PRINTING

Costa Rica 2018 | INDUSTRY | B2B

Leaders in Costa Rica's printing industry are focused on bringing innovative products to market—locally, regionally, and globally.

Manuel Grinspan
MANUEL GRINSPAN
General Manager
Etipres
Freddy Quesada
FREDDY QUESADA
General Manager
Grupo Vargas

How has your company grown and transformed over the years?

MANUEL GRINSPAN Etipres started its operations in a small garage in San José in 1985. The difference between Etipres and all the other companies in our sector is that from the beginning we decided to be sustainable in our business practices. For example, we did not want to use solvents in our inks and used paper made from sugar cane instead of trees. The first three years were difficult, but we began to grow after that. As part of the Bandera Ecológica initiative and as a carbon-offset company, we are careful with our electricity and water use in our plant. Our goal is to be innovative and different to meet the current and future needs of our market. We chose to buy the most flexible technology for our plant. This is because our goal is to provide our customers with exactly what they want with an all-in-one service. Our systems are the most advanced worldwide, and we are completely oriented to the market.

FREDDY QUESADA The graphic printing industry in Costa Rica is competitive; there are over 1,000 graphic companies in Costa Rica of different sizes. Grupo Vargas started 75 years ago and has been evolving positively to become the market leader today. Several years ago, we sought to compete in market niches that generate value; that is our differentiator. We do not compete only in the markets where pricing is the only factor for making purchasing decisions. It has allowed us a great growth rate. We have been able to invest in value generators that have made us more profitable, and we can re-invest in the same company to grow.

What new technologies or innovations have you introduced into your processes?

MG We attend major exhibitions and conferences worldwide; however, we are different from other companies because we buy 80% of our machinery and systems and make the other 20% ourselves. This means other companies are not necessarily able to do the things we can. We are specialized in the food industry, especially labels for frozen and refrigerated products. We also have good technology to serve medical implements and the automotive industries. Our company is the only one that is developing many different products, and this is the difference between Etipres and the competition. The two sectors that are most dynamic for us are medical devices and the automotive industry; we are growing in both. In addition, the aerospace industry is growing quickly at the moment.

FQ One and half years ago, we made a decision to install a backup for all the equipment we had here. Currently, we have a state-of-the-art technology backup in 50 machines, reducing man hours and waste. The effectiveness of control systems was increased by automation, and we now provide timely, high-quality service. A total of 80% of our purchased equipment comes from Germany. Our strongest competitors are in Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, and the US. Therefore, we have to purchase technology from these countries, since our competitors purchase theirs there.

Where are you looking to expand?

MG Today, about 53% of our production is exported. In Costa Rica, now we have opportunities because of all the big businesses here. The result is that we have begun to work with the global supply chain, for example we export to Australia, the Netherlands, and the US. This creates a world of opportunities for us.

FQ We have worked from the inside out, expanding first to countries close to Costa Rica. For example, we started expanding to Panama, Nicaragua, and other Central American countries. Also, an important part of our production goes to the US and Europe through free zones. We are an important local supplier; however, by working together with the free trade zones and attracting foreign investment, we have been able to supply the world without having to go to the entire world.