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RSA Litho staff member working with Manroland Sheetfed 700 Evolution RSA Litho staff member working with Manroland Sheetfed 700 Evolution

A licence to print money?

While 50 may not be old for a tree or even a human for that matter, it is a huge milestone for a business. Most businesses fail to reach 10 years old, let alone 50 and changes in ownership are not always conducive to better results. And then there’s selecting the time to pull out, sell out or hand over to a successor.

Being part of the revolution

It’s a fact that many well-known printing works have gone to the wall or are up for sale, but the number of magazines and newspapers has actually increased rather than decreased in the face of the IT revolution. But it’s the nature of the business has changed and being ahead of the curve has meant the companies such as RSA Litho, who celebrate their 51st year in business in 2017, have not only survived but prospered handsomely.

But it takes foresight and acumen to predict the curve and future directions and that requires a special breed of entrepreneur – enter Ryno Kotze and Nigel Schuller, a partnership that acquired RSA Litho 10 years ago after the original owner retired.

Passion and technology

Driven by their passion for printing, having the latest technology and knowing their customers caused the pair to get rid of the four year old machine – something that raised eyebrows amongst competitors – and invest R10-million in the latest (then) Manroland 500 5-colour machine with coater. Simultaneously an upgraded MIS and JDF (Job Definition Format) workflow was implemented, which coupled with the 18 000 sheets / hour press, dramatically increased the firms productivity, cutting set A licence to print money? While 50 may not be old for a tree or even a human for that matter, it is a huge milestone for a business.

Most businesses fail to reach 10 years old, let alone 50 and changes in ownership are not always conducive to better results. And then there’s selecting the time to pull out, sell out or hand over to a successor.

ededrsaNew Manroland 700 Evolution

Another multi-million Rand investment

Fast forward to today and Ryno and Nigel have just made a R30-million investment in the latest Manroland 700 Evolution Direct Drive which will be fully operational by the beginning of November. This machine is even faster cutting traditional set up times by 80% and handling A1 sheets at an astonishing rate of 5 per second!, Wastage and water consumption is down also and far from reducing staff, the expansion of the business has led to a tenfold increase in personnel. From just a 400 m2 operation in 2006 RSA Litho now has more than 3000 m2 under roof.

“The Manroland machines have revolutionised the business” said Ryno. “Being able to provide customers with their jobs in super quick time with outstanding quality is the key. “Coupled to that is the ability to do short runs profitably with the flexibility to handle virtually any and all types of printing, from hardback books to election posters to product packaging” explained Ryno.

“These features appeal to customers – more magazines then ever appear on the shelves catering for special interest, that was never the case before, but the difference is that the print runs are shorter. Book publishers can now order just a few hundred copies of the latest novel and test the market appetite without committing to printing thousands of copies at risk. It’s changed the world of publishing and encouraged the authors to, who have less commercial obstacles to overcome as risks have been reduced.

Staying ahead of the curve is the way forward and not getting locked in to redundant technology is paramount. Its easy and comfortable to stay with systems you know but unless you continually invest in technology, by being able to offer the customer a better product, you are bound to fail in this business” he concluded.

eded345From left. Nigel Schuller Director and Ryno Kotze Managing Director at RSA Litho

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