experiences | Photo calendar and Heenemann printery

Producing a photo calendar is no rocket science…, one should think. Though during 10 years of cooperation printery Heenemann from Berlin disabused me. Here is my experience report.

At first it has to be said that despite all, despite many, despite a lot of negative experiences Printery  Heenemann can deliver really good; if they want, and only if they want. However continuously appearing superficialness as well as mistakes paired with a missing state of being organised consequently destroyed that potential quality. Retrospectively there was only one year that may be seen as more or less complication-free.

In general it is important to me that small and medium-size companies get supported. My photo calendar doesn’t mean a multi million profit but shall make regional jobs benefit. Hence in the beginning with Heenemann I was happy having found  a local partner being technically capable to produce what I wanted.

My photo calendar will live on as I already found another printery! :-)

My order

The initial situation is simple, that is my order: production of a large size photo calendar in two variants, that is format as well as motif.

Format variant > 50x35cm and 74x52cm
Motif variant > Landscape as well as architecture (example here)

The small calendar (50×35) should have one hanger, the large calendar (74×52) two hangers. Both calendars should be Wire-O and have a cover as well as back sheet (cardboard). Paper quality for photo prints being 250g/m² or better. Delivery within Berlin. Like I said, no rocket science…

The irregularities

The list of continuously experienced mistakes during 10 years:

  • Hanger dimensions (hole distance to the edge) of the large calendars changed suddenly from 18cm to 8cm and another year back again
  • Small inclusions in the paper (e.g. red small dots)
  • Printing against the paper’s fibre direction
  • Production with partly empty toner cartridges, what leads to colour deviations
  • Stripes from paper rollers visible
  • Confusing the ordered quantities (wrong delivery)
  • Incorrect content form of invoice
  • Dunning notices received although invoice already paid
  • Wrinkled cover sheets (sometimes even very heavily). The cover sheet is a calendar’s figurehead.
  • Invoice sent to wrong address
  • Deliveries sent to wrong addresses
  • Delivery dates not met, although sufficient time for production was given
  • Delivery times not met, although everything was discussed and confirmed x times in advance (18 o’clock instead of 13 o’clock)
  • Confusing the monthly sequence within a calendar
  • Double months within a calendar
  • Forgetting months within a calendar
  • Mixing of motif variants, i.e. architectural motifs in the landscape calendar and vice versa
  • Mixing the motif variants within delivery packages, hence you have to check each calendar individually by hand

Selbst das Zusammensetzen mit Heenemann, sprich Diskussion mit Produktion und Geschäftsführung, brachte rückblickend betrachtet keinen Lerneffekt, keine Weiterentwicklung. Im Gegenteil: Störungen und Unregelmäßigkeiten häuften sich in den letzten fünf Jahren.

Every year, anew all those errors occurred in a wide variety of combinations. Even sitting together with Heenemann, a discussion with production and management, created no learning effect and no further development, retrospectively seen. It was the opposite, as errors and irregularities have become more frequent over the last five years.

The verdict

Hätte Organisiertheit die Produktionsabwicklung bestimmt, wäre deutlich weniger Stress angefallen, für beide Seiten.

It was not possible to build trust in both, collaboration as well as the product. Every single calendar had to be checked by hand. If Heenemann had a working quality control system, mistakes mentioned before would not even have occurred. If a certrain state of being organised would would have prevailed, then cooperation would have meant much less stress, for both sides.

Unfortunately I had to “hunt” each compensation and dispensation as otherwise it would have been forgotten. In only approx. 15% of incidents, if e.g. a production run went down the drain, Heenemann contacted me as the deadline could no longer be met.

For 10 years I gave Heenemann a chance, although many of my customers (analogously) said:

„Why do you commit that organisational suicide every year anew? Each time those *** screw up your pre-Christmas season to leave you high and dry.“

Well, now you may decide yourself. For my part, I’ve had enough. I don’t want to see my lifetime and especially the pre-Christmas season being ruined by such negative things anymore. Of course against that background in 10 years it was not possible to grow in a healthy way.

All above mentioned irregularities are of course documented. I don’t want to to drag through the mire, but a constructive error culture also means to allow criticism in the way of experience reports.

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