Heidelberg’s digital ecosystem – ‘Heidelberg Plus’

Integrated print shop management to be unveiled at China Print in May

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The Heidelberg Plus digital ecosystem Image Heidelberg
The Heidelberg Plus digital ecosystem Image Heidelberg

Heidelberg Plus is taking the digitization of the company’s customer relationships to the next level by incorporating useful value-added services, according to a press release on 13 April 2021. The company combines all elements of the Heidelberg ecosystem in its new ‘Heidelberg Plus’ digital customer portal. ‘Plus’ includes everything from Internet presence with website and eShop to various performance report, monitoring, and service applications in the production sector and access to instructional videos plus white papers covering technical aspects and applications.

Developments in cloud technology, IoT, big data, and AI have created new possibilities that Heidelberg will systematically harness to offer customers further added value. Examples include developing the first AI-based applications to advise them interactively on optimizing their operations, with the company leveraging and supplying its big data expertise. In the future, customers will be able to access the entire digital world at Heidelberg using a single sign-in.

“Digitized customer relationships coupled with attractive added-value services are the key to establishing collaborative business relationships with customers in our digital world. Our aim is for the Heidelberg Plus ecosystem to simplify the way we work with our customers and offer them more added value,” explains Ludwig Allgoewer, head of Sales and Marketing at Heidelberg.

Heidelberg Plus
The new Heidelberg Plus branding for its ecosytem Image Heidelberg

Heidelberg is thus combining existing applications with new services for customers. In the future, a single point of access is all users will need for a complete overview of all information and tools, networked functions, and the entire Heidelberg service portfolio. This will make it quick and easy to obtain information, purchase items (eShop), and monitor operations. Over 1,600 print shops already use Heidelberg Assistant (HDA) to access their production data. To obtain the relevant services, they need to be registered or have purchased specific services (e.g., Maintenance Manager) as a contract customer.

“What is already impressing users more than anything is the option of using mobile devices to monitor machine operation, purchase consumables, or create service tickets. Regular HDA users range from large businesses with sites located in dozens of different countries to SMEs with just one site,” says Allgoewer, summarizing the benefits. “Key elements of the ecosystem such as HDA and the eShop have already developed very encouragingly. By merging these and other existing applications, and also integrating new ones, we will further enhance the benefits for our customers,” he adds.

The company will soon be unveiling the new Heidelberg Plus ecosystem to the public – at the China Print trade show this summer. It will then showcase it at the Print Media Centers in Germany, the United States, Japan, and Brazil in the fall.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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