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The Warsaw Voice » Regional Voice » March 31, 2011
The Lower Silesia Voice
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A World of Printing
March 31, 2011   
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Janusz Cymanek, president of Michael Huber Polska, talks to Barbara Deręgowska about his company’s development opportunities.

Michael Huber Polska is the largest supplier of printing ink in Poland, part of one of three major foreign corporations which supply printing ink in Poland. What do you do to become a leading company and remain one?
Michael Huber Polska started operations in Wrocław in 1992, the year I managed to persuade the corporation owners that Poland was an attractive market as far as printing ink was concerned. Nineteen years is a very short period of time when you think about Michael Huber Munchen, the parent company, whose history dates back to 1765.

We started with selling ready ink imported from Munich and Celle, but then we gradually opened our own ink mixing facilities in several Polish cities. We have since become the leaders of the entire group with our sales and maintenance and training services. Whatever there is to produce in this sector, we produce it. From ink used to print toothpaste tubes, doctor’s prescription forms and business cards to ink for prints on furniture veneer and floor carpeting. You can use our ink to print on literally anything. The only thing the Huber Group does not do are silk-screen printing techniques.

Ever since we moved to a new production hall in Nowa Wie¶ Wrocławska, we have unofficially become the most modern company in the entire Huber corporation. We owe our success to the fact that we now produce all the kinds of printing ink you can get from the entire corporation. Not even our parent company produces such a wide variety of ink as we do. It is not because it is unable to, but because the production is logically divided into different areas. We, however, have the entire production here in order to be able to swiftly supply the Polish market with anything it needs at a given moment. We have seven processing lines producing ink for conventional offset printing, offset UV-fixed printing, water-soluble ink for flexography, ink for intaglio printmaking and safe ink for food packaging.

We also supply the whole of Eastern Europe with ink removers. As Michael Huber Polska, we are the logistics center for the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and beyond including Kazakhstan, Greece and Turkey. We take care of the Polish market, while the corporation takes care of markets abroad. We work faster than, for example, the production facility in Switzerland, which takes 12 days to deliver a product ordered from them. We only need five days for that and as a result, we get more orders. As a new company, we have organized production to make sure we can work as fast as possible.

Rather than product quality, which is basically identical everywhere, market competition nowadays hinges on the quality of service. Since the beginning, we have had an Academy to steadily improve production through training courses, during which we demonstrate the latest trends in printing. Of course, we take this opportunity to advertise our products to printers. Our parent company likes the project a lot and now Munich has an Ink Academy of its own.

Aren’t you worried the market for the printed press will soon start to shrink, causing the demand for printing ink to decline?
This is always going to be a world of printing and printing is one of the most technologically advanced disciplines. Our company accounts for around 39 percent of the printing market in Poland.

The market for packaging has started to grow, evolving into the most rapidly developing sector of the printing industry. Packaging is all about high technology and innovation and it is a growing sector. The hottest products at the moment are safe ink for food packaging. Switzerland has developed a special norm that has become Swiss law as of this year, identifying the limit for toxic components in the case of printing ink. The norm applies to, for example, logos printed on plastic cups in coffee vending machines. Failure to observe the norms has led to a number of lawsuits in the United States.

You are also a journalist. Is there anything you would like to add from this perspective?
Michael Huber Polska is an example of a middle-sized enterprise and it has worried me for years that local governments tend to underestimate middle-sized businesses. I would like to see local authorities encourage entrepreneurs by creating conditions to foster development. I believe that local authorities, be it in Wrocław, the local district or the entire Lower Silesia region, are predominantly interested the “business oligarchy.” It is a shame, as they are missing out on an opportunity to stimulate the rise of a civil society. Why sell huge, attractive plots of land in the city to tycoons when the same land could be divided into smaller lots so that small and medium-sized enterprises would be given a chance as well? Why can’t the zoning plan for Wrocław take that into account? It is an embarrassment to see a group of “privileged” people surrounding and currying favor with politicians who call some of the shots today. The situation keeps repeating itself, as there was a different privileged group yesterday and tomorrow new politicians will come along with their short-sighted aspirations. Meanwhile, a solid, long-term plan is still missing.
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