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W. Kohlhammer Druckerei boosts performance thanks to Subscription Smart agreement with Heidelberg

W. Kohlhammer Druckerei GmbH + Co. KG (Kohlhammer) specializes in manufacturing print products of an exceptionally high quality.

The 140-year-old business based in the Obertürkheim district of Stuttgart mainly produces magazines, brochures, catalogs, annual reports, and books. The full-service production company’s services range from repro, print data/quality management, sheetfed offset printing, Print on Demand, and postpress operations through to warehouse and shipping logistics.

Subscription Smart contract boosts productivity

To make the best possible use of capacities and reduce the administrative workload, Kohlhammer has opted for a Subscription Smart contract model with Heidelberger Druckmaschinen Vertrieb Deutschland GmbH (Heidelberg). The agreement covers Saphira consumables (including vendor-managed inventory), the Prinect Production Manager workflow system, service operations, and consulting for three Speedmaster XL 106 eight-color sheetfed offset presses. The services provided under the Subscription Smart contract are charged per printed sheet, with a pre-agreed print volume already included in a fixed monthly sum.

Managing Director Steffen Franzisi initially had his reservations about the subscription model but was ultimately won over. “We actually didn’t want to become too dependent on a particular supplier, but Heidelberg convinced us of the opportunities the model offers for boosting our overall performance,” he explains. Since introducing the program, Kohlhammer has significantly reduced the number of waste sheets during setup on the three presses. “Based on 500 makeready jobs per press in the space of a month, we saved up to 25,000 sheets of paper,” Franzisi reports.

One particular advantage of the subscription agreement according to Franzisi is the fact that he knows the price of each printed sheet and can therefore plan his costs precisely. “Subscription Smart makes life easier for our sales team. Quotations are prepared quickly and efficiently, the budget is defined accurately, and long-term costing is possible,” he continues.

Vendor-managed inventory means far less work for purchasing team

Vendor-managed inventory (VMI) constitutes a key part of the contract. It means Heidelberg assumes full responsibility for inventory management and automatically supplies Kohlhammer with consumables as required, as soon as stocks fall below a particular level. As Franzisi explains, VMI makes everyday business much easier: “By passing responsibility for warehousing to Heidelberg, our company saves considerable resources – from ordering all the way through to the inventory – which reduces our purchasing team’s workload significantly.”

With vendor-managed inventory, the ordering process takes place automatically. Kohlhammer staff simply need to scan a QR code to book items in or out. “Thanks to VMI, consumables turnover is very rapid and we now hardly have any capital tied up in stock,” says Franzisi.

Annette Gansert, who is responsible for subscription operations at Heidelberg, sums up as follows: “Kohlhammer is our ideal subscription partner. Its focus on performance and productivity means Heidelberg and Kohlhammer have a shared goal – boosting the print shop’s performance and participating jointly in this success.”

Interest in contract business growing strongly

Heidelberg has combined its subscription and lifecycle contract models in the company’s Print Site Contracts portfolio. Print Site Contracts have a modular design and enable customized service packages to be created that are geared specifically to a print shop’s needs. While a use-based payment model applies to the lifecycle agreements, billing is based on output for the subscription agreements, with customers paying per printed sheet.

Heidelberg has already concluded over 700 Print Site Contracts worldwide. In financial year 2020/2021, contract business accounted for around eleven percent of total sales, and this share is set to increase further during the current financial year. “Things are going well. More and more print shops are recognizing the benefits Print Site Contracts offer when it comes to boosting performance and making processes more efficient,” says Jochen Bender, who is in charge of contract business at Heidelberg.

Link to W. Kohlhammer Druckerei video (German with English subtitles, please check your default browser language)

Photo caption: Enhanced performance and fewer waste sheets – Kohlhammer Managing Director Steffen Franzisi is convinced of the benefits of the subscription agreement with Heidelberg.