The important thing is that we have to find solutions for a customer.
Sometimes we switch.
The clients are always our most important partners.
Sometimes it works.
We would say: “Okay, what do you want?”
Especially in the video counselling, helping the customer, and making the ideal products.
Automation, automation, automation! That is the question at the moment to get more efficiency.
And it’s okay.
We do some special products. We tend to offer special products to the customer, which he doesn’t get everywhere - some kind of special bindings, higher quality print and so on. Heenemann was founded in 1904, as far as I know, so we have a good and long reputation in the market.
We’ve started as an editor of a local newspaper. I would say that over the first 50 years, we have come from book printing to offset printing and then we’ve changed the place. We came here to Tempelhof, near the highway. We have developed from book printing, newspaper, to a sheet-fed offset printer, and now at the moment we are a combination of offset printing and digital printing.
As you can see here on the pictures in the background, we are in a very old building that is situated, more or less, in the middle of Berlin, but with very modern machines. Especially in the video counselling, helping a customer and making the ideal product for him.
The Besscom Group was founded as a group of companies who work together - you had a creative agency, you had a pre-press company, a printing house, a post-press house, a book binder, delivery, letter shop etc. In the beginning, for 15 years, there were 12 companies. Then it was brought together to 10 companies. And the target was to work more together, to be more successful together. That was the idea. I would say that we can make more from this group and we have to build it up. And then we have founded a company called Besscom - Print & Digital Group. At that moment around 2008, it was a part of a sales company, and now it’s within a sales company which sells the whole production range - not only prints, but it has to be jobs with creative, with pre-press, with press, with delivery, fulfilment and so on. That is our target in this group, but we have to say that in the future there will be more and more things from Besscom that will be integrated in Heenemann. With this company we have the opportunity to keep selling, especially in cross-media.
I am the production manager of the digital printing at Heenemann. We have to shut down the machines for 5 minutes. I am planning jobs. I have two machines here and I plan every job for them, for three shifts. Also, I have some office people who make job tickets and so I have to plan if everything is alright or not, and that every time the job is on time.
The biggest challenge yet is to get the right amount of orders in the business, to be able to live from them, which nowadays, as everyone knows, is not an easy task, but I think we will manage.
Where do I see it? At the moment, we have to change ourselves in the big part. I mean, in the future we will provide printing products, but we will be more and more a service printing provider, with the main direction in cross-media products. The reason why we are going extremely forward in digital print is that we are also working in campaign management and with software, we use XMP in the background.
We have a long reputation in the market. But then again, a good reputation is something worth in the past, partly in the present, and in the future we have to work hard to make sure that the reputation stays that way.
The future will develop in this direction that we will make more and more marketing things and products, with the aspect of printing products.
Everyone has a saddle stitch bind, that’s an average bind or a perfect bind nowadays. And we do some open bindings with flaps front and back and whatever. Everything has to be a little bit more special and unique. That’s what we tend to work in. We produce on a high-quality level over the years, as we are producing nowadays, because every printer is able to make a good quality one day, but then again the day after he still has to be able to do the same quality level and we are sure that we can do that.
There are a lot of printing houses in Berlin who also have small Indigos like 7800, like series 2, so they can print with us together and they have the same quality of their printing and our printing sheets. We have the 7800 and the 10000, who can print in the B2 format. We do it for the first time because we have a big HP Indigo and we also want to print at the same level on the small machine. The Nexpress doesn’t print in the same way and quality and so we have two machines now from Indigo that print in the same way and nearly the offset printing.
As you see here, we have buildings all around, but that are only the buildings. We have invested all of our money in production and printing machines, binding machines and so on, to make sure that we have the modern and the highest quality to be able to produce high quality on everyday basis. We have HP Indigo for digital printing and then we go for the Heidelberg machines, for offset printing.
We are actually a pure Heidelberg printing company - apart from the digital printing. We have a large offset department. It consists of an 8-colour XL from Heidelberg, a 5-colour XL from Heidelberg, which has perfecting after the second unit and two 2-colour, also from Heidelberg, that we use especially for publishing productions, 1/1-coloured, black, in most cases.
Cross-media is the big thing. It’s nearly the same like the big data, but it’s also a part form that big data, which is important for cross-media. I mean, we have the main direction of print products. But we cannot only focus on the production of a printing product, so it’s necessary that we think around this product. So, we have to find a way for developing printing products. The main direction for us is the combination of both. We have developed a landing page for when maybe we have campaign, for a product or so. Important for us is that we say: “Okay, we developed the web part, the printing part, we make a combination of both and we tracked it and we get the results of the exact conversion rate and we can change something in our language to see if it’s successful or not”, and then we can make a wider campaign. The important thing for us is if speak over cross-media products.
There isn’t anyone who doesn’t do online business himself, to be honest. We are probably not as much stressed as other printers in our area, I assume, but it still touches us, as well. The only way to make sure you can survive in this market is you need to produce better products, have higher productivity, make sure that you deliver on time and you have to make sure that you can keep your promises to your customers.
It is not only the added value for us to be printed on paper or make colour on paper - what we have to look for and what we have to serve to is the added value for the customer. That is the important thing in thinking. The important thing in digital print is the contact from a campaign because those are valuable data print. And that has the most value for the customer, for the digital printing and also for us.
At the beginning it wasn’t easy because we didn’t have an Indigo in this house before. It was a lot of work and training, but now it’s really nice working with the Indigos. The software is easy to handle and the machine is quite nice also. We print for normal customers and we also print for our printing houses, because they can’t print in B2 format. Sometimes we switch, because we have a lot of customers who know the quality of the offset printing and it’s really difficult to bring them over to the digital printing. Sometimes while at works, we show them one example and if they say: “Okay, perfect”, we use digital printing, but sometimes before we print the whole job, we print one example in the digital press and then the customer says: “No, sorry but I want the offset”. We also have a combination of both printing types. We print some flyers in offset, because it has a large number of copies and then we make a personalization of it here in digital. We print papers on both systems - in offset and digital. We have prime paper for here, for the HP Indigos, but we also can print some types of paper that are not primed. Its better quality if it is prime, but for some papers if we have tested it, we can print, but it’s not the 30ft paper. The biggest problem is if you print only black and white on the machine for a long time, and then you want to go back to 4-colour jobs, then you have to change a lot of consumables. That’s the only problem, but if you can plan it right, then it’s okay. If you print maybe 10 000-20 000 sheets only in black and white, then it’s really difficult to bring something like yellow, back to the process. We have to change the pip and the blanket, because sometimes also we have ‘ghost’ effects on the blanket, so sometimes we have to build up a new colour and operators will have to do a lot of things.
It’s not only putting the colour on the paper - the preparing before, the handling of the data file, the creation of the data workflow, are all important things for a successful cross-media campaign and I have to say that we are not the only company which is going to the client saying: “We can help you for marketing and the other things. We will make a campaign”. Especially in Germany, it is very, very difficult in campaign management, because we have a lot of restrictions in this part, of data files, for personality and so on, but we have to say to the client: “That is your target, that is your success, we have to combine it. So, what we have to do for that so we can catch these targets?” We have to take step-by-step; small steps that will grow in the future. We have three parts in Heenemann for selling - the first one is standard printing, that is also the biggest part of Heenemann at the moment. With our return of over nearly €70 million, there are a little bit more of over €2 million directly in Heenemann from digital print, but its only print. The second part of our sales operation are marketing solutions. In marketing solution, we are thinking about cross-media, campaign management, but not only as a whole campaign from developing to distribution. Maybe also a small part in production, maybe we think about mailings, we think about branded marketing petards, so that we can make it easier for big clients that most of the time work in the different countries in Europe, that we can have one web portal where they can order the printing products they need, from all over the world. This is how we are thinking into marketing solution. The third part is our online selling, shop selling, so we have more of a brand strategy there. We produce a lot of calendars, that is our own brand, we have a normal printing shop under the Heenemann website and maybe in the future we will be thinking more about the marketing products. At the moment we have static foils in mind, and that is our target for the future.
Here in Heidelberg most customers are from Berlin and Brandenburg. We have many customers all over the world more or less, but the main customers are in the Greater area of Berlin, but I think we will grow more within Germany and our core market especially will still be Berlin and Brandenburg, I’m definitely sure about that. As we’ve seen in the last couple of years, digital printing is growing every day and the market doesn’t get easier in the offset printing. It gets a little bit harder every day, so I would assume that we will have more of a digital printing for the future, compared to now and less of an offset printing.
When the normal customer comes to Heenemann he needs help in consulting, he wants his products at a high quality in a very short time. Those are the three points why the customer comes to Heenemann. Most of the times we have a good pricing, but a lot of times there are better prices on the market. That is very normal and that is why I say: “Okay, the price is not the important thing of why the customer comes to us”.
Pricing is a difficult thing to describe in general, because our difficulty is probably if you have middle pieces of production, because we have our digital printing for smaller quantities and we have a fairly large offset printing qualities for the higher amounts of numbers we are looking for. Our problem is more or less in the middle of that, simply because we produce individually for every customer, which also means we would go in and have a look at his colour if it’s the right colour, if not to add a little bit more ink or whatever we need, which an online printer is not doing. That means we produce a better quality for the customer’s product, but then again we are not able to put different jobs together on one printing sheet, especially in this middle number, with a little bit higher price.
Our strategy is a very high quality, very fast production and a lot of consulting moments with the customers.
I think, compared to the general printer, we provide a better advice upfront. We are able to develop a better print product together with a customer. We are very reliable and we are able to print the same quality several times. We have a lot of customers who have some very periodic products, and it’s very important that, for instance, the big advert from Mercedes Benz on Page 2, has to look the same in every magazine.
Apart from digital printing, we are actually a pure Heidelberg printing company. You can achieve larger formats, also in 16 or 32 pages, the so-called “European format”, so this is a better utilization of a print sheet. We can thereby make from 2/2-coloured productions in a single operation quite cost-effectively, that’s why we have perfecting after the second unit with the 5-colour-machine. This is simply due to constellation, production constellation, publishing production. We have a lot of 2-coloured products, even in high-volume, and that’s why we have this configuration. There are no disadvantages. It is somewhat limited in speed, i.e. a maximum of 16,000 per hour. But that’s the only disadvantage, which we do not even consider as a disadvantage. There are actually no bookbinding requirements, that’s just the utilization of the sheet format. Our goal was to be able to produce 32-sided printing also for A5 formats, so 17.5 times, 24.5, so 32 pages are therefore possible. That was actually the reason why we went into this format. The 5-colour is 2 years old now, so 2½ specifically. The 8-colour is a bit older; the 8-colour we have had for 5 years now, I think. Well, that will again be the following constellation: 8-colour and also a 5-colour that we will replace or rotate, as we say, every now and then as long as offset exists. Regarding the 2-colour machines, we are not sure. We will eventually replace both 2-colour machines with a simple 4-colour SM machine from Heidelberg, which also has perfecting after the second unit. The SM machine would be in the 102 format, a bit smaller, but completely sufficient for our purposes. It is very important for us, that we have automatic plate changes in order for us to implement a job change in 60 seconds. As a rule; we can really change plates in 60 seconds, also with the 8-colour, and then after another 30 seconds continue to print. This is therefore very important for us, because we have a lot of jobs with a lot of plate changes. So, at peak times, per order - there are the bigger jobs, over 300 plates. And it is very crucial that you can quickly change plates.
Yes, Steffen? Yes, I’m filming here. Yes, really, I’m being interviewed. Just start already. So, sorry.
The biggest challenge for me as production manager and dispatcher, generally, is to always satisfy all customer needs. That’s a very big problem. We have many customers who want to go to see the proofs, want to look at their printing sheets, and to realize that - they generally cannot come at night. That is actually – that’s the biggest challenge. But otherwise, generally, we always manage it. Then I may not make a face, but I have to manage it somehow. The clients are always our most important partners, everything always depends on the clients, and we have to satisfy the clients.
The important question is - what is growing in the future? We look on the market and say: “Okay, we have a status quo of offset.” And we can say we make €15 million a year in offset. On the digital printing part, we have started in 2008 or 2009, with the re-integration of the colour digital print in the offset presses. And we have started from zero, maybe 1 in a €1000 a year or whatever. Now, 6 or 7 years later - we stay over €2 million and we can see that it will also keep growing in the future. It will not grow so much like in the last 3 years, where every time we have a double of turnover in this part.
It’s the cost, really. The quality is interesting at this point and also the quantity of sheets per hour, because we have 3 shifts and we have to print a lot of examples. You have to look at also what the machine can print, some special things like white printing on the 7800 and things like these are important.
For the next steps, I would say, hardware is not so much important. The most important for me at the moment, and this year we have started, 2 months ago, a complete new workflow in pre-press, press, post-press and especially for the delivery. That is the most important thing. My focus at the moment is on pre-press and delivery, letter shop and so on, because it’s important to be very, very fast on the press and to bring the right product at the right time, on the right place anywhere in the world. So, this month we will start a new investment for software, for pre-press, for automation. Automation is the question at the moment, to get more efficiency and also in the letter shop. Next time we will also go into the new machinery, but it’s not so important, like the process at the moment. We have a plan for the next 5 years - in 2020 we want to print the half of our products in digital print. That is our target. It’s not a must! Then comes the question - is it possible to grow organic from us or isn’t it possible? That are the two things - the first one is ‘why we have this target?’ You say: “Okay, at the moment the offset part is stable, but the margin is going down”. That is also normal for us, as that is an offset market. It’s normal - that’s it and we have to find a way. The second part is - if we see growing in the digital product, then we have to use this growth, we have to think: “Okay, what is our part on this growing? What can we do? Which products are interesting for us? Which products that are the most important are interesting for the market? What is a good combination for our production units?” The first step to build up the electro photographic digital printing of over the 10,000, 800 and also as our company director said that at a whole, we have a 9 digital printing machines here in this place. This is a good basic, but to come to 50% of €70 million, it will have to go in Inkjet, so it’s necessary. But then you have to say: “Okay, which ones of your products are interesting for Inkjet printing? And which ones of our target market parts are also interesting for Inkjet print?” It is not a good way to change a product from an offset press to a digital press. That is like: “Now we have a more efficiency and there we have the whole”. It is not a best way. We have to find the products and customers which are interested in these new production opportunities and then we have to go into discussion with them and ask: “What is interesting? What is it that you want? What are your steps for developing in the future? Is it more aimed directly to a customer or more aimed to all of the customers? What is the most important thing for you?” And then we have to find solutions for a customer; that is the most important thing. I’m pretty sure that offset will not die in the next 10 or 20 years, but it will be reduced, especially in the margins and then you have to say: “That is possible and that is not possible.” You have to go to web print, or to big companies like Flyeralarm, or whatever is best way for this product. But at the same time we have to say: “Okay, how can we develop the digital print?” And there is a lot of opportunity - you have to see it, you have to think about it, and then you have to catch it.