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Hank Brandtjen Answers What is so Important About drupa

Published on April 27, 2012

Cary Sherbrurne and Hank Brandtjen of Brandtjen & Kluge discuss the olympics of the printing industry, drupa.

Cary Sherburne:  Hi.  I’m Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink.com and I'm here with Hank Brandtjen of Brandtjen & Kluge.  Welcome.

Hank Brandtjen:  Thank you.

Cary Sherburne:  I’m sure everyone in the industry knows about your company, but for my benefit just give me a little background.

Hank Brandtjen:  In business since 1990, we are a print finishing company.  We’re post-press, we’re foil stamping and embossing, die cutting, and folding and gluing.

Cary Sherburne:  And are you going to Drupa 2012?

Hank Brandtjen:  Always go to Drupa.

Cary Sherburne:  So tell me why.  What’s so important about Drupa?

Hank Brandtjen:  If you’re a supplier in the industry you have to go to Drupa.  We consider it the Olympics.  If you’re an athlete you have to go.  If I were in the industry as a user of equipment, to skip Drupa would be a fatal mistake.  I would go even if I wasn’t going to be buying equipment, to be honest, because it’s worth going just to find out what’s new now and what people are planning on doing in the future.

Cary Sherburne:  And as an exhibitor there you probably have a good opportunity to network with companies, potential partners or other companies that you wouldn’t otherwise run into.

Hank Brandtjen:  Beyond a doubt.  I mean it serves many purposes.  You’re meeting with your dealers.  Our company deals with dealers around the world.  Every dealer will come to that show.  So in essence, rather than me traveling the world to meet dealers, you know, one up, they’re all coming to me.  

Cary Sherburne:  That’s great.

Hank Brandtjen:  And so that—yes, you can’t, you know, undersell that value.  And then you’re meeting with customers from around the world.  I mean it’s truly—fortunately, we speak English, because there’s people that are German, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, every language you can imagine is being spoken.

Cary Sherburne:  And most of them do speak some English, right?

Hank Brandtjen:  Yeah.  I survive on English, yeah, although I can order beers with ein bier bitte.

Cary Sherburne:  Oh yes, of course, in the Altstadt. 

Hank Brandtjen:  Yeah, the world’s largest bar.

Cary Sherburne:  Right.  And so, you know, how many, I mean when you do the cost justification, I mean there’s other things besides cost, but you do the cost benefit analysis it works out for you?

Hank Brandtjen:  If you do it on a one-year payback you probably wouldn’t go to the show and that’s a fatal mistake to do.  The Drupa catalog is like a phone book for future business and so we’ll get leads that we can trace back to Drupa three years after the show.

Cary Sherburne:  Wow.

Hank Brandtjen:  Yeah.  They’ll go I got you from the Drupa catalog and we’re going—in fact, we’ll take that catalog, if somebody calls us for equipment that we don’t manufacture, we’ll copy off that page and say here’s the, you know, umpteen number of people that make that type of equipment and they can do the research then on their own.  So that is truly, that book, you know, I have them all dating back from our first Drupa on a bookshelf, and they’re like a phone book for the industry.

Cary Sherburne:  As attendees go, what are some of the trends and issues that they should be looking for when they go?  Obviously, they should be looking at your finishing, but besides that?

Hank Brandtjen:  Well no, I mean just where is the graphics communication headed?  It’s so much more than ink on paper and to think that I’m going there to find ink on paper would be a mistake.  It’s beyond ink on paper.  It’s, you know, you have the digital printing which I consider ink on paper, but you have pre-press, post-press.

Cary Sherburne:  Workflow.

Hank Brandtjen:  But yeah, I mean graphic designers come to that show.  So the magazines—from the beginning to the end-put, which is changing, but all of those players have to go to Drupa.  It is truly a, we call it the granddaddy of the shows.  It’s every four years, you know, like the Olympics, and 14 days long, monstrously long if you’re an exhibitor.  And you compare it to other shows and this show will end and we’ll have, you know, we’re not even a third of the way through.  It’s almost mind-boggling how long you’re there.  But it’s a wonderful city.  Düsseldorf is beyond beautiful, friendly people, the Altstadt you mentioned, I mean it’s just a wonderful show to go to.

Cary Sherburne:  And then the message right on the water on the river.

Hank Brandtjen:  Yeah, right along the Rhine which is like a freeway for boats, I mean it’s just amazing.  And you can get to the show from all directions, I mean trains, there’s trolleys, buses.

Cary Sherburne:  Yeah, transportation and it’s on time, German precision.

Hank Brandtjen:  Yeah.  If you show up—if you’re an 8:00 train and you show up at 8:01, you’re going to be seeing the back of the train.

Cary Sherburne:  That’s right.

Hank Brandtjen:  Yeah.  But there’ll be a train at 8:05.  So no, it’s great food.  It’s spargel season, you know, which is asparagus.

Cary Sherburne:  Oh yes, Spargel, yeah; white asparagus, yes.

Hank Brandtjen:  And we stay in private homes there, near the fair grounds that we’ve known.  Their families have been to our house and we’ve grown up with them.

Cary Sherburne:  Oh, that’s wonderful.

Hank Brandtjen:  We’ve stayed in the same home since, it’s embarrassing to say, 1970-something.  I’ve been to many Drupas.  Yeah, great show.

Cary Sherburne:  That’s great.  Well, we will look forward to seeing you there and thank you very much.

Hank Brandtjen:  Auf wiedersehen.

Cary Sherburne:  Auf wiedersehen.

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