Small print runs pay off big for Senne Products, with the help of Mimaki
Hövelhof-based Senne Products has made a name for itself as a nationwide PVC-processing business, specialising in organisation and presentation aids. Unlike many other companies, rather than working with automated mass production, they offer a ‘real’ service, producing an ever-increasing number of small batches and continuously developing new application possibilities.
Just a few years ago, there were plenty of PVC-processing companies producing presentation and organisation aids. However, with increasing digitisation, many of these products have become obsolete and the number of businesses operating in this segment has dropped significantly. Unlike its market competitors, Managing Directors Carsten Fest and Christian Vullhorst have always followed a different sales concept, placing the emphasis on maximising quality whilst never shying away from putting the effort into small quantities and offering additional services.
“In the current market there’s barely any need for ring binders or loose-leaf folders. With all elements used for presentation purposes, the quantities have decreased but the quality has increased,” Fest explains. “This transition has put many companies in our industry out of business. What has made us different from our market competitors to this day is that we have always wanted to be better than the others. Our customers constantly demand higher quality and we consistently meet this standard without much of a challenge.”
Upcycling an IT piece and the perfect means of advertising
The company’s latest coup takes the form of stylish bags made from used exhibition carpets. When its customer Schüco asked to make the bags from their latest awning fabric as a means of advertising, Fest and Vullhorst knew it was time to invest in a large-format flatbed plotter that would give them the necessary flexibility to design and develop the prototypes.
“To bring our customer’s ideas to fruition, first we needed to produce a small sample run. Using conventional methods, not only would this have cost a lot of money, but more importantly it would have been very time consuming,” Fest claims.
They then found an excellent solution to meet these requirements in the multifunctional CF22-1225 flatbed cutting plotter from Mimaki. Besides the conventional cool look, sustainability also made this idea a hit amongst both the companies and the end users, with cuts either made in short runs or as prototypes, then finalised in the sewing room.
“With the Mimaki CF22-1225, we can cut material for about 15 to 20 bags for the test phase, which are then distributed internally within the plants so samples can be produced. That might not sound like much at first, but with sales of several million, this clearly shows how small batches are worthwhile,” added Fest.
From sample to batch production
In addition to the individual bags, they also cut soft PVC films and PP in thicknesses of 0.15 to 1.2mm, as well as hard films up to a maximum of 0.7mm thick on the plotter.
“The price-performance ratio of the Mimaki plotter is appropriate and suitable to our needs. Higher productivity on the plotter would make no sense economically for us because we have established the other production capabilities here on site,” states Fest.
“The ultimate advantage that the plotter presents for us is that we can use it to try out products with new designs to ensure that production in larger quantities will be flawless. Producing the conventional way with punching or welding systems would not work for us as every single change would automatically require a new tool. This would not be cost-effective and would take an unnecessarily long time, which is why we chose the Mimaki plotter as it makes it easy for us to alter the product time and time again. Every cut is reliably and accurately repeatable, which cannot be done by hand to this standard within the given time frame.”
Small runs but big plans
Senne Products would not have reached the heights they are at today had they not expanded their business model and invested in the idea of purchasing a cutter after a recommendation from a client. Since it was established in 1971, the company has followed its philosophy from the very beginning, finding success with its minimum runs of flawless small batches in its broadly diversified portfolio.
As customers keep coming with new requirements, ideas and requests, an increasing amount of branches of production have been added in Hövelhof. About a year ago, they added screen printing to their production facilities and now with the addition of the digital multifunctional flatbed cutting plotter from Mimaki, they show no signs of stopping.
“In the early days, our competitors used to laugh at us for processing small quantities. At the end of the day, we have gained all our large customers precisely because we offered small quantities,” says Vullhorst.
“Our largest customer right now launched 20 years ago with a small annual turnover and today records sales of several million. This clearly shows small batches are worthwhile,” Vullhorst concludes.
Article supplied by: World of Print