IOP Spring Conference: Spirit of optimism despite crisis management

Cautious optimism and the idea of an upswing dominated the spring conference of the Initiative Online Print e.V. (IOP). On 31 May and 1 June the conference was held at Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG in Wiesloch. With allcop Farbbild-Service GmbH & Co. KG, a new member was admitted to the IOP.

allcop Farbbild-Service GmbH & Co. KG, based in Lindenberg in Allgäu, is a medium-sized, family-run company that focuses on personalised photo products as a fulfilment service provider for imaging products and specialist for white label solutions.

Founded in 1959 as a pure production company for the specialist photo trade, the company was already involved in digitisation in the early 2000s and shortly afterwards entered the production of photo books and gifts. Since 2020, the portfolio has also included print-on-demand and mass customisation services. With more than 200 employees and under the slogan “emotions become unique”, allcop today offers diverse end-to-end solutions and an extensive product range.

Andreas Schätzle, Chief Commercial Officer at allcop, is very pleased to have been accepted into the circle of the Initiative Online Print e.V.: “With our portfolio, we see ourselves as an exciting addition to this circle and are looking forward to the lively exchange with the IOP members. The field of personalised products is constantly evolving and I look forward to sharing the latest trends and opportunities in the industry with the IOP.”

Copyright: Andreas Schätzle, allcop Farbbild-Service GmbH & Co. KG

Between optimism and caution: the economic situation is recovering
Besides the admission of the new member, the spring meeting of the Initiative Online Print also dealt with current developments in the companies. The trend is clearly towards recovery from the Corona pandemic, but at the same time the war in Ukraine is putting a strain on the business of IOP members.

The quieter months due to the pandemic were used in many places to optimise internal processes and promote digitalisation within the companies. The order situation had returned to a satisfactory level, which is why the outlook for the coming months was positive.

The omnipresent price increases must now inevitably be passed on to the customers, who, however, also accepted them in principle. A high degree of flexibility is also required in the selection of paper: one takes what is available – and most customers have also come to terms with this better than expected.

Paper crisis and material procurement
The paper shortage as well as the price increases were of course an important topic of discussion, on which Peter Goer from sappi gave a guest presentation. He gave interesting insights into the current circumstances and problems in material procurement and illustrated the world market with graphics. The effects of the Corona crisis were also included in the presentation, thus creating a new understanding of the problematic situation.

Both the years of capacity reduction in paper production, the price increases for raw materials, but also for oil, gas and freight lead to a continuing shortage and increase in prices on the market, the end of which is unfortunately not foreseeable due to high volatility, inflation and the current political and economic events.

Presentation and guided tour at Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG
After a welcome from Heidelberg Managing Director Dr David Schmedding and Head of Business Development Jörn Henselek, and after Heidelberg presentations by Christopher Berti, Claudia Jung and Rainer Wolf, a push-2-stop-end-to-end presentation on a modern offset press was of course a must at such a conference venue. The automation process was clearly presented and those interested were able to take part in a detailed tour of the plant after the conference. This was an opportunity that many IOP members gladly took.

Bernd Zipper, chairman of the Online Print Initiative, thanked the participants on behalf of the entire IOP for the invitation to Wiesloch and summed up: “Here at the Innovation Centre the name says it all. We not only gained interesting insights, but once again held a successful conference, exchanged ideas and discussed current challenges together. That’s what makes the IOP.”

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