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Online print shop Simian – Streamlining with Zünd

The Dutch company Simian runs various online shops for printed advertising materials and supplies over a half million customers in the Netherlands and Belgium. In an interview, managing director Gerwin Verdonk explains how they trim their production to be efficient and what role digital cutting technology from Zünd plays in the process.

Simian B.V. is the parent company of the three online providers, and Anyone can order from Simian, not just dealers. The company in Westerbroek has been located in a large industrial building for several years now, employing 160 employees.

The growth market of Belgium

For Verdonk, the entry into the Belgium market ten years ago was an obvious move. “It was and still is an important expansion area for our market.” The Belgium market differs in certain areas from the Dutch market: “Most Belgian print service providers and advertising technicians operate their own websites, but they often do not have their own online shops. Last year, we set up a sales office in Bruges to be able to offer our Belgian customers better service. However, all orders are produced here in Westerbroek. We have production capacity here, including the latest digital cutting technology from Zünd.”

“Overall, this year we are expecting sales of EUR 25 million in the area of printing and signage, including the sales generated in Belgium.” The largest portion of sales from the current 100,000 customers is achieved through "Above all we want to respond to trends that are different in Belgium. For example, Belgians buy more flags, printed clothing, banners and flyers than the Dutch and often expect a faster delivery.”

Will there be a French version soon too? “Not immediately. We could imagine a German version, however.” However, Simian is focused on streamlining production for now in order to further optimize the speed and efficiency of deliveries. “There will always be competition, and that’s a good thing. It keeps you on your toes when it comes to all production phases, sales and delivery, as well as the production process, clarity and visibility. This is why we recently hired a new employee, a process technician, who specializes in the streamlining of our processes,” explains Verdonk

Lean production

The fact that a process technician has been employed is an indication of how much the utilization of production capacities has increased in recent years. But the pandemic has also had an impact. According to Gerwin Verdonk, during this time the company has focused even more on making production even leaner: “During this time, it was not only important to keep your head above water, but we also had to try to work even more streamlined. To do this, we defined different production cells in different product categories, which we trimmed for efficiency, from order entry to shipping logistics. Our large format departments have three cells: in the first, we operate traditional digital printing in conjunction with the digital cutting systems from Zünd, and also cover packaging and shipping. In the second cell, we focus on digital textile printing, again with Zünd cutters. And in the third cell, banners and flags are manufactured. The total production chain was mapped here too and streamlined to achieve optimal results.

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500,000 customers

"There are too many customers to list them all. We handle such a large number every year. But I can give you an example: Before and during the last local elections, we produced a great deal for local and national parties, such as posters, flyers, banners, all kinds of printed items on paper, cardboard and even on T-shirts and banners,” says Verdonk. “The three Zünd Cutters G3 3XL-3200 were used a great deal during this time in particular. Since everyone can order and wants their delivery on time and reliably, we focus on a large number of individual orders, which are relatively small on their own. So our priority is to organize everything so that orders can be processed as quickly as possible and delivered to the customer. This means being constantly focused and puts pressure on logistical processes. Our digital cutting with Zünd’s high-performance and reliable cutting systems can easily manage this.”

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