The client’s opinion. An interview on how ValueLogic helped a world-leading ink manufacturer achieve new innovation.
Digitization is the key value driver for businesses all over the world, and is one of the core services we offer at ValueLogic, helping companies switch from analog methods that are now holding back business to data-driven, software solutions. Digital transformation is a way to optimize processes, control costs, and use data for continuous improvements.
In 2017, we began creating a completely new digital product for Germany’s largest ink manufacturer, Siegwerk Druckfarben AG & Co.KGaA. You can read the full case study here, but we don’t want you to just take our word for it. We talked to Kai Limbach, Project Manager Digitalization at Siegwerk, about the general idea of the service, the challenge, the solution, and the value to both the company and its customers.
What were the motives behind Siegwerk`s desire to pursue new digital approaches?
A: Our company is represented by over 5,000 employees worldwide. The philosophy of Siegwerk is to deliver the highest quality inks to all our customers, mainly within the field of flexible packaging, offering a customer-specific range of printing inks. We also offer a wide range of services to assist customers in optimizing their printing processes. Digitalization is beginning to strongly influence the printing industry, which is why we decided to tackle our digital transformation before competitors by activating a Digital Unit to focus on new digital products and services which help to increase the interaction with our customers and offer mutual benefits to the business.
What was your general idea of how such a digital product could be useful?
A: Our idea was to optimize the ink room related to Supply Chain Management processes at different customer sites while creating a deeper knowledge about product usage for Siegwerk. ValueLogic was tasked with helping us design and build a digital solution that could achieve significant process and inventory optimization.
How would you describe the real challenge in this development process?
A: Inkrooms are mostly isolated environments in which the required process data has already been created. In order to optimize ink room related processes and create higher transparency, information has to be transferred and processed out of this isolated analog environment and into an easy-to-access tool. This has to be done without creating additional effort for employees. Also, as with any modern IT solution, data security and protection against breaches has to be at the forefront.
How did ValueLogic support you in this challenge?
A: A joint workshop allowed us to define the exact processes which we wanted to optimize, the data that would be required data, and important business insight related to these issues. A precondition for customer buy-in would be the connection with already installed dispensing systems. Due to the high variance in suppliers for dispensing systems, we decided to focus on one of the market leaders with which we had good relations. The solution now provides processed ink room data on a web-based platform on AWS (Amazon Web Services) with a high focus on security measures. Raw data is received via an API, which was developed in cooperation with a well-known supplier for dispensing systems, and processed online; this then leads to further development, independent from API adjustments.
The philosophy of ValueLogic is to provide business value, not just software products. How would you characterize the value this project brought to Siegwerk and your customers?
A: Inkroom data can now be used outside of previously isolated environments. The established API connection with dispensing systems from our first partner enables the platform to process raw data created within ink rooms. With simple but strict user management, people responsible for multiple ink rooms can now check the situations in various locations without being on-site. Because only raw data is retrieved and processing takes place within the platform’s backend, the use cases are manifold. Customers are able to check their ink stocks from all over the world. Orders are semi-automatically prepared and can be placed within seconds., and reports can be created upon request without any delay. Further enhancements like a rollout towards global customers and connections with further dispensing suppliers are easily realizable. Those are only the obvious benefits. In addition, Siegwerk has gained the chance to further strengthen partnerships with our customers by using state-of-the-art tools that help distinguish us as innovators within the industry.