a&f – more than 35 years in business

a&f – more than 35 years in business

2021: At the start of 2021, Philippe Lindegger takes over as CEO of a&f systems. Urs Felber steps back after 35 years and becomes President of the Board of Directors. a&f does well in the first year of the pandemic. The employees are working from home for more than a year and this works very well. Customer services can be upheld as usual despite the difficult conditions. Further major projects are realised – Galledia changes over entirely to the systems by WoodWing, for instance. Complex WoodWing projects are successfully completed with Freiburger Nachrichten and Schweizer Bauer. a&f supports Gruner + Jahr in Hamburg on its ambitious path toward digitisation. A new and fresh website rounds off the modernisation measures.

2020: a&f systems experienced major successes, even in the extraordinary year 2020. The major project NESS2020 is successfully completed at TX Group (former Tamedia). Together with Swiss Regiomedia, we change 26 weekly newspapers over to WoodWing Studio and Assets. The “Spiegel” in Hamburg also becomes one of our esteemed customers this year and is completely changed over to WoodWing Studio and WoodWing Assets by mid-2021. In the PIM business, we develop further pioneering PIM environments for Hostettler, Porsche and Kambly. The cooperation with Livingdocs is further intensified.   

2019: After many successful years at Sandgruebestrasse 4 in Sursee, a&f moves to Grenzstrasse 3b in Schenkon on 1 July 2019. The generation change, move to modern premises, growing competence and developed specialist departments have rung in a time of change – and consequently also a new, modern corporate design. In July 2019, A&F Computersysteme AG becomes a&f systems ag, together with a contemporary and trend-setting appearance. CORE-LAB GmbH is merged with a&f systems gmbh and also gets a matching appearance.

2018: One of the most ambitious projects in the history of a&f started in 2018. Under project name NESS 2020, a&f launches a new print and digital editorial and production system for TX Group, the largest publishing house in Switzerland. The timetable is tight and the aim is to create more efficient, more digital and more flexible workflows. The entire system is based on the AWS Cloud. The “Story First” concept is implemented consistently.

2017: The focus in 2017 was on succession planning: Urs Felber, owner of A&F Computersysteme, hands over the company to the next generation. The hand-over is scheduled for a long period of eight years. However, the new management team (Stefan Schärer, Philippe Lindegger and Serge Dillier – with Urs Felber and Thomas Portmann) is already taking over today: Its members combine experience with fresh knowledge and thus continue the success story.

WoodWing awards a&f with the highest partner level – Diamond & Diamond – for both Enterprise and Elvis DAM. We strengthen our engagement abroad and lay the foundation for the takeover of major WoodWing systems.

a&f is a long-standing Adobe partner and “PLATINUM Certified Reseller (PCR)” and is awarded by Adobe for the highest renewal rate in the EMEA region (economic region: Europe, Middle East & Africa). This means that we sold the highest percentage of renewal licenses to our customers. We are proud to provide Adobe licenses to customers such as SBB and the Swiss postal service.

In autumn, the ambitious “Neue Zürcher Zeitung” project is successfully concluded – a historic milestone: the NZZ (as well as the NZZ am Sonntag, Luzerner Zeitung, St. Galler Tagblatt) produce their publications with WoodWing Enterprise. In its 34 years in business, a&f has therefore changed all medium and major German/Swiss newspapers over to a new production system at least once, and some of them even several times.

2016: a&f acquires the contract for changing over the NZZ, the only major German/Swiss publishing house that has not yet been changed over by a&f to date. The global rollout of the WoodWing editorial system and DAM system Elvis at Scheaffler was also initiated. All Macintosh workstations at Migros-Genossenschafts-Bund were rolled out at the same time via central management (FileWave). The internal “Macintosh Solutions” department at a&f takes over the entire Macintosh second level support for MGB. 

2015: a&f makes it into the Top 3 as a platinum partner of Adobe in the EMEA region. The launch of Lobster_pim at Lehner AG in Schenkon, the largest Swiss mail order business, is another success story. Lehner now performs multi-channel publishing and e-commerce (Magento) task with systems provided by a&f. In 2015, a&f acquires the WoodWing segment of United System AG and merges it with CORE-LAB.

2014: A&F Computersysteme AG celebrates its 30th anniversary in the summer. It continues to be the leading Swiss system integrator.

2013: Major upgrade projects at Tamedia, Migro, Coop and Axel Springer are completed in 2013. a&f successfully completes an infrastructure project for Stämpfli. In Italy, a&f equips Corriere dello Sport with a complete editorial and DAM system.

2012: A&F Computersysteme AG has decided to enter the cloud business with its own Community Cloud service for publishing sectors. To pursue this target, a&f purchases its own Community Cloud at the Green Datacenter. a&f’s biggest investment ever is a huge success.

2011: The 100th WoodWing system is almost ready and should be completed around the middle of the year. a&f develops its own department for marketing JJK. a&f also acquires the contract for changing the entire Neue Luzerner Zeitung (NLZ) and its regional issues over to WoodWing. As general contractor, a&f also changes the advertising and planning department over to DIG.

2010: a&f greatly profits from the economic upturn. WoodWing establishes itself as the standard solution for Swiss media companies and service providers. Opix recovers from the take-over turbulences with its new acquisition, Six. With more than 50 installed Opix systems, a&f leads the MAM market. Switzerland’s largest paid newspaper, the Tagesanzeiger, is entirely switched over to WoodWing. The last major Axel Springer magazine project is successfully completed and approved. Quark presents QPS 8, a convincing add-on for its editorial system. a&f implements numerous updates.

2008/2009: a&f combats the difficult economic environment. Its presence abroad is expanded to eight European countries. Hungary’s biggest daily newspaper, Népszabadság, decides to purchase the WoodWing system by a&f. a&f starts and advertising sector evaluation and decides in favour of JJK. The first installations are quickly completed. 

2006/2007: a&f changes the entire Axel Springer magazine landscape Germany/Switzerland over to WoodWing. Numerous media service providers decide to invest in an editorial system. This increases the efficiency of their customer collaborations. a&f successfully realised initial storage and server virtualisation projects. a&f’s headcount increases significantly. 

2005: WoodWing launches in Switzerland and Germany. a&f installs the first WoodWing systems for major publishing houses in the neighbouring Germany. The first large WoodWing system with just under 100 workstations is installed at Migros Presse. A further 20 systems are installed by the end of the year. 

2004: WoodWing is chosen as an editorial system. QPS remains in the portfolio. Another major milestone: a&f turns 20.  

2002/2003: Conceptual design of ADFS2 and first installations of OPIX Media City 4. New editorial systems are being evaluated.

2001: The PolDirect software is launched in operations. a&f develops Version 3.0 of the AdFS advertising system and is majorly involved in the development of OPIX 3.0.

2000: a&f acquires the PolDirect contract from PrintOnline and thus develops a revolutionary advertising distribution system based on an Oracle database and WebOjects. Initial installation of the DMS system. 

1999: a&f completes various QPS-2 system launches on Macintosh as well as the first, and for a long time largest global, QPS installation based on Windows.

1998: The OPIX file management system dominates the Swiss market. Dozens of new installations are completed in one year.  

1997: Initial application of a&f’s own advertising solution at various Swiss publishing houses in the weekly and daily newspaper sector. 

1996: The focus in 1996 was on major projects. In addition to the “St. Galler Tagblatt”, we also acquire the contract for “Berner Zeitung” and equip both publishing houses with editorial and advertising systems. 

At the end of the year, Apple surprisingly announced the return of Steve Jobs, who comes back to Apple together with his company, NEXT. 

a&f greatly expands the premises in Sursee and concludes an agreement with Compaq for the supply of NT server systems as an add-on to SUN’s UNIX systems. 

1995: a&f plans and develops its own advertising system (AdFS) to meet the requirements of smaller publishing houses. 

Digital media goes through a mega boom. a&f holds two seminars on this topic and initiates the establishment of the Schule für Medienintegration AG (SMI). 

1994: Apple supplies the first PowerMacintosh with RISC processors. The fast devices revolutionise the DTP and DTR business. 

The “Basler Zeitung”, Migros newspaper “Brükenbauer” and “Coop-Zeitung” are changed over to full-page make-up using the “Quark Publishing System” (QPS) editorial system. 

In 1994, A&F Computer-Systeme AG installs an all-in-one system for the first time for one of the biggest Swiss daily newspapers, the “Basler Zeitung”. The project comprises all workflow areas, from editorial to archiving. The system for the BaZ comprises the components editorial and production (QPS), adverts (AdBase by Mactive) and archiving (Digital Collections).

1993: a&f becomes the largest and most important provider in the Swiss pre-press sector in 1993. This is the year in which a&f sets its course for the future with major projects as well as the QPS editorial system. Customers such as Coop, Migros and BaZ are acquired as a result. Start of then change-over of the magazines published by the “Tages Anzeiger” publishing house (“Annabelle”, “Schweizer Familie”, “TA-Magazin”, etc.). 

The support and service business is becoming increasingly important in terms of sale in addition to the hardware and software business and a&f consistently develops this sector.

1992: a&f’s focus in 1992 is on the first major newspaper projects. 

The first database-supported editorial systems are installed simultaneously at the “Blick” and “Schaffhauser Nachrichten”. More than 170 computers are installed and 200 employees trained in their new tool in this major project. 

Also in 1992, many reproduction companies brave the step toward DTR with some huge installations (up to 200 GB direct access). a&f establishes itself in this market as well.

1991: a&f is becoming the largest Apple Macintosh seller in Switzerland. a&f increasingly sells SUN workstations as powerful file, print and OPI servers for large networks. 

Both “Glarner Nachrichten” and “Zuger Nachrichten” are changed over to fully electronic full-page make-up in 1991. The impossible becomes reality thanks to the great cooperation between the publishing house and a&f: including project phase, the entire “Glarner Nachrichten” is changed over in just three weeks! 

Apple and IBM join forces for the “Power PC” project. 

1990: The focus is once again on a change of address. a&f moves from the Trotte to the spacious Sandgruebestrasse.. This building provides a total of 1000 square metres of office, retail and demonstration space as well as a large warehouse.

a&f changes the entire commercial print department of Zollikofer AG in St. Gallen over to Apple Macintosh (commercial print operations).  

a&f gains a reputation as a network specialist and system integrator during various major projects in the print sector. 

1988: On 6 May, the company is renamed to A&F Computer-Systeme AG – only two days after it was crowned as one of the first official AppleCentres in Switzerland. 

The Schöftland printing house is the first book printer whose pre-press segment is completely changed over to Macintosh by A&F Computer-Systeme AG at the end of 1988. The system is continuously expanded over the years up to the integration of high-end colour images.

Many other print shops follow this example with A&F Computersysteme AG as their partner.

1987: Urs Felber splits up from his partner and continues to manage the company on his own. a&f grows steadily and moves yet again. This time, to Sursee at the Trotte centre.  

Apple launches the first modular Mac II, and Aldus presents FreeHand 1.0 for the first time.  

a&f is involved in the first DTP projects. A 200-page catalogues is created using PageMaker 1.2.

1986: AF Computer-Systeme moves to Schenkon at the start of 1986. The company now has three full-time employees.

Adobe launches Illustrator 1.0 and Quark attempts to compete with Aldus PageMaker with its XPress 1.0.

1985: Apple sells the first post script printer (CHF 19,800!). Aldus launches Pagemaker 1.0. AF integrates Macs and Lisa computers for Apple Germany in a large network at an advertising agency in Munich. A 20 MByte Omni drive is used as a server. It costs CHF 22,000!

1984: On 31 July, at the young age of 20, Urs Felber founds AF Computer-Systeme together with Herbert Andres. The office and “first head office” was located in a colourfully painted underground garage.

The company survived off EDP courses and selling Apple lle and llc. The sales target is one device per month…! 

Apple launches the first Macintosh 128k at the end of the year.