Over the years, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen has grown into one of the most recognizable names in the print and packaging industries. And for Head of Software Solutions Jürgen Grimm, much of that expansion has come from adjusting perception of what services the company can provide in 2020 and beyond. “You might only associate Heidelberg with printing presses, but the output of graphic arts has changed and so much of that transformation has been driven by software,” he reveals. “Normally, we take a PDF and convert it to a printable file (usually a tsp file) and everything in between is under my responsibility. But we're just on the edge of moving it from standalone local installed base client software to a cloud-based software system.”
— Jürgen GrimmTweet this quote
But with that transition new challenges and obstacles have arisen, such as how to look beyond the design process prior to the printing press and cater to the wider community of packaging contributors. It became apparent it needed a platform that brought every stakeholder in the boxing process together. “So we asked ourselves, ‘who is involved in creating boxes?’” says Jürgen. “It's the designer, the print buyer and the box producer. And in an ideal world you bring all three of these parties together on one platform.”
That’s why Jürgen and his team at Heidelberg helped develop BoxUni, a web-based community to unite these stakeholders and reduce lead times across the board. “So on that one platform, every stakeholder in this process can collaborate,” he adds. “With BoxUni, they can share files, and they always have a perfectly producible file that can be sent to the most suitable output device at one printing side. Now everybody's on the same information level. China is a huge country and one of the largest packaging markets in the world, so we envisioned a solution that would bring all of those parties onto the same page regardless of the geographical distance between them. That’s why we chose China as our primary market.”
By utilizing smart templates from CHILI publish, Heidelberg has been able to empower users with dynamic box designs that can be adjusted without the need for resizing. “The online PDF editor is a feature we use most, where we basically attach a smart template to a structured box design,” Jürgen explains. “So if you adjust the scale of a piece of packaging, the template changes as well and you don't have to resize it again in the template.”
Leveraging the dynamic potential of templatization also provides a greater sense of accessibility, both in terms of skill and ROI. “Now users can go on site throughout the boxing process and use professional design tools for both 3D construction and PDF design at very little cost,” continues Jürgen. “So you don't have an issue fee - you just pay by the design or through subscription. And that’s one of the main reasons to bring users over because it's basically risk-free to try. As soon as they experience how seamless it is and how much time it saves them compared to their traditional process, they will really stick with us.”
For Jürgen, utilizing smart templates from CHILI publish as part of the wider BoxUni solution has enabled users to access, edit and share large hi-res graphics without traditional limitations. “Speed was really key for me,” he adds. “When I saw how fast we can manipulate PDFs, that was the ‘A-ha!’ moment. Previously, users would spend two-to-three hours designing on their offline systems. We broke that down to just four minutes. The problem is they're stuck sitting in front of an idle screen. So with smart templates from CHILI publisher, we were able to shrink that window down to two minutes. Of course, there’s always room to improve but to have reached this point in just nine months of development proves we’re right on the right track thanks to our partnership with CHILI publish.”
Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG/Heidelberg is a German provider of hardware and software-based print solutions, ranging from printing presses right through to dynamic workflows. BoxUni is a web-to-pack solution that connects designers, print buyers and print shops.