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Customized calendars via HIFLEX eBusiness at Brendow PrintMedia

Press release from the issuing company

Aachen - Calendars are produced in an almost infinite number of different styles and designs. From decorative wall calendars, pocket or desk calendars and appointment diaries, to folding-sheet planners, there are an assortment of calendars that all differ in the way they are produced. Each calendar is unique in the way it looks and is created, but all share one common feature: they are the perfect medium for advertisements. They sit at millions of potential consumer's fingertips and are always in their line of sight, making them the perfect product for marketing a variety of merchandise. "Calendar advertising is extremely effective because its messages are viewed by potential customers every single day of the year," says Hans-Dieter Holthuis, managing director of Joh. Brendow & Sohn Grafischer Großbetrieb und Verlag GmbH & Co. KG in Moers, Germany. Calendars are an effective vehicle for marketing, which is why they have become a flagship product of the Brendow Company.

Brendow is one of the largest calendar producers in Germany. Originally specializing in business forms, they have evolved into a universal print house offering a broad spectrum of products for commercial advertising with a majority of their printed material being calendars. Brendow's technological efficiency's in the realm of calendar printing has set them apart from traditional commercial printers. They are able to supply better prints than their competitors and offer them at a lower price. Since 1971 Brendow has been producing multi-month wall calendars as their primary commodity in a constantly growing range of printed products.

A diverse assortment of high-quality calendars
Brendow offers calendars in a variety of different forms and styles, including 3-6 month vertical calendars, horizontal desk calendars, calendars with special finishing or contour trimming, photo calendars, desk pads, wall planners, flip calendars and metal calendars with magnetic pointers, just to give a few examples. Calendars are printed on the company's sheetfed offset or continuous web presses, and completed internally on recently installed finishing equipment.

At Brendow, the quality of the printed product is of the utmost importance. Hans-Dieter Holthuis stated that "By utilizing only the highest quality paper, which has been tried and tested over the course of many years, we are able to promise our customers robust and dimensionally stable calendars." Hans is able to assure his clients that problems arriving from low quality production, such as wavy calendar pages and poor hanging properties, will never be an issue with Brendow products. The calibre of the Brandow materials and the efficiency of their workflow processes allow them to provide a superior printed product at a competitive price.

The Internet as an Instrument of Sales
Brendow receives the majority of its orders from companies who distribute calendars as promotional gifts. To expand the market for these products and provide quick and accurate customer advice, Brandow established a nationwide network of field representatives. During this time the internet became established as a valuable method for selling products and distributing information. For this reason, the Brandow Company decided to utilize the internet as an alternative method for customers to place their orders. Brendow selected the HIFLEX eBusiness system to facilitate online ordering for their customers, with the added benefit of removing touch points from their workflow and helping to further automate their company. Businesses of all sizes are able to manage their print needs via Brendow's eBusiness portal. The majority of the orders placed for Brendow online through HIFLEX eBusiness are for calendars, but can include anything from business cards to brochures.

"We have set up a HIFLEX eBusiness portal for our customers, allowing them to access our services at any time. Through this web-based system, we can accept orders around the clock and are no longer dependent upon the customer's location or personal schedule," explains IT manager Eckhard Luhr, who is the HIFLEX eBusiness administrator at Brendow. "Customers are able to enter and edit text in various languages and can easily order their desired final products. Additional functions allow clients to manage delivery schedules and addresses, as well as the shipment of printed products from our fulfilment storage center." This innovative solution offers enormous savings potential to both Brendow and their clients. Over-the-phone orders and product calls can be almost completely eliminated through the use of their HIFLEX eBusiness system, removing the need for customer interaction in orders that don't require it. This saves time and money for both the print supplier and print buyer.

Brendow has streamlined the ordering process by promoting dialogue and accepting feedback from their customers. Clients now have the ability to select cover pages, header images, individual logos in predefined positions, and a variety of other job details. Customers can verify their input data and specifications with a PDF preview of the file they created, which is generated on the fly. Custom tailored envelopes can also be created for various calendar types. Delivery addresses can be entered manually or selected from a list of previous entries.  A shopping cart function is also included, providing all the necessary pricing information and allowing customers to place multiple orders.
Tracking systems can even be used to monitor specific orders by customer and determine the status of individual transactions. The customer benefits from immediate and transparent information, which simplifies and optimizes the purchasing process.

Built around HIFLEX eBusiness
"A platform which is to be directly accessed by the customer must be uncomplicated in its design, while at the same time remaining absolutely secure," says Eckhard Luhr. "For these reasons we have built our solution around the HIFLEX eBusiness module, and are continuously optimizing each individual web page." The company's eBusiness system moves orders right through to the consignment of stock, eliminating touch points in the work process and drastically reducing administrative costs. Order creation and inventory bookings, as well as the generation of delivery notes and invoices are all automated in the HIFLEX MIS system.

The level of automation achieved by the HIFLEX eBusiness system provides substantial benefits to the user company. The networking of external and internal communication channels allows Brendow to integrate their unique business processes and production plans into the eBusiness system. An order which the customer has submitted using the eBusiness tool, for example, can be passed on to the production department automatically through HIFLEX. The customer configures a printed product via the internet portal, which calculates the correct cost using intelligent pricing tables and places the order without any additional human intervention.

The eBusiness application facilitates integration with the product database, order handling, scheduling and inventory management systems. Brendow has been working with the HIFLEX MIS system since 1994, so utilizing eBusiness to its full potential was easily accomplished. The prepress department has become fully networked with the MIS system, allowing eBusiness to automatically drop in orders that customers have placed online. The majority of this process is automated, meaning a job can pass through the prepress, press, and post press departments much more efficiently than in a traditional workflow. Both the printing and finishing departments report relevant data back to the HIFLEX system, either directly from the equipment via JMF, or through manual Shop Floor Data Collection terminals. The entire company is connected; allowing separate departments to communicate with each other and complete a job more efficiently.

Caritas Niederrhein prepares Brendow's calendars for shipment. The connection between these two companies is particularly interesting. The Caritas Niederrhein Company is linked to Brendow directly, so they are able to view the current job dockets, receive scheduling information and submit feedback on completion of an order. They know exactly what they have to do and when, thanks to the automation and integration provided by the HIFLEX MIS and eBusiness.

The HIFLEX eBusiness system is an effective means with which to strengthen customer ties. "We are already well beyond the start-up phase," says Hans-Dieter Holthuis, "and the networking between our company and our customers will, without a doubt, continue to expand. We are already registering increased interest among our clients because they can see the possibilities and benefits provided by process optimization. We are all very excited and look forward to experiencing the ongoing benefits that the HIFLEX eBusiness and MIS systems have to offer."