Optimally networked through clever software – Europe’s second largest gravure printer adopts MWM CopyTrack
Hubert Burda Media is one of Germany’s largest media companies and the group, which is active worldwide, employs over 10,000 people. A family-owned company based in Offenburg, it is best known for its high profile titles that include consumer and news magazines such as BUNTE, Focus or InStyle. Every week, Burda reaches millions of readers and, although print journalism remains at the heart of the group, under the leadership of Hubert Burda it has also developed into a major digital player. Today, digital brands such as Xing, HolidayCheck or Chip Online are core divisions of Hubert Burda Media. Nevertheless, printing remains central to the group and its printing operation, Burda Druck GmbH, is one of Europe’s largest printing companies. Its 800 employees spread over three sites print a total of around 350,000 tonnes of paper every year in Offenburg, Nuremberg and Vieux-Thann. Production, from paper supply to printing and postpress is monitored and networked by the Swedish MWM Group’s CopyTrack software.
Franz Burda could not have dreamt of all of this when he founded a small printing company in 1908 in Offenburg, which he ran with an apprentice and a colleague. Just 20 years later the Burda family launched its first magazine: a radio listings title for south west Germany called Sürag, which later became Bild und Funk. After Franz Burda and his small company had laid the foundations for a global corporation, his son, also called Franz, made a decision in 1934 that defined the company’s future direction. At the same time as building the first Burda printing plant, he switched production over entirely to gravure and, to this day, Burda is one of the few printing companies in Germany that is exclusively a gravure printer. It operates a total of 11 gravure presses with web widths ranging from 3080 mm to 3680 mm and produces magazines, catalogues and advertising material with print runs of anything over 200,000 copies. As always, magazines, both the group’s own and the titles of other publishers, make up the bulk of the overall volume and print runs for individual titles of 800,000 to 900,000 copies, as is the case for the Freizeit Revue consumer magazine or the TV Spielfilm listings magazine, are far from out of the ordinary. The remainder of the output is made up of mail order catalogues or ones for large bricks and mortar retailers such as Ikea, Decathlon und Leclerc. At its two German plants, in Offenburg and Nuremberg, Burda Druck also has postpress facilities and its nine saddlestitchers deliver some 800 million copies over the course of the year. In order to ensure that production runs smoothly from start to finish, Burda has relied on software solutions from the MWM Group for more than a decade.
Burda as a development partner
Cooperation between Burda Druck and the Swedish software specialists goes back to 2002. MWM’s CopyTrack counting system was initially adopted at the French site in Vieux-Thann in order to reduce wastage. What started out as a plain and simple copy counting system rapidly developed through close cooperation between Burda Druck and MWM into a comprehensive system for capturing operational data. Since 2006, instead of just counting copies, CopyTrack has supplied all the operational data ranging from monitoring materials, causes of disruption and downtimes to working hours. For Heiko Engelhardt, who has been CEO of Burda Druck GmbH since 2017, it is difficult to imagine what life would be like at the three plants in Offenburg, Nuremberg and Vieux-Thann without CopyTrack. All three sites now use CopyTrack, which provides a transparent and real time overview of the entire production process via interfaces to planning systems and central databases. In future, it is even planned to integrate an external postpress supplier into CopyTrack.
MWM CopyTrack displays all the key production data at a glance—in this case for a consumer magazine.
However, development is far from at an end. Albeit to a lesser degree, CopyTrack is still being adjusted and refined in order to ensure that it remains the perfect tool for Burda Druck’s changing requirements. Software experts from Sweden are able to intervene directly to carry out remote maintenance on the Burda Druck system and to implement requests virtually overnight. Daniel Dufner, head of IT at Burda Druck, is full of praise for this reliable system: “CopyTrack is an extremely robust system. We have had no failures, you can count the system errors on the fingers of one hand and there has also not been any data loss”.
CopyTrack can work on its own or in combination with other modules from the MWM Print 365 family. Offenburg, Nuremberg and Vieux-Thann are also using the ReelTrack RRC and PalletTrack modules, which are fully integrated into CopyTrack. ReelTrack RRC records the precise quantity of paper used per job as well as any web breaks that might have occurred. Nuremberg is also running a newly installed web monitoring system from Procemex, which is linked in to ReelTrack RRC. The PallettTrack add-on module offers the capability to precisely track the movements of every pallet right up to its dispatch. “We know where every single pallet is at all times”, declares Heiko Engelhardt, the CEO of Burda Druck.
The PallettTrack add-on module allows Burda to accurately monitor every individual pallet.
Thanks to the enormous quantity of data that CopyTrack seamlessly delivers to the central database in real time, it is possible for Burda to access detailed evaluations for the entire production chain of specific jobs. “We are always on top of things with CopyTrack and track progress down to the minute. One could go so far as to say that our production is totally transparent”, claims Daniel Dufner. And all of this has been achieved without the need of dedicated industrial PCs or employees having to manually enter values and figures into a system. The current production status can be displayed simultaneously at any time on any tablet or smartphone. “It is difficult to imagine what life would be like without CopyTrack. We simply couldn’t operate as efficiently as we do today”, is how CEO Heiko Engelhardt sums things up. For a global player such Hubert Burda Media efficiency really is a number one priority and MWM CopyTrack helps to ensure that readers of Focus or Bunte get the latest issue on time and that its quality never dips.