The City of Antwerp is responsible for informing residents, students, entrepreneurs and visitors about all kinds of urban issues. Printed matter is an essential part of this communication. “When the various city authorities of Antwerp purchase printed matter, they end up in a complicated web of purchase laws and product variations,” says Joris Heirbaut, Director of Media and Communication at the City of Antwerp. “We wanted to bundle all these factors more flexibly in a digital platform. Prindustry was the right choice for us to create this online solution.”


City of Antwerp




Brand Portal
Connection with CHILI publish, SAP, printers

Complex procurement laws

The communication of the City of Antwerp is decentralized. There are about 120 urban authorities that all communicate with a target group. These include the fire brigade, the police, the municipal education network, museums, libraries or social service centres. They have different wishes for print communication. “In doing so, they must adhere to complex requirements,” Joris points out. “The authorities are bound to purchase laws. After all, it is the citizens who pay the city’s expenditure via tax money. That is why it is necessary to select the suppliers which are economically the most advantageous. Moreover, it concerns parties that deliver quickly and make custom-made quality products. That makes it difficult to purchase printed matter.”

Moving away from rigid print procurement process

For years, the purchase of printed matter was done by using the same static procedure. “The framework contracts we agreed on with print suppliers had the same characteristics. They fell within the legal purchasing frameworks and contained agreements about standard products at a certain price. This was then fixed for three or four years. We wanted to be able to deal with this more flexibly. Prices can, for example, decrease. Also, the demand for print turned out to be variable. The old framework contracts did not have a flexible layer. The authorities had to search for other parties themselves, which takes time. As a government agency, we must purchase as efficiently and with as much integrity as possible.”

Plan towards dynamic procurement

A new method had to be introduced. The City of Antwerp wanted to make all the options and requirements for ordering printed matter more dynamic. Joris put together a new plan to achieve this. “Step one was selecting suitable printers and print products. With these partners we made flexible agreements within the purchasing frameworks. Within the new contracts, it is possible for the printers to update their prices and products every six months. Subsequently, we wanted to disconnect the procurement from the IT solution. The flexible model of supply and demand had to be translated into an automated workflow. That should not just be a webshop with printed products. The goal was an online solution with a flexible shell, in which all governments, products and suppliers are bundled and which can be changed continuously.”

A flexible platform for ordering and editing

Prindustry came out as the most suitable party for the development of this platform. “It was a perfect match. Prindustry has experience in connecting partners in a web portal with a central procurement and ordering system. 120 Brand Portals have been created for all our urban governments. Each authority orders products in their own corporate identity. Prindustry has unlocked all options for printing, sign and freelancers. It is a fully automated solution for requesting quotes, ordering products, continuing orders and invoicing. What is special is that Prindustry was also able to integrate the financial flow with SAP. SAP is a specific budgeting system. It involves a complicated financial planning of product codes and budget lines. SAP is connected to the portals with an API connection. That link has been done extremely successful.”

Good experiences with the Brand Portals

Within three months, the entire platform with Brand Portals was operational as of January 2018. “Thousands of orders have already been sent through the portal in a short time. Everything is going well. We are very content. The different authorities think it is very convenient. It saves them a lot of time. Everything works properly in the backend management system. The orders are automated. Visually it also looks good. We continue to develop the portal. We are constantly adding new templates for all authorities. Now there are templates for business cards and resident letters available.”

Exceptional print management strategy

With the Prindustry platform, the City of Antwerp is now able to digitally process the procurement of printed matter quick and flexible. “That ensures that we can communicate with the target group at the right time”, Joris concludes. “Print communication will continue to claim its role in our media strategy. We also want to inform and enthuse non-digital citizens. Also in large-scale or smaller event campaigns, outdoor printing is indispensable. We have now designed this print management online in a good way. Fantastic how Prindustry did this for us!”

Would you like more info?

We are happy to tell you more about Prindustry’s Brand Portal software. A Brand Portal is an all-in-one communication platform including a webshop. Very useful for governments with multiple departments or agencies.

Please fill in our contact form and we will schedule a (online) meeting with you soon!

Prindustry software team