Muller Martini UK grouped with Northern Europe in global restructure
By Pamela Mardle Friday, 21 September 2012
Muller Martini is in the process of restructuring its global operations, PrintWeek can exclusively reveal, and has quashed rumours that this could result in the closure of its UK headquarters.
Jutta Thellmann, marketing director at the global finishing equipment manufacturer, said that rumours about the company removing its UK base to run operations directly from the headquarters in Switzerland were "absolutely not true".
Thellmann clarified speculation by admitting that the company was in the very early stages of moving from a local to a regional operating structure that will result in its forty subsidiaries around the world being grouped under eight regional operations.
Asia, China, South America, North America, Eastern Europe, Southern Europe, and Northern Europe will have central bases overseeing local activities in each associated country, while Germany will become its own region due to the strength of the market.
Muller Martini's UK subsidiary will be grouped with Northern Europe under the new structure.
Northern Europe’s regional director is yet to be decided, as is its headquarters, although Thellmann said that both would be based in the region’s most profitable market.
She said: "The most important thing is that the regional director is not sitting in the least attractive market."
UK managing director Andreas Schillinger, who currently reports directly to the board, would report to the regional director under the new structure.
Schillinger is currently leading a review of the UK structure, which could lead to more staff being home- or road-based, although this is undecided as yet.
He said: "We are presently organising ourselves to implement the structure. Our priority is to provide continuity in our dealings with our clients and I am working together with my colleagues to achieve that."
Thellmann said: "A lot of salespeople and service engineers all over the world are already home-based. If we base everything from a local headquarter then travel costs become too expensive."
She added that the intention was to have one specialist per machine in each region. This is to eliminate the need for a specialist in every country for every machine, including ones that might only be sold once or twice a year.
According to Thellmann, the board decided to switch to a regional management structure to "pool know-how and customer support".
She said: "Since 2007 our industry has shrunk considerably. We had to release people or people left us because they didn’t trust the print industry anymore. This meant that we had tiny to middle-sized organisations which didn’t have the skills needed for our broad portfolio anymore.
"We decided against continuing to run our subsidiaries autonomously and building up skills in each individual country because it is too costly and we honestly can’t afford that."
It is expected that a number of big changes within the company will be announced in the next few weeks but as yet, the strategy implementation is still in its very early stages.
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