By expanding our product range in our business fields, we are succeeding in developing new customer groups, thereby obtaining the best prerequisites for entry into new European markets. We wish to continue the expansion of new future-centric business fields, in the same way as with commercial online printing, and thus further evolve as a business by targeted investment in young companies.
Innovative Research and DevelopmentDevelopment of patents – safeguarding the future with "brains"
Research and development has always been a priority at CEWE. Many of our own patents for production machinery and equipment helped back in the days of analogue photography to transform technological and innovative leadership into competitive advantages. We still uphold this tradition in the digital age, both with our production technology and in software development.
Thanks to our employees' innovative instinct, we have asserted our position as a technological leader for many years. Over 140 employees work Europe-wide on the development and evolution of our digital ordering options. In terms of software development, our specialists rely on agile software development methods and automated tests to launch products and software features more quickly and better tested onto the market.
We also devise and build equipment prototypes in our own mechanical and electro-technical development department for the continuous improvement of our production processes. They are partly reproduced internally and partly externally by external partners on behalf of CEWE businesses.
Quality management and customer satisfactionWhen customers become fans
The quality of our products is firstly determined by the digital workflow and secondly by the industrial production process. The optimisation and coordination of both processes forms the core of this.
Quality management begins with the selection of the processes and the materials used. All materials are regularly tested and we are continuously intensifying the control cycle and discussions with suppliers' inspection departments.
We apply these strict measures in equal measure to all the printing processes we use: industrial digital printing based on electrophotographic processes, ink-jet printing and offset printing.
State-of-the-art image improvement software permits our own high standards to be monitored and complied with at all times. We employ end-to-end process checks to ensure consistent colour quality. These are largely in-house developments for digital printing, based on comparable professional standards from other sectors. The checking process concludes with a final inspection.
Our effects to achieve the very best quality are confirmed by numerous test wins, which we are awarded year after year by independent organisations (such as Stiftung Warentest). Our customers' positive feedback and steadily increasing brand awareness confirms that we are on the right course by focussing on customer satisfaction at all levels. The services we offer, such as express delivery, 100% customers satisfaction guarantee, the availability of our Customer Service department (even up to midnight during the Christmas period) seven days a week, are just a few examples of our efforts to turn customers into fans.
Product safety Certified products: better safe than sorry
Our high product safety and quality management standards contribute to the success of the CEWE brand. Our systematic safety management system continuously checks that both innovative products, as well as the existing range, are free from defects.
A team of experts, in which members of staff from Buying, Production, Product Management, Legal and Quality Assurance work together, has responsibility for this. The checks go right back to the origins of the products. Together with our suppliers we visit production plants in person to ensure that all key guidelines and current legislation are complied with.
Our own criteria even exceed legislative provisions and comply with all current recommendations by the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment. Products are only launched with the relevant certificates, which accompany their sale.
Supplier managementMaximum diligence along the supply chain
We select our suppliers with thought and care. The demands of the selection process are exacting and, apart from low costs, also include proven process expertise, lasting and continuous quality assurance as well as ecological, economic and social aspects.
Where possible, we work with suppliers from the regions in which our production sites are located. This ensures that we increase local economic power, and simultaneously reduce the CO₂ emissions generated by transport logistics. We closely monitor the direct suppliers for production material in the delivery chain. If a merchant procures critical materials, then his supplier is also reviewed and inspected. Critical materials are deemed to be products classified as being subject to high requirements in terms of product safety and product quality. We regularly conduct supplier audits on site with suppliers, located in regions classified as being critical in compliance with the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI).
Our suppliers are informed about our company-wide guidelines for the prevention of corruption and anti-competition agreements, as well as about the combating of child and forced labour, and they fully support these guidelines. We carefully inspect new suppliers in terms of their working practices, particularly in relation to human rights and ecological criteria. Our operational sites are located within Europe and are therefore subject to the legal regulations governing forced, mandatory and child labour. Some years ago, we also signed up to the BME Code of Conduct, which also demonstrates our approach to child labour.
Finance and risk managementDebt-free company with a high dividend
We adhere to a corporate policy aimed at safeguarding the existence of the company, sustainably raising corporate goodwill and generating attractive yields in the long term. All financial management decisions have to be made to ensure that the correct long-term decisions can be made and implemented. We are always conscious of having a high level of equity capital, as it gives us security and entrepreneurial freedom. Only when we are free from financial dictates, are we able to configure our operational value creation in Research and Development, Marketing, Sales, Production and all other functions in complete accordance with our vision.
We share this approach with the financial institutions with whom we enjoy long-standing and trusting relationships. We always have sufficiently high unused lines of credit available for short-term strategic decisions that need implementing. We communicate our traditionally long-term prospects on the capital market. We therefore wish to specifically address investors, who are aware of this characteristic and prefer long-term involvement to short-term profiteering.
Seizing opportunities and the ability to identify, analyse and reduce risks with appropriate strategies are important factors in our entrepreneurial activities. The systematic management of opportunities and risks is the ongoing task of the Executive Board and the role and work of executives in every sphere of responsibility. The risk management system identifies the risks and opportunities in individual risk areas in an annual Group-wide risk inventory, which forms the basis of our annual Opportunities and Risks Report.