Less footprint, more imprint: Harnessing Automation for Sustainability and Customization
Three buzzwords dominate the print industry today: sustainability, customization, and automation. If these ring a bell and you're scouting for a firsthand account of how to make a success of them, grab your digital passports and join us on our trip to the offices of Serafí Industria Gràfica in Terrassa, Spain. We’ll take you on a trip through the world of print innovation!
A Spanish Story of Resilience and Adaptation
Serafí Industria Gràfica, a family-run enterprise since 1964, is more than a simple print shop. Today, it's a tech-savvy business, adapting and thriving amidst a whirlwind of technological advancements.
We were given a warm welcome by General Director Jaume Gàzquez and his sister Maite. They took us on a tour around the office that was a feast for the eyes, flaunting some stunning projects – from a welcoming box for FC Barcelona members to a chocolate company packaging shimmering with a golden print of the famous Sagrada Familia.
And just like the array of accomplishments on display, Serafí have managed to significantly scale up their operations without bloating their workforce – they’re still the lean team of 25 they were at the start.
What's their secret sauce, you ask? Automation. By letting technology take the wheel, Serafí's been able to expand internationally, producing up to 25 million units annually, all while being gentle on the environment.
Sustainability: The New Black in Printing
“We aim to leave less footprint but more imprint,” says Jaume Gàzquez. It’s a catchy phrase, but Serafí's embrace of sustainability goes well beyond that; it’s a genuine corporate commitment. For example, the company took a giant green leap forward by installing photovoltaic solar panels, and now produces 33% of their electricity, which translates to around 59 tons less CO2 emissions per year.
And sustainability at Serafí isn't limited to CO2 emission reduction. It’s central to their printing too. Serafí’s eco-vision extends right down to the selection of their substrates and inks. The global focus on sustainability has become a pivotal decision-making factor for their clients, and Serafí delivers on this need.
One stunning example is the packaging they made for Casa Cacao of the three-Michelin-starred Roca brothers. The client wanted packaging that was different, sustainable, and memorable. Serafí created a package built with handmade paper from cocoa remains and with an impeccable print quality.
Jaume also revealed how Enfocus Switch – their automation engine – had been instrumental in making their print production process more sustainable, minimizing color proofs production, reducing machine operation time, and saving paper and ink. Switch also fully digitized their workflows, curbing electricity consumption.
Automation: The Green Growth Engine
According to Jaume, automation in printing has been a game-changer, contributing to sustainability and driving business growth. “Switch saves us unnecessary color proofing, reduces production times, and lowers paper and ink consumption,” Jaume says.
Automation for Serafí is like a two-sided coin. On one side, it allows for energy-saving, minimizes waste, and reduces resource consumption. But flip the coin, and you see a powerful growth engine, ready to propel your business to new heights with significant business growth.
The need for automation became evident for Serafí in 2017, with the influx of digital offset printers and the surge in e-commerce. Pre-Switch, they were dedicating an employee solely for managing the data from their online store. Switch enabled them to keep pace with the burgeoning e-commerce trend, automating the once manual and time-consuming task of order processing from their online store to production.
“One of Switch’s virtues is that it allows us to automate what is automatable, and we then have time to focus on the products and value-addition tasks that we can then continue to further automate with Switch,” Jaume states.
The Imprint of Customization
The power of Enfocus Switch became even more prominent with one of the first projects Serafí undertook using it – personalized calendars carrying the printed names of a client's users. Maite reveals that such intricate customization would have been impossible without automation, but with Switch the process was not only manageable but profitable.
Serafí has not only taken advantage of the automation system for product customization but also for personalized order processing. As Jaume states: “We have even opened our servers to some of our clients, and Switch allows us to start the jobs instantaneously. For example, once a customer has uploaded a file, we start the order and they get a notification that we’ve validated the file and that they meet the requirements that we have programmed for that type of file, etc.”
Maite highlighted that personalized treatment continues to be a principle for the family business, and this is a great added value. But working with current generations can make this very time intensive, as the client requires immediate information about their order. Today, meeting this need is viable thanks to the automation of emails and automatic responses, which allows the client to obtain information in real time. As a consequence, clients are more satisfied and more committed to the process.
Returning to the big picture and the end of our visit, Jaume sums up Serafí’s mission: “What we seek in all processes, equipment, software, and even suppliers, is that they work in favor of ensuring that this world in which we live and share is more sustainable. And we hope these small actions allow us to leave the best legacy to our loved ones and future generations.”
Serafí’s journey from 1964 to now is a tale of adaptation, evolution, and innovation, enabled by technology, particularly Enfocus Switch. Serafí's story shows it's possible to build a sustainable, competitive, and innovative future by making smarter choices. So, let's all aim to leave less footprint, but more imprint!