Self-promotion in retail

What few people know about Migros.

Migros is one of Switzerland’s largest retailers. Organised as a group of ten cooperatives, each one is an autonomous operation and produces its own independent communication. When the Lucerne cooperative replaced screen printing with a Nyala large format printer, the square metre cost of printed items dropped by 60 percent.

Mock-up of a seasonal POP display © swissQprint

Every man, woman and child in Switzerland knows Migros, one of the leader among the country’s big distributors. With its supermarkets, restaurants, specialist stores, leisure, sports and adult education offerings, Migros covers practically all areas of life. Its business is organised as ten autonomous cooperatives, meaning that consumers can also become stakeholders to some degree. Apart from this, Migros is a major employer with a workforce of 100,000 people across Switzerland.

In-house communication team

What few people know: each of the ten cooperatives has its own marketing communication department with start-to-finish responsibility for regional advertising, from concept through to implementation. The Lucerne cooperative has a staff of 45 specialists handling campaigns, promotions, decorations and events. They work at the Migros distribution centre located in the industrial area of Dierikon. The centre is primarily responsible for merchandise management, supplying 50 sales outlets in five cantons of central Switzerland.

Basil Koch, Annina Härter und Zeljko Krnjic © swissQprint

Basil Koch, Annina Härter and Zeljko Krnjic: “Today we are producing faster, more flexibly and cheaper than before.”

Equipped for independence

The communication team creates and produces everything from adverts and POP communication through to building signs, vehicle graphics and training documents. They are well equipped to handle such tasks: there is an in-house photo studio for shooting products and people, as well as a fully equipped copy shop capable of reproductions up to A3 format. The large format department operates three water and solvent-based roll printers, a Fotoba cutting machine, a Summa cutter and a swissQprint Nyala 2 UV flatbed printer. Store decorators are able to test their new creations in the mock-up room. All in all, the Lucerne cooperative is virtually independent from external service providers. This was not always the case.

Nyala replaces screen printing

The Nyala large format printer now does its work in the area where the screen printing department used to be. What the screen printers could not handle was sent out of house. Bottlenecks were frequent, with a great deal of print output then having to be applied onto board. Basil Koch, head of Marketing Communication, observed the development of digital printing over six years. When it was time to supersede screen printing, he and his team evaluated four flatbed printers. “It was clear very quickly that Nyala would be the one,” he concludes.

Nyala Processing two rolls at once © swissQprint

Two rolls of posters loaded up in parallel halve production time for roll printing.

Evident Swiss quality

Several factors influenced the decision: first, the print quality. Zeljko Krnjic, deputy production manager in the Marketing Communication department says, “Time and again, I am amazed by the production pace for such a fantastic print image.” Then there is the quality of the machine itself. “You can just see its Swiss pedigree,” believes Annina Härter, one of the three operators. In her view, the Nyala is sturdy, easy to operate and ready for use quickly. Moreover, while the machine itself is very compact, it has an ideal flatbed size and accommodates a wide variety of formats.

Beyond that, Annina Härter appreciates how quietly and reliably the Nyala goes about its work. Of course, price/performance was an important criterion. The investment was slightly higher than planned but has already paid off several times over, as Basil Koch describes. “Every year, we save at least 80,000 Swiss francs on external costs.” According to him, the cost per square metre is 60% less compared to screen printing. Zeljko Krnjic adds: “And this although we operate the machine for just a single shift and use only a fraction of its full capabilities.”

Six colours plus white

Another persuasive factor even in the evaluation phase was the colour gamut available from the large format printer. “The Nyala has no trouble matching the Pantone shade of our logo,” says Basil Koch. The printer is configured with six colours, namely CMYK plus light cyan and light magenta. Another one of the nine colour channels in total is equipped with white. “We use white for printing on transparent and black media, for example, window film and black foam board,” says Annina Härter.

Nyala 2 matches the Migros corporate colour. © swissQprint

The Nyala matches the Migros corporate colour.

Targeted deployment

The Nyala turns out shelf backboards and decorative backgrounds, ceiling-suspended advertising pendants, adhesive films for promotions, wall and window posters, decorative elements and checkout advertising loops. As items like these are mostly intended for short-term indoor use, they are made from solid, corrugated or rigid foam board, or paper.

“We frequently print posters two parallel strips at a time,” explains Annina Härter. The Nyala can handle a single roll up to 3.2 metres wide or, as here, two narrower rolls side by side. Printing both of them in parallel halves production time. “Tandem mode is also very efficient,” adds this enthusiastic user. It allows her to make fast work of getting through larger print runs: in tandem mode, the machine prints on the front side of the print bed while the operator sets out material on the rear, and vice versa. The printer operates continuously, without pauses.

Basil Koch expects to increase utilisation of the Nyala. “More and more internal customers are discovering the machine’s benefits,” he says with satisfaction at the prospect of further increased profitability.

Migros logo © swissQprint
Genossenschaft Migros Luzern,
925 (Migros), 1941 (Lucerne cooperative)
100,000 (Switzerland)
6,100 (Lucerne cooperative)
500 (Dierikon distribution centre)
Nyala 2