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Versandhaus Walz Opts for Fully Automated Quark Dynamic Publishing

One of Europe's leading specialist mail-order houses streamlines its publishing processes using a dynamic publishing solution based on QuarkXPress Server


Quark Inc. announced today that Versandhaus Walz GmbH, one of Europe’s leading specialist mail-order houses, has been able to considerably shorten its production processes using MediaDB, a dynamic publishing solution based on QuarkXPress Server®. The dynamic publishing solution offers all the individual layout-design possibilities of QuarkXPress® along with the server-based performance and automation capabilities of QuarkXPress Server.

Versandhaus Walz currently is the largest specialist mail-order house in the Primondo Specialty Group. The company runs more than 70 specialised outlets in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland and operates under six different brand names, the oldest and best-known of which is baby-walz. Walz distributes its catalogues in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, and France and produces more than 50,000 layout pages per year.

The QuarkXPress Server-based dynamic publishing solution MediaDB was developed by SoftBricks, an innovative company that specialises in developing software for the media industry. MediaDB provides a central source of content for all of Versandhaus Walz’s publishing processes. It is linked to the goods-management system that handles all the company’s product data and receives these flows of data along with archived items, old advertising material, and product-related texts, sorted by such criteria as product name, description, and pricing, including their corresponding style sheets and product geometry in the layout. MediaDB is also linked to the Xinet WebNative database of the reprographic firm called Christ. Photographers upload their pictures during photo shoots to an image database and assign each picture to its corresponding page in the catalogue.

Based on the latest version of text content, images, and product data and the product geometries from previous catalogues, the entire catalogue layout is automatically structured and pre-configured in a matter of minutes. Foreign language translations of the text are also handled by QuarkXPress Server and MediaDB, allowing the translated content to flow automatically into the corresponding layouts.

In reverse, data can flow from the catalogues into MediaDB, thus ensuring that the platform always has access to the latest content, the corresponding style sheets, and product geometries.

This new dynamic publishing solution allows true automated multi-channel publishing. An entire catalogue layout, advertisements, and other e-commerce materials can be produced from a single source of content. Access to this content can be offered to internal departments and external or outsourced suppliers, and brand consistency is guaranteed at all times, regardless of the media concerned.

"The transfer of final data from our catalogues to the media database using copy and paste sometimes took over a week for complex projects. Thanks to automation, it can now be carried out in just a few minutes," said Christian Rast. "The question as to whether the system has paid for itself scarcely arises. The cost of the new software will be recovered after the creation of just a few catalogues, thanks to the enormous savings in time and expense."

Stefan Sporrer, CEO of SoftBricks, said: "The performance and stability of QuarkXPress Server are impressive. Thanks to its industry-standard development environments such as Java, JSP, ASP/.NET, PHP, Visual Basic, and protocols like HTTP and SOAP, QuarkXPress Server can be integrated into existing IT environments in a totally flexible way. This is what has allowed us to supply not a rigid global system, but rather a set of freely-configurable components in the form of an overall solution containing only those modules that are actually needed."

Walz thinks of taking this automated workflow to the next step with a Web-based catalogue page-planning system that would allow creators to place product previews on pages. QuarkXPress Server then automatically creates QuarkXPress layouts based on these product placements. Another step would be to also maintain Web-based translation processes using the Web Hub of Quark Publishing System (QPS), which represents the workflow and editorial system component within the market leading Dynamic Publishing Solution from Quark.

Further information about Quark Dynamic Publishing Solution is available on the Quark Web site at http://dynamicpublishing.quark.com/en/dps/

To subscribe to The Dynamic Publisher, a bi-monthly email about dynamic publishing, visit www.thedynamicpublisher.com/en.

About Walz
Versandhaus Walz currently is the largest specialist mail-order house in the Primondo Specialty Group. The company employs a workforce of some 1,800 persons and runs more than 70 specialised outlets in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Walz operates under six brand names, the oldest and best known of which is baby-walz, dating from 1952. The company’s collection of brands has since grown to include moderne Hausfrau (Modern Housewife) and the relatively recent additions walzkidzz, sunnywalz, creawalz, and Nuggihuus. Almost a third of Versandhaus Walz’s revenue is now generated outside Germany, with catalogues distributed in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, and France.

About Quark
Quark Inc. (euro.quark.com/en) is an innovative software company providing design, production, and collaboration solutions that are transforming the business of creative communications. Quark has provided award-winning software for professional publishers since its flagship product, QuarkXPress, changed the course of traditional publishing. Denver-based Quark Inc. is privately held.


Quark, the Quark logo, XTensions and QuarkXPress are trademarks or registered trademarks of Quark, Inc. and its affiliates in the U.S. and/or other countries. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.

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