Zaikio pushes into UK with Tharstern deal

Tharstern has more than 7,000 users of its MIS
Tharstern has more than 7,000 users of its MIS

Connectivity platform Zaikio has announced a new partnership with Tharstern that will allow printers to access a “fully integrated purchasing experience” thanks to the previously-announced linkage with merchant Premier Paper Group.

The new partnership was unveiled at the IPIA Expo taking place today (2 December). 

The cooperation with Premier, announced in August, has now progressed to a full connection to Zaikio’s Procurement platform, while work on the integration with Tharstern’s MIS is underway. 

Tharstern CEO Keith McMurtrie said the firm’s interest had been piqued by news of the Premier deal, and he was excited about the potential benefits for customers.

“When Zaikio got in touch to tell us that they were launching their interface with Premier in the UK, we knew it was a platform we wanted to support,” he said. 

“The integration with Tharstern MIS will offer a seamless real-time experience, ensuring our mutual customers will have up-to-the-minute pricing and, more importantly than ever right now, availability information.”

David Jones, group marketing director at Premier, said that Zaikio’s role in digitising procurement processes would lead to benefits to printers such as greater efficiency and convenience, and it was “an exciting concept”.

“Direct supplier relationships are maintained, but Zaikio offers printers the option of placing orders with their chosen supplier through a fast and convenient system that can be fully integrated into existing MIS systems,” he noted. 

Tharstern has more than 7,000 users of its MIS spanning digital, litho, wide-format and packaging customers. 

Zaikio founder and managing director Matthias Prinz said the Germany-headquartered business had initially focused its attention on Germany and the DACH countries, but the UK was “the obvious next market of high interest for us”.

He said potential customers in the UK were open to new ideas.

“People in the UK are really willing to digitise processes and try new things – they just do it – and that’s a perfect match for our philosophy. 

“We too are willing to try things out, and if we fail we learn.”

Anyone can set up a Zaikio account – a bit like having an Apple ID, and some 1,500 people are signed up, with more than 500 organisations (including suppliers, printers and software vendors) set up to do business on the platform.

Prinz said Zaikio aimed to take the pain out of integrations, which could otherwise potentially involve a lot of upfront cost and risk for individual companies that might also not have the necessary know-how. 

“What is new and different with Zaikio is that we make it affordable and easy for everyone to have these powers – whether that’s a small printer or a big group,” he added. 

The expectation is that the Premier to Tharstern integration will be available in Q1 2022.

“We are super-busy now integrating new partners and are booked until the end of the year,” Prinz said. 

Heidelberg owns a majority stake in Zaikio but the connectivity is designed to be vendor-neutral. 

In Germany, three further suppliers have also just joined the platform: blanket and coating plates manufacturer Streb, equipment and materials supplier Richter & Menzel, and print quality cloud provider iQIP.

Prinz said that the ultimate aim was for Zaikio’s Procurement platform to include every material needed by a print shop. 

The platform is free to use for printers. Zaikio charges vendors a percentage of sales to end users.