Cus­to­mer reference
Gale­ria Kaufhof

GALERIA Kauf­hof opti­mi­ses print performance
with out­put manage­ment from AKI

The cus­to­mer

GALERIA Kauf­hof GmbH, based in Colo­gne, is one of Europe’s lea­ding depart­ment stores’ com­pa­nies. With its inno­va­ti­ve and suc­cess­ful con­cept, the com­pa­ny pres­ents modern shop­ping and expe­ri­ence worlds. GALERIA Kauf­hof GmbH cur­r­ent­ly ope­ra­tes 103 depart­ment stores and 16 spor­ting goods shops in Ger­ma­ny and 16 depart­ment stores in Bel­gi­um. The com­pa­ny has approx. 21,500 employees.

  • Sec­tor Trade
  • Task Sta­bi­li­se the prin­ting pro­ces­ses, hig­hest fail­u­re safe­ty, fur­ther use of the exis­ting prin­ting stencils
  • Top-Chal­len­ge Opti­mum print per­for­mance even at hig­hest load peaks
  • Solu­ti­on AKI Prin­Tau­rus GUI, UniSpool
  • Top bene­fits Simp­le, cen­tral admi­nis­tra­ti­on of the lar­ge, hete­ro­ge­ne­ous prin­ter land­s­cape, no down­ti­me by AKI experts

The task

GALERIA Kauf­hof uses appro­xi­mate­ly 1,000 prin­ters in six wareh­ouses. As a mul­ti-chan­nel depart­ment stores’ with an exten­si­ve online offe­ring, lar­ge quan­ti­ties of prin­touts are gene­ra­ted every day. “We crea­te around 100,000 to 130,000 print jobs per day at our wareh­ouse loca­ti­ons,” exp­lains Mar­cus Weiss, Head of Pro­cu­re­ment and Logistics Sys­tems at GALERIA Kauf­hof. “In sea­so­nal busi­ness, such as Christ­mas, this num­ber can mul­ti­ply.” All the rece­i­pts nee­ded for wareh­ouse ope­ra­ti­ons in the ope­ra­ti­ve busi­ness are prin­ted – nume­rous con­sign­ments of goods are sent to our cus­to­mers at high fre­quen­cy at each packing sta­ti­on – and we con­trol several packing sta­ti­ons at each wareh­ouse location.

Of cour­se, we can’t let the prin­ters throw a span­ner in the works.” GALERIA Kaufhof’s six dis­tri­bu­ti­on cen­tres use stan­dard prin­ters from various manu­fac­tu­rers; the com­mon requi­re­ment for all models is dou­ble-sided prin­ting. The prin­ters are con­trol­led by the wareh­ouse manage­ment sys­tem or by various ter­mi­nals. Appro­xi­mate­ly 5,000 dif­fe­rent print vari­ants – print tem­pla­tes – which map the actu­al print logic upstream, gene­ra­te all rele­vant infor­ma­ti­on for the print output.

Howe­ver, the pre­vious out­put manage­ment solu­ti­on repeated­ly had per­for­mance pro­blems, and the­re were even spo­ra­dic fail­u­res, for examp­le during the abo­ve-average demand in the Christ­mas busi­ness. During such dis­rup­ti­ons, the ent­i­re spoo­ling sys­tem had to be restar­ted by the pro­vi­der – resul­ting in a packet jam. Becau­se during this time, no prin­ter could be con­trol­led. In addi­ti­on, GALERIA Kauf­hof lacked a simp­le way to admi­nis­ter indi­vi­du­al prin­ters without para­ly­sing the ent­i­re prin­ting system.

The solu­ti­on

“Our prin­ter land­s­cape must func­tion pro­per­ly,” exp­lains Weiss. “Even if the fail­u­res were spo­ra­dic; we did­n’t want to tole­ra­te such wai­t­ing times any more.” The­re­fo­re, the decisi­on was made to purcha­se a new out­put manage­ment sys­tem. The basic requi­re­ments for the selec­tion were ope­ra­bi­li­ty under AIX and inte­gra­bi­li­ty into the exis­ting GALERIA Kauf­hof wareh­ouse manage­ment sys­tem. In addi­ti­on, the new spoo­ling sys­tem should run very sta­ble and gua­ran­tee the hig­hest prin­ting performance.

“Becau­se of our e‑shop, one hund­red per cent avai­la­bi­li­ty of the print mana­ger must be given,” says Weiss. A very fast prin­ting speed of the deli­very papers was also one of the prio­ri­ties. In addi­ti­on, it had to be pos­si­ble to detect faults quick­ly and, abo­ve all, to rec­ti­fy them quick­ly – without having to reboot the ent­i­re sys­tem. At best, the new solu­ti­on should cau­se litt­le to no chan­ge for the users in the indi­vi­du­al locations.

Ano­t­her core requi­re­ment: the ful­ly auto­ma­tic back­up of the prin­ting sten­cils – on a dai­ly basis. In addi­ti­on, com­pe­tent, easi­ly acces­si­ble sup­port with pro­blem-sol­ving com­pe­tence was desi­red. “This may sound banal, but unfor­tu­n­a­te­ly it is often lacking,” Weiss explains.

GALERIA Kauf­hof took a clo­se look at various pro­vi­ders. Final­ly, the IT depart­ments ‘Sys­tem Archi­tec­tu­re’, ‘Pro­cu­re­ment and Logistics Sys­tems’ as well as ‘Sup­ply Chain Manage­ment Logistics’ deci­ded in favour of AKI’s intel­li­gent out­put manage­ment solu­ti­on. “The solu­ti­on offer, which was exact­ly tailo­red to the pro­blem situa­ti­on, con­vin­ced us, so we wan­ted to test the soft­ware inten­si­ve­ly”, says Weiss. The offer and pro­ject pha­se took place step by step with clear­ly defi­ned milestones.

After the solu­ti­on desi­gned by AKI had been exten­si­ve­ly tes­ted on a pro­duc­ti­ve ser­ver in accordance with the cata­lo­gue of requi­re­ments and had easi­ly pas­sed the final live tests, the­re was not­hing stan­ding in the way of purcha­sing the soft­ware. The soft­ware is modu­lar in design and ensu­res high-per­for­mance, eco­no­mi­c­al and con­ve­ni­ent prin­ting even in hete­ro­ge­ne­ous prin­ter land­s­capes of all sizes. The solu­ti­on was quick­ly imple­men­ted and the­re was an on-site intro­duc­tion in the pilot wareh­ouse as well as joint trai­ning for all users of the indi­vi­du­al wareh­ouses after the pilot. “The sys­tem intro­duc­tion went without a hitch and even spe­cial requi­re­ments such as con­trol­ling indi­vi­du­al paper trays of a prin­ter via print tem­pla­te run per­fect­ly with a spe­cial­ly deve­lo­ped AKI script”, remem­bers Klaus Kullick, Team Lea­der Logistics Sys­tems at GALERIA Kaufhof.

“We are very satis­fied with the per­for­mance of the sys­tem. So far we haven’t had a sin­gle fail­u­re. Prin­ting is now real­ly always pos­si­ble and no faul­ty print job blocks the ent­i­re sys­tem,” exp­lains Weiss. In addi­ti­on, the AKI solu­ti­on brings trans­pa­ren­cy to the ent­i­re print path – from the print job, to print queu­es, to the final prin­tout, the sta­tus of all print jobs can be tra­cked in the sys­tem – no print job is lost any more.

“And via the gra­phi­cal user inter­face, users can also redi­rect several print jobs to other prin­ters at the same time, if necessa­ry, in the event of a mal­func­tion. Our users on site descri­be this addi­tio­nal func­tion as the ’non plus ultra’,” Weiss is extre­me­ly satis­fied. “We have gre­at con­fi­dence in the out­put manage­ment solu­ti­on, but also in AKI as a com­pa­ny – becau­se the sup­port that the com­pa­ny pro­vi­des has con­vin­ced us all along the line.” Klaus Kullick adds: “We recent­ly had a request for sup­port, which was ans­we­red prompt­ly and com­ple­te­ly satisfactorily.”

“The simp­le and strai­ght­for­ward ope­ra­ti­on saves a lot of hass­le com­pa­red to the print mana­ger that was in use befo­re,” exp­lains Weiss. The area mana­ger sums up: “The sys­tem has no pro­blems whatsoever even under hea­vy load, and that is the decisi­ve mea­su­re for us. Espe­cial­ly in retail, the­re are of cour­se load peaks, and even at Christ­mas the sys­tem ran abso­lute­ly sta­ble. As it is in IT, the best sys­tem is the one you don’t hear about. And I don’t hear anything from AKI – that’s great.”

“The sys­tem has no pro­blems whatsoever even under high load, and that is the decisi­ve para­me­ter for us. Becau­se espe­cial­ly in retail, the­re are of cour­se load peaks, and even in the Christ­mas busi­ness, the sys­tem ran abso­lute­ly stable.”

Mar­cus Weiss

Head of Pro­cu­re­ment and Logistics Sys­tems, GALERIA Kauf­hof

The bene­fits

  • Hig­hest print per­for­mance and reliability
  • Easy manage­ment
  • Sin­gle point of con­trol – cen­tral admi­nis­tra­ti­on of the prin­ter net­work with intui­ti­ve gra­phi­cal interface
  • Quick, strai­ght­for­ward drag-and-drop inter­ven­ti­on for prin­ting problems
  • Saving cos­ts, time and nerves

AKI Prin­Tau­rus GUI

  • Sin­gle Point of Control
  • Intui­ti­ve inter­face for mana­ging print ser­vers, queu­es and ports
  • Ven­dor-inde­pen­dent, simp­le con­fi­gu­ra­ti­on of many printers/queues, ports etc.


  • Spoo­ling sys­tem for AIX
  • Strong per­for­mance
  • High relia­bi­li­ty
  • Inter­face for fur­ther use of exis­ting print templates


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AKI Kon­takt

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