The founder and owner Gábor Vértes chose printing as his profession even earlier than he thought, as it turned out that two generations ago, his family had owned a stationery shop and a small printing press in Budapest. This was the reason for the Pauker name, chosen in honour of one of his grandmothers.
Their capacity is significant even by European standards: their Heidelberg Speedmaster XL offset printer can print between 4 and 5 million A4 pages in a day. Accordingly, their main profile is 4/4 colour printing—more specifically, catalogues, brochures, advertising and marketing materials, magazines, newspapers, leaflets, and, of course, books.
They do not regard digitalisation as an alternative for printed materials. Indeed, many printed products, such as billboards and books have already coexisted with digital rivals for a long time. The question Pauker has found the answer to is how they can use these technological advantages to increase the quality of their products, even in comparison with what they were doing 20 years ago.“The printing we do now is much more precise than they were around the turn of the millennium, for example”, says Gábor Vértes, noting that the chances for human error in printing have been greatly reduced. The differences in colour or quality between prints and reprints has been minimalised, and the overall environment is currently favourable to the printing industry. The volume of the Hungarian book market has been increasing by 2% to 4% annually for three years, which is remarkable (meanwhile, the size of the e-book market has not changed substantially in Europe). The fact that tangible books are going through a revival is also good news for Pauker, one of Hungary’s leading printers of colour publications. The quantity of books printed by them and, according to customer feedback, bought mostly as gifts, is increasing faster than the entire Hungarian book market—despite the continued decrease in the size of individual print runs. Marketing has rediscovered high quality publications and catalogues. Gábor Vértes agrees with the statement that many B2B deals are sealed over the internet. However, paper-based marketing materials and brochures are regaining an increasing role in the selection of suppliers.
Indeed, clients can choose from virtually thousands of digital printing providers. Although Pauker does not focus on digital printing services, they do not refuse short run orders. Their main strength lies in sheetfed offset printing, which, up to a certain quantity/number of copies, is unbeatable. Essentially all of the services offered within the printing industry have their own markets. It does not make sense to request a quote from Pauker for 100 business cards, but in the case of many hundreds of employees at a bigger organisation, it does. With a view to accept and keep lower quantity orders in house, Pauker has not added digital printers to its machine park, but got two partner companies move to their site and work with them in order to fulfil orders for short-run books and brochures. It often happens that some sample copies are printed before a coloured publication is ordered. In such cases, it is much more economical to print these books, brochures, and leaflets with digital printers.
Pauker expects 2019 to be an average year, which has had its usual seasonal challenges, especially weak first months and a stronger spring than they have seen for years. Currently, they have between 500 and 600 clients, including several Austrian and German ones. The company expects to close 2019 with EUR 12 million in revenues, including EUR 800,000 in export revenues. Their international exposure is low, but they want to change this. Although printing is stable in Central European countries, Hungarian printing prices are not competitive (except in Romania). Hungarian printing houses (whose budgets are also under pressure owing to the labour shortage and wage increases) have lost a lot of their competitive advantage, because Western European competitors have lowered their prices. They have been able to do so because capacities are abundant—technological investment in the modern printing industry can increase the quantity of printed material by 20% to 30%.
New printing machines, including offset printing machines, always appear on the leading trade exhibition of the industry: Drupa. But Gábor Vértes thinks that Hungarian printing houses have no need for faster machines, and that a human workforce is still required for certain processes. This is the reason why they are not planning to expand their machine park until 2023—instead, they are focusing on their software development projects to boost efficiency and facilitate production. Gábor Vértes, who will also be the vice-president of the Hungarian Federation of the Printing and Paper Industry in the next years, expects that wages and the labour shortage will only grow further in the industry.“Our profession is still not attractive to young people, which is, to a great extent, our own fault.” He also expects that the Hungarian market will see a continued consolidation and the halving of offset printing houses. The external environment and the market outlook are, as mentioned before, especially favourable for the printing industry. Previously “defunct” printed materials, such as retail leaflets, are now flourishing and continue to be a must in direct marketing.
The leader of Pauker Nyomda is a well-known fan of painting and his company is happy to support initiatives in connection with art. Their social responsibility activities also include supporting the Bátor Tábor Foundation for children living with serious illnesses. One of their strengths is the management team of young professionals assisting the company leader. Thus, although intergenerational succession is still up ahead, they are optimistic about the next five to ten years.