Never before have there been so many: The Initiative Online Print e.V. (IOP) accepted a record number of new members into its circle at the autumn meeting on 2 and 3 November 2022 at Onlineprinters GmbH in Neustadt an der Aisch. The high level of interest once again confirms how important it is for the exchange of ideas among one another, especially in difficult times.
Roland Keppler, Managing Director of Onlineprinters GmbH, welcomed the participants to this year’s autumn conference and offered insights into the processes and order processing of his company during a tour of various production plants. He also presented the new Onlineprinters campaign, with which the new CI and the new logo are currently even being presented in a TV commercial clip and which generated a considerable response in a very short time.
Six new members in one go
As many as five candidates presented themselves to be admitted as members of the IOP:
- DATEV eG, one of the largest software houses in Europe with around 14 million payrolls,
- the VIGC, the Flemish Innovation Centre for Graphic Communication, as an independent knowledge centre for graphic communication in the BeNeLux-countries,
- Printess GmbH & Co. KG, which bridges the gap between designer and end user with its fully cloud-based browser editor,
- Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG, a precision engineering company and the world’s leading manufacturer of sheetfed offset presses, and
- Probo Print GmbH, an on-demand service provider that prints, packages and delivers exclusively to resellers.
PrintingCompany Deutschland GmbH, which has made a name for itself in Europe particularly in the field of gang-form printing and which had already introduced itself at the spring meeting, together with all the companies present, was unanimously welcomed to the IOP.
Turnaround and upswing
During this valuable exchange between the companies, it became clear that the online printing industry is cautiously optimistic about the future. After a few crisis-ridden years due to the Corona pandemic, the currently still prevailing paper crisis, price explosions in all other sectors, as well of course, the war in Ukraine, there was renewed courage.
Some of the member companies have used the quieter months and years to massively drive forward digital transformation in their own companies – with success. From new technical standards thanks to modern ERP and MIS systems, to the expansion of their portfolio and new online shops, to their own rebranding, the measures to future-proof their own operations were diverse. Currently, the Christmas business is in full swing and fortunately most of them are at the previous year’s level – or even better.
Internationalisation and further development of the IOP
Sandra Bellof, IOP Board Officer, presented the members with an annual concept for the further development of the association. It includes not only a new logo design and a new website with an interactive member area, but also the internationalisation of the IOP. Due to the strong European interest in membership, both the website and the entire communication of the IOP will in the future be in German and English to ensure a smooth exchange with English-speaking interested parties and members. Conferences and web meetings will thus be simultaneously translated in the future and internal communication will also take place in two languages.
In addition, the IOP’s external image will be expanded. New social media channels will inform interested parties regularly about the activities of the IOP and its members. Press work is also to be expanded with regular statements on current topics.
Supply Chain Act and Packaging Regulation
The Supply Chain Due Diligence Act (Lieferkettensorgfaltspflichtengesetz – LkSG), which will become mandatory for all large companies from 2023, is intended to ensure compliance with human rights and environmental protection standards in global supply chains and is thus a topic that affects everyone. Accordingly, Philip Freytag from Härting Rechtsanwälte gave a detailed overview of the deadlines, content and tasks that will also be facing companies in the online print industry next year.
In the second part of the legal topic block, the Packaging Act (VerpackG) was explained, which previously came into force on 01.01.2019, but contains changes that were applied in July 2022. The Packaging Act is based on the German implementation of the European Packaging Directive and regulates the placing of packaging on the market as well as the return and recycling of packaging waste. Here, too, Philip Freytag was available to answer the members’ questions.
Award-winning online printer
Printkit UG won the IOP Award as Germany’s most innovative online printer at last year’s Druck & Medien Awards. The founders Olaf Sacher and Sebastian Tusk took this as an opportunity to introduce themselves personally to the IOP members.
Printkit aims to optimise the concept of an online print shop and makes the transition from desktop publishing tools such as Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign seamless. By uploading print data before an order is placed, errors can be identified and corrected in good time and the overall visual impact of the product can be better assessed.
Conclusion and outlook
Bernd Zipper, Chairman of the Board of the IOP, was pleased with the lively participation in the conference and the new members: “The IOP is gaining more and more relevance within the online print industry at an ever faster pace, which is also shown by the applications of the interested companies. Our members now generate a combined annual turnover of more than 10 billion euros – this sum speaks for itself.”
The next meeting is also already planned: At the beginning of March 2023, the IOP will meet at sourc-e in Cologne and is already looking forward to gaining insight from Managing Director Lucas Scherer into his company.