may print multiple times. This allows publishers to control gross margin, cash flow and stock levels more affectively. It also gives them quick turnaround and speed to market. In addition, we were used to handling in the region of 300 jobs a month and now we are handling 200 per cent more, due to the productivity of the machine.’

David said that inkjet production offers an alternative and more cost-effective solution for printing books in the education market. ‘There is the need for more books per subject per student and the cost of books is increasing. The impact on books and reading in general could be detrimental, especially on publishers and, as a result, on printers. But, with this technology, publishers no longer need to have a large capital outlay.’

David commented, ‘There was also the need for a finishing solution to work with the press. For this, we opted for the manroland Foldline, which, at the time, was only the second unit in the world and the only one in Africa. Then there was the bookbinding line which came from Kolbus and the MIS system which had been installed across the group. All of these had to be assimilated into this new production environment.’

Books are printed digitally on the Kodak Prosper according to the number of copies required for each title. Covers are either printed digitally or on the litho presses, depending on run length. The Kodak Prosper and the manroland Foldline produce folded and glued book blocks comprising between eight- and 32-page sections. These are then put through the Kolbus binding line which automatically adjusts its settings for the next product in the line. The operator merely has to ensure that the correct covers are applied for each new title.

Kodak also offered all the necessary assurances and offers of technical support for the Prosper 6000c.

David stated, ‘The support from Kodak has been unbelievable. In the early stages after installation, if we needed assistance technicians from Kodak were on-site. They assisted with technical support, operator training, press and procedure optimisation. The team at Kodak never walked away from us and this had a lot to do with why we selected Kodak versus other suppliers. It really is partnering in the true sense of the word.’

Conrad added that a move to the Kodak Prosper requires a complete mindset because of the influence it has on the methods and processes of production. ‘The old business structure of investing in large capital equipment and being secure for 20 years or more has changed, companies need to take a closer look at their business and be prepared to adjust it on a more regular basis. We came out of a magazine and book environment, and we will never let go of those roots, but now we have blended litho and digital. Diversification is essential for success in the South African market.’

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this entire story is that the company has been able to attract the vast majority of these customers from markets which were previously not available to the South African print market. This means new sources of revenue for the company, the industry and the country.

Conrad stated, ‘The best measure of success is the growth which we have achieved, not only in terms of throughput and turnover, but in terms of the number of customers we are currently servicing and their levels of satisfaction. Our customers are now able to do exactly what they need to in order to give themselves the necessary profit with the correct stockholding. This has translated into a growing customer base which has seen the number of publishing customers increase by around 60 per cent over the same time last year. This is what we are really excited about.’

What can Novus Print offer publishers, thanks to the Kodak Prosper 6000C press with Kodak Stream inkjet Technology?

David concluded, ‘We have learned how we can help publishers to optimise their production on their titles without putting excessive strain on their cashflow or resulting in them managing high stock holdings. We can schedule entire print runs comprising many different titles into one production run making it more efficient and cost-effective. This has made it possible for us to throughput the number of jobs that we now have per month. For our publishing clients, they are starting to latch onto this capability to maximise their expenditure.

Every discussion is now about segmenting the runs and segmenting the regions to be able to take advantage of the efficiency and the cost-effectivity. We can offer them the ability to better manage their backlists and out-of-date titles by combining them with the frontlist and reprint titles. This gives them the benefit in terms of stockholding and improved cashflow while ensuring that there are more books in the market. Another added advantage is that more of the books in the bookstores say that they are printed in South Africa.’