Transfor­mation of a print shop into a full service provider

Potential analysis | Strategy development | Due diligence | Post-merger integration


A well-established medium-sized print and media company with approx­i­mately 120 employees had grown over the years. The company was not very well organized or optimized due to the tight space and grown structure within several preexisting buildings that were adjusted as far as possible. As cost pressures increased, the managing partners wanted to evaluate potentials for cost optimization and performance improvement in production.


Potential analysis in production and development of a new strategy

In my analysis I quickly identified some potential for optimization. However, the question was if the achievable results would be future-proof. Therefore I initiated a strategy development process to define the target for optimization and the future orientation of the company more precisely. Based on the newly developed growth targets the management and I determined which portfolio to offer in the future. Focusing on profitability and capacity suitable production equipment and process chains were defined. This was based on my analysis of the competitive situation, order structure, various scenarios and profitability potential.


Based on the newly defined strategy and the medium- and long-term growth targets developed, it quickly got obvious that these targets would not be achievable at the current site. In several workshops with the directors from production and management I developed suitable building concepts. Also I checked whether one of the defined concepts could be realized by partial or complete demolition and rebuilding onsite. However, this proved to be impossible.


Acquisition of a partnering printing company and integration of an advertising agency

In the planning process, the owner of another printing-company approached the shareholders intending to sell his company. To define the purchase price that company was evaluated intensively. In addition the business and strategic options of a possible integration were taken into consid­eration. Based on the results, the shareholders decided to go ahead with the takeover.

In the next step I adapted the previously prepared process plans and building concepts to the new requirements. Then the search for a block of land for a new building began. Since the construction project was to be realized in the outskirts of a metropolitan region, the search took several months until four potential locations were selected. After evaluation of space conditions, expansion possibilities, logistical and infrastructural connections as well as accessi­bility I could recommend a location.
While the building was still being planned, a cooperation agreement with an advertising agency was signed to accomplish the print shop's transfor­mation into a full-service provider. Additional space was planned in the new building for the new partner.


Organi­zation, investment planning and construction for a new site

Simulta­neously with the start of construction, the next phase of the project began: the design and optimization of the now signif­i­cantly grown company. Together with the HR team and executives, I fine-tuned management structures and processes and adjusted respon­si­bilities. Due to the great distance to the new location, some employees had already announced that they would not be taking part in the change. In order to lose as few of the experienced employees as possible, remote connections were prepared - as far as feasible. In other cases an orderly exit process was organised.

At the same time, the equipment was technically checked and prepared for the move. Several machines were overhauled and brought up to date at both existing sites. In addition, obsolete machines were disposed of and replaced by modern machines. Strategic investment planning and selection were carried out according to the expected remaining life, business results and fit with the previously defined scenarios.


Efficient post-merger integration of partners at the new central location

Even before the move to the new building, I initiated numerous measures to integrate the two production companies. These included joint project meetings, intermittent mixing of the production teams and coordi­nation of sales. In addition to integrating customer service, pricing and the expanded product portfolio, close attention had to be paid to data porting for the acquired company and training for the employees in using the new enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management systems.


Medium-sized print shop also grows interna­tionally as a full-service provider

Over the course of about two years, I was able to transform the typical medium-sized print shop into a full-service provider that quickly became well-known and was successful nationwide. Within a short time, additional sales offices were opened and a cooperation with a large Asian printing company was established.


Range of services from advertising agency, print shop and fulfillment convinces customers

The setup at the new location was unique in the region in terms of efficiency and state of the art technology. This advantage was quickly used to acquire new customers and cooperation partners. In addition, seminars are regularly offered for schools, univer­sities, specialists of major customers and interested parties in order to present the company's range of services and impart specialist knowledge. Among other things, this has enabled the company to acquire several major customers who have gratefully accepted the now united range of services offered by the advertising agency, print shop and full-service provider.

The stream­lining and digiti­zation of processes made it possible to signif­i­cantly adjust the workforce and realize very significant cost savings. The company, although based in a rather crisis-prone industry, today stands securely and successfully in the market. The close relationship with the interim manager that resulted from the transfor­mation still ensures occasional consul­tations on strategic and operational issues.


The project at a glance

  • Transformation of a print shop into a full service provider
  • Potential analysis in production and development of a new strategy
  • Acquisition of a partner printing company and integration of an advertising agency
  • Organization, investment planning and construction realization for a new site
  • Efficient post-merger integration of partners at the new central location