Ebersbach an der Fils, a small town about 30 kilometers southeast of Stuttgart, Germany, might not realize it, but it is home to a printing industry innovation center. Printing company Druckhaus Bechtel, which is based in Ebersbach, is a classic commercial printer that has been digitizing its processes for some time now.
The first step was the introduction of our print business management software Keyline about a year and a half ago. This innovation signaled the end of the classic job bag; all processes are now run electronically and are controlled across the entire value chain of the printing house. “Thanks to Keyline, we can start immediately at the machine right after the job has been created. That was simply not possible in the past,” said Druckhaus Bechtel Managing Director Wolfgang Bangert.
Large amount of standard orders
A large percentage of Druckhaus Bechtel’s jobs involve the production of highly structured, standardized print products such as operating manuals, security labels and the like. Each of these jobs is based on a certain logic, such as product number, folding scheme number and more.
Bangert, an avowed advocate of automation and straightforward processes, said: “It was simply too tempting for us to automate the creation of jobs in Keyline in order to relieve us even further of standard tasks. We needed an individual solution for this, which we created ourselves.”
Keyline’s open and well-documented interfaces are the most important tool for accomplishing this goal. Via this API, customers can read and write almost all resources in Keyline themselves, including configuring products programmatically, reading out invoice and production data, or querying the production status and transferring it to other programs.
In addition to Keyline, this individual “Bechtel System” also includes an Enfocus Switch workflow for the automation of work steps in print production, as well as the database solution Ninox.
Example: Automatic order processing
In one use case, the order data comes directly from the SAP environment used by the customer of the printing house. The system accesses the specifications relevant to the order via the order number. This data contains everything that is important for the order.
The various components work together closely. For example, all of the data on the paper to use comes from the Ninox database and the folding scheme number comes from Keyline.
The Bechtel system generates the order confirmation and transfers all of the data, including the PDF data, to Enfocus Switch, which feeds it into the production process. Switch also transfers the information relevant for production control to Keyline.
It was important to the Bechtel team that manual intervention would be possible at any time for corrections and changes.
Bechtel Druck increased the efficiency of its processes enormously with this system. For example, an employee who could previously create around 12 jobs per day can now manage this volume in about an hour.
A mammoth project? Not at all!
Although development has been under way for several months now, the bottom line is that the effort required by Wolfgang Bangert’s team has so far been minimal. “To date, we have realistically only spent around five man-days,” Bangert said. “The API is described in such a catchy and comprehensive way that anyone with a certain affinity for databases can understand what has to be done.”
Bechtel Druck was able to manage the entire project with its own IT team and resources, without the support of external consultants and agencies. And we are very proud of that!