Text BBP Media | Image Felix Matthies (Roel) and Zuiver Beeld (Wil)
Print runs from fifteen hundred to over five million copies, from A6 to A1 size and everything in between, in many paper types and finishes. What applies to standard printed matter at online printers, we now offer for non-standardized printed matter. Printplaza wants to make ordering complex printed matter just as easy as ordering business cards. ”
These are the words of Roel Baaima, founder and managing director of Benchpool. The company is based in Hamburg, where love took him in 1987. Baaima never left. He is tried and tested in the printing industry, has been carrying out cost optimization projects for decades for publishers, industry, mail order companies and e-commerce companies, and has been buying print materials for customers for just as long. “Benchpool is part of MSM Media. As mentioned, we are experts in process and cost optimization for customers with small to larger printing budgets. Through all those years of analysis, negotiating with printing companies in Europe and purchasing our own volumes, we have a great deal of knowledge of procurement and management of printed matter. ”
Wil Amian can talk about it. He has a history at Neckermann, Bon’A Parte, Bakker Hillegom and as chairman of the Thuiswinkel Organization, among others. So he knows the market from the customer side. Amian has been working with Baaima since 2006 and is director of Benchpool in the Benelux and Scandinavia. Although the days of bulky mail-order catalogs are well behind us, paper remains popular. Amian: “You can speak of a rediscovery. Paper is less volatile than all those digital messages. ”
The haptic effect or tactile experience also offers a difference in a time of clicks and swipes. There are always new possibilities with paper, including in the field of personalization. All that printed matter is increasingly being purchased digitally; According to the German Zipcon Consulting, the share of printed matter ordered online will grow from 19 percent in 2019 to 42 percent in 2025.
Thousands of purchase calculations
With Benchpool Enterprise, the German company with Dutch management already provides a SaaS platform (Software as a Service) for the digital purchase and management of complex printed matter for customers who spend a lot of money on print every year. Baaima calculates that Benchpool has already analyzed and purchased more than one billion euros in printed matter for customers. This is based on around ten thousand purchase calculations. “We have built up an advanced calculation system over the years, linked to a European database with more than a thousand printing machines, many of which are with trusted suppliers. The entire bandwidth of printing and finishing processes is available and the database contains hundreds of paper types. ”
With Printplaza, the new ordering platform from Benchpool in addition to the Enterprise product, all acquired know-how is now easily accessible. The promise of the ordering platform: order printed matter at competitive prices in five minutes. Not just any printed matter, but complex non-standardized printed matter, for every format and all sizes from small to large volumes. According to Baaima, it distinguishes Printplaza from other printing platforms that often work with standardized formats and price lists in the background. “We are the first to offer this service for this type of printing in Europe, it is the result of several years of programming.”
After entering their wishes for a magazine, catalog, brochure or flyer, Printplaza users will be presented with independently calculated current prices within a split second. “We do not work with price lists”, Baaima emphasizes: “All product combinations are calculated and simulated separately in real time. They can see exactly what is for sale on the market for that. Especially on paper, which usually makes up 60 to 70 percent of the total costs, a lot can be saved by comparing well. We work with algorithms so that the product range and recommendations are increasingly in line with demand. ”
With Printplaza, Benchpool says it meets the “need for speed” of today. The platform, to be used after a one-time registration on Printplaza.benchpool.com, claims to remove many of the frictions that characterize the current way of ordering: due to a non-transparent market, lack of automation and knowledge backlogs at printers, customers often do not really know what there exactly at what price is for sale.
There is another factor that makes the purchase of printed matter more difficult, especially when it comes to more complex print products: the aging population and the associated exodus of personnel with graphic expertise. This applies not only to purchasers of printed matter, but also to the personnel in the printing plants themselves. The first Major Graphic Labor Market Debate took place in the Netherlands in 2019. The figures presented by economist and journalist Mathijs Bouman showed that the graphics sector is a leader in the aging population. No less than 30 percent will retire in the next four years. In short: there is less and less graphic expertise available at both buyers and sellers of “print”. This complicates all kinds of choices and assessments by those involved in the purchase and sale of graphic products, at least with the current entrenched working methods.
People, Profit, Planet
Besides speed, ease of ordering and competitive prices, Printplaza distinguishes itself in another way; the CO2 impact of purchasing choices literally becomes visible to customers. Initially that of transport routes, later also in combination with that of paper and printing machines. The footprint indicator helps print buyers to meet increasingly stringent environmental requirements. “You can plant trees afterwards to compensate, but you can also create awareness at the front, which is what we have chosen. We are in the process of automatically making alternative suggestions that are more environmentally friendly, ”says Baaima. “But the beginning is there.”
Printplaza started in our country on Monday 23 November. Why here? Amian: “Because the Dutch business market has more affinity with the Internet than the German one. Our country has always been a good pilot market for Benchpool. ” Printplaza will also be introduced in Germany at the beginning of 2021, other European countries will follow.
This article was created in collaboration with Benchpool Printplaza