The Initiative Online Print (IOP) has a new board: Roland Keppler, CEO of Onlineprinters GmbH and Ulrich Schätzl, Director Mass Customization of the Elanders Print+Packaging Group and head of the German section of Dscoop, together with Bernd Zipper, Managing Director of zipcon consulting GmbH and initiator of the IOP, will form the trio of board members of the interest group. Keppler and Schätzl follow Thomas Masselink and Wilhelm Soll, who are retiring from the leadership of the Initiative Online Print after 13 years. At the spring conference of the IOP in Cologne, three new member companies were also welcomed, current topics discussed and joint positions developed.
Artificial intelligence in the print industry and cybersecurity were the focus. The IOP members discussed cutting-edge topics and their use in online print: for example, with the presentations by Martin Groß-Albenhausen, Deputy Chief Executive of the Bundesverband E-Commerce und Versandhandel Deutschland e.V. (bevh), on “Cybersecurity in E-Commerce” or “Artificial Intelligence: ChatGPT” by Prof. Dr. Peter Posch from TU Dortmund University. Dr. Martin Schirmbacher from Härting Rechtsanwälte PartGmbH also provided information on the legal aspects that must be considered when using artificial intelligence. In the subsequent working groups, the members were able to deepen and exchange their knowledge and already gained experiences and subsequently defined a common position of the IOP.
This year’s spring conference was hosted by sourc-e GmbH, which invited all IOP members to Cologne on 6 and 7 March. Managing Director Lucas Scherer not only introduced his company and its focus topics in more detail at the beginning, but also invited everyone to the well-known brewery “Gaffel am Dom” for a typical Cologne dinner in the evening – thus setting the tone for the traditionally packed first day of the event.
Three new members
In addition, the Initiative Online Print has grown again. Three new members were admitted at the spring conference:
- Druckfisch GmbH & Co. KG is based in Bremen. The company offers a technologically and economically viable basis for online sales in open (B2C) and closed shops (B2B) for anyone who wants to sell print products online. Druckfisch was presented by managing director Wolf-Eberhardt Hain.
- Pinguin Druck from Berlin, represented at the spring conference by company founder Alexander Mende, is a network of versatile print specialists who produce small and large jobs in collective printing with individual printing and numerous finishing and further processing options.
- Dscoop, probably the largest and most collaborative digital printing and design community in the world with over 10,000 members, was introduced by Ulrich Schätzl, who is already a long-standing IOP member with Schätzl Druck und Medien GmbH and thus no stranger. In his function as a board member of Dscoop Germany, he now also introduced the association of HP Graphic Arts print service providers and solution providers to the circle of the Initiative Online Print.
Changes in the IOP Executive Board
But there have not only been changes among the members, there has also been a change in the board of the Initiative Online Print: Bernd Zipper was confirmed in office as chairman of the board – Thomas Masselink and Wilhelm Soll have retired from the leadership of the interest group after 13 years. Roland Keppler and Ulrich Schätzl were unanimously elected by the members as their successors. Both have a lot planned for the IOP, as Ulrich Schätzl describes: “Artificial intelligence, new, virtual worlds like Metaverse and Co.: the demands of Web 3.0 open up new markets and new opportunities, but also present hurdles for many companies to overcome. Our claim is to shape the change in the industry and actively set impulses for how print can develop further – despite all the current disruptions.”
Roland Keppler adds: “The challenges of our time do not stop at a relatively young industry like the online print industry. What is required – despite all the competition – is transparency, agility, open communication and a shared spirit of discovery. Because ultimately it is about shaping the print industry together and leading it into the future. In our opinion, the IOP stands for the future viability of the entire industry – and we live and believe in print.”
Internationalisation picks up speed
Since the members of the Initiative Online Print are no longer only from the DACH region, the IOP conferences and web meetings are now held with a simultaneous interpreter as needed – a logical next step towards internationalisation. The IOP’s social media channels are now also posted in English in order to specifically address all target groups in Europe.
Chairman Bernd Zipper is pleased about this orientation: “As a team, we want to carefully but steadily move the internationalisation of the IOP forward and work together to position the IOP as a communication platform for online print players in Europe. The IOP is more than a networking meeting – the IOP is the association of companies that embrace and shape change. For the good of the whole industry.” Zipper continued, “I am delighted that with Roland and Ulrich we now not only have two new leaders of the online print industry on the board, but at the same time the IOP’s standing in the industry is newly manifested. When two such important companies in the industry are actively involved, it shows how important and necessary it is to strengthen and decisively represent the online-driven part of the printing industry.”