Finding a space in the spotlight

Jo Francis
Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Peter Redmond is on a mission. The new managing director at Manroland Sheetfed UK wants the firm to be much more in the mix when printers are considering purchasing a new press. Actually, to be in the mix in the first place.

Manroland Sheetfed has been part of Langley Holdings since 2012, when billionaire businessman Tony Langley jumped on the opportunity to add the German manufacturer’s knowhow to his diverse engineering group after the old Manroland, as was, hit the buffers. 

The sheetfed business has been in profit ever since, which is laudable, but it’s fair to say that it hasn’t exactly been setting the world alight when it comes to new press sales, certainly in the UK. 

Aside from the notable sale of a Roland 700 to fashion house David Nieper in 2013 the company has been more focused on service and support for its existing user base, which includes some large packaging groups that remain loyal to Manroland technology as well as users of its specialist and VLF presses. 

Redmond, who joined the business in March, has the advantage of knowing both the industry and what he’s getting into – he worked at the old Manroland for more than six years, as national sales manager and then director of service, before moving on to senior roles at Komori and Bobst. 

In his new role, his goal is to make sure Manroland Sheetfed is definitely part of the conversation in future.

“We’ve gone under the radar to some extent, and I want to put us in the spotlight – we can be outgoing and proud of what we’ve got,” he says. 

“We have a strong story to tell around reputation, quality and heritage, and we’re a solid UK organisation, supported by the Langley Group, and with no debts.” He also points out that a number of its Direct Drive presses have been installed at UK printers via used machinery channels. 

New connections

The 20-strong firm has around 150 existing customers here, but Redmond wants to ensure the business is in the mix for new press orders, even where the firm doesn’t have an existing connection with the customer. 

“I want us to be involved in the right projects and with things we have a chance of winning,” he explains. 

He points to the Roland 700 Evolution B1 platform as an example of where he believes the manufacturer has a potentially compelling offering. 

“It’s one platform, with a modular concept. We can ask the client what they want to achieve, and then construct a proper specification. 

“It’s similar to Jaguar, where you have a base car and then add all the options required. Generally, people like that and it makes us really flexible in B1,” he adds. 

Of course, the competition for sheetfed press orders is as tough as it ever has been, with formidable established competitors in the shape of Heidelberg, Koenig & Bauer, Komori and RMGT. 

In Langley Holdings’ latest financial report, chairman Tony Langley said that volumes at the press manufacturer had fallen “as a result of aggressive competitor price pressure”. “I have given leave for the company to respond and as Manroland is far leaner than its competitors, burdened by neither bloated cost structures or exorbitant finance costs, I am confident that volumes will be more than regained in the second half,” he stated, which certainly makes it sound like Redmond has the necessary backing to join the battle. 

“Tony Langley has given us fantastic support and he has challenged us, quite rightly,” Redmond says. “We’re being more aggressive and I want us to be involved with projects and to be winning projects.”

Redmond says that in his first few months of visiting customers and potential customers “there hasn’t been one customer who has knocked me back”.

He’s also been encouraged by the high esteem customers have for the firm’s service and support team. “Customer service is the reason why one company is better than another – delivering on promises,” he says. 

“Everything is performance-led, and in offset most customers are performance-driven. If the machine doesn’t perform then you’re going to have problems. I can see that we’ve got something valuable that we can offer to customers, and I’m looking at the sector not just our existing customer base.”

Redmond says he has a “very logical brain” and likes to keep things simple. And his simple goal for Manroland Sheetfed is this: sell more presses. 

“It will be a shock to competitors and customers when we start being more involved in projects. My goal is to start selling machines, and not just one a year. That mission begins now.” 


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