Johannes Gutenberg Meets Steve Jobs at Ideeo

The Mexican company Ideeo strives to take printed communication to a new level by intelligently combining a whole range of different print and digital media. Technology, including a Muller Martini Presto II Digital saddle stitcher, is key to implementing that strategy.

Ideeo in Mexico City – the imagined meeting place of Johannes Gutenberg and Steve Jobs – describes itself as a “multi-channel communications city”. CEO Juan S. Estrada Hernández is convinced that the duo of Gutenberg and Jobs would take exactly the same approach as he and his team have.

Multi-sensory and multi-channel communications are combined at Ideeo to provide consumers with unique communication experiences. The Ideeo CEO points by way of example to a project that, at the time of the “Panorama” visit, is to be completed shortly.

Return on Marketing Investment in Real Time

The product, at first glance, is the typical annual bill of an energy supplier, featuring an inconspicuous QR code. That is not unusual in itself. Upon scanning the QR code with a mobile device, however, an augmented reality app is launched and a friendly lady explains the various items on the bill to the recipient. It seems to be a global phenomenon that electricity bills are difficult to understand.

However, it is a tool that enables detailed the tracking of the app's use in real time to provide insight into how, when and where the app is used that makes plain the value added to Ideeo’s customers. “A lot of things are technically possible today, but customers previously didn’t realize the value added and dismissed many ideas as gimmicks. Our tracking tool radically changed that, and has become one of our strongest selling points, since, finally, customers can find out their return on marketing investment,” says Juan S. Estrada Hernández.

Finger on the Pulse

The “multi-channel communications city” has gone through several phases on ints route to becoming what it is today. It started out as a conventional one-stop services provider for print communication. The focus was on offering all services from a single source. The company continues to pursue that strategy. “We do everything that we do in house. That lends us a unique degree of flexibility in the market,” says the CEO. What he means by flexibility becomes patently clear during a tour of the plant.

A whole range of print and print finishing systems, which together increase the company’s options exponentially, are lined up at the 21,000 m2-site. “Hybrid production in printing allows us to play with the costs and implement projects in the most cost-effective way possible,” says Juan S. Estrada Hernández. Yet, remarkably, he adds in the same breath: “We haven’t geared the company primarily to efficiency, otherwise we would produce pure commodities and would only face general competitive pressure.”

Hybrid Saddle Stitching Solution

Hybrid production not only makes requirements of print, but also places new demands on print finishing. The Ideeo CEO is an advocate of offline production to avoid limiting the possibilities of any of the machines installed. He describes the Presto II Digital saddle stitcher – which we will come back to later – as the perfect match for Ideeo’s hybrid production.

In its second phase, Ideeo focused on the needs-based production of printed materials, while paying attention to creation and design. Over that period, the company acquired a significant digital printing press line-up featuring all the big-name manufacturers in digital printing.

Print Capacity Doubled

In mid-2015, the company commissioned a Canon ImageStream 3500 – the first in North and Central America – which can print onto coated offset paper without the need for pre-treatment. That has put the company in a new league in digital printing, enabling it for the first time to attain a quality level that is fully on a par with offset printing.

By investing in the ImageStream, Ideeo doubled its digital printing capacity to 40 million pages per month in one fell swoop. And a Scodix Sense digital finishing system allows Ideeo to give the products a range of multi-sensory features.

Ideeo Creates Added Value

Ideeo’s strategy of combining multi-sensory and multi-channel communications solutions has also massively changed the demands on the company. Ideeo implements end-to-end solutions for its customers in the fields of commerce, industry, finance and insurance, as well as the public sector. “We know today that linking print products with digital media is no longer enough in itself. It’s also necessary to record and document the efficiency of communications measures in real time. We therefore developed a specific system called ‘CIM’ to provide customers with results in real time,” underlines Juan S. Estrada Hernández.

The impressive range of services and expertise of Ideeo’s 622 employees extend from product development and conceptualization through creation and design to the development of apps and special IT solutions. A certified post office that is integrated with the plant sends out transpromotional and many other print products to recipients.

Doing, Not Talking

The Ideeo CEO proudly presents the lavishly finished folder of a car manufacturer as a further example of how Ideeo conceives of communications in the future. The leather seats were partially lacquered and a scented coating conveys the smell of gas and leather.

A QR code naturally ensures the integration of digital media here too and establishes direct contact between the buyer and the seller. The solution is topped off by real-time tracking. “We don’t talk about value added, we create it.”

Presto II Digital Immediately Impresses

Such applications also make higher demands of print finishing, so Ideeo is always searching for innovative solutions. It found what it was looking for at the Muller Martini booth at Hunkeler Innovationdays 2015 in Lucerne, where the Ideeo CEO first saw the Presto II Digital saddle stitcher live in action. He was immediately impressed by the concept since it supports every aspect of hybrid production. Features such as the integrated barcode scanner ensure that personalized or customized products are complete.

The Presto II Digital hybrid saddle stitcher has fully met Ideeo’s expectations. From left to right: Héctor Castro (Managing Director of Muller Martini Latin America), Lucrecia Fabián (Managing Director).

The Presto II Digital runs at a maximum of 9,000 cycles per hour, processing up to 30,000 incoming signatures. What is more, it combines a high degree of automation and process reliability. The modular design, which is familiar from conventional production, enables an extremely wide range of configurations, allowing the system to be used for both digital and conventional production. The flying stitching heads ensure first-class stitching and the robust three-knife trimmer is easy to operate and provides high trim quality.

“The saddle stitcher has fully met our expectations in terms of flexibility, reliability and efficiency,” says Juan S. Estrada Hernández. “Moreover, Muller Martini has been Ideeo’s strategic partner for many years and has played an important role in our business development.”

Championing Printed Communication

During our tour of the company, we come across a group of potential customers, who are clearly fascinated by Ideeo’s offering. “Ideeo isn’t just any old printing plant. Its concept is exactly what we’re looking for in a service provider. I’m sold on it,” commented one employee of an international agency network.

Ideeo’s commitment to maximum reliability, even while innovating, is documented by its wide range of certification, including ISO 9001 on quality management, ISO 27001 on information security management and ISO 14001 on environmental management. The Ideeo team is particularly proud of having recently won a UNESCO award for its efforts in the field of culture and education.

That was undoubtedly due in part to Juan S. Estrada Hernández deliberately taking a stance against initiatives like “paperless” and championing printed communications. Together with his team, he delivers arguments that will strengthen the position of print and raise awareness in respect of sustainability. The message is clear: paper-based communication is superior to digital media in many respects.