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Printing company Bender relies on external consulting and partners for transition to new software ecosystem

The Bender printing company is gearing up for the future by implementing a new software ecosystem. To accomplish this, the company took a new approach: The experts from zipcon consulting assisted the team with the decision, which was finally made in favor of a combination of the Ninox platform and Keyline from Zaikio. As part of the individual implementation, the stage was set for the future in collaboration with Druckhaus Bechtel.

The printing company Bender in Wettenberg near Giessen (Germany) was founded as early as 1905, and the family business with 15 employees today is in its fourth generation. The team sees itself as a solution provider for the design and manufacture of print products. In addition to offset printing and digital printing, the latter has been implemented in recent years, the company offers comprehensive finishing options. In addition, the print shop handles the production of three government journals in its capacity as both editor and publisher, and also provides advertising and subscription management services for them.

Jerome Muszy, Managing Director of Bender, explains: "The demands on service have continued to rise in recent years. Today, for example, a customer may want to have his print products delivered within Germany, but the invoice has to be split between the branches in Austria and Switzerland. These kinds of things are not feasible without a powerful software landscape in job management and production."

Zipcon consultants assist in the decision-making process

To be able to make a valid decision, the print business brought external consultants on board. Max Spies from zipcon consulting: "Familiar procedures often hide the view of modern processes and innovative options, and it is usually difficult to part with processes that are cherished. We act as mediators here, identify hurdles and provide inspiration." Spies continues, "We also point out how important it is that everyone in the team understands and supports the change. When reconciling the customers' point of view with the service providers' response, empathy skill is often required, because this is not just about functions, but also about the emotions of everyone involved." 

Waiving consulting is a naive fallacy

Jerome Muszy looks back: "Max Spies worked with us to develop criteria against which we then measured a number of systems, including Keyline. That was an eye-opener for us and really worthwhile as, after all, we are printers and not experts in digitization. I think that many print businesses are facing this challenge, but managing directors are shying away from the costs of external consultants – in my eyes, that's a naive fallacy." 

No longer the ONE system

When investing in new production technology, print shops look for performance and efficiency. When purchasing new software, however, they usually look for a solution that offers future-oriented functionality but does not change the existing processes. Spies and Muszy agree: "It should actually be clear that there is no new system in which it is possible to work the same way as in the existing environment. The question was, what do we want to achieve, which system suits us and where do we have to adapt?" 

Spies further explains, "Based on the requirements at Bender Printing, a core solution with an open architecture that can be extended with specialized applications was the way forward – and that brings us to Ninox's open low-code environment and specialization for costing and managing print jobs with Keyline."

Efficient teamwork: Ninox and Keyline

Ninox works like a modular system and enables the creation of individual apps for data management without the need for programming skills. It is thus in line with a trend in the IT world known as "no-code" or "low-code". 

The Ninox database was developed at Bender in cooperation with the printing house Bechtel in Ebersbach an der Fils. Wolfgang Bangert, Managing Director of Bechtel, explains: "We were working on the automation of our company at an early stage, and today all our processes are electronically controlled along the entire value chain. From these own projects, we have extensive experience with both Keyline and Ninox, which we make available to other printing houses." 

The subscription and advertisement management of the government journals is done via Ninox. This also applies to invoicing. Enabling the team to handle the invoicing for both the publishing and the printing business from one system, it also invoices the print jobs from within Ninox instead of via Keyline, which takes care of costing, planning and production control, including production data acquisition.

Entire implementation completed in four months

Jerome Muszy: "We use the strengths of different solutions for our special requirements – for example, the very fast calculation in Keyline and the data management power of Ninox. In addition, everything is very easy to use – our new apprentice has only been with us for two months and can already do the costing. And thanks to the competence and service readiness of zipcon, Bechtel Druck, Zaikio and our dedicated employees, the entire implementation was completed in just four months."

The further innovation path is already clear

However, Muszy is already planning the further innovation: "We see the integration of our systems with suppliers' and customers' systems as a crucial step to further increase the efficiency of our processes. To this end, we are counting on the Zaikio platform to do exactly that." 

The team already uses Zaikio Procurement, connecting directly with its suppliers, where it can call up live prices and availability of paper and other consumables and order online directly from Keyline. This saves users a lot of time spent on telephone inquiries.

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