"The streets are paved with print jobs, but you have to be able to process them efficiently."

When Bechtel Druck in Ebersbach, Germany, replaced its old MIS with the Keyline print business management software, the commercial printer propelled its processes to a whole new level of efficiency. The paper-based job folder is now a thing of the past and everything runs electronically all along the value chain. In this article, Managing Director Wolfgang Bangert reports on his experience with Keyline. 

Updating the MIS

“Printing is primarily a service business,” says Bangert. “We are constantly asking ourselves what we can do to make life easier for our customers. Of course, it is also a matter of making optimal use of our machinery: three digital and three offset presses.”
 
Bechtel Druck decided early on to optimize its processes by leveraging an MIS. Eventually, this system became outdated and no longer met the requirements of a modern print business, which is almost a mortal sin in view of rising job numbers and declining print runs.
 
Creating offers for customers simply took too long and Bangert and his team never really knew where an individual order was in the production process. Being able to inform customers immediately about the status of their orders at any given time is an important service aspect for Bangert.
 
And since the existing MIS only ran on PCs and was quite inflexible, Bechtel Druck still had to rely on traditional job folders. Changes to jobs were often handwritten on these job envelopes. Not having a “single point of truth” often led to errors in billing, for example.

Evaluation

After deciding to retire its existing MIS, the team researched the MIS market intensively, reviewed many systems and tested some of them.
 
But since none of these systems was able to cover the company’s requirements — despite manufacturers’ commitments — Bangert was unwilling to present a rose to any of these candidates and pulled the plug.
 
Bangert finally got a demo of Keyline at an event and was impressed. “Keyline is easy to use and can map the entire value chain in a print business, from costing, production and finishing to logistics and recalculation. In addition, it is completely open for integration with other applications and even machines,” he says.

Keyline in Action

Today, customers get their offers within 10 minutes and are seldom tempted to even contact another print shop anymore. 
 
Bechtel Druck no longer has a paper-based job folder and all processes are now IT-driven. Everyone on the team only sees live data and the employees at the machines only see the jobs that are relevant to them.
 
When an urgent order is accepted, the consultants simply define the priority and Keyline automatically updates the planning board and reschedules orders affected by the change if necessary.
 
Keyline plans backwards from the agreed delivery date – a procedure familiar from project management. “It’s about customers getting their products when they need them, not when we’re done,” Bangert says.

Since Keyline always manages job and print data together, everything is stored centrally. This is not the case with legacy MIS, where print data is often forwarded internally by e-mail – a time-consuming, error-prone and redundant process in which copies of the original data are repeatedly created.

And since Keyline can also be used on tablets, data can be updated and further process steps can be initiated directly at the machine.

This also applies to logistics and shipping. Once an order has been produced, shipping can be triggered directly at the machine and shipping labels can be printed via the iPad. 

Efficiency by Streamlining

“Thanks to Keyline, we can start production on the machine immediately after the order has been placed, which was simply not possible in the past,” says a highly satisfied Wolfgang Bangert. The innovation lies in the systematic streamlining of processes, he adds. “The streets are paved with print jobs, but you have to be able to process them efficiently and tidily."

Bangert emphatically advises printing companies to “get going. You can only sell your products in a sincere manner if the shop’s backbone is in order. Otherwise, you'll be out of business within two years.”




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