Established in 1991 in Apahida, Cluj county, Rottaprint is the largest flexographic printing house producing self-adhesive labels in Romania. It has two logistics centers in Romania - in Brasov, Ilfov, and two logistics centers abroad - in Hungary and Germany.
Especially for Manufacturing Journal Magazine an extensive interview was given by Mr Cristi Nechita-Rotta, General Manager Rottaprint.
In 2021, Rottaprint will celebrate its 30th anniversary. Could you briefly describe the history of the company and most important moments of its development?
The story of Rottaprint began in July 1991, when the three founders: Arnella Nechita-Rotta, Cristi Nechita-Rotta and Melania Rotta set up a family business, with a first machine installed in an area of only 20 sqm of their home. We started off with the plan of becoming the best on the market and we are defined by professionalism and perseverance. Thus, from a space of 20 sqm that we had at the beginning of the activity, we reached a hall of over 6,500 sqm, equipped with the most advanced equipment of our industry. Today, Rottaprint is one of the leading companies in the printing industry of self-adhesive labels and flexible packaging in Romania. Key moments in the business’ evolution:
- 1991 – Producing the first self-adhesive labels.
- 1999 – We were the first Romanian company that introduced the aluminum lids in their portfolio. Other similar products, when we were the first Romanian company to introduce them in portfolio: ice cream paper cones - 2003, shrink sleeve labels - 2008, aluminum lids with rim emboss, wrapped cards, EAS tag inserted under the self-adhesive labels – 2019.
- 2007 – Expanding into foreign markets and developing the export segment.
- 2013 - We started to implement our own Management system - Kaizen, which provided us with the ideal structure and work processes to reach the next level of development. As a result, in 2015, we were honored to obtain the second place at the Kaizen Romania Awards. The award is given to companies that stand out through the continuous development of people, processes and systems that are integrated into operating processes.
- 2019 - We added to our portfolio the following products: aluminum lids with Smart Emboss, wrapped cardboards, anti-theft labels (EAS) inserted under the self-adhesive labels - a much more aesthetic way to secure the products.
Please tell us what made your company so successful and gained the trust of its customers?
We made innovation a priority and constantly invested in the latest technologies, building sustainable partnerships based on trust and devotion. In addition, we wanted from the beginning to be a successful model of the Romanian business on the global market through the quality of the products we deliver, competitiveness and respect for our own values. Over time, we have learned that it is important to be open and aware that every need has a solution. For this reason, we also like professional challenges because they help us to evolve, to identify the right solution and to improve ourselves. We are always up to date with the latest trends in the industry, with the ultimate technological progress and with the very fast way our clients are changing their promotion campaigns. We strongly believe that technology serves people and not the other way around, therefore we are constantly investing in new technologies that allow Rottaprint professionals to identify the most creative solutions for the needs of our clients. Over time, the challenges of the market have changed, and we have learned that we must be constantly open to change in order to evolve and develop the business. For this reason, the relationship we build with our customers is very important to us. We understand their flow and the need to have the products on the shelf on a certain day and not on another date, and they in turn understand our way of working.
Can you tell us more about your products, used technologies?
We have extensive expertise in multiple printing technologies: flexography, offset, screen and digital.
Digital - Digital printing is a very popular option for our customers due to its ability to produce labels in a short time, with high resolution, clear texts and vibrant colors. In addition, it does not require printing clichés, which results in multiple financial and time benefits. It is a versatile technology which allows printing a digital image on a wide variety of surfaces. At the same time, through digital printing we offer our customers the opportunity to use design techniques such as mosaic, collages and personalization with variable texts or images for self-adhesive labels. We use digital printing for: tags, shrink sleeve labels and self-adhesive printed labels.
Flexography is a rotary printing technology, which offers the possibility of printing on a wide variety of materials such as: self-adhesive labels, shrink-sleeves, aluminum foil lids, metallic paper packages, ice cream paper cones, flexible packaging, tags and many more. Among the products made in Rottaprint using flexography are: PET lids (Rottaprint is the only Romanian manufacturer of PET lids, used for sealing PP <polypropylene> and PS <polystyrene> containers found mainly in the food industry, effectively protecting their contents), aluminum foil lids with 4 types of embossing (Bidirectional needle embossing, Unidirectional needle embossing, Vermicular or classic emboss, Rim emboss and logo emboss), aluminum foil for blisters, simple self-adhesive labels (labels that are not printed or are only partially printed by us), ice cream paper cones, shrink sleeve labels, wrap around labels, aluminum foil lids, flexible packaging and self-adhesive printed labels. As this type of ink has a very good coverage, offset printing guarantees an impeccable print quality on a wide variety of materials, both absorbent and non-absorbent. Along with flexographic printing, offset is one of the most requested printing techniques due to its advantages.
Serigraphy - using this procedure, the finest visual details are emphasized and special chromatic and tactile effects are obtained. The ink is transferred using a squeegee across a screen with different densities. This technology provides a special elegance, highlighting the embossed elements of the label and guaranteeing strong colors. Among the products made in Rottaprint using Serigraphy are self-adhesive labels and tags.
What are the exclusive elements that make your company unique from the point of view of production?
The most important elements that differentiate us from the competition and makes us unique in our industry are: the complex portfolio of products we offer our customers (from self-adhesive labels, flexible packaging, to shrink sleeve labels or yogurt lids), optimization and constantly improving processes so that we can always come up with the best labeling solutions. At the same time, it is essential for us to constantly invest in state-of-the-art technologies in order to support our partners to develop new business lines and achieve their goals.
Worldwide industry boldly focuses on robotics and automation of production processes. Does the Rottaprint is also part of a trend of 4.0 Industry and invests in the latest technology?
Since the automation of the first printing and finishing machines, Rottaprint has adopted this trend. Minimizing the intervention of operators is one of the main criteria when investing in the machine park. We are also constantly looking for solutions and the best digitalization and automation methods and practices. Thus, with each new investment we treat this aspect as a priority, mainly for the production area, but as well as for the entire workflow (from receiving the order from the customer to delivering the order to the customer).
How many people do you employ at this moment?
Currently, we have 280 colleagues in the Rottaprint team. The human resource is the most important in our company, that is why all members of our team benefit from opportunities for constant professional and personal development through training courses. One of our greatest achievements is the fact that many of the people we started the company with, 30 years ago, are still active in our team.
Which strategies have proven to be the most useful over time?
Our business strategy is based on continuous investment in innovation and technology that allows us to come up with efficient customized solutions. We are proud to say that we have extensive expertise in multiple printing technologies: flexography, offset, screen and digital. Our complex park equipped with state-of-the-art machinery allows us to deliver tailor-made solutions to our customers in various fields such as food and soft drinks, cosmetics and personal care, detergents and home care, health and food supplements, wines and alcoholic beverages, logistics and automotive.
What were the new services and technological innovations introduced by your Research & Development department in the last period?
We are constantly introducing new products to our portfolio. Only in the last two years have we introduced: PET lids, rim embossed aluminum lids, self-adhesive seal for wet wipes, shrink sleeve labels made of PETg - a much more environmentally friendly material, labels with electronic anti-theft systems inserted under self-adhesive labels, and many more.
Have any significant investments been made recently? Are you planning any investments in the nearest future? How the new investments can change your company’s growth trajectory?
Over the past year, we have invested over 3 million euros in software development, employee safety, equipment to increase production capacity and modernize the equipment park, as well as in completing the certification process for food safety according to the FSSC 22000 scheme. For 2021, we will maintain the level of investments and allocate about 3 million euros for the development of logistics infrastructure, state-of-the-art equipment, machinery for reducing the impact of production on the environment, as well as for the implementation of a high-performance waste management system. At the same time, we will continue to invest in qualifying our personnel and improving the team’s level of digital knowledge. As I said before, constant investments in technology are very important to Rottaprint, because they allow us to offer our customers the most efficient solutions, to come up with new customized solutions and to further develop our business this way.
Are there any eco-friendly solutions you have implemented in your company?
Rottaprint is fully aware of how important our responsibility as a manufacturer is for the future of the planet, and this can be seen both in the actions we take and in our vision: to build a sustainable and secure future together with our partners, through continuous development and innovation. Therefore, we collect waste and prepare to implement a centralized system of technological waste management. Moreover, we are the first company in Romania involved in the implementation of experimental solutions for recycling a part of the technological waste produced by self-adhesive labels, stickers and packaging. At the same time, we encourage our employees to recycle and we collect waste at the company level for recycling as compost. Also, we are constantly looking for solutions for new raw material recipes and do our best to offer our partners environmentally friendly, recyclable, or reusable alternatives. One of our strategic objectives is to align with the European mission which stated that “all plastic packaging on the EU market will be recyclable by 2030, and the consumption of single-use plastics will be reduced” and we have a well-established plan for this purpose, aiming to increase the degree of sustainability of our company’s actions every year. Our experts closely follow the entire life cycle of the labels and packaging we produce, and we are connected with the latest trends when it comes to recycling technologies in the countries where we distribute our products, to choose the most sustainable solutions for our customers, thus contributing to build a sustainable industry based on a circular economy. We also constantly work with environmental experts to find the best and most viable options, and we promote products that are neutral in terms of environmental impact. Through digitalization, another strategic objective of the company, we optimize the consumption of energy and natural resources.
Please tell us about your company’s quality control system.
The quality control system is very important to us. Therefore, we have 100% video inspection and control in the finishing stage, and for flexible packaging the video control takes place right at the time of printing. In the laboratory, we perform FINAT tests to confirm the applicability and functionality of self-adhesive labels in different environments or use conditions. We also have specific control procedures on the flow of information and production. Moreover, we use KAIZEN system tools to permanently improve quality, such as the Auto Quality Matrix.
What certificates your company owns?
International certified performance: ISO 9001 ensures an approach based on the organization’s process management and evaluates customer satisfaction. It is awarded to companies with a strong commitment to quality and demonstrate the ability to consistently provide products and services that permanently meet customer requirements and legal requirements. ISO 14001 provides a system that controls and reduces the damaging impact on the environment. It is granted to companies demonstrating performance and involvement in environmental issues. FSSC 22000 certification proves that the food safety management system in an organization fulfils the highest standards on a global level. It is awarded to companies concerned by the impact of food on public health wishing to offer products that are reliable, safe and good quality. FSC Certification ensures the implementation of a system guaranteeing the use of raw materials from well-managed forests and controlled sources. It is granted to companies engaging in combating environmentally harmful actions. HD Flexo Certification is the Esko recognition for the consistent use of flexo clichés technology, using high resolution. Companies that receive this certification are among the best in the industry and recognized for their innovation. Currently, we are in the process of expanding our ISO certifications by adding ISO27001 and ISO45001 to our integrated system.
In Rottaprint portfolio we will find a wide range of self-adhesive labels, fitting the most complex needs. Using your own Kaizen Management System, your products are distributed across two continents: Europe and Asia. Where are your main markets?
Romania is our main market, where we are also market leaders in our field, but exports represent a growing percentage of Rottaprint’s business. In 2020, the share of exports accounted for 27% of the company’s total business. Last year, we exported mainly to countries where we have logistics centers such as Hungary and Germany, but also for customers in countries such as Belgium, France, Israel, Republic of Moldova, the Netherlands and Poland. We are currently working to strengthen our position in the Hungarian and German markets. In Hungary, we work with large producers in industries such as dairy, meat products, chemicals and cosmetics, while in Germany we work with major players in the meat industry.
What are the current market trends affecting your company?
One of the most important trends with a significant positive impact on Rottaprint’s activity is the increasing demand we register for ecofriendly labels, produced from environmentally friendly materials. In recent years, we are witnessing an increasingly visible trend among companies that take sustainable decisions. In this sense, many customers in our portfolio, especially in the retail industry, both from Romania, but especially from Germany, submit requests for products that can be reused, that are made from recyclable materials or/and can be recycled. Even in the pandemic context, both large retailers and their customers have not given up on caring for the environment and choose friendly packaging, which can be recycled or reused after consuming the product. This creates the context for our specialists to seek and to develop new innovative labeling and packaging solutions with a significantly reduced impact on the environment. Nonetheless, Rottaprint is a company concerned about environmental protection and for this reason we have implemented internally a series of measures such as selective waste collection in general, especially the development of a system for technological waste collection.
World currently struggling with the consequences of a pandemic coronavirus. How do you evaluate the future of the industry in which the company operates, what are the company’s plans in connection with this?
Since the beginning of the pandemic, but especially during the State of Emergency in Romania (March-May 2020), we had to work more in the same period of time, which forced us to work better and more efficiently. Thus, we saw that we can adapt quickly and successfully to the new conditions. Moreover, although it was quite clear before, it is now more obvious than ever that authenticity is the most important thing. In business, it is important to know what your mission is and what are the values you are guided by, what role do you want to play in the society you belong and to make every effort to fulfill it. The rest comes as a result of well executed actions. Also, our team of professionals has successfully adapted to the new conditions, without being greatly affected by the pandemic. Moreover, with their help, we managed to deliver to customers everything we committed before the health crisis, without increasing the price. However, there were delays in the delivery period during the State of Emergency, but they were also communicated and discussed with customers in advance. At the same time, we did not stop definitively any internal development project, continuing the series of investments in machinery and equipment that allow us to offer our customers the best solutions for their products, even if some of them have been delayed due to the pandemic and rescheduled for this year. We will certainly not return too soon to the way of work we had before the pandemic. We will keep all our prevention measures active, especially because a large part of our activity is focused on the food industry, and this imposes high standards. In our industry, the rules of the game will certainly change, as well as the way we interact with customers. But the good thing is we are already prepared for this change.