Bergstein: From football to industrial print

Bergstein Exhibiting at InPrint 2015

Bergstein Exhibiting at InPrint 2015

These two different areas of endeavour, football and industrial print, may seem worlds apart but when talking to Peter Bergstein, owner of leading industrial print integrator Bergstein, these two worlds are connected. Before entering the family business, Peter Bergstein was an aspiring professional football player, then a sports coach. I talked to Peter about his career in industrial print, his business and what he sees as the key issues for the future of industrial print.

Bergstein, the business, has been in existence now for 48 years. Originally a company which reselled and manufactured pad and screen printing machinery, it is clear the company has always been involved in industrial printing. 

How did you learn about industrial printing? 

“I joined the business in 1989. I started up by learning how to pad print and screen print, then I learned about the software, the sales and literally went through the company part by part and finished by dealing with the packaging. By doing this I really understood the key aspects of industrial printing and got a thorough understanding of the business. I think that you have to earn your stripes in the business and you have to put yourself through this in order to become an expert. You have to learn from suppliers whilst using your own creativity because we are in an ever evolving market, therefore you are always learning. 

Bergstein has had a long experience in working with different materials and under strict quality control. The demands for industrial printing are considerable so you need to have the knowledge. Over the years, we have an excellent understanding of the challenges that our customers face and we use this experience to help solve these complex production problems of today.”

So explain to me what is it that Bergstein actually do?

“We sell print technology solutions for industrial customers. This is what we do. We don’t sell standard products. We sell industrial digital solutions. I see things changing and we are moving our business more and more towards industrial digital solutions. Whilst the company still produces pad printing and screen printing machinery, I don’t see the use in remaining in a stable market but to move into a new market that is requires new solutions.

For example, I was recently asked by a customer for a pad printing machine. The customer hadn’t considered it but the digital solution was better. They ended up investing in a single pass inkjet solution using UV LED Curing. Their specific application was medical, but we are seeing this kind of growth trend in lots of different markets, for lots of different applications.”

How do you develop the solution?

“First you have to listen to the customer thoroughly to understand their specific needs. Then you have to create the specific machines.  We work with a group of different suppliers with expertise for very specific technologies. We have developed modular systems which are 80% standardised, then the rest is customised to the specific market and application. It just depends so much on what the customer needs the technology for.”

What new markets do you see growing?

“Markets to print on printing on glass, automotive, plastics in packaging. The industry is very wide and it is growing”!

What is driving the demand for digital industrial inkjet? 

“I have to say it is mainly the ability to print on demand which means no more need for large stock inventory. For digital it is more or less run and go! Another huge advantage is also the possibility to personalise production.  I think that everything will be personalised in the future – shoes, soccer balls, basketballs, Whatever you want you can print on it”!

Who is driving change?

“Ultimately it is the consumer. As a result, the lifetime of a product is getting less and less. Just think of your phone, they are updated frequently. This same trend is occurring with the internet – now you go onto the internet and you choose whatever you want, whenever you want it, and you can choose whatever can be printed on it.

The change is due to the long tail of demand from the consumer. Companies want to be able to respond to changing consumer need with just in time manufacturing. People no longer want to buy products that come all the way from China. Consumers now want to buy just in time and not wait 6-8 weeks to get the product into the market especially made for me.”

So with this in mind, you decided to change also?

“Yes for your company everything must change. Everything is moving so fast even compared with 10 years ago. Even the people you need in your business are different. You need the knowledge and must have the vision to be able to constantly adapt and be flexible.

Some of the biggest analogue technology companies in the world stopped thinking outside of the box and they only saw problems and as a result they are no longer in business. I think that if you are able to change, a new door opens and new potential is realised. 

I pushed myself outside my comfort zone. I lived in the US for a time to see how things are done differently and it opened my eyes to new possibilities. Now I have a lot of friends, suppliers and customers and am able to see what is happening and learn new things.

I really think you have to constantly look for new things. At InPrint I see totally different markets and it was a new event when I tried it out and it really worked for us commercially! I had never before sold 5 machines after any show I wanted to support the InPrint Show in Milan to be part of it again.” 

What do you see in the future?

“I see a lot of suppliers benefiting! It is a growing but challenging market. We will only achieve this by cooperation and by working together. You already see that we need each other. An ink supplier can have the best ink but if the heads aren’t there he isn’t going to sell any ink! We need each other, and getting this right combination is the key issue. They key is trust. How much can you trust each other? Trust is important so we can collaborate without losing ideas or someone copying my designs. Therefore you need to find the right people to work together for all of the market to benefit.”

You can meet Peter Bergstein at InPrint 2016 in Milan 15-17 November at MiCo.

To contact Peter directly please email him
Click here for more information on Bergstein