GT Invest appreciates deadlines and timely execution, therefore our partners are people with similar values. Others promise we print. This is the motto of the Ukrainian printing house "From A to Z". In-house production on 5000 m2 (54 000 sq ft) area, 18 years on the market, 24x7 service, advanced technologies, and modern equipment — this is the key secret of the company, which not only passed through the crisis but also discovered a new vector of development. In an interview with Alexey Prokhorenko, the printing house CEO Ilya Bolgov spoke about the prospects of the printing products market, modernization of production, and their unusual orders.
- Ilya, how has the crisis affected your business and customer relations? What is the situation in the printing market now?
- The crisis has made a dent in our company and the entire printing industry as a whole. The standards and approaches to technological processes have changed, relations with customers and suppliers have become difficult. But, like any other crisis, this one has its beginning and the end. New challenges have forced us to restructure some processes, and now the coronavirus crisis is a normal routine of operation for us for the coming months or even years. New opportunities are opening up for us now.
There is a trend towards reduction and optimization in the printing market now. I believe the year 2021 will continue this trend.
- How much harder or easier has it become to hold the lead in the market?
- The crisis encourages us to take unconventional actions that allow us to keep our leadership in the market. Among other things, it comes from the fact that other market players do not stand up and leave it. On the contrary, we seek to ramp up sales and keep up with our customers. For example, we have recently purchased a new automated line for the production of hardcover books. This is a real high-speed machine, capable of producing 2 thousand high-quality covers per hour.
- What should a potential client pay attention to when ordering your services?
- How long the printing house has been in the market, the availability of facilities, the number of employees, the quality standards — these are the most important points that a client should look into to avoid delays and other pitfalls of cooperation. And we are flattered by the fact that we have a lot of repeat customers who have appreciated the quality and our approach to business. Today the printing house "From A to Z" employs 150 people.
- What is the most non-standard project you had?
- From year to year, fate throws us various unusual projects. I would point out, perhaps, a large-scale all-Ukrainian project for the production of a children's board game for a multinational brand with many complex printing processes. There were chips, nameplates, and other elements that we manufactured for the first time in our market.
- How long does it take to estimate and implement a new project? What technological innovations do you use to speed up your processes?
- Depending on the complexity and scale of the project, the estimation takes from two minutes to an hour. And the implementation may last from an hour up to 90 days. This is the maximum we had. Last year, we got a high-speed printer for printing small orders in production. Konica Minolta bizhub PRESS C7000 is a high-quality full-color printing system. Printing speeds up to 71 pages per minute on textured and thick papers with excellent color rendering.
- How have eco-trends affected your business niche?
- The rejection of polyethylene and the subsequent transition to paper bags — these trends can now be seen in the printing industry. Also, many companies want products made from recycled materials, thereby contributing to the preservation of the environment.
- What are your rules of life that help you develop?
- Simple things help us to grow consistently: be honest with our clients, always meet your commitments and look ahead. Quality service for our clients comes first. We are dedicated to long-term fruitful work for many years to come. For this purpose, we have set the highest standards. In general, we always try to find a silver lining in our business.
Funny cases are part of our job. Some time ago we printed advertising products for a national brand in the form of banknotes with a denomination of 100–500 UAH. It was funny to see our guest's faces when they noticed pallets of money in our workshop.
- Ilya, what are your plans for growth and what are you planning to achieve?
- The coronavirus crisis showed us that we can be very flexible because the pandemic has changed the way many businesses think and the behavior of people in general. But we have successfully rebuilt ourselves and are moving forward. We will be doing the same in the future. This year we've managed to rev up capacity thanks to new equipment. In the next five years, we plan to expand our product lines and conquer new markets. We have already increased the number of orders from abroad, and plan to work closely with foreign clients. We accumulate energy in our niche, shaping the market of customers and services, defining the culture of product consumption and future trends.