Mainz, Germany – An international industry initiative called “Integrating the Publishing Environment” was formed at the end of January to unite book publishers, IT professionals, logistics companies and printers aiming to develop an open and standardized production environment for the book industry. One of the founding members is Crispy Mountain, provider of the Keyline management information system (MIS), which has been specially developed for the printing industry and neighboring sectors.
The book industry faces great challenges that affect the entire value chain of the book as a product across all market participants: suppliers, publishers, printers, logistics companies and retailers. For example, it is a core interest of publishers to keep print runs and thus stocks low, while at the same time ensuring the availability of their titles in retail.
"In discussions about digital transformation in the book industry, it's soon about the change to electronic forms of the book. But that is misleading. The digital transformation is much more concerned with the entire processes in the book industry, from authors to publishers, printers, logistics and retailers," says Christian Weyer, one of the two managing directors of Crispy Mountain. According to Weyer, although the form of the book is secondary, the printed book is the biggest challenge with regard to the complexity of the processes.
M is not just about management
"In Keyline's philosophy, the letter ‘M’ in MIS is not just for management. Keyline also offers comprehensive production planning and control features. So the M also stands for manufacture," says Matthias Prinz, who runs the business of Crispy Mountain along with Weyer. Prinz adds, "Unlike most other MIS solutions, Keyline is able to communicate via open interfaces with other internal and external software solutions, as well as with machinery, such as for printing, converting and logistics.“
Keyline as a cockpit for book production
Keyline is a control center where all data converges and is shared. Keyline users are fully aware of the status of their production environment and the state of production at all times, and Keyline can handle any kind of change quickly and in a controlled manner. In addition, Keyline offers extensive functionality in the areas of sales, quotation, production planning and control, warehouse management, packaging and logistics, accounting and analytics.
Interoperability essential for the book industry
The IPE initiative was started by book author and digitization expert Alexander Markowetz and Michaela Philipzen, production manager of the German publishing house Ullstein. "Without the principles of interoperability, the challenges book publishers face are hardly solvable," says Philipzen. "Networked thinking, standards and automated processes are key features of this approach. We are delighted that Crispy Mountain is onboard the IPE initiative, which we see as crucial to the future development of the book industry as a whole." Philipzen has long been involved in the implementation of such systems and processes in Ullstein's production processes.
In addition to Crispy Mountain, founding members of the IPE initiative include:
- Publishers: Brill, Ullstein and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck
- Self-Publishing: Lulu Press
- Print: GGP Media, Livonia Print, Printpool, Media-Print and CPI Group
- Logistics: CB Centraal Boekhuis and KNV
- Digital books: Open Publishing, Readbox, Bookwire
The Keyline management information system is the control center for all processes in book production—from production planning and control to warehouse management, packaging and logistics to sales.