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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