Subscribing to a printing press – or how the Heidelberg Subscription model works

Subscribing to a printing press – or how the Heidelberg Subscription model works

When did you last buy a CD or DVD? And how do you like to read the latest news: do you still rush to the newsstand or grab your iPad? In today’s networked world, one-off purchases have become a thing of the past. Instead of buying products, consumers increasingly prefer the pay-per-use model which gives them both freedom of choice and full flexibility. This trend is visible in all industries, both in the B2C and B2B. And in the print media industry too.

Two years ago, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG introduced a revolutionary business model for print shops: Heidelberg Subscription. Thomas Fischer, Product Management Subscription at the HDU, who accompanied the development of the product from the beginning, explains how it works.


Mr. Fischer, what exactly is Heidelberg Subscription?

To put it simply: Heidelberg Subscription is not a product, it´s a new, alternative business model. Heidelberg provides the printing press, consumables, service parts and service, but the customer doesn’t pay for the products or services. Instead he pays for the output, what he makes out of these products – i.e. the printed sheets. This is what we call a pay-per-use business model, because the more a Heidelberg subscription customer prints, the more he pays.


Ok, so where is the added value for the Heidelberg subscription customer?

The high degree of automation of our machines, combined with carefully selected materials and professional service offers customers the highest productivity potential in our industry. But out analysis of the data in the Heidelberg Cloud has shown that not all customers can fully exploit this potential in daily use. And this is exactly why we launched Heidelberg Subscription.


  • Together with the subscription customer, we set productivity goals, analyze the system performance achieved on a monthly basis and continuously implement measures to further increase productivity. The Heidelberg experts and the employees of the customer involved in the process form a powerful team with equal interest – this is how we understand partnership.
  • The Heidelberg Subscription customer does not need to invest in new equipment; at the same time, he is able to keep the financial freedom he needs in order to grow his business, for example, by digitizing his operations and customer relationships, or developing new, high-quality print products.


And how do we increase productivity in the end?

Important factors for productivity growth are: process automation (push to stop) and the introduction of an integrated workflow (Prinect). coordinated consumables (Saphira) and preventive maintenance ensure seamless, error-free production at the highest level. During our monthly performance reviews (monthly calls) with the customer, we analyze idle productivity potentials and deduct targeted measures for sustainable improvement, such as: Set-up workshop, operator training, redesign of processes and value streams. The visualizing of the performance in the Heidelberg Assistant is in this regard an extremely valuable tool for the continuous performance review.


For more information about Heidelberg Subscription, visit

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