News-Update May 2020: Subscription as a challenge to secure the future of print shops

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By Andreas Weber, Head of Value

As the #DLFORUM2020 mid of march in Aachen, Germany, has shown the printing industry could be in front adopting state-of-the-art subscription business solutions.

Printers around the world are experienced through machine purchases to invest millions of euro to be always up-to-date and competitive. However, analyzes show that it is becoming increasingly difficult to amortize the high investment costs quickly and safely. Almost two years ago Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG started its subscription offering to create a better win-win-momentum.

The basic idea: shared risk, common goals for growth, new digital services and an extensive exchange of knowledge to manage anything around the print production.

Indeed, that sounds fantastic. But at the same time it is very ambitious because of the complexity of print production scenarios in the digital age. We reviewed in #hotspotsubscription already  the basic concept developed by Dr. Ulrich Hermann, the technology basis (at least driven by IoT and AI) and catched-up the POV of some smart customers. So its very interesting to listen to an outstanding, globally very well reputated expert like Anthony Thirlby. Based in the UK he works exactly at the interface between Heidelberg’s state-of-the-art technologies, real applications and the needs and challenges of print service providers.

The key message: subscription could perfectly enable customers to make the best out of Heidelberg’s print production solutions.

At least I recommend to watch the full video with Anthony Thirlby interviewed by INKISH.TV editor Morten B. Reitoft. Enjoy. And let us know what you think about it.


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I also recommend to read the latest story by Dr. Ulrich Hermann as the spiritus rector of Heidelberg Subscription shared via INKISH.News.

His key messages:

  1. ”Without IoT capabilities, a manufacturer like Heidelberg would not be able to offer MaaS – Machine as a Service. If you have data you can manage risk and create value from it. IoT will have a strong impact on biz models and will fundamentally change the economics of our business.
  2. If you follow the maths and the current technology curve, it’s pretty obvious that IoT will fundamentally change the economy of today’s business. Especially in printing industry, where underutilization and overcapacity of installed machine capacity (as a result from machine driven push sales competition) is so omnipresent.
  3. It’s a race and those print shops will win, that start to get rid of todays old style and digitally disconnected plant management. One should put this context into the recent discussion around subscription as well.”

My POV: Indeed, IoT in combination with digital services enables a lot of innovative biz opportunities. Curious to observe how the printingindustry is able to make the best out of it. — At least we have just pressed the start button. A lot still seems to be open and needs to be understood fundamentally.


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