HP Hiflex Wins 18th CIP4 CIPPI Award for its New Cloud MIS Platform at K+N Printing

Kller+Nowak (K+N), Dusseldorf, Germany, is a full-service commercial printer with 21 employees and a total revenue of about 4.2 million USD. Its JDF implementation includes the HP Hiflex Management Information System (Booth 1227), Kodak Prinergy Prepress Workflow (Booth 1221), as well as Heidelberg’s Pressroom Manager (Booth 1214). The JDF implementation at K+N is the first to utilize cloud computing, making it the first “JDF Cloud Network” ever established in the printing industry.

K+N has used HP Hiflex MIS for order management (estimating, costing, invoicing) since early 2002. The system was implemented to measure costs and performance, and was especially useful in identifying problem areas and monitoring increases in efficiency as the company evolved.

In 2002 it established its first ever HP Hiflex Web-to-print portals and is now running approximately 40 different customized business-to-business portals for its customers. Ninety-five percent of K+N’s customers use one or more functions of the Web-to-print offerings for ordering purposes.

In 2005 K+N established a bi-directional JDF link between its HP Hiflex MIS and its Kodak Prinergy Prepress Workflow System. The following year it became an independent partner in the PrintPlaza production network (printplaza.com), a B2C Web-to-print conglomeration of specialized printers, active in a variety of countries.

In 2010 K+N began to outsource its various Web-to-print portals to a data center in order to cut the costs of managing these systems. By utilizing HP Hiflex’s open API interface, which runs on XML/SOAP, K+N was able to maintain the connection to its MIS system and automate the order processing of incoming Web-to-print orders. The result was a reduction in cost and resources needed to manage the Web-to-print systems, while maintaining the same high level automation.

Having experienced the benefits of outsourcing its Web-to-print servers, K+N began to examine options for outsourcing its entire IT infrastructure. This was especially appealing to K+N because it is a relatively small printer, making it difficult and expensive to maintain the hardware necessary to run its JDF connected network internally. The required investments in hardware, data storage, backup systems, a secure infrastructure and accommodations for a server room became cost prohibitive.

K+N was not willing to dismantle its already established JDF automated workflow, so it chose to create a plan to move forward with IT outsourcing while maintaining its current work processes. The solution was moving to “the cloud”—using offsite servers to host its software, making its systems available anywhere in the world, while keeping costs to a minimum.

Two clear goals for expanding the JDF network at K+N while moving it to the cloud were to increase the level of JDF automation and reduce total cost of ownership (TCO) in the maintenance of all solutions in their IT infrastructure. Ingo Nowak, Managing Director of K+N, commented, “We have experienced several key advantages from moving the HP Hiflex MIS to the cloud. The HP Hiflex MIS enter-once-use-many workflow is easily accessible across all modules.” He continued, “HP Hiflex Cloud software has helped us increase mobility as our users can work from anywhere in the world with an internet connection, at anytime. We can now effectively share and access our resources remotely.”