First Class Services Yields Productivity Increases, AI Tool Launched for Koenig & Bauer Customers
As Koenig & Bauer continues to expand exponentially with new press customers as well as new partnerships, its service department, long lauded as a vital premier asset, has been increasing its customer service team with more skilled, knowledgeable members and enhancing its department with technologically advanced tools that provide fast communication between customer and service team. The goal is always to seamlessly mesh with the customer in an effort to work more collaboratively and efficiently, to schedule service around a customer’s complex calendar, and provide a team of trusted and experienced customer service technicians who are skilled communicators offering unique solutions to each customer.
“We’ve already set the bar very high within our department to actively address our customers’ needs,” says Uli (Ulrich) Koehler, vice president of service for the Americas at Koenig & Bauer. “Customers are our highest priority and the heart of our business. We have implemented a more pro-active approach in which we identify adjustments to enhance their investments for years to come and deepen the relationship between us. Our mandate is to provide faster and easier access to all of our comprehensive services.”
Today’s modern technology being utilized at Koenig & Bauer is key to the fast response and expert advice by the customer service team. “We document every activity for each customer’s press,” says Koehler. “We can build up a history transaction, which is monitored and stored in our own system for the life cycle of the press. By having a remote connection, we can even utilize the new tool Visual Press Support to gather and share additional visual information about the press status to help our customers work faster to find a solution and avoid unnecessary downtime. Our ongoing investments in revolutionary technology allow us to better monitor, service, train, and maintain a customer’s press. The data streams from the Rapida presses can be used to proactively and predictively foresee events. To this end, Koenig & Bauer uses artificial intelligence algorithms and optimization methods, such as machine deep learning tools, to identify patterns for the early detection and avoidance of unplanned breakdowns and to plan for necessary maintenance.”
Under the watchful guidance of both Uli Koehler and Michael Eichler, Sales Director Service Select, Koenig & Bauer’s ongoing commitment is to its customers and their long-term success. By prioritizing its services and incorporating new technologically advanced systems, its customer service department and its team can help a customer achieve the highest uptime and throughput. The customer service specialists form partnerships and provide advice on upgrades, retraining, new technology, and advancements.
“Our philosophy for our team is to be pro-active, engage the customer early and often by providing useful, intuitive guidance for their Koenig & Bauer press and their facility,” says Eichler. “We want to keep the customer well-informed and be able to make informed decisions in advance. This allows them to set a budget for any type of upgrades or repairs, schedule it when most convenient for their workload, and ultimately saves money. Our customer service specialists are vital to maintaining and strengthening the customer experience.”
One of these initiatives is a press audit report that is performed by the customer service specialists. The machine audit, which can take from a day and a half to three days, allows the electrical and mechanical specialists to dive deep into the customer’s press to detect any wear and tear. It can also be supported with a Luchs test for print quality on offset presses. The audit’s results are a very detailed examination of the press from the feeder to the delivery. By taking this proactive approach, Koenig & Bauer’s customer service team is increasing the customer’s press investment.
Southern Champion Tray, a long-term Koenig & Bauer customer, is a recent example of this initiative. Ever since 1927 when it was established, SCT has gained a stellar reputation as a leading manufacturer of paperboard packaging. After forming a strong partnership with Koenig & Bauer over the past 20 years with multiple press installations at its facilities in Texas and Tennessee, its regional customer service specialist, Matthias Olk, approached the pressroom manager at its Chattanooga, TN facility to perform a press audit and inspection on its Koenig & Bauer Rapida 142 six-color press.
“Our 16-year-old Rapida 142 was certainly posting a lot of impressions and we were pleased to have this audit that provided us with a list of small and large upgrades to improve both safety and productivity,” says Matt Sherman, SCT’s pressroom manager. “I was impressed that Koenig & Bauer was proactive in providing us with hard data and our monthly performance reports for the press. We’ve now increased our monthly productivity by 20-25%. It made quite a difference for us. The service team at Koenig & Bauer is amazing.”
Fast response to customer queries for 20,000 sph press
Koehler also places emphasis on fast responsiveness to customer queries and needs. “We’re always working to see how well the team improved a customer’s productivity, efficiency, or helped to broaden their market,” he says. “Our fast same-day parts and service is one of the most important factors that distinguishes Koenig & Bauer service from other press manufacturers.”
For example, Hederman Brothers, a leading commercial printer for more than a century, has been operating a 20,000 sph Rapida 106 41-inch six-color press plus coater for the past two years at its new facility in Madison County, MS.
Recently, the firm needed a new part for its press and called Koenig & Bauer’s remote service. Realizing the critical nature of keeping the press up and running, the part was shipped and received the same day.
“We received the new part at 6 p.m. and had the press up and running by 8 p.m.,” says John Shaw, production manager at Hederman Brothers. “I am amazed at the quick response from Koenig & Bauer and the team led by John D. Starratt Jr., our regional customer service specialist. This reassures all of us at Hederman Brothers that we made the right decision when we broke a 118-year tradition of buying presses from a competitor and placed an order for our very first Koenig & Bauer press.”
Solving a printer’s press issues for 50% higher productivity
Sometimes a Koenig & Bauer customer purchases a press used from a third party. In this scenario, the customer service team can apply its expertise and knowledge to solve press issues and enhance press production in order to achieve the customer’s goals. ABS Graphics is a leading Itasca, IL printer that purchased a used Rapida 142 56-inch press from a third party to focus on its large format signage work.
“Between working with Steve Oswald, our customer service specialist and his team, we were able to optimize press production. Today, the press is very productive and management is absolutely satisfied with the press,” says Tim Koenig, senior vice president of operations at ABS. The press is now operating at almost 50% higher productivity.
Upgrades increased OEE by over 20%
The customer service team also prides itself on conducting retrofits and upgrades for its customer base in order to extend the life of the press and maintain its peak performance. As K1 Packaging prepared to install a new Koenig & Bauer Rapida press this past spring, the City of Industry, CA-firm asked to have Koenig & Bauer’s service department perform an audit on its existing Rapida 105 press.
“Having the service technicians from Koenig & Bauer visit our facility made a big impact on our pressroom,” says Abel Aguilar, K1’s pressroom manager. “It absolutely changed the performance of the press and increased our overall equipment effectiveness greater than 20%. We are very happy with the outcome.”
Koenig & Bauer offers service agreements that are customized to the needs of each printer. If a press operator needs additional training, says Koehler, the service team can find a solution. With specific re-training, the support team can ensure operators are achieving maximum output. “Over one to two days, the team can provide input to the press operators on how to maximize the speed of the press, minimize waste, and reduce makeready,” says Koehler. “Our customer service specialists have expert eyes. We want to help the customer stay on top of all issues.”
Taking a proactive approach and retaining Koenig & Bauer for monthly or quarterly demonstrator training is highly advisable, says Koehler. “We have customers with presses that are operating 24/7,” he says. “They depend on the press for fast turnaround, high productivity, and customer satisfaction. By participating in this on-going customer service plan, the customer receives a list several times a year of what areas need to be tweaked on the press. Our service teams train new press operators or help existing press operators gain confidence, become more productive, and optimize their workflow. Having our service technicians come to their pressroom solidifies our partnership with our customers and helps to improve their overall annual performance production by a minimum of 15% to 25%.”
Upgrading to better systems including LED curing
As additional printers seek to upgrade their presses to more productive systems, the Koenig & Bauer customer service team is being asked to perform many of these duties. For example, a large Canadian printing company recently received a significant upgrade to its six-unit Koenig & Bauer Rapida press converting it from conventional offset printing to LED UV curing capabilities as LED UV curing continues to grow. The Koenig & Bauer team is currently preparing offers for similar upgrades
“Our Koenig & Bauer technicians completed the installation on budget and ahead of the estimated schedule, much to their delight,” recounted Wolfgang Guenther, director of service for Canada.
The preceding press release was provided by a company unaffiliated with Printing Impressions. The views expressed within do not directly reflect the thoughts or opinions of the staff of Printing Impressions.