The domestic printing industry is struggling to keep its presses busy and preserve jobs. Parliament has now decided that the companies should receive more backing from the federal government. These, writes the Switzerland at the weekendThey like to print abroad, and often do so. The SBB magazine Via is printed in Germany, the Swisscom telephone books and the post office stamps as well. All Swisslos tickets are printed in the USA (!).
At the behest of Lucerne SVP National Councilor Felix Müri, these companies are now to be obliged to procure their print products only in Switzerland. Parliament has approved his motion.
However, this might not be quite so simple. Swiss Post, for example, states that it prints the stamps abroad because this is not possible in Switzerland in the desired quality. The printing industry responds that the requirements profile for the products must be defined in such a way that production is also possible in Switzerland. They are also investigating whether it might not be possible to print stamps and telephone directories themselves.
SBB has handed over the decision on where Via will be printed to a communications agency. The contract will run for another three years. It is uncertain whether Swiss printers will be selected after that, because the contract has to be put out to international tender: The contract must be put out to international tender.
The Viscom industry association has a somewhat strained relationship with Swiss Post. The federal company is offering more and more complete solutions in which it not only takes care of transport but also printing - for example, serial letters. In doing so, Swiss Post grants customers discounts of up to 50 percent. "This is forcing our companies out of the market," says Viscom Director Thomas Gsponer to the Switzerland at the weekend. Swiss Post puts the printing services out to tender and awards them to the company with the most favorable offer - which further fuels the already fierce price competition.
Gsponer and Müri now want to work with Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer to examine how the federal administration can be obliged to award printing contracts in Switzerland. This will only work if the federal government's procurement policy is based on economic criteria and not purely financial ones.