Hansjörg Gietz: The conclusion was that; when you eat chocolate, you want to feel cosy. Chocolate may cause you to gain weight, so at least you want to feel comfortable with it. A hot foil stamped packaging is giving you the feeling of being comfortable, is cosy and a little bit luxury as well.
Ferrostaal Turkiye signed a sales agreement with Gietz covering hot foil stamping and finishing machines to be sold in Turkey. Gietz is a rooted manufacturer in Switzerland and the company today is run by Hansjörg Gietz and his sister Claudia Gietz Viehweger who represent the 5th generation of the Gietz family. Following the humble signature ceremony in which Murat Büyükgünay, Ferrostaal Turkiye CEO, Ersin Sahin, Ferrostaal General Manager, Ersel Oflu, Ferrostaal Sales Manager and Pinar Amac, Ferrostaal Managing Director, Hansjörg Gietz, Gietz CEO and Michael Grau, Gietz Area Sales Manager were present, we made an interview with them.
What’s Gietz’ view of the market in general?
Hansjörg Gietz: From our point of view, I can say that a big change happened over the last 15 years. 15 years ago, from the machinery side, it was a pure sales market. So basically, the power to sell was at the manufacturer, while today we have a clear buyers market. The buyer defines what he needs. The manufacturer has to do what the buyer wants. This is one of the biggest changes and we, as Gietz, are trying to cope with that by adapting our strategy. What we see today are the difficulties of the commercial printing market. All over the world, commercial printers start to enter the packaging industry with an effect which sometimes is not very good for the packaging industry, because they try to enter the market with very low prices. At the end, it harms the market due to the fact that commercial printing is losing territory. This development also affects the machine manufacturer. Performance and price are getting more and more important. We personally believe that Gietz can offer solutions in this very competitive world even with machines made in Switzerland.
What are your thoughts on turning a 4-color print into a value added product?
Hansjörg Gietz: If you take a look at our samples, you can see what we can offer our customers. What we are doing is turning a simple printed product in a wonderful, very attractive product for the point of sale. Let me give you an example of the importance of hot foil stamping machines. In Switzerland, some time ago Nestlé Switzerland tried to enter the market with a new chocolate packaging of a plastic material. They refrained from conventional hot foil stamping and wanted to impress the market with a new modern art plastic chocolate packaging. What happened was that in Switzerland they had their sales decreased by 30 percent. And this within 1,5 year – due to that new packaging. After that, a lot of research was done. The conclusion was that; when you eat chocolate, you want to feel cosy. Chocolate may cause you to gain weight, so at least you want to feel comfortable with it. A hot foil stamped packaging is giving you the feeling of being comfortable, is cosy and a little bit luxury as well.
At the end, Nestlé turned back to hot foil stamping. Now they are on a good track again in Switzerland. This is what we can provoke. Honestly speaking, today who can earn money in offset printing? Offset printing margins are very low. You can earn the money in finishing, in making a product special. This is how we try to support our customers.
Could you please tell us about the position of Gietz on the European market? What are the targets of Gietz? What is your position vis-á-vis your competitors? What is your strategy against them?
Hansjörg Gietz: From a strategic point of view, we only can follow one strategy, as Gietz is a company producing in Switzerland. We are the innovation technology leader in our field. We cannot reduce our production costs. We need to be innovative and ahead of our competitors in technology. This is clearly stated in our Gietz guidelines. We only make products for professionals. This is one point, and the other point is “if you want to be the best, you need to focus your full strength on one single goal.” This is what we try to do. We do not want to supply the whole hot foil stamping industry. We clearly focus on the premium segment where you need performance, quality and precision. This is how we see our company on the market.
With regard to the quantity of machines sold in Europe, we are not number one… But for instance, Bobst is following what we are doing in hot foil stamping. So they try to reach our technology standard. Our segment of the European market is clearly number one when it concerns the packaging industry. Our customers are Edelmann, Mayr-Melnhof etc. The big companies are our customers. For example, we have just sold the 7th machine to the Amcor Group and the 4th to Mayr-Melnhof. It was hard for us to get into this market, but once the clients are convinced and have gained experience with their first Gietz machine, they go for a second one. This is our situation at the moment in Europe.
Michael Grau: First of all, it is the technology. Since more than 60 years, our core competence is hot foil stamping and its development. Our competitors are mostly coming from the die-cutting side. I think this is the most eminent difference. Then we have, from my point of view, a big advantage, since we are a small company. We are flexible and we are near to the customers. This is very important for service. When a customer calls me, I can go downstairs and talk to an engineer, which makes things easier and faster. It is not only the machinery, it is nice to sell machines of course and it is our business. But, we want to be sure that the machine is running well. Today it is very important to offer a good service. When a machine is running well, the customer is satisfied and consequently, we are happy too.
Generally all the manufacturers say the same. How many employees are working in your service department?
Hansjörg Gietz: We have 13 people in the service department who have nothing else to do than going out and servicing the machines worldwide. In the markets we also have local service technicians which we train to provide a first support to the customer. Today, service can go very fast. To give an example: Once, there was a breakdown of a machine, which is running 24/7 in 3 shifts, in Singapore. The customer cannot accept one day delay. 4 o’clock in the afternoon we got the call from Singapore, the next day 4 o’clock we were there together with the required part to fix the machine. Even from Switzerland, you can service the world within 24 hours. The customer, from the Amcor Group, was astonished. They said; “compared to other companies, we have never experienced this.” This is what Gietz considers to be service. It is not being a big organization, it is how you react. Not every problem on a machine is crucial and urgent, sometimes you have more time and, the customer should tell you that. We react accordingly. I think today the big advantage of small companies is that they can act quicker since they are more flexible. Many of my clients have my mobile number which allows them to call me anytime during the day, even weekends. Sometimes they call me the weekends and I organize them a technician. This is the big difference compared to larger organizations. This direct approach, I believe, is very well appreciated by our clients.
Murat Büyükgünay: The training of our service technician has already started with the selection of the machine. We have attended the whole installation phase of the first Gietz machine sold in Turkey since we are exclusive Gietz distributor and with the next machines we will even improve our support.
Hansjörg Gietz: But I think the biggest difference from our competitors is that, as Michael said, we focus purely on hot foil stamping and not on die-cutting. In our opinion, there are crucial differences between die-cutting and foil stamping. The most important one is the time under impression, the so called dwell time. For the foil stamping you need to have a long time under impression to make a nice shiny gold or silver. While die-cutting, you want to be as short as possible under impression (creasing) so that you can move your papers as slow as possible through the machine. We say; we don’t care how fast the sheet goes through the machine. We care how long we foil stamp and how much the ironing effect is.
You are doing this business since 1892. You have a huge experience. What would you like to say about this experience of yours?
Hansjörg Gietz: As a small Swiss company, you can only follow a niche strategy. It would be easier for us to build a die cutting machine rather than our complex machines. But I would never do that, because, the competition in die-cutting is insane.Why should we enter a market where there is a strong price competition? We rather follow our niche strategy and focus on hot foil stamping and we are the only one concentrating on hot-foil stamping. It is up to the customers, whether they want to have a professional product for hot foil stamping. If so, then Gietz is the company to go to. Many customers differentiate; when they go for die cutting they buy Bobst, when they want to foil stamp, they buy Gietz. I like this. It really shows us that we are on the right track.
Mr. Büyükgünay, is the experience of Gietz an advantage for you?
Murat Büyükgünay: Yes, the experience of Gietz definitely is an advantage for us. Gietz offers unique selling arguments and as Ferrostaal Turkey, we are convinced that there is a niche market and we consider Gietz as the best supplier for this market. We were in Gossau at the Gietz plant and we were convinced by their people and production site. There is a strong communication between Gietz and us, which will bring us forward.
Pınar Amaç: The Turkish market, as we are all aware, is a market where quality is getting more and more important. There is a big competition among the manufacturers and our clients as well. Competitiveness is somehow determined by quality. So, for this segment we are very confident that Gietz will be first choice on the Turkish market supported by the well-established network of Ferrostaal.
Murat Büyükgünay: And we have 100% Swiss made products, this is an important issue for our customers.
There is a huge market in Asia, so why don’t you have any facilities in Asia?
Hansjörg Gietz: Honestly speaking, we have no plan to produce in Asia. It is against our family strategy. We want to control our quality and precision. But still, even in Asia, Swiss products are well recognized and if you find the right customers, they invest in this technology. Even in Asia you have a big competition among the printers. They need to differentiate themselves from all the others. If you have a high performance machine that as well can do things which others cannot offer, then you differentiate. This is clearly our strategy in Asia. Not going to the big markets, we concentrate on a few countries with some high end producers. So far, this has been very successful. We believe that Swiss made machines are very well recognized. Even if you pay a little bit more. At the end you need to calculate the lifecycle costs. This is much more important. The customers’ target always is to buy as cheap as possible but they forget to calculate the lifetime of the machine.
Murat Büyükgünay: There are Chinese products of course, but not in this niche industry. We, as Ferrostaal, have Chinese products in our portfolio as well but, in this particular niche there are no Chinese products that could compete with Gietz.
Hansjörg Gietz: In short, we don’t want to invest in a local production in China. However, the Chinese tobacco packaging industry is very important for us. In China, there is big shift going on from sheet fed to web fed operation in tobacco packaging for several reasons. At the moment, it is a good market for us. They have the money, and they need the performance and the long term quality of a machine. However, we cannot enter the purely commercial market with our machine in China. In Turkey, on the contrary, we can succeed, I am sure.
What can you say about your co-operation with Ferrostaal?
Hansjörg Gietz: So far, I am very happy… We succeeded in selling the first machine in a very short time. We have made many new, promising contacts at the Printtek show in Istanbul early May this year. We are convinced that with Ferrostaal, we have absolutely chosen the right partner. And especially it is very important for us that Ferrostaal shares its printers’ network with us. I already noticed, being here since one day only, how good this network functions and how much respect Ferrostaal earns as well from the market. So, we are 100% happy.
Do you have anything additional to say about this partnership?
Murat Büyükgünay: The sales team urged me to go for cooperation with Gietz since last year. This year we were invited by Michael Grau to visit Gossau and we have seen the production line. We have met the people behind the business and then we were both convinced to start a partnership. You cannot successfully expand your portfolio by just signing a contract. You must be convinced that the product is of high quality and that you can sell it on your market.
Michael Grau: I think there are things that you cannot describe in words only. We have experienced that with a few customers who have been visiting our company. Also Mr. Demir from Sade Ofset. He was just starting up this hot foil stamping business, when he came to our company. He saw our products and got an impression about our philosophy. I think this cannot be written down. Our philosophy of working as a team surely affected him in a positive way. Even our customers can go to the engineer if they have a problem. There are no limits and this is very important. Mostly the deal is done when they come to our facilities. The first contact we have made with Ferrostaal was via networking. Our next step was to come to Turkey and to investigate the market. After that, we told Ersel that we were determined to enter the Turkish market and so it started.
Ersel Oflu: We met Mr. Gietz at drupa 2012. But at that time Gietz was not ready yet to expand its sales organization. Now they are and I think it is the right time.
Murat Büyükgünay: As Ferrostaal Turkey, being a part of the Ferrostaal Group, we hope we will succeed in selling Gietz in Turkey and maybe we can later on expand our co-operation to other countries where Ferrostaal is represented.
What is the next step for Ferrostaal Turkiye with regard to Gietz?
Murat Büyükgünay: Our next step is to make a tour to the main customers with Michael Grau. He will be here in October. This will be our next milestone. After the people will have recognized our first sale and the good impact of it, further sales will follow. We visited Mr. Murat Demir who is very happy with the FSA 870 Compact ESS Gietz machine. It has been running for 6 weeks and reached an output of 1 million sheets. I think the best advertisement is a reference installation. For next year, we are planning an open house in co-operation with Sade Ofset Printing Co.
What do you think of potential foil stamping and in particular hot foil stamping customers in Turkey?
Ersel Oflu: You know that the Turkish market is really different from the rest of Europe. If you can start well with a professional customer and you are having a good reputation, then all of a sudden you may receive unexpected orders. Turkish customers do not mention the price often. When the products meet their requirements then they pay for them. Either a brand new or a used one, they surely buy the machine if they believe it is the right machine. So, this is the first step that we want to accomplish here. With the reputation of Sade Ofset we think the market will look at this machine. Because a hot foil stamping machine is a luxury machine, it is simple: “Do it well or leave it.”
Pınar Amaç: By the way, Gietz is not new for Turkey. We had sold one Gietz machine to İzmir Çağlayan Ofset.
Hansjörg Gietz: It is good to emphasize our targets on the Turkish market. Before we sold the machine to Sade Ofset, Mr. Murat Demir said that the Gietz machine was a myth. Everybody knows it, but nobody can achieve and afford it. This is what we want to change. We want to tell the people in Turkey that we will make it affordable and achievable for many customers.
You are a member of the Gietz family. The fact that Gietz is a family-owned business is another added value for Gietz. In Turkey the printing houses are also family-owned. Being a Swiss brand and a family-owned company is a double advantage. What would you like to say about that?
Hansjörg Gietz: I belong to the 5th generation and I am leading the company together with my sister Claudia. We are covering different fields: My sister is Head of Financing, Human Resources and Administration and I am responsible for Production, Development and sales. Our first customer in Turkey is a family company like us and this a nice coincidence.