Tag Archives: Innovation

ValueCheck OPS 2018.001

#ops2018: Zum zweiten Mal gab es über ein Dutzend hochinformative, kurzweilige und unterhaltsame LiveTV-Interviews mit den Partner. Das Publikum im Saal war begeistert. — Im Bild: Barbara Schulz von Durst Group und Interviewer Andreas Weber.


Von Andreas Weber, Head of Value

Es lohnte sich extrem, beim #ops2018 in München am 15. und 16. März 2018 dabei gewesen zu sein.

Es ging nicht nur um Onlineprint, es ging um die Zukunft der Druck-Kunst im Zeitalter der Assistant-Technologien, der Mass Customitzation (durch Digitaldruck) und Transformation des Druckereigeschäfts.

Ich habe per⚡️Twitter Moments das wichtigste kompakt und multimedial zusammengefasst. Mit allen Highlights und tollen Insights. Und einigen wichtigen Live-Interviews. Klicken lohnt sich. Das Anschauen via Smartphone kommt am besten. Und passt zu einer #ops2018-Kernerkenntnis: Print Business goes Mobile!

Weitere Berichte folgen alsbald.


Ein engagiertes Moderationstrio: Jens Meyer, Dr. Eduard Neufeld, Bernd Zipper. — Video: #ops2018





ValueCheck Peter Sommer Elanders ENG.001

“The market has recognized that putting printing and supply chain together is sexy. This service is in demand because the combination of printing and supply chain promises higher profitability.” – Peter Sommer, President Print & Packaging Worldwide and Member of the Elanders Board.

By Knud Wassermann and Klaus-Peter Nicolay



In 2007, Peter Sommer sold his thriving printing company to the Swedish Elanders Group. Since then, he has been a Member of the Elanders Group Management Board. By integrating print and logistics, he has reached the next level of supply chain management, which delivers superior benefits to customers.

Elanders opened the first integrated Packaging Innovation Center (iPIC) in Herrenberg, Swabia. The company provides the entire process itself, from picking up the product at the manufacturer, to printing and packaging, to placement on the retailer’s shelf. We discussed this interesting business model with Peter Sommer, President of Print & Packaging Worldwide at Elanders AB.


iPic-Grafik von Elanders


In focus: Growth through unrivaled innovation

“I always try to make it clear to my employees how important it is to expand existing value chains,” explains Peter Sommer, President Print & Packaging Worldwide and Member of the Elanders Board. He is firmly convinced that long-term survival is not guaranteed by classic packaging printing alone. “With many in the industry seeing packaging as a land of plenty and entering this segment, competitive pressure is increasing. The logical consequence of this is a drop in prices: they are already beginning to fall”, notes Sommer.

Unfortunately, not much can be changed regarding market conditions like these. But the market environment can be changed. Therefore, the Elanders Group has expanded its growth potential with fulfillment and logistics. Supply chain management is the buzzword here; it encompasses the processes by which raw materials, components, end products and information flow along the supply chain.

Nearly four years ago, Elanders said goodbye to its role as a stand-alone printer and began a new chapter with the acquisition of Singapore’s Mentor Media in early 2014. With annual revenues of approximately $200 million at the time, Mentor Media specializes in supply chain management for IT giants such as HP, Dell, Acer, Sony and Microsoft. Mentor Media produces the packaging and packs and delivers products for these companies.

In June 2016, the commitment to fulfillment and logistics was further strengthened by the acquisition of Logistic Group International (LGI).



We supply the world

LGI is not just any freight forwarding company, it is one of the leaders in European logistics. To get an idea of its size, it generates sales of approximately €430 million and employs around 4,000 people at 45 locations in Europe, USA and Russia.

“We supply the world” can be seen on the Elanders Group homepage. This might sound over the top at first glance, but a look at the numbers makes it clear where Elanders is headed. With its approximately 6,500 employees in 20 countries, the Group generated sales of around €900 million in 2016. The Print & Packaging segment accounted for a mere 34% of sales in 2016, compared to 100% in 2013.

And in September 2017, the share continued to fall to just under a quarter of sales; these already reached almost €700 million after the third quarter and had risen by 71% against the previous year. By contrast, the number of employees rose only moderately to 6,700.

In August 2017, the Integrated Packaging Innovation Center (iPIC) was established in Herrenberg with 200 employees, “where we implement supply chain solutions together with our customers. The market’s response to our offer is extremely positive,” explains Peter Sommer. The addition of the logistics company LGI meant that completely new synergies in packaging and logistics could be used. 


Unbroken: Investments in offset printing 

Elanders Germany has been working on concepts of this kind for some time now and had already implemented them several years ago on a comparatively small scale. At the Waiblingen site, personalized packaging is digitally printed, filled with chocolates and sent directly to consumers. Ritter Sport, Lindt and others use this service.

In Herrenberg, this concept has now been scaled to industrial level; the company has long been reinvesting in offset printing for this purpose. In total, Elanders invested €12 million in two Heidelberg XL-106s – one with five and one with seven printing units – with a dispersion varnish unit each, in addition to heavily investment in punching capacity.

The impetus for the project came by way of a coincidence, says Peter Sommer: “A customer who has water filters produced China told us that his supplier was getting increasing amounts of water filters and the necessary accompanying packaging produced on its own account, and was selling these itself. That’s obviously the reality in China today.”

But there are other reasons why companies have relocated parts of the supply chain back to Europe. The long transportation route gives less time to react to changes in the market and retail at short notice.


Peter Sommer im Drucksaal

Overview of the whole supply chain

With the iPIC, Elanders is now integrating printing, fulfillment and logistics so tightly that they are becoming an fixed component of the supply chain. The customer doesn’t just assign a single printing order to the iPIC, but the whole service.

iPIC basically acts in a similar way to companies who are successful in outsourcing. These produce, for example, coffee machines on behalf of customers; they buy the necessary components, packaging and operating instructions, assemble the machines, package them, transport them to the retailer and place them on the shelf.

“iPIC works something along the same lines, expect that the focus is not on manufacturing the product, but rather on the printing of packaging, fulfillment and logistics,” says Peter Sommer. The advantages for customers are obvious. “We offer customers a true one-stop shop. They no longer have to worry about where to shop around for individual services, but instead gets the complete package from us.”

This requires a different way of selling, however: old-fashion printed matter vendors are out of place here; business consultants that have an overview of the entire supply chain are required.



Bildschirmfoto 2018-03-11 um 11.49.30


Competent outsourcing partners are in demand

Virtually all industries can benefit from this concept, especially companies that have to pack many small-scale components or place them in a display and deliver them. “Fulfillment and logistics are not core competences for many companies. They are looking for outsourcing partners,” explains Sommer.

A look at the cost distribution is also interesting. Once the product has been manufactured, it must be packaged and transported from A to B. According to estimates by Peter Sommer, around 25% of the costs are attributable to the packaging and operating instructions, and the remainder to fulfillment and logistics. As the entire supply chain always has to be considered in such a scenario, customers recognize the value of the overall service and individual parts are not placed so much under price pressure.

The printed matter does not even have to be produced entirely in the iPIC: depending on the number of copies (of user manuals, for example), some of these can be produced by an overseas sister company’s offset printing plant or, for content that is relevant for digital printing, by the inkjet printing at the Waiblingen plant.

“The concept is therefore not fixed to a specific printing technique. The central issues are always what the product needs to achieve and how it gets to the recipient. Integration into the supply chain begins with advising customers and ends with tailor-made logistics,” explains Peter Sommer.

This also shows the broadness of Print & Packaging at Elanders: for each requirement, HP Indigo digital printing, high-speed inkjet or offset printing are used in a variety of locations. Automation and the entire production play a big role.




Accurate print services using “just-in-sequence”

Almost everything that Elanders Print & Packaging offers has something to do with logistics. For example, Elanders has proven to customers in the automotive industry that large quantities of user manuals can be delivered to a production line on a high-precision just-in-sequence basis.

Incidentally, this also benefits publishers; they have their works produced at Elanders on demand and just in time, for just one copy or more. Again, this doesn’t just involve printing. The IT specialists at Elanders develop complete solutions for printing and delivery for publishers. Connections to in-house ERP systems, networking with the publisher’s delivery and much more ensure automated print and reprint management that saves money and time. Here, too, the focus is on optimizing company-wide processes that promise great savings potential.

iPIC is “just” the first step!

Peter Sommer is very satisfied with the market entry of iPIC, and plans to achieve sales of as much as €36 million in the next two years. “The iPIC is our first step for integrating print more strongly into the supply chain and demonstrating new performance potential for customers. If one thinks a step further with regard to packaging, one arrives relatively quickly at corrugated cardboard, which is used for outer packaging. Exciting fields of activity are opening up for us where logistics meet digital printing.”


Elanders Lookbook Digital Print

Extremely positive feedback for the Elanders “Lookbook Digital Print”! To help many people to get the most out of this unique technology, the Elanders team developed an online calculator. — Link to Calculator // Link to further information.


Focus on customer benefits

It is highly unlikely that Peter Sommer will leave it at the current offering of the integrated Packaging Innovation Center; he will certainly go further. He recognized very early on that permanent product development including current IT technologies gives printers the opportunity to stop playing the defensive and rise above the price war.

Peter Sommer is convinced that “those who present themselves to their customers and potential business partners in a creative and innovative way will also be successful.” “This may sometimes take a while, but with intelligent concepts, small and large companies can win new customers.”

To achieve this, however, the actual print product should not take precedence; instead, the advantages should be the focus. If customers recognize the value of the service, they will also be willing to spend money on it.



Preisverleihung mit Kronprinzessin Victoria von Schweden

Brillante Ideen, Unternehmergeist und bahnbrechende Technik: In November 2017 in Leipzig, the company was honored for its brilliant ideas, entrepreneurial spirit and pioneering technology by the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in the Federal Republic of Germany. Swedish Crown Princess Victoria awarded Peter Sommer the 15th Swedish Enterprise Award for Elanders.


Print wins as an attractive part of integrated services! 

Analysis by Klaus-Peter Nicolay

While debates continue whether print service providers need to dedicate themselves more to distribution and logistics, the Elanders Group has already taken a significant step further. It has placed logistics so prominently in the company that printing almost appears as a by-product of the entire service range.

This appearance is deceptive, however: without print, Elanders’ business model would be similar to that of a freight forwarder and not that of an all-rounder for valuable print-based communication.

The integrated Packaging Innovation Center therefore offers development, printing and finishing of packaging in addition to its transport, warehousing, fulfillment (packaging of the product) and transport to customers, retailers or straight onto the selves of retail outlets. In this supply chain, everything except the actual product manufacturing is part of the iPIC service.

Only a few printing companies can dream of buying a logistics company costing hundreds of millions and offering similar solutions. However, the example of iPIC is certainly food for thought about the possibilities of adding a component to printing, to make the printing service more attractive, and to expand the value chain with new services.


Druckmarkt 113


The article was first published in the print magazine “Druckmarkt”, issue 113, March 2018. We thank the publisher Klaus-Peter Nicolay for the reliable cooperation with


Print of a special kind: Work samples from Elanders

Photos: Elanders Germany.


Elanders Ritter Sport

Stripes have been influencing the art of Jacob Dahlgren since 2000. He has designed 12 different design boards for Ritter Sport, which Elanders got to produce!


Print art – Elanders produced this special book on typography and calligraphy for typographic artist Sigrid Artmann: Artitude!


Elanders Geschäftsbericht-Muster

Elanders’ portfolio still includes the annual reports of some global players, with very special print effects!


Eanders Weihnachtsgruss

Peter Sommer gives special consideration to noble, imaginative and valuable holiday greetings for Elanders Germany. 


Auszeichnung von Elenaders für Soziales Engagement 2017

Elanders Germany received the award “Social Engaged 2017” for extraordinary social engagement!



ValueDialog Dr. Hermann Subscription.001

Photo: Heidelberg


“In today’s digital age with its cutting-edge business models based on networks and platforms, everything needs to be transparent, in real time, and focused on enhancing customer benefits.” – Professor h. c. Dr. Ulrich Hermann


Interview and analysis by Andreas Weber, Head of Value | German version

Successful printing doesn’t just happen. It’s all down to innovative plans and putting these into action. That’s the main focus of Chief Digital Officer Professor Ulrich Hermann, member of the Management Board at Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG since November 2016. In an exclusive interview, he explains the principles of the ‘subscription economy’, which is now firmly established at Heidelberg and is set to bring about success right from the get-go.

The subscription economy is taking Heidelberg as a market leader and its primarily industrial customers to the next level of the transformation process. For the first time, printing performance is being assessed and billed on a customized basis, thus representing a brand new development and a challenge for the print sector. Conventional billing methods, i.e. selling equipment at a fixed price in offset printing or click charge models in digital printing, are being replaced by subscription models. This has its benefits.


subscribe concepts with message on keyboard 

Info box: What is the meaning behind ‘subscription economy’?

The subscription economy correlates with the fundamental transition toward customized buying and selling in the B2C, and increasingly in the B2B, sector. The focus has shifted away from acquiring and owning products toward long-term, flexible customer relationships and ongoing customer benefits. The resulting technical and organizational demands are high. Some subscription-based solutions already exist in the printing industry, such as standalone software-as-a-service agreements. Important factors include automation, scalability, complex data models, and changed accounting principles right through to analytics. A constant supply of information on customer satisfaction and, most importantly, the way products and services are used is essential to enable businesses to further customize their services. What’s more, this data also helps both the supplier and customer achieve greater growth. Studies show that in the United States – the birth place of digitization – the subscription economy is already well-developed, generating approximately 800 billion US dollars in added value in the past ten years alone.  – aw


What is it all about?

The subscription economy could become the main focus in our sector, too. It has already achieved great economic success in the United States but remains largely disregarded in Germany. What difference will it make?

Dr. Ulrich Hermann: Subscription models offer a new approach for generating value by consistently focusing on customer benefits. Primarily, this means the end of product-oriented business models whose added value derives from creating a product, rather than from the benefit customers gain from that product.

Companies with analog models focused on manufacturing and selling products are eager to pass on expenses incurred in development, production, sales and supply to the customer as soon as possible. Whether customers are able to recover their costs is a question that is only considered relevant when it comes to the customer making repeat purchases, in other words it only becomes relevant at some point in the future.

What are the important features of a subscription?

It all boils down to a lasting customer relationship. This undoubtedly develops for services relating to the product, but not for the value of the product itself. 

A product-centric focus was the perfect approach for the analog world and shaped the industrial era for over 100 years because it was very difficult to quantify how the product was used and the associated added value for the customer.

In today’s digital economy, however, this approach is outdated as data is available on how products are being used and new business models are shifting the focus away from the value of the product itself and towards the usage value. We now aim to adopt this approach at Heidelberg as the leading supplier on the print shop market.

What are the advantages of focusing on the benefits to the customer and the disadvantages of focusing on the product?

As I’ve said, suppliers in the digital age can use platforms to gather, profile and analyze data on all participants with the aim of continuously and sustainably increasing customer benefits and thus instilling valuable, long-lasting customer loyalty. All processes must therefore focus on this and remain transparent for all participants in real time. If companies focus on the product, they can’t work out in any great detail or very quickly what it is their customers do with the product, when and how. Incidentally, that is a trend that affects many areas of professional and personal life…

… can you give a few examples?

It starts with reading a book or magazine, or when customers switch production equipment on or off, or why they are in the car and where they’re going. Manufacturers/suppliers usually know nothing about how their products are being used. As a result, they have to carry out costly questionnaires and analyses to anticipate how the products are being used and implement laborious improvements in long cycles.

During the analog era, innovations were therefore subject to protracted innovation cycles that were often staggered due to the risks involved. This led to analog companies spending a disproportionately large amount of time on optimizing internal value creation. It is clear that during this era the price of a product did not reflect how the customer used it but rather covered material and production costs.


A milestone on the road to the digital transformation and finally implementing the subscription program. A YouTube video of Dr. Ulrich Hermann discussing the market launch of the Heidelberg Assistant in December 2017.



The key to success

How can the focus be switched to customer benefits?

If we consider customer benefits to be the cornerstone of a company’s business operations, we end up with completely different approaches. Companies want to know what customers are paying for when using the products they have provided. This is exactly what disruptive business models in the digital world are based on. Usage patterns serve as the measure of all things – supported by the user experience and the customer journey.

Have companies in the print industry grasped this point? After all, nearly everyone nowadays is talking about customer orientation.

Technology suppliers often do not fully grasp that customer orientation, as a prerequisite to focusing on customer benefits, itself requires a comprehensive organizational transformation. Everything changes – from the mindset and culture right through to product creation. The ability to digitally measure the usage of products and services is key to creating added value. All business activities must pursue this aim.

Analyzing valid, long-term data collected from installed machinery and systems helps develop benchmarks with reference groups, which in turn enables the derivation of target figures and reference variables for optimum usage. We have been collecting such data at Heidelberg since the introduction of Remote Service technology back in 2004 and it has formed the basis for introducing Heidelberg Subscription.

With regard to the print industry, does this mean that it is not enough to simply introduce digital processes into print product manufacturing?

Exactly. In the digital economy, competition isn’t all about the product – the main focus is on developing the relevant user experience. I like to show a picture that presents the bustling streets of Manhattan as the heart of New York City. Some ten years ago, the streets were still filled with yellow cabs. Today, it’s dark sedans.

The product in this example is the same, just black and not yellow. It is a vehicle with a driver and passenger – and from the outside it is not immediately recognizable as a digital product. The difference, however, lies in the user experience. It is much easier to order, select, pay for and travel in a taxi with Uber and to influence the quality of the business model by writing a review.

Passengers feel like they are being taken seriously – as a business partner rather than a prisoner behind a plexiglass pane, if you like. It is no longer just about the service or product portfolio, but rather the customer journey and a new, intelligent way of using the product.

What does this mean in real terms for Heidelberg and its customers?

In our line of work, the subscription economy offers the opportunity to think about how we need to fundamentally change our business not just by selling machinery and services, i.e. billing for the product value, but by developing new models that assess the usage and the resulting positive effects.


This film on Heidelberg Subscription shows how Heidelberg is going down new paths in marketing, too.



How it works

What is the concept behind Heidelberg Subscription?

More than a year has passed since we began the transformation. We initially asked ourselves the following questions. What offers the biggest profit potential for our customers? Cost-effective printing capacity or optimum utilization? If our customers only derive added value from maximum machine utilization – in other words from optimized utilization of a coordinated combination of numerous individual products such as printing presses, consumables, software and services – why shouldn’t they actually pay us for this added value rather than for the individual components?

How did you go about answering these key questions?

A team of people with backgrounds in a wide range of disciplines such as finance, services, product development, sales and marketing / product marketing were tasked with developing a business model in which Heidelberg would not sell individual products to the customer, but rather offer the use of an end-to-end system that has been optimized for the specific needs of that customer. As early as December 2017, we concluded our first comprehensive subscription contract with folding carton manufacturer FK Führter Kartonagen, which is part of the WEIG Group. More contracts are in place, and interest in the market is continuing to grow significantly.

Aren’t print shops skeptical? Many are still coming to terms with click-charge models, which are now used as standard in digital printing.

There is a disadvantage to the click-charge models commonly found on the market. They reflect the market prices of digital printing press suppliers and are not based on the customer’s actual cost per printed page for offset printing. There are also no benchmarks for productivity targets etc. In our model, we bill per printed page using the ‘impression charge’.

What is an ‘impression charge’? 

The price per page reflects the potential of increased utilization during the contract period. However, the customer has to have a successful business model that allows for sustainable growth. Our subscription model is quite simply a genuine performance partnership. If Heidelberg fails to boost productivity during the contract period, neither the customer or we can fully satisfy margin targets. That is the difference to click-charge models.

The normal click charges for digital printing are based on the costs incurred by the digital press manufacturer and its profit expectations, not on the comparative costs for the customer. They represent a product-based pricing that the customer, the print shop, cannot control and that does not reflect their actual cost structure. Digital printing is therefore not a digital business model.

Added to this is the fact that if utilization fluctuates or is insufficient, click charges can quickly have disastrous effects.

So what is key for developing billing models based on customer needs?

Print shops want to be able to manage their costs themselves. And with good reason, as for many centuries printing was a skilled trade with humans controlling the quality of the work. Only recently has the business started to be industrialized following the automation of production processes with the help of standards. For a craftsman, what’s important is focusing on customer proximity and creating a bespoke end product with a special touch. Accordingly, print results sometimes varied dramatically in terms of quality and price.


An introductory explanation on Heidelberg Subscription.



What are the benefits?

What does industrial production do differently to craftsmen?

Industrial production based on standards creates results that are largely consistent. Only the level of automation creates differences in production, and defines the print outcome and the operating result.

To stand out, print shops must therefore make substantial investments in their own, increasingly digital customer relationships. Digital marketing, an online presence and digitizing the process of ordering best-selling products are becoming very important. Investing in the pressroom may be an age-old tradition but it opens up few opportunities to stand out. It also distracts from the actual job of a printing company in the digital age – namely to attract customers. With this in mind, switching to a subscription model is an easy and entirely logical decision.

What does results-based payment entail?

Our experienced performance-focused consultants conduct a comprehensive analysis of the print shop, reviewing costs for personnel, consumables, downtimes, plate changes, waste, depreciation, and much more. Once this thorough analysis has been completed, a unit page price can be determined that is specific to the relevant customer.

What’s more, we use the performance data we have gathered from more than ten thousand networked machines to establish reference variables. Thanks to this database we can make an offer to the customer to lower this price through a subscription contract because we know how to optimize their operations.

What criteria apply for the subscription?  

Heidelberg Subscription is based on the following considerations/criteria:

  1. Customers must demonstrate growth potential in terms of overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). For most customers, this averages between 30 % and 40 %.
  2. Concentrating on product innovations and customer acquisitions, customers must aim to significantly boost order volumes.

Suitable customers are offered an attractive price based on the above considerations and on a specific expected OEE increase, e.g. from 35 % to 45 %. Using this model, we sell productivity gains and help customers to achieve and exceed their goals. Heidelberg is responsible for setting up the turnkey system accordingly. We promise customers that the price premium for our optimized and more productive turnkey system will not only be worth it, but will out-do their expectations.

How do potential customers react to this new approach?

Many customers are enthusiastic as they are not dealing with a supplier that demands money up front for better quality and even charges for servicing if a machine breaks down. Instead, Heidelberg does everything it can to exceed agreed performance targets and ensure quality matches customer expectations.

Is Heidelberg taking a risk by standing as guarantor for success? 

Yes and no. Yes because with the subscription contract, it is in our own interest to ensure machinery is running, software updates are carried out, the use of consumables is optimized, and to do everything we can to increase output. No because ultimately, we take care in choosing our subscription customers. Most importantly, customers must all have one thing in common – they need to concentrate on growth and product innovation on the market, and their business model must demonstrate the potential for further growth.

Analyzing such factors has always been important for us as a manufacturer. We want to grow alongside our successful customers. In the traditional business, this took a back seat provided the customer could pay for the equipment. What we are talking about here is an excellent, new dimension to the partnership. We are no longer looking at whether our machinery, services or materials are cheaper or more expensive than rival products. Everything is defined by the mutually agreed performance targets, using the calculated price per page as a guideline.


Heidelberg Push-to-Stop PtS_Teaser_Slider_Motiv_White_IMAGE_RATIO_1_5

Another important aspect of the subscription model is based on autonomous printing following the Push to Stop principle presented at drupa 2016. – See our ValueCheck and case report.


Invoicing method

How do you determine the costs with a subscription contract?

That is tailored to the customer and their potential. For customers wishing to expand their business, for example, we might recommend our Speedmaster XL 106. Customers then make an upfront payment, which is only a small portion of the overall cost that would have been due if they had purchased the machinery. They also pay a fixed monthly charge based specifically on the price per page calculation of the agreed page volume that the customer aims to print and that is lower than their average page production. Additional impression charges are only incurred if the page volume exceeds the agreed targets.

Is the subscription tailored to the customer?

A fundamental and unique element to our offer is that we can customize the subscription in its entirety. For example, for companies unable to greatly increase productivity because excellent industrial systems already ensure a high OEE, we adjust the upfront payment and the fixed monthly charge accordingly. Alternatively, for customers with significant potential to increase performance and dynamic opportunities to increase order volume, we focus more on the variability of the payments.

With our subscription program, customers no longer need to worry about investing in their pressroom, making full use of available technology, or keeping systems up to date.

Why should customers tie themselves exclusively to Heidelberg?

If customers opt for the conventional model, they are dependent on a much bigger group of partners. Buying machinery takes up a large part of investment and often means being dependent on a bank. The supposed freedom that comes with pulling together consumables and optimizing the various features themselves comes with greater outlay, and all the separate relationships with numerous suppliers are diametrically opposed to the print shops’ profit targets…

…so that means the classic method of gathering lots of offers before purchasing brings its own problems? 

Everyone tries to pass on their costs. If we focus on the actual purpose of printing on paper, I believe all these dependencies are a much bigger issue than signing up to a long-term subscription contract with one manufacturer in which the profit interests of the manufacturer and customer are aligned for the first time. A Heidelberg Subscription contract runs for five years. We anticipate continuous OEE growth within that period. For example, if we increase page volume from 35 million pages per year to 55 million pages, this corresponds to OEE growth from approximately 35 % to 60 %. There is no need to explain what this means for the customer’s profits.

Is Heidelberg therefore financing the manufacturing costs for the production equipment?

The equipment belongs to Heidelberg and forms part of our balance sheet and/or our financing partners’ balance sheets. On the one hand, this fits in with the expectations of those customers who are undergoing digital transformation, i.e. the move toward an automated printing operation and digital customer relationships. Subscription customers always enjoy the highest possible level of automation without having to worry about technology updates, or financing new investments.

On the other hand, such customers also want to use digitization to bolster relationships with their own customers. Digital expertise helps to significantly improve go-to-market capacity across a broad spectrum.




How go-to-market is changing

Does this mean the subscription model also helps improve customers’ go-to-market capacity because it frees up resources at the print shop?

Every new print shop development until now has required enormous effort to ensure the technology is sound but also to secure prices that reflect more complex and thus more effective products. Placing a unilateral focus on production and ignoring customer value in digital customer relationships will come back to haunt even extremely successful modern printing companies.

Devoting resources to further develop the customer journey offered by the print shop and not getting bogged down by technical and administrative aspects is the best way of standing out from competitors and keeping ahead of the curve.

In other words, you are shifting your customers’ business focus?

Our high-growth customers are all excellent entrepreneurs who always focus on where the money flows so as to protect their investments. Customer orientation is greatly enhanced if we no longer force them to buy and maintain capital-intensive production equipment. Focusing completely on the customer as a core concept of the digital economy is always the best way forward for a prosperous business. That applies both to us and our customers.

With the subscription model, Heidelberg takes care of the financing. Do you anticipate any new challenges as a result?

A listed company with experience in customer financing such as Heidelberg cannot help but adopt new approaches in terms of financing. We even have a banking license. What works best for our investors is always cash-stable contracts with selected customers that have good potential for growth and are highly innovative.

That’s exactly what our subscription program ensures with its guaranteed monthly payments – particularly given that we can pool contracts and also trade through a financing partner. This is a much more attractive option for investors than having to negotiate contracts with individual print shops. Risks are balanced thanks to a diversified base of carefully assessed and chosen subscribers.

Last but not least, how quickly can you and do you want to increase market share with the subscription model?

There is very strong demand. But we are taking our time and signing contracts with selected ‘early adopters’. In this financial year, we aim to conclude ten contracts to gain experience and lay a solid foundation to gradually establish the offer across the market.


Heideldruck 01_180206_Kunde_Weig

As early as December 2017, Heidelberg concluded its first comprehensive subscription contract with folding carton manufacturer FK Führter Kartonagen, which is part of the WEIG Group. Photo: Heidelberg


Final conclusions

How would you summarize this development?

We live in exciting times with completely new opportunities for both Heidelberg and its customers. The digital economy offers entirely new mindsets for these opportunities. Ensuring the transparent use of products and services in a digital business relationship enables us to concentrate on the real source of added value…

…and what does that ultimately mean?

The transparency we provide establishes fair business relationships between those involved, but also places great responsibility on all participants in the interest of preserving their freedom. This responsibility puts the spotlight on the values of the business partners. Heidelberg values have remained constant throughout our long industrial history and play a particularly important role in our digital strategy. We have reworded the responsibility assumed by Heidelberg in its role as a printing industry partner: Listen. Inspire. Deliver. Digital business models hardly get any better than that.

Thank you for agreeing to this interview and giving a detailed insight into the hidden complexities of mastering digital transformation.



#ValueCheck – Heidelberg Subscription as a new economic system

Why the subscription model from Heidelberg is not only a logical choice, but also essential for ensuring growth with innovative ideas


  • The print production volume (PPV) is stable at approximately 410 billion euros worldwide each year.
  • Despite this, the number of print shops and print units is decreasing due to improved press performance.
  • Even as print runs shrink, OEE (overall equipment effectiveness) can be increased through the automation of industrial-scale operations.
  • Today, growth rates can be more than doubled from 30 percent to 70 percent over ten years.
  • Given that the PPV cannot be doubled, there is an inevitable and considerable decrease in the number of print units that can be sold (up to 50 percent).
  • Heidelberg therefore has to generate added value elsewhere if it is to avoid becoming dependent on crowding out competitors or snatching market shares in order to survive in a shrinking machinery market.


  • Heidelberg is gaining attention as an “all-in system” thanks to its extensive print know-how and its servicing database, which has been established on the basis of predictive monitoring since 2004 and focuses on the continuous analysis and improvement of installed production equipment. More than 10,000 Heidelberg presses are currently subject to continuous analysis.
  • With its subscription model, Heidelberg takes care of everything to ensure maximum use is made of installed print shop technology.


  • The risk associated with innovations is not only dramatically reduced, but also more widely spread.
  • Capital-intensive investments in production equipment no longer put a financial strain on print shops. Heidelberg supports customers, pooling and implementing investments with financing partners on good terms.
  • This has immediate positive effects on our industrial-scale customers, as increased flexibility and variability of usage provides immense freedom to concentrate on optimizing the marketing of enhanced performance and accelerating print shop growth.
  • The continuous increase in utilization results in improved profitability in the short, medium and long term.
  • The subscription program opens up linear and exponential growth opportunities for both Heidelberg and its customers.




Photo: Heidelberg



About Dr. Ulrich Hermann

Dr. Ulrich Hermann has been a member of the Management Board at Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG in his role as Chief Digital Officer since November 2016. Thanks to his proven expertise in the digital transformation of businesses, Hermann was made an honorary professor at Allensbach University, Constance, Germany, in August 2017.

Born 1966 in Cologne, he earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at RWTH in Aachen and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology M.I.T., Cambridge, United States.

In 1996, he completed a doctorate in business economics at the University of St. Gallen, in 1998 he became the Managing Director of Bertelsmann Springer Science and Business Media Schweiz AG, and in 2002 he was appointed Managing Director of Süddeutscher Verlag Hüthig Fachinformation.

In 2005, he assumed the role of Chairman of the Management Board at Wolters Kluwer Germany Holding, later becoming a Member of the Divisional Executive Board for the Central European Region at Wolters Kluwer n.v. in 2010.



About Andreas Weber, Founder and CEO of Value Communication AG: Since more than 25 years Andreas Weber serves on an international level as a business communication analyst, influencer and transformer. His activities are dedicated to the ‘Transformation for the Digital Age’ via presentations, management briefings, coachings, workshops, analysis&reports, strategic advice.



ValueCheck AutLay 01

Das Kölner Start-up schickt sich an, die Welt der Datenaufbereitung für den Druck zu revolutionieren. Bildcollage: Andreas Weber

Von Andreas Weber

Das Kölner Start-Up „” profitiert von jahrelanger, erfolgreicher Forschungsarbeit an der Universität zu Köln. Wirtschaftsinformatiker beschäftigen sich dort seit über einem Jahrzehnt mit Personalisierung und Individualisierung im Druck.

Herausgekommen ist eine neue, funktionsfähige Software-Architektur, die die automatisierte Erstellung von Layouts für druckfertige Dokumente in Echtzeit ermöglicht. Der Name AutLay steht für „Automatisches Layout“.

Seit Sommer 2017 fördern die Europäische Union im Rahmen des EFRE.NRW sowie die NRW-Landesregierung das Spitzenprojekt im Rahmen des Förderwettbewerbs START-UP-Hochschul-Ausgründungen. Bis November 2018 sollen finale Marktest abgeschlossen sein.


Die Wissenschaftler sehen die Innovationsmöglichkeiten im Digitalzeitalter nicht nur auf rein digitale Entwicklungen begrenzt, sondern haben das größte Potenzial identifiziert in der Kombination von Print (via Digitaldruck) und eines integrierten Verfahrens durch neuentwickelte Software-as-a-Service-Lösungen zur vollautomatisierten Layout-Erstellung inkl. Druckdatenaufbereitung in Echtzeit.

Der Clou: Die Kölner kommen ohne sog. Templates aus, bislang das Nadelöhr der Pre-Media-Prozesse bei Print-Produktionen aller Art. Denn Templates sind starre Vorlagen, die als „digitale Schablonen“ bei Web-to-Print- resp. Web-to-Publishing Anwendungen bis dato notwendig sind und definieren fixe sowie variable, veränderbare Bestandteile, wie Texte oder Bilder.

Statische Templates werden bei durch Algorithmen ersetzt, die auf frei bestimmbaren Regelwerken basieren und vordefinierte Druckergebnisse in Echtzeit sicherstellen. Es werden dabei Metriken zur Quantifizierung von Ästhetik identifiziert, konsolidiert und entwickelt. Durch sogenannte Recommender-Systeme (automatisierte Empfehlungstechnologien) lassen sich die relevanten Inhalte für jeden Empfänger individuell festlegen.

ValueCheck AutLay 02

Der venezianische Buchdrucker und Verleger Aldus Manutius (1449-1515) gilt als wegweisender Typograph, der u. a. den Satzspiegel ‚erfand“‘ und damit die Basis für moderne Layout-Techniken und die Verwendung von Templates legte. Sein Druckerzeichen zeigt einen Anker und einen Delphin: Der Anker steht als Symbol für die Langsamkeit, der Delphin für die Geschwindigkeit. [Im Bild: Das Geburtshaus von Aldus in Bassiano]. — Der dynamische Erfinder-Geist von Aldus wie auch von Johannes Gutenberg verfügt auch heute noch über Strahlkraft und Leitbild-Funktion bei Innovatoren, die sich aber im Digitalzeitalter nicht mehr mit beweglichen Lettern, sondern mit variablen Daten beschäftigen. Bildcollage: Andreas Weber.



Weltweit werden pro Jahr über 3.000 Milliarden Euro aufgewendet, um für über 800 Milliarden Euro Drucksachen aller Art herstellen zu können. [Quelle: ValueTrendRadar Analysis: Print in seiner wirtschaftlichen Bedeutung.]

Erste Analysen zeigen, dass bei einzelnen Anwendungen wie z. B. für individualisierte Verkaufskataloge oder kurzfristige Verkaufsaktionen für Lagerbestände die üblichen Produktionsprozesses im Zeitaufwand um ein vielfaches reduziert und im Kostenaufwand nahezu halbiert werden können.

Den enormen Einsparungen durch den Einsatz von an Zeit und Geld stehen signifikante Vorteile beim Time-to-Market gegenüber, da schneller, unkomplizierter und Kundenbedürfnis-orientierter Waren und Leistungen aller Art angeboten und verkauft werden können.




Unter kann eine Demo Online angesehen werden.



Ein Umdenken wird möglich und praktikabel, um Kommunikation und Transaktion soweit es geht nahtlos zu vereinen und einfach, schnell sowie äußerst wirkungsvoll in der Praxis umzusetzen. Mit dem Effekt: Mass Marketing wandelt sich zu Customized Mass Marketing, denn grundsätzlich ist in seinem Leistungsvermögen beliebig skalierbar.

Ein wichtiger Zusatz-Effekt ist, dass Unternehmen erfolgreich den Kunden und seine spezifischen Bedürfnisse in den Mittelpunkt einer werthaltigen Kommunikation über alle Ebenen und Kanäle hinweg stellen können – dazu zählt insbesondere die Print-Kommunikation. Denn erstmals wird das in zahlreichen Systemen vorliegende Wissen über den Empfänger auch für die Print-Kommunikation nutzbar.



Fazit und Ausblick

Mit diesem neuartigen Ansatz und dem engen Kontakt mit begleitender, unabhängiger wissenschaftlicher Forschung setzt sich deutlich von bestehenden Modellen der Software-Entwicklung zur Automatisierung von Medienkommunikation ab.

Den bereits vorhandenen prototypischen Lösungen werden rasch weitere Beispiele im realen Praxistest für verschiedene Bereiche wie Handel oder Direktverkauf folgen. Denkbar sind zudem Kooperationen mit Print-Technologie-Herstellern. ist als digitale Plattform durch sein SaaS-/Subscription-Preismodell sofort und unkompliziert nutzbar. 

Ein hoher Installations- oder Schulungsaufwand entsteht nicht. kann zudem je nach Anforderung individuell angepasst, modifiziert und erweitert werden.





Das Projektteam: Dr. David Schölgens (links) und Sven Müller. 


Kurz-Übersicht zu Projekt & Team der Universität zu Köln ist ein Ausgründungs-Projekt der Universität zu Köln. Im Mittelpunkt steht das vollautomatische und Template-freie Layouten druckfertiger Erzeugnisse. Mit diesem Ansatz ermöglichen die Kollegen Dr. David Schölgens und Sven Müller die individualisierte Kommunikation mit gedruckten Medienerzeugnissen. Gefördert wird das Projekt durch den Europäischen Fonds für regionale Entwicklung (EFRE) sowie Gelder des NRW-Haushaltes im Rahmen des Förderwettbewerbs START-UP-Hochschul-Ausgründungen. Professionell wird das Team unterstützt von ihrem Mentor Prof. Dr. Detlef Schoder und dem Coach Prof. Dr. Kai Thierhoff. Als Tutor steht der Analyst, Print- und Kommunikations-Experte Andreas Weber zur Verfügung.


Über den Autor: Über einen Zeitraum von mehr als 25 Jahren engagiert sich Andreas Weber als international renommierter Business Communication Analyst, Coach, Influencer und Transformer. Er hat zahlreiche Firmen mit begründet oder als Start-up betreut. Seine Aktivitäten fokussieren sich auf ‚Transformation for the Digital Age’ via Vorträgen, Management Briefings, Workshops, Analysen & Reports, Strategic Advice. — Seit dem Jahr 2004 unterstützt er als Ratgeber und „Denk-Partner“ Prof. Dr. Detlef Schoder und sein Team bei der Innovationsentwicklung zu




ValueCheck Lufthansa 2018.001.jpeg

Fotos: Lufthansa

Von Andreas Weber, Head of Value | English version


Vorbemerkung: Als Teenager machte ich meine erste Flugerfahrung mit Lufthansa. Das war toll! Im Verlauf der folgenden 45 Jahren hatte ich mit der Kranich-Airline (auch einige Jahre mit Lufthansa-Senator-Status) so manche ‘Ups & Downs’. Neuigkeiten beobachte ich als Analyst stets hochinteressiert.


Mit einem Big-Bang, vielen Werbemillionen und voller Inbrunst inszeniert sich Lufthansa als Marke neu. Im Kern steht ein aufwendiges Re-Design — vor allen Dingen des Kranichs als Wappenzeichen — , das nach Schätzungen mindestens sieben Jahre zur vollständigen Umsetzung in Anspruch nehmen wird.

Die neue Markenwelt sei für ihn das I-Tüpfelchen der Modernisierung, meinte Konzernchef Carsten Spohr voller Stolz und Freude. Das wirkt. Experten werden nicht müde, sich über sämtliche Designaspekte im neuen Markenauftritt auszulassen. [Die Zeitung HORIZONT lieferte einen Überblick].

Der Nachrichten-Sender n-tv bemerkte aber zurecht mit Hilfe des Media-Experten Thomas Koch: Ob das Re-Design tatsächlich neue Kunden bringe und das Geschäft beflügele, sei fraglich. Der Kunde, so Koch, entscheide nach der Leistung [und Güte] des Angebotes. Ein renoviertes Logo als Markenzeichen sei da eher beiläufig. 

Lufthansa Marketing-Chef Alexander Schlaubitz betont, dass es um mehr [oder gar alles!] gehe. Wie sein Konzernchef sagte: Die Lufthansa bedarf der Modernisierung. Für das Konzern-Marketing heisst das, sich allem zu entledigen, was nicht optimal digitalisierbar ist, um der digitalen Transformation und der mobilen Kommunikation auf den Pixel genau gerecht zu werden. [Siehe Interview von Fabian Wurm].


Kranich vorher nachher 58181-detail

Das Lufthansa Logo seit 1990.


Das hatte eigentlich schon der Design-Urvater Otl Aicher im Blick, der Anfang der 1960er Jahre den Kranich als Markenzeichen im Rahmen einer umfassenden CI neu gestaltet hat. Doch seinen Anspruch nach Klarheit, Prägnanz und Einfachheit hatte man seiner Zeit doch etwas die Federn gerupft und Kompromisse an die Tradition verlangt. Erstaunlich, dass nunmehr, fast 60 Jahre später, man zu Resultaten kommt, die vielfach auf Aichers ursprüngliche Absichten zurückgreifen. [Hinweis: Das konnte ich aus erster Hand erfahren, da ich persönlich einige Jahre mit Aicher eng an seinem Schriftenprojekt Rotis zusammen gearbeitet habe, und er oft von Lufthansa und anderen Kunden sprach.]

Viel Lärm um nichts?

Wie so oft, ist das Kundenerleben im Umgang mit der Marke ein ganz anderes, als das, was vom Marketing vorausgesetzt wird. Zeitgleich verschickte die Lufthansa ein E-Mail (wohl an alle Kundenprogramm-Mitglieder, in modifizierter Form auch als Manifest per Anzeigenmotiv verwendet), das nachdenklich macht, da es das Selbstlob überfordert und dabei in vielen Stakkato-ähnlichen Satzfetzen den möglichen Kundennutzen ziemlich ausser Acht lässt:

  • Der Einleitungssatz beginnt mit „Wir“ (i. S. v. „wir bei Lufthansa“ und nicht im Sinne von „wir als Gemeinschaft“).
  • Der Kunde wird gleich zu Beginn, spitz formuliert, als „Flug-Begleiter“ stilisiert.
  • Es wird vorausgesetzt, dass Kunden dem Anspruch von Lufthansa folgen müssen.
  • Der angepriesene Claim im modernen Hashtag-Gewandt #SayYesToTheWorld ist lächerlich banal und impliziert, dass Lufthansa-Kunden am besten abheben, in dem sie zu Ja-Sager werden.
  • Last but not least; Das Key-Visual im E-Mail zeigt die Heckflosse eines Flugzeugs — gerade so, als hätte der geneigte Reisende seinen Flug verpasst…
  • Und last but not least: Eine Möglichkeit oder gar aktive Aufforderung, sich zum modernisierten „Outfit“ der Lufthansa unmittelbar und per Reply zu äußern, erhält der E-Mail-Empfänger nicht. Schade. Oder? Denn das konterkariert die Werte, wofür das Digitale im Social Media-Zeitalter steht.
  • Anmerkung: Es ist davon auszugehen, dass viele Hunderttausende Kunden das E-Mail erhalten haben, in jedem Fall vermutlich deutlich mehr, als zum Zeitpunkt des E-Mail-Versandes vom Re-Branding über die Medien Kunde erhalten hatten.

Der „krass zeitgemäße“ digitale E-Mail-Schuss ging damit aus meiner Sicht nach hinten los, weil es dem Kunden nichts bringt, sondern Eindruck schinden will. Das ruft bei mir ungute Erfahrungen ins Gedächtnis, die ich als langjähriger Lufthansa Senator immer wieder durchmachen musste.

Besser spät als nie: Das Kommunikationsruder rumreißen!

Sollte es tatsächlich darum gehen, die Marke Lufthansa, dem Selbstverständnis nach dem „Premium“ verpflichtet, ins Digitalzeitalter zu transformieren, müssen radikale Änderungen im Denken und im Kommunikationsverhalten der Lufthansa erfolgen.

Diese Aspekte sollten aus meiner Sicht bedacht werden:

  1. Entscheidend ist, die Innovations- und Technologie-Mechanismen so auszunutzen, dass Dialoge respektive Konversationen mit Kunden in Echtzeit entstehen, um für die Perfektionierung von Services und Produkten nutzbar zu werden, die sich am individuellen Bedarf des Kunden ausrichten.
  2. Die Marke selbst steht nicht mehr im Zentrum, sie wird quasi zum gemeinsamen Vehikel von Unternehmen und Kunden. Aus Mass Marketing wird Customized Mass Marketing. Legt man wie die Mehrzahl der etablierten Markenunternehmen den Fokus auf Brand Experience, um über die möglichst starke Strahlkraft der Marke per Mass Penetration Kunden zu beeindrucken und so zum Kaufen zu bewegen, kann man im besten Falle Kosten decken, aber kaum noch profitabel organisch wachsen oder zweistellige Margen erzielen.
  3. Die Realität ist zwangsläufig: Kunden fühlen sich mehr und mehr enttäuscht, wenn Marken offensichtlich den persönlichen Kontakt zu Ihnen verloren haben.

My Take

Manchmal erscheint mir der Kranich wie eine Schwalbe, die noch keinen Sommer bringt. Um bestmöglich kundenorientiert zu sein, und damit Unzufriedenheit und Loyalitätsverlust bei Kunden zu vermeiden, bedarf es aus meiner Sicht nicht unbedingt eines veränderten Markenauftritts, sondern zunächst der Änderung des Auftrags und einer Wandlung des Denkens der Verantwortlichen. Mit dem Bekenntnis zur Globalisierung, zur Weltoffenheit und Neugierde” ist ja bei Lufthansa ein Anfang gemacht. — But at least: Customer First! — Das ist umso wichtiger, da die Lufthansa laut eigenem Bekunden dabei ist, die größte Werbeinvestition in der Geschichte des Unternehmens” zu starten — nachdem 2017 das beste Geschäftsjahr in der Unternehmensgeschichte war, und man 130 Millionen Kunden verzeichnete. Ich bin gespannt.


Über den Autor

Seit mehr als 25 Jahren engagiert sich Andreas Weber als international renommierter Business Communication Analyst, Coach, Influencer und Transformer. Seine Aktivitäten fokussieren sich auf ‚Transformation for the Digital Age’ via Vorträgen, Management Briefings, Workshops, Analysen & Reports, Strategic Advice.

In seinem aktuellen ‚Think Paper’ hat Andreas Weber provokative Gedanken zu ‚Brand Experience vs. Customer Experience’ dargelegt. Mit den zentralen Fragen: „Was bringt dem Kunden eine Marke? Was bringt eine Marke dem Kunden?“.

Bei Interesse bitte Email senden, um das o. g. Think-Paper zu erhalten:



Mike Hilton's Global News Review 08072016.001

World Premiere: Dr. Ulrich Hermann, Member of the Board and Chief Digital Officer at Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG, started at 12. December 2017 together with Tom Oelsner, SVP Sales Excellence, the go-to-market campaign for Heidelberg.

By Andreas Weber, Head of Value

— Access to German Version —

Think global, act local — this motto could now also apply to print shops, both small and large: regardless of where the owner/manager is, the Heidelberg Assistant as a new, browser-based platform now makes it possible to monitor and manage all important workflows and process steps in-house and not just in the pressroom at all times via a smartphone, tablet, or PC. It also provides many new possibilities, such as the ability to see how your company stacks up against others. And everything needed to keep the production resources up and running is done automatically, from technical servicing and maintenance to ordering materials. This new form of integrated operations management is now a reality, and speeding up the journey of digital transformation. At the same time, Heidelberg is transforming its mechanical engineering business to become a modern, innovative platform operator for the printing industry.

The facts: Heidelberg Assistant launches in four countries

The Heidelberg Assistant is ready for the market. According to Heidelberg, it lays the foundation for taking the business of printed products of all kinds to a new level. The goal is to be able to seamlessly digitize Heidelberg’s collaboration as a supplier with thousands of its print shop customers at all levels. The pilot markets are Germany, Switzerland, the USA, and Canada. Over 30 customers from six countries were involved in the development, backed up by 400 customer surveys — primarily in China. The highlight: the integrated platform approach is making completely new operator models and eCommerce offerings possible, including in traditional printing, allowing print shops to concentrate fully on their core business. At the same time, Heidelberg can assume higher turnover from servicing and consumables in the long term. . The basic version of the Heidelberg Assistant is free of charge for customers, and securely controlled via an individual Heidelberg ID.

“With the Heidelberg Assistant, we’re digitizing collaboration with the customer. The lessons learned from this form the basis for the development of our new digital business models and speed up the digital transformation of the company,” says Dr. Ulrich Hermann, Member of the Management Board responsible for Heidelberg Services and Chief Digital Officer.


Video: Heidelberg.



According to information from the company, the details are as follows:

  1. Digital collaboration with the customer over the entire lifecycle — The Heidelberg Assistant will enable customers to run their processes smoothly and to operate their print shops smartly and efficiently.
    Benefits: Users get a complete overview of the service and maintenance status of their print shop, including data-based failure prediction. By getting access to the biggest knowledge base in the industry, users should also benefit from new performance services that enable them to maximize the potential of their entire value chain. The access to big data performance analytics should offer further potential for boosting productivity.
    Additional benefits: The Assistant will enable Heidelberg to further scale its existing big data applications such as predictive monitoring and performance consulting in the market.
  2. Digitization of the service chain Personal access to real-time access to knowledge base and service.
    Benefits: Customers get secure and personal access to the Heidelberg Assistant, which allows them to call up all information such as the status or productivity of their presses or services availed of in their company, anytime, anywhere.
    Additional benefits: Things like software updates, predictive maintenance messages or contract management and an invoice overview are possible in the system.
  3. Smart eCommerce offering all the way up to new business models The Heidelberg Assistant offers direct access to the new Heidelberg eShop (
    Benefits: This link creates a smart eCommerce solution, since products can be individually recommended according to customers’ installations and needs. Additional benefits: Consumables and selected service parts are generally delivered within 24 hours.



Photo: Heidelberg.


The added highlight: new kinds of operator models

Above all, Heidelberg also sees digitization as the basis for new digital business models. According to the company, two divisions are being introduced for this, both of which follow the win-win principle:

  1. Big Data: The extensive data analysis from the globally installed and networked base of machines and software enables Heidelberg to develop new digital business models. All in all, customers and Heidelberg benefit from the evaluation of a database of over 10,000 connected machine systems and over 15,000 software systems.
    Benefits: According to Heidelberg, an offering consisting of equipment, software, consumables, and service tailored to the exact needs of the customer and its entire value chain can be created based on this.
  2. Subscription: Operator models in which Heidelberg agrees a fixed price with its customers for the printed sheet will also be possible on this basis. Heidelberg provides all the necessary equipment for this.
    Benefits: The customer can concentrate fully on marketing its produces and services. Against the background of a growing number of customers that choose an operator model, increasing sales can be assumed both for customers and for Heidelberg.



“Spotlight on…—via ValueDialog:  Tom Oelsner, Head of Sales Excellence at Heidelberg, answers questions about the Heidelberg Assistant product launch.

Your project was truly mammoth, involving over 30 pilot customers. What were the biggest challenges?

Tom Oelsner: The biggest challenge was to establish an interactive and agile design process in dialog with selected international customers, and to advance our digital developments in a targeted way. Presenting the Heidelberg Assistant as a prototype at drupa 2016 allowed us to already gather a lot of customer feedback. On this basis, a dedicated team together with customers extended the platform to orient itself fully towards the daily needs of the participating customer employees (from the press operator to the operations manager, buyer, etc. as well as the management). These extensions were quickly designed and rendered tangible using agile development techniques, and then were available without delay for discussion and further tests.

Which criteria/aspects were and are the most important for your customers?

Tom Oelsner: The Heidelberg Assistant supports the customer over the product’s entire lifecycle. The customers are involved in industrial production, so machine availability and productivity are the most important goals. Topics relating to service and maintenance therefore become extremely important. With questions like ‘when will which technician come’, ’when, which materials’, etc. Basically, differentiations are required in the different production areas that our customers represent, which also depend on the type of company and the company/employee structure. For example, we needed to find out whether there are full-time buyers or people performing dual and multiple roles in the companies so that we can ensure that all the employees involved are adequately supported for their specific tasks by their platform account and find themselves. By doing so, we can address complex requirements and ensure tailored role/task-specific use of the Heidelberg Assistant, which can be differentiated by our own sub-accounts.

What is the most exciting thing about the project for you? And how do you see it developing?

Tom Oelsner: The most exciting thing is that for the first time, we have a platform with a variety of real-time interaction options. This allows us to meet the requirements of the platform economy and port them transparently to the print production business. Feedback from customers has been excellent and any possible acceptance thresholds are quickly overcome. Further development will take place in three directions.

1. Scope: Targeting other customers in the four pilot countries to include as many Heidelberg customers as possible or ideally all of them there, as well as extending the platform to other countries like Japan and China.

2. Product integration: To date, all Heidelberg products have been integrated, but not yet to the same depth. Little by little we want to extend the scope of service for all Heidelberg and OEM products and, for example, offer failure prediction beyond sheetfed presses.

3. Innovation: Currently we have over 200 new ideas from the teams, which we’re reviewing from the point of view of technical feasibility and profitability and integrating into new releases. The next release of the current Heidelberg Assistant 1 will come in March 2018, but extremely fast cycles mean that others will follow every three months. Incidentally, the reception internally at Heidelberg, i.e. among colleagues, has been fantastic. This all makes me extremely happy, and shows that we’re on the right path to making the digital transformation a reality.

Thank you very much for this informative interview!



About the interviewee:

Tom Oelsner did a degree in computer science at TU Dresden. He joined Linotype-Hell AG in 1990, working in various software development areas and roles. From 2002, he developed Remote Services/Heidelberg Cloud as a program manager for Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG. He was appointed Vice President Enterprise & Services in 2008 and has been promoting digitization projects for Heidelberg and its customers as SVP Sales Excellence since 2010.



When iron stirs emotions: Koenig & Bauer commended for product campaign by Marketing Club Dresden/ Germany. Photo:

Graphic Repro On-line News to Friday 15 December 2017

Welcome to a roundup of 15 News items, plus Laurel Brunner’s Verdigris environmental Blog, which this week looks at Kodak, as it hopes to become the leading company for sustainability in the graphics industry.

As the year draws to a close the news has also slowed down, so I shall leave you to browse through this week’s headlines which contain an excellent selection of mixed news once again. Of particular note are the leaders on Tuesday with Baldwin Technology having now finalised the acquisition of QuadTech from QuadGraphics; and then on Thursday we have Leonhard Kurz, as it announces ground breaking test results from INGEDE confirming flawless deinkability for the recyclability of KURZ’ foil-decorated papers and boards. Then Sappi on Friday, as it announces plans to significantly increase the production of dissolving wood pulp at its Saiccor and Cloquet Mills in South Africa and North America by 2020.

Mike Hilton's Global News Review 08072016.001

World Premiere: Dr. Ulrich Hermann, Member of the Board and Chief Digital Officer at Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG, started at 12. December 2017 together with Tom Oelsner, SVP Sales Excellence, the go-to-market campaign for Heidelberg. Read our ValueCheck and ValueDialog report.

The tailender for this week goes to Koenig & Bauer (Monday) for the commendation it received for its current campaign ‘Built for Your Needs. The KBA B2 Presses’ product campaign, at an awards ceremony held at the Marketing Club in Dresden at the end of November.

If you are in the Southern Hemisphere and are due to close for the holidays during the coming week, do take care, stay safe and enjoy your time with your family and friends over the festive season and New Year. Please don’t drink and drive, or text and drive, or even use your cellphone when driving… we need you to stay alive. Have a wonderful Christmas and wish you a very Happy and Prosperous and Successful New Year 2018.

My best wishes and best regards

Mike Hilton

e-News comprises: Headline News – Online Feature Articles – the Verdigris initiative and our drupa Newsroom, all of which can be accessed from the Website Home Page and its Index. We also have News in Review, which provides an overview of the week’s news each weekend.

Headline News

Almost 30,000 news items have now gone online since we launched our Website in September 2001. News for the past 24 months can still be accessed via the Home Page and its continuation pages

Week beginning Mon 11 December – the published date appears in article footline

When iron stirs emotions at Koenig & Bauer
Koenig & Bauer commended for product campaign ‘Built for Your Needs. The KBA B2 Presses’ at event held in Dresden…

Sun Chemical price increase for Flexible Packaging
High raw materials costs the reason for the increase…

Flint announces price increase for Packaging Inks
Increased, incremental cost escalation forces Flint Group to raise the prices of its Packaging Inks products…

Baldwin Technology acquires QuadTech Inc.
Acquisition creates vision and inspection print technology powerhouse for the commercial, newspaper, labels, packaging, converting and publication gravure industries…

Mimaki to exhibit at PSI 2018 in January
Mimaki to bring a mini promotional product factory to PSI 2018 at Messe Düsseldorf 9 – 11 January

Resource Digital’s Fujifilm Acuity investment pays off
High Wycombe-based wide-format printer impressed with upturn in productivity following Acuity Select HS installation…

Digital transformation of Heidelberg gathers pace

Heidelberg breaking new ground in customer support: Heidelberg Assistant goes into series production…


New reader survey suggests print investment opportunities

Vaughan Patterson, product marketing manager for commercial and industrial print at Ricoh SA reports on the recent Two Sides global survey which included South African respondents…


Screen Truepress Jet L350UV for Tenovis in Slovenia

Tenovis answers short-run demand and opens up new market opportunities with Screen Truepress Jet L350UV…

Kurz cold foil passes deinking test with distinction
Ground breaking test results from INGEDE for the recyclability of foil-decorated paper confirm flawless deinkability…

Streamline Press Leicester chooses ‘Push to Stop’
Streamline seeks ‘world class’ status with Heidelberg investment in ‘Push to Stop’ Speedmaster XL 106-5+L…

Screen and Meccanotecnica to collaborate for books
Companies to collaborate for optimised book finishing using EQUIOS Book Solution with Universe Sewing from Meccanotecnica…

Sappi to significantly increase DWP capacity by 2020
Sappi confirms expansion plans for dissolving wood pulp (DWP) capacity at its Saiccor and Cloquet Mills…

FINAT Technical Seminar March 2018, Barcelona
The New World of Labels: FINAT event tackles the technical challenges from 7 – 9 March 2018 in Barcelona…

The first Heidelberg Speedmaster CS 92 in France
Rollin Imprimeur greatly improves cost-efficiency and flexibility with France’s first Speedmaster CS 92…

The lead article from a week last Friday…

Sappi Fashion White grades launched for shopping bags
Unique brand communication with excellent colour reproduction on new grades for shopping bags of the future…

GraphicRepro.Net e-News  (ISSN 1814-2923) is sponsored and made possible by:

Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG  (Heidelberg), The world’s largest printing press manufacturer for the industry worldwide. Visit the Heidelberg Website for more information.

drupa 2020 (drupa), the international flagship fair of the printing and media industry. Visit the drupa 2020 Website.You can also visit blog.drupa.comfor the latest industry news and developments.

Online Feature articles 2017
Only 49 articles last year – but you will find another eleven Expert Articles and ten drupa ante portas Blogs from Andreas Weber in our drupa Newsroom. There were over 70 in 2015, and over 90 in 2013 and in 2014 which can still be accessed via the Index on the Home Page.

VaueDialogue 2017

Previous…      #InfluenceB2B Transformation for the Digital Age
#InfluenceB2B programme leads from innovation to transformation! By Andreas Weber, Head of Value…

Online Features Nov/Dec Chapter 08

Previous…      Comexi and QuadTech collaborate for flexible packaging
Both companies invest in research, innovation and training to better serve flexible packaging printing with closed-loop colour control…

Future solutions for the ‘growth market of packaging printing’
More than 300 customers from around the world attended the Packaging Day hosted by Heidelberg at its Wiesloch-Walldorf plant in November…

Sappi expands speciality and packaging paper capacity
Sappi to acquire the speciality paper business of Cham Paper Group Holding in Switzerland and Italy…

Verdigris – Environmental Initiative

Laurel Brunner’s weekly Verdigris Blogs 2017

Kodak & Corporate Responsibility
The weekly Verdigris blog by Laurel Brunner – Mon 11 Dec

Previous…      Sustainability Initiatives
The weekly Verdigris blog by Laurel Brunner – Mon 04 Dec

Drupa Newsroom

Our Drupa Newsroom with news from Messe Düsseldorf in 2017 and for Drupa 2016 can be found in the Index. It is divided into Chapters for your convenience…just scroll down to view each Chapter

News from Messe Düsseldorf 2017

Previous…     Intelligent Printing in Focus
All in Print China to be staged at the new International Expo Center in Shanghai from 24 to 28 October 2018

The various Chapters in the drupa Newsroom are highlighted below. When you enter, just scroll down to see and access the complete collection::

drupa daily; drupa Exhibitors’ show + post-show News; drupa pre-show Exhibitor news; post-drupa from Messe Düsseldorf; drupa ante portas Blogs from Andreas Weber; drupa Expert Articles – and more

The Graphic Repro On-line is supported and sponsored by:
Drupa 2020,   Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG, and  Kemtek Imaging Systems

If you would like to send news for consideration for the Graphic Repro On-line Website (ISSN 1814-2915) or to submit comments, please e-mail Mike Hilton at:

Our Website urls are:

GraphicRepro.Net e-News (ISSN 1814-2923)  provides weekly updates from the Graphic Repro On-line Website and is  compiled and published by Mike Hilton,, PO Box 10 Peterburgskoe Shosse 13/1, 196605 Pushkin 5, St. Petersburg, Russia.  e-mail

Mike Hilton's Global News Review 08072016.001

Dr. Ulrich Hermann, Vorstand und Chief Digital Officer der Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG, gab am 12. Dezember 2017 im Team mit Tom Oelsner, SVP Sales Excellence, den Start für die Vermarktung von Heidelberg Assistant bekannt. Foto: Heidelberg.

Von Andreas Weber, Head of Value

—Link zur englischen Fassung—

Think global, act local — Diese Devise könnte nunmehr auch für Druckereien – kleine wie große – gelten: Egal wo der Inhaber/Manager sich aufhält: per Smartphone, Tablet oder PC wird es jederzeit über den Heidelberg Assistant als neuartige, Browser-basierte  Plattform möglich, alle wichtigen Abläufe und Prozessschritte im eigenen Unternehmen und nicht nur im Drucksaal zu überwachen und zu steuern. Hinzu kommen viele neue Möglichkeiten, etwa das eigene Unternehmen im Vergleich zu sehen mit anderen. Und alles was es braucht, um die Produktionsmittel am Laufen zu halten, erfolgt automatisch. Vom technischen Service/der Wartung, bis zur Materialbestellung. Diese neuartige Form des integrierten Betriebsmanagements ist nunmehr Realität und beschleunigt die Fahrt auf der „Digital Transformation Journey“ aufs Beste. Heidelberg selbst transformiert dabei sein Maschinenbaugeschäft in der Weise, ein zeitgemäß-innovativer Plattformbetreiber für die Druckbranche zu sein.

Die Faktenlage: Serienstart von Heidelberg Assistant in vier Ländern

Der Heidelberg Assistant geht marktreif an den Start. Damit ist laut Heidelberg die Basis geschaffen, um das Geschäft mit Printproduktionen aller Art auf eine neue Ebene zu heben. Das Ziel lautet, die Zusammenarbeit von Heidelberg als Lieferant mit tausenden seiner Druckerei-Kunden auf allen Ebenen nahtlos digital gestalten zu können. Pilotmärkte sind Deutschland, Schweiz, die USA und Kanada. Über 30 Kunden aus sechs Ländern waren in die Entwicklung involviert, flankiert von 400 Kundenbefragungen — vor allem auch in China. Der Clou: Der integrierte Plattform-Ansatz macht auch im klassischen Druck ganz neue Betreibermodelle und eCommerce Angebote möglich, damit sich Druckereien ganz auf ihr Kerngeschäft konzentrieren können. Gleichzeitig kann man in Bezug auf Heidelberg langfristig von höheren Umsätzen im Servicebereich und bei Verbrauchsmaterialien ausgehen. Die Basisversion des Heidelberg Assistant ist für Kunden kostenlos und wird sicher über eine individuelle Heidelberg-ID geregelt.

„Mit dem Heidelberg Assistant digitalisieren wir die Zusammenarbeit mit dem Kunden. Die daraus gewonnen Erkenntnisse sind Voraussetzung für den Aufbau unserer neuen digitalen Geschäftsmodelle und beschleunigen die digitale Transformation des Unternehmens“, legt Dr. Ulrich Hermann, Vorstand Heidelberg Services und Chief Digital Officer, dar.


Video: Heidelberg



Im Detail geht es laut Unternehmensangaben um folgendes:

  1. Digitale Zusammenarbeit mit dem Kunden über den gesamten Lifecycle — Heidelberg Assistant ermöglicht Kunden einen reibungslosen Ablauf ihrer Prozesse bzw. den smarten und effizienten Betrieb ihrer Druckerei.
    Vorteile: Anwender erhalten einen Gesamtüberblick über den Service- und Wartungsstatus ihrer Druckerei inklusive datengestützter Ausfallvorhersage. Zudem sollen Nutzer durch den Zugriff auf die größte Wissensdatenbank der Branche von neuen Performancedienstleistungen profitieren, mit denen sie das Potenzial ihrer gesamten Wertschöpfungskette möglichst vollständig ausnutzen können. Der Zugang zu Big-Data-Performance-Analysen soll weitere Potenziale zur Produktivitätssteigerung bieten.
    Zusatznutzen: Heidelberg kann mit dem Assistant seine bereits eingeführten Big-Data-Anwendungen wie Predictive Monitoring und Performance Consulting weiter im Markt skalieren.
  2. Digitalisierung der Servicekette — Persönlicher Zugang mit Echtzeitzugang zu Wissensdatenbank und Service.
    Vorteile: Kunden erhalten einen sicheren und persönlichen Zugang zum Heidelberg Assistant und können so alle Informationen, wie Status bzw. Produktivität ihrer Maschinen oder über in Anspruch genommenen Dienstleistungen rund um ihr Unternehmen überall und jederzeit abrufen.
    Zusatznutzen: Beispielsweise sind Softwareupdates, vorausschauende Wartungsmeldungen oder das Vertragsmanagement und ein Rechnungsüberblick im System möglich.
  3. Smartes eCommerce-Angebot bis hin zu neuen Geschäftsmodellen — Der Heidelberg Assistant bietet einen direkten Zugriff auf den neuen Heidelberg eShop (
    Vorteile: Durch diese Verbindung entsteht eine smarte eCommerce-Lösung, da Produkte nach Kundeninstallation und bedarf individuell empfohlen werden können.
    Zusatznutzen: Verbrauchsmaterialien und ausgewählte Serviceteile werden in der Regel innerhalb von 24 Stunden geliefert.



Foto: Heidelberg.

Das zusätzliche Highlight: Neue Formen für Betreibermodelle

Heidelberg sieht die Digitalisierung vor allem auch als Basis für neue digitale Geschäftsmodelle. Hierfür werden gemäß Unternehmensangaben zwei Bereiche angeführt, die jeweils dem Win-Win-Prinzip folgen:

  1. Big Data: Die umfangreiche Datenanalyse aus der weltweit installierten und vernetzten Basis an Maschinen und Software ermöglicht Heidelberg den Aufbau neuer digitaler Geschäftsmodelle. Insgesamt profitieren Kunden und Heidelberg von der Auswertung einer Datenbasis von über 10.000 angeschlossenen Maschinen- und über 15.000 Softwaresystemen.
    Vorteile: Daraus kann laut Heidelberg ein auf den exakten Bedarf des Kunden und seiner gesamten Wertschöpfungskette zugeschnittenes Angebot bestehend aus Equipment, Software Verbrauchsmaterialien und Service erstellt werden
  2. Subscription: Betreibermodelle, bei denen Heidelberg mit Kunden einen fixen Preis für den bedruckten Bogen vereinbart, werden auf dieser Grundlage möglich. Heidelberg stellt dafür alle notwendigen Betriebsmittel zur Verfügung.
    Vorteile: Der Kunde kann sich voll auf die Vermarktung seines Angebots konzentrieren. Vor dem Hintergrund einer wachsenden Anzahl von Kunden, die sich für ein Betreibermodell entscheiden, ist von steigenden Umsätzen auszugehen, bei Kunden wie bei Heidelberg.


Nachgefragt per ValueDialog — Tom Oelsner, Leiter Sales Excellence bei Heidelberg, stand beim Produkt-Launch von Heidelberg Assistant Rede und Antwort.

Sie haben ein echtes Mammut-Projekt gestemmt. Im Team mit über 30 Pilotkunden. Was waren dabei die größten Herausforderungen?

Tom Oelsner: Die größte Herausforderung bestand darin, einen interaktiven agilen Designprozess im Dialog mit ausgewählten internationalen Kunden zu schaffen und zielführend unsere digitalen Entwicklungen nach vorne zu bringen. Durch die Vorstellung des Heidelberg Assistant als Prototyp auf der drupa 2016 konnten wir bereits viel Kundenfeedback sammeln. Ein eigens zusammengestelltes Team erweiterte auf dieser Basis gemeinsam mit Kunden die Plattform, um sich hundertprozentig am Tagesbedarf der beteiligten Kundenmitarbeiter (vom Print-Operator über den Betriebsleiter, Einkäufer etc. sowie die  Geschäftsführung) zu orientieren. Dabei wurden über agile Entwicklung diese Erweiterungen schnell ausgestaltet und greifbar gemacht, die dann sehr rasch zur Diskussion und für weitere Tests bereit standen.

Welche Kriterien/Aspekte waren und sind für Ihre Kunden am Wichtigsten?

Tom Oelsner: Der Heidelberg Assistant begleitet den Kunden über den gesamten Lebenszyklus des Produkts. Es geht um industrielle Produktion, daher sind Maschinenverfügbarkeit und Produktivität die wichtigsten Ziele. Somit nehmen die Themen rund um Service und Wartung eine herausragende Stellung ein. Mit Fragen wie: Wann kommt welcher Techniker, wann welche Materialien etc. Grundsätzlich sind in den verschiedenen Produktionsbereichen, die unsere Kunden abbilden, Differenzierungen vorzunehmen, die auch vom Unternehmenstyp und von der Firmen-/Mitarbeiterstruktur abhängen. Es galt z. B. herauszufinden, ob es Vollzeit Einkäufer oder Doppel- und Mehrfachfunktionen in den Betrieben gibt, damit wir sicherstellen können, dass alle involvierten Mitarbeiter adäquat für ihre spezifischen Aufgaben durch ihren Plattform-Account unterstützt werden und sich wieder finden. Dadurch lösen wir komplexe Anforderungen und stellen einen maßgeschneiderten Rollen-/Aufgaben-spezifischen Umgang mit Heidelberg-Assistant sicher, der durch eigene Sub-Accounts ausdifferenziert werden kann.

Was ist für Sie persönlich das Spannendste an dem Projekt? Und wie wird es sich weiterentwickeln?

Tom Oelsner: Das Spannendste ist, dass erstmals eine Plattform mit einer Vielzahl von Interaktions-Möglichkeiten in Echtzeit entsteht. Damit erfüllen wir die Anforderungen der Platform-Economy und portieren diese in transparenter Form auf das Print-Produktions-Geschäft. Das Kunden-Feedback ist ausgezeichnet, mögliche Akzeptanzschwellen werden rasch überwunden. Die Weiterentwicklung vollziehen wir in drei Richtungen.

1. Reichweite: Weitere Kunden in den vier Pilot-Ländern ansprechen, um dort möglichst viele, am besten alle Heidelberg-Kunden einzubeziehen, sowie für die Plattform-Nutzung weitere Ländern erschließen wie Japan und China.

2. Produkt-Integration: Bis dato sind alle Produkte von Heidelberg-bereits integriert, aber noch nicht in gleicher Tiefe. Nach und nach wollen wir den Leistungsumfang für alle Heidelberg- und OEM-Produkte erweitern und beispielsweise die Ausfallvorhersage auch über Sheetfed-Maschinen hinaus anbieten..

3. Innovation: Derzeit haben wir über 200 neue Ideen aus den Teams, die wir auf technische Machbarkeit und Wirtschaftlichkeit prüfen und in neue Releases einarbeiten. Das nächste Release der jetzigen Fassung Heidelberg Assistant 1 kommt bereits im März 2018, weitere werden dann durch extrem schnelle Zyklen alle drei Monate folgen.

Übrigens: Der Zuspruch intern bei Heidelberg, also aus der Kollegenbasis, ist fantastisch. Das alles zusammen macht große Freude und zeigt, dass wir auf dem richtigen Weg sind, die digitale Transformation Wirklichkeit werden zu lassen.

Vielen Dank für das informative Gespräch!



Zur Person

Tom Oelsner studierte an der Technischen Universität Dresden und schloss als Diplom-Informatiker ab. Seit 1990 war er für Linotype-Hell AG in verschiedenen Software-Entwicklungsbereichen/-Funktionen tätig. Seit 2002 entwickelte er als Program-Manager für Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG die Remote Services/Heidelberg Cloud; 2008 wurde er Vice President Enterprise & Services und seit Oktober 2010 treibt er als SVP Sales Excellence Digitalisierungsprojekte für Heidelberg und seine Kunden voran.



By Andreas Weber, Internationale Senefelder-Stiftung ISS Advisory Board (inspired by the #Kolloquium)

What makes me excited about #Print? What is annoying?

+ Without the ‘old’ the present and the future would not be possible! The course for the information age was already set around 1800 (from print to chip / via Photolithography).

+ The unbroken fascination and the inexhaustible transformation potential.

+ The passion and creativity of those who understand how to create and thrive on print.

– The widespread failure to adequately depict and make public the print in public consciousness.

– The unimaginative and ignorant, blatant rigor of many manufacturers that supposedly offer innovation.

– A blatant lack of communication expertise that hinders thinking outside the box.

#ValueCheck: Bücher als Skulpturen — dazu der Schriftsteller Christoph Ransmayr: „Anselm Kiefer hat ein leidenschaftliches Verhältnis zu Büchern, besonders zur Literatur, und einige seiner beeindruckendsten Arbeiten etwa mit Ingeborg Bachmann oder Paul Celan verbunden. Seine bleierne Bibliothek schlägt wie nur wenige Werke der bildenden Kunst eine Brücke zu jenem Medium Buch, das uns auf fast magische Weise erlaubt, über Jahrhunderte oder Jahrtausende hinweg in einer Art Gespräch miteinander verbunden zu bleiben.“ #Transformation

#Freitagsgedanken: Was begeistert mich an #Print? Was macht verdrießlich?

+ Ohne das ‚Alte‘ wäre das Heutige und Künftige gar nicht möglich! Die Weichen fürs Informationszeitalter wurden bereits um 1800 gestellt (vom Druck zum Chip).

+ Die ungebrochene Faszination und v. a. das unerschöpfliche Transformationspotential.

+ Die Leidenschaft und Kreativität derer, die Print gedeihlich zu gestalten verstehen und dadurch begeistern können.

– Das breite Versagen, Print im öffentlichen Bewusstsein adäquat darzustellen und erfahrbar zu machen.

– Die Fantasielosigkeit und ignorante, blasierte Rigorosität vieler Hersteller, die angeblich Innovationen bieten.

– Ein eklatanter Mangel an Kommunikations-Fachwissen, der behindert, über den Tellerrand zu blicken.


Heidelberg, MPS in Obersulm and the publisher of turi2 edition selected the most important media persons in Germany for a unique, masscustomized cover page for a printed magazine. In total a number of 1,241. All together delivered as “pixels” a complete portrait of each single candidate printed on Primefire106. — One of those media VIPs was Andreas Weber, Head of Value, Frankfurt am Main/Germany.

Graphic Repro On-line News to Friday 24 November 2017

Welcome to a roundup of just 16 articles at the end of a quiet week for news, which tapered out almost completely by Friday. You’ll also find Laurel Brunner’s Verdigris Blog discussing the increasingly difficult problems encountered in successful paper recycling, as inks and coatings continue to change quite rapidly in their formulations and content. Rather like chasing moving goal posts.

Key news this week includes a more than £2-million pound spend by Taylor Bloxham of Leicester, UK on a new highly-spec’d Rapida 106 from Koenig & Bauer on Tuesday; while on Wednesday Wrap Cube became the first UK company to use 3M’s 780mC Reflective Wrapping Film, supplied by Spandex (you must see the photographs to appreciate why this gets a mention); and on Thursday,

Heidelberg celebrated the world premiere of the Primefire 106 with packaging printers from all over Europe at MPS-WestRock in Obersulm near Heilbronn, Germany at the beginning of November; and Scodix announces the start of its commercial roll-out of the E106 Digital Enhancement Press at an Open House, from 4 – 6 December at Gundlach Packaging Group’s facility in Oerlinghausen, Germany.

See as well the real-time report by Andreas Weber: “Value Check: Very well done — World Premiere of Heidelberg Primefire106 at MPS Multi Packaging Solutions in Germany”

To end the week on a high note, we had just one article from InPrint on Friday announcing that last week’s show in Munich ended with positive results. The next InPrint will take place in Milan at the end of 2018, before returning to Munich at the end of 2019.

That’s it until next time. There’s more to explore if you check out the headlines carefully, including the British Book Design and Production Awards winners on Monday; and some sound advice from Charl Vogel at Ricoh South Africa on Tuesday.

My best regards

Mike Hilton

e-News comprises:  Headline News – Online Feature Articles – the Verdigris initiative and our drupa Newsroom, all of which can be accessed from the Website Home Page and its Index. We also have News in Review, which provides an overview of the week’s news each weekend.

Headline News
Almost 30,000 news items have now gone online since we launched our Website in September 2001. News for the past 24 months can still be accessed via the Home Page and its continuation pages

Week beginning Mon 20 November – the published date appears in article footline

British Book Design & Production Awards winners 2017
The BPIF announces the winners of the 2017 British Book Design and Production Awards, held on 16 November in central London…

UPM supporting learning with Save the Children
UPM supports schooling opportunities of young people at risk of social exclusion due to poverty…

Tonejet unveiled Cyclone at InPrint 2017 in Munich
Tonejet Cyclone unites patented technologies to eliminate long lead times and minimum print runs for cans…

Neschen expands portfolio with EcoLam 1650
The perfect introduction to high-end print finishing…

How some commercial printers get hamstrung over new kit
Some commercial printers who invest in new production equipment don’t necessarily get the returns they reasonably expect says Charl Vogel, head of Commercial and Industrial print at Ricoh SA…

At Ricoh’s ‘Art of the New’ event in Telford, UK today…
Latest version Ricoh ProcessDirector v3.6 introduces white paper manufacturing to streamline production…

Taylor Bloxham switches to Koenig and Bauer Rapida
Taylor Bloxham invests in new generation, high performance Rapida 106 from Koenig and Bauer, replacing two machines…

Harlow Printing invests in StitchLiner Mark III
South Shields operation future-proofs business with newest next-generation Horizon StitchLiner from IFS…

3M’s Reflective Wrapping Film now available in UK
Wrap Cube is first UK company to use 3M’s 780mC Reflective Wrapping Film, supplied by Spandex…

Label Academy publishes new industry textbooks
The Label Academy has extended its book series with the publication of two new reference books, ‘Shrink Sleeve Technology’ and ‘Label Markets and Applications’…

Acuity investment sparks year of growth for Art & Servei
Spanish packaging and POS printer looks back on a year of increased productivity and faster customer delivery times…

Storbildsbolaget adds EFI Vutek FabriVU 340
Swedish large-format specialist makes the switch to EFI Vutek FabriVU to meet growing soft signage print volumes…

World premiere of Heidelberg Primefire 106 at MPS
Heidelberg celebrates the world premiere of the Primefire 106 with packaging printers from all over Europe at MPS-WestRock in Obersulm near Heilbronn, Germany at the beginning of November…

Scodix E106 press available from December 2017
Scodix starts commercial roll-out of its E106 Digital Enhancement Press at an Open House from 4 – 6 December at Gundlach Packaging Group’s facility in Oerlinghausen, Germany…

Sign & Digital UK to return to the NEC in 2018
Sign & Digital UK announces increase in exhibitor presence for the 2018event, from 24 – 26 April 2018

Third InPrint in Germany ended with positive results
InPrint is now firmly established as the premier exhibition for print applications in industrial production…

The lead article from a week last Friday…

Easymatrix 106 die-cutter #100 to ship in December
The Easymatrix 106 die-cutter allows value-added products to be brought in house at Salzland Druck in Staßfurt…

GraphicRepro.Net e-News  (ISSN 1814-2923) is sponsored and made possible by:

Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG  (Heidelberg), The world’s largest printing press manufacturer for the industry worldwide. Visit the Heidelberg Website for more information.

drupa 2020 (drupa), the international flagship fair of the printing and media industry. Visit the drupa 2020 Website. You can also visit for the latest industry news and developments.

Online Feature articles 2017
Only 49 articles last year – but you will find another eleven Expert Articles and ten drupa ante portas Blogs from Andreas Weber in our drupa Newsroom. There were over 70 in 2015, and over 90 in 2013 and in 2014 which can still be accessed via the Index on the Home Page.

ValueDialog 2017

Previous…      #InfluenceB2B Transformation for the Digital Age
#InfluenceB2B programme leads from innovation to transformation! By Andreas Weber, Head of Value…

Online Features Nov/Dec Chapter 08

Previous…      BPIF Printing Outlook for Q4 2017 available now
Pick-up in output and orders despite a fluctuating Q3 – cost pressures and uncertainty shakes confidence for Q4…

Verdigris – Environmental Initiative

Laurel Brunner’s weekly Verdigris Blogs 2017

Recycling Paper Getting Complicated
The weekly Verdigris blog by Laurel Brunner – Mon 20 Nov

Previous…      New Standard supporting the environmental impact of print
The weekly Verdigris blog by Laurel Brunner – Mon 13 Nov

Drupa Newsroom

Our Drupa Newsroom with news from Messe Düsseldorf in 2017 and for Drupa 2016 can be found in the Index. It is divided into Chapters for your convenience…just scroll down to view each Chapter

News from Messe Düsseldorf 2017

Previous…     Intelligent Printing in Focus
All in Print China to be staged at the new International Expo Center in Shanghai from 24 to 28 October 2018

The various Chapters in the drupa Newsroom are highlighted below. When you enter, just scroll down to see and access the complete collection::

drupa daily; drupa Exhibitors’ show + post-show News; drupa pre-show Exhibitor news; post-drupa from Messe Düsseldorf; drupa ante portas Blogs from Andreas Weber; drupa Expert Articles – and more

The Graphic Repro On-line is supported and sponsored by:
Drupa 2020,   Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG, and  Kemtek Imaging Systems

If you would like to send news for consideration for the Graphic Repro On-line Website (ISSN 1814-2915) or to submit comments, please e-mail Mike Hilton at:

Our Website urls are:

GraphicRepro.Net e-News (ISSN 1814-2923)  provides weekly updates from the Graphic Repro On-line Website and is  compiled and published by Mike Hilton,, PO Box 10 Peterburgskoe Shosse 13/1, 196605 Pushkin 5, St. Petersburg, Russia.  e-mail

%d bloggers like this: