– Is an investment in digital printing only relevant for printing companies? Arvato Services clearly demonstrates the opposite. Thanks to digital printing, this leading direct marketing specialist has improved its performance, introduced innovative services and increased customer loyalty. To further enhance its market position, Arvato Services invested in a Xeikon 8500 digital press. "Today, customers tend to favor focused direct marketing operations, on smaller customer bases, but with higher quality documents, with a higher level of personalization and high end finishing,” explains Manuel Montigny, General Director Direct Marketing at Arvato Services. “Our investment in Xeikon technology is a perfect response to this growing trend."
Strategic investment in digital printing – and Xeikon
Arvato's direct marketing customers are mostly telcos, banks, large retail companies, mail order companies or city councils and administrative bodies. "Our business is evolving rapidly. Direct marketing remains a highly effective tool to address customers, but the business model is changing. Online direct marketing in particular has gained ground over the past 10 years and became an entry point for many new activities such as On Demand printing,” says Montigny.
In 2006, the company made the strategic decision to add digital printing to their services and move up one step in the value chain: the capability to produce high quality direct marketing pieces, with a very high degree of personalization, fully leveraged Arvato's database management skills and resources. Combined with powerful internet technologies, it allowed the company to offer a whole array of new services. “We designed an online platform – called DM Factory – that allows our customers to provide their sales network a web-based tool to manage direct marketing operations entirely. They can also use it to order brochure and product sheets. The platform triggers a fully automated Print On Demand production process, using our digital presses, after which our direct mail services are set in motion," explains Montigny.
Last year, Arvato decided to invest in a web-fed Xeikon 8500 system with online cutting and folding units. "Until then, our digital production equipment was entirely sheet-fed,” says Montigny. “We wanted to draw on the new possibilities a roll-fed unit offers, such as scalable print media widths, and be able to produce leaflets in unconventional formats, as well as letters with folds and coupons. We also required a press that would fit our printing quality standards, especially on photo quality documents. Xeikon was the best option for us."
Also finishing played an important role. "We didn't want to compromise on inline finishing options. Xeikon offers a large selection of finishing modules. We now invested in cutting and folding but if one day we want to add gilding or film coating, we know Xeikon will have a solution for us,” explains Montigny. "Xeikon's involvement in package printing was another decisive aspect. Producing point of sales material and boxes for product sample mailings is an area where we are gradually gaining momentum. Our decision to work with Xeikon is fully consistent with this."
A winning partnership
Arvato is very satisfied with its investment: “Xeikon have proved to be reliable, reactive, and demonstrated an ability to understand our needs and requirements and adapt accordingly. They were able to think outside the box to find the appropriate answers to our requests," comments Montigny.
"We can offer our customers other, original printing formats that opened up new possibilities for designing direct mail pieces. We streamlined our production processes, by printing the various documents involved in a direct mail campaign one after the other in one production stream, even in varying formats. This eliminates the need to produce these documents separately and bring them together later on in the production process – which is a lot more effective,” Montigny states. “The Xeikon 8500's print width also opened up new possibilities in terms of media optimization. We can set-up two A4 pages side by side with folding coupons at the bottom of the pages. This is not so easily done with an extended A3 sheet-fed press”. Today, Arvato is saving 30 to 40% on printing budgets, thanks to the flexibility of the Xeikon roll-fed digital printing press.
“In the ever evolving direct marketing business, quality, creativity and flexibility are key to success. The internet and digitization have opened up tremendous opportunities, particularly for digital printing. We are proud to be working with a market leading company like Arvato Services whose strategy is entirely in line with Xeikon’s vision,” concludes Danny Mertens, Xeikon’s Director Marketing & Business Development Document Printing. “We are dedicated to deliver total solutions, enabling our customers to produce not only high quality prints but fully finished direct marketing projects. Our dedicated Suites introduce a new level of end-to-end efficiency and cost-effectiveness to direct mail production. Combined with our Xeikon 8500 and inline finishing they provide the flexibility to create almost any type of mailing. Arvato’s investment is a firm confirmation vertical solutions are what companies look for to remain successful.”