With strategic production to thousands of catalog pages
BLANCO’s catalog production is on a new footing: In just a few months, a joint project with Laudert established a modern dynamic publishing process that has already churned out 18 catalogs and nearly 6,000 pages in recent production. A key factor in this: the open communication culture between the two companies, which reveals improvement potential for implementation.
BLANCO will be 100 years young in 2025. The internationally active, family-owned company from Baden stands for innovative system solutions for everything to do with water. In order to present its product range to its customers in a clear, informative and compact manner, with all the information necessary for planning, BLANCO successfully relies on product catalogs – which are now being created in a streamlined and efficient new process.
Visible results as a partial goal
First BLANCO production: The important “wow” effect
It took nine months from the start of the project to the first implementation. In particular, the tight timing and the resulting necessary parallelization of numerous work steps were among the challenges. Ideally, BLANCO opted for best practice – so processes were predefined and could be successfully adapted and implemented.
In order to achieve a “wow-effect” at an early stage, Laudert divided the project into different sub-phases, which produced the first visible results at an early stage. A perfect foundation for influence, participation and healthy communication.
The first five months of the project were almost exclusively spent on IT implementations and conversions. The existing print publishing processes around the priint:suite were replaced by new, smart processes to take advantage of the WERK II software even more efficiently. Based on the layouts developed, the catalog pages were printed over the next four months – and for the most part finalized by Laudert’s media production experts, meeting all print deadlines and using the technologies previously implemented.
Media Consulting at Laudert took care of the interfaces between IT, media production and the departments of both companies involved: Comprehensive training and detailed solutions for color management, correction workflows and data exchange were established. The result of the joint efforts: 14 catalogs with over 4,300 pages in several languages. An initial success.
Laudert employees integrated into BLANCO’s daily routine
The second BLANCO production: Catalog management in focus
Although the second production did not really start until the beginning of fall 2021, it already began with the end of the first production run. The result was a success, but it also revealed a number of areas for improvement. In feedback and review meetings, lessons learned were compiled and implemented in change requests. In particular, the focus was on greater automation. Logically, because the second production run, the volume was also increased: 18 catalogs with almost 6,000 pages and additional country variants.
In order to relieve BLANCO’s internal workload on the one hand and to utilize Laudert’s technical expertise on the other, Laudert installed two catalog managers. As an interface
between the country managers at BLANCO and the media production at Laudert they are integrated into the daily work routine at BLANCO. A symbiosis that aims to bring together the best of both sides. This makes it all the more important that the catalog managers were trained in detail at the start of BLANCO: In this way, they learned to understand the company and to acquire the necessary knowledge from the specialist staff.
Dynamic Publishing: High ambitions at BLANCO
The third BLANCO production: optimization
And so, this fall, the third production is already on the horizon. Once again, feedback meetings are held to form the basis for the next change phase. Prioritizations, time management and implementation processes are derived from wish lists. And the scope continues to grow: additional country variants are planned. This underlines the high level of ambition at BLANCO, but also the success of the joint dynamic publishing project, which has ensured continuous streamlining of catalog production.3 Questions to Kristof Kauhaus
3 Questions to Kristof Kauhaus
Before you started working with Laudert, you had already focused on print publishing. What prompted BLANCO to rethink its own dynamic publishing and relaunch it with Laudert?
Kristof Kauhaus, Director / Head of Digital marketing & E-Commerce bei BLANCO
We are constantly on the lookout for ways to improve existing processes and, where possible and sensible, to automate them. From our point of view, this is also necessary, as the number of channels to be played on is constantly growing, as is the desire of our consumers and customers to be addressed in as personalized a manner as possible. In order to do justice to this, we have begun to create the technical prerequisites for this and also to build up the necessary knowledge in the various BLANCO teams.
The “catalog managers” are certainly something special in the cooperation between Laudert and BLANCO. How do you assess this special aspect of the project?
For us, it was an important factor that significantly supported the successful running of our projects in 2021. What was certainly exciting for us – in addition to the transfer of knowledge between the Laudert and BLANCO interfaces – was the proximity of the catalog managers to the technical units at Laudert, who were able to intervene here at an early stage in the event of obstacles, particularly when setting up new processes.
The new dynamic publishing process also has a positive effect on the internationalization of markets for BLANCO. What are BLANCO’s own goals, what are its own ambitions?
Overridingly, it is important to us that the BLANCO brand experience and, along with it, the communication of our BLANCO UNIT solutions around the water station in the kitchen are internationally consistent. At the same time, we also want to be able to adequately reflect market specifics. Certainly not always an easy task, but all the more exciting for that.