Sascha Rippberger

“My first AC/DC T-shirt from 1984 is now in a frame over my desk.”

What do you do at Monkeydrive?
I'm an owner and managing director at Monkeydrive. My main area of responsibility is production management. I also support customer acquisition for English-speaking countries.

What is a typical day like for you?
Depending on what's happening and how busy we are on a given day, I get to work sometime between 6.00 and 9.00 am. First, I'll check my e-mails and coordinate with the office managers. Is there anything new? Is there a rush job, a quick follow-up order, etc. After that, I'll check in with the shift managers and machinery operators, so that I can discuss the latest updates with the early shift workers. Our production focusses greatly on speed and flexibility, so we have to check many times a day whether jobs need to be shuffled, how the timing for rush jobs looks, check raw materials, separations, etc.
This is in addition to stuff like print approval, continuous improvement of processes and, last but not least, keeping the team motivated and in good spirits.

What kind of things are you working on now? What's new?
At the moment, I'm working on streamlining the two-shift system. We recently started operating all of our machinery on a two-shift basis. We now have to watch how it goes, make any needed corrections and offer help.

What's your background? What did you do before Monkeydrive?
I played drums for many years and toured with bands, doing different jobs in between. At some point, I stuck around at Journal Frankfurt for a longer time and even earned a communications degree through a combined work/study programme, but later I quit to do my own thing.

Why Frankfurt?
It's the city I live in. The centre of my life. It's just a bit of local patriotism, you could say. We could probably cut production costs if we were out somewhere in the country, but we are a Frankfurt printer that can only exist in Frankfurt.

What inspired you to become self-employed?
Simply because I didn't want to work for other people any more. I wanted to found a company without any idiots involved.

How much music is there in your job?
Quite a lot. We still have projects that excite me as a fan, but also ones that compel me to listen to something new, learn about new trends or bands, etc.

Which production processes have changed the most since the beginning?
Changing from basic filter coffee to freshly ground high-class Arabia blends!
But not only did our coffee game improve...
So many processes improved over the years, are improving as we speak and will in the future. It's an ongoing steady process.
Just to give you a few examples:
- Working from a One Shift or basically not even a real shift sytem up to double shift system covering 3 machines.
- Quality Management
- Handling Re-order Jobs by journalizing each job.
- Team Meetings
- Working with an ERP system instead of the good old copy/paste Word and Excel days.
- Having proper shop floor job papers. Covering all the infos needed for each job.
The list would go on and

How does your creativity contribute to Monkeydrive?
reativity has mostly turned into flexibility. Things have to go fast. Jobs get juggled, but everything still needs to be made on time. I express my creativity through our annual Christmas T-shirt, as well as through design and creative things at Monkeydrive. But also by thinking about how we as a company want to be perceived. Our look and feel.

What were your three favourite production jobs in recent years? What was especially challenging, unusual or creative?
The two Eintracht Frankfurt finales, because we also provided creative work in addition to printing.
"Feine Sahne Fischfilet", because they have been the most important German band for a while. I'm happy to print for them.
"Rock im Park" festival, because we had to do so much for it and it was a great challenge that included design sampling, large print runs, fast turnaround, weekend night shifts during the festival, etc.

What is your favourite piece of merchandise that you didn't produce yourself? Is there a story behind it?
In addition to many metal and hardcore shirts from the 80s and 90s, I'd have to say an action figure of H.R. from Bad Brains made by PressPop Toys. The figure is great and so energetic, and the entire packaging is a dream. They did a great job.

Who would you like to have as a customer – no matter how unlikely?
AC/DC. That's where it all started for me. I went to my first concert when I was 13: AC/DC at Monsters of Rock in 1984. The concert changed my life. After that, I got my first drum set, joined my first band, played many of my own shows with many bands and visited thousands of shows as a fan. Music is the defining element of my life. My first AC/DC T-shirt from that 1984 concert is now in a frame over my desk. Working for AC/DC would close the circle for me and I could retire.

What are you a fan of?
I'm a huge fan of my daughter.
I'm a fan of my good friends. Of good food. Holidays in interesting places that offer new experiences. Of art and creativity. Film and photography. Music, books, tattoos and Eintracht Frankfurt.

What does the future hold? Where will you be in ten years?
No idea what I'll do in 10 years. I've never thought that far into the future, let alone plan.

If you could have three wishes for Monkeydrive, what would they be?
To live a company philosophy that makes people interested in working here.
To be the most innovative and coolest printing studio and ahead of its time.
To be the company that prints for the final AC/DC tour.