Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) has launched a new subscription business model that is shaping the industry. One key element of this model is process consulting, which aims to fully use the potential of the equipment and software solutions being used, while also improving print shop processes. The highly specialised experts Heidelberg requires to achieve this goal regularly work with customers both on site and online, but their availability is limited.
As in other sectors, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) will become increasingly important in the print media industry in the next few years, driving further print shop automation and firmly establishing new digital business models on the market. The growing demand for performance consulting services under the subscription model, and also in general, is driving the automation of the actual consulting process using AI.
Heidelberg is launching Performance Advisor Technology (PAT), an AI-based process consulting tool that uses an automated process to provide contract customers with specific, straightforward instructions for improving their operational procedures. This involves adding an artificial intelligence module to the Heidelberg Cloud, which contains data from over 13,000 connected machines and information relating to more than 60 million makeready processes.
The module monitors series of measurements that record the current performance of Heidelberg equipment, visualising anomalies and displaying various recommendations for customers. PAT also explains the individual KPIs to customers, which ensures a better understanding of these statistics. There are already plans to add a benchmarking function to PAT that compares Heidelberg machines with an anonymised comparative group from the Heidelberg Cloud.
Heidelberg Assistant (HDA) provides customers with intuitive access to the AI services from the Heidelberg Cloud. They are free to decide which suggestions to go along with and when. Each time they follow a suggestion, the AI module learns something new about the effectiveness of the measures and can adapt future recommendations based on this experience. A freemium version of PAT is now available to all HDA users.
‘With the launch of its Performance Advisor Technology, Heidelberg is demonstrating its innovative strength when it comes to digitising key industry processes,’ said Tom Oelsner, Head of Digital Innovation in the Heidelberg Digital Unit. ‘The focus of our activities in this area is on improving customer performance. At the same time, the company benefits from the enhanced scalability of its new data-driven business models.’
An intuitive collaboration and communication tool such as Heidelberg Assistant, which now has over 3100 users worldwide, is vital for the complex technology involved in AI. Along with details of KPIs and service agreements whenever required, HDA gives users a direct overview of their equipment’s availability and efficiency.
It also provides access to a range of Heidelberg products and services. Customers communicate with the company online, making it quick and easy to transfer data for clarifying technical issues. For subscription customers in particular, HDA is an essential tool to continuously monitor their print shop’s performance. Integrating Performance Advisor Technology from Heidelberg into HDA is therefore a further logical step in the digitisation of relationships with customers and works to their benefit by improving their overall performance.