K&B lays out new ‘Exceeding Print’ strategy

Richard Stuart-Turner
Friday, December 3, 2021

Koenig & Bauer (K&B) has raised the scale of its sustainability ambitions and goals with a new group strategy and outlined details on how it aims to continue its transformation from a traditional machinery manufacturer to “an agile technology group”.

K&B has increased its sustainability goals with the new strategy
K&B has increased its sustainability goals with the new strategy

The German manufacturer said the course it is already taking towards more digitalisation and a higher degree of modularity will both lead to more success in its core business markets and result in less material and energy being used in printing processes, making them more sustainable.

With its new ‘Exceeding Print’ strategy, the group is aiming “to increase even further its efforts to deliver on its ecological, social and community responsibilities”.

“By 2025, we are aiming to reduce CO2 emissions in our production plants by 75%, and intend to be completely carbon-neutral from 2030 on,” said CEO Dr Andreas Pleßke.

“As the industry’s leading provider of sustainable solutions, we help our customers to reduce their ecological footprint. Solutions based on technology that we developed reduce energy consumption, cut waste, and decrease ink and coating consumption, helping to cut CO2 emissions.”

K&B is a member of the 4evergreen Alliance network, and maintains a partnership with ClimatePartner to promote efforts to compensate CO2 emissions by supporting certified projects to protect the climate.

It is also a partner in the ‘BlueCompetence’ sustainability initiative run by the VDMA, and was the first manufacturer of printing machinery to become a member of the ‘Healthy Printing’ network.

The company also highlighted its ongoing digitalisation drive, where it said digital services are becoming increasingly important for networking machines with each other, collecting and analysing data, and controlling processes efficiently.

Ralf Sammeck, executive board member for the Sheetfed segment and CDO, said software “is driving our transformation from a manufacturer of machinery to a technology company”.

“Our customers benefit from the consistent process integration and from data-optimised job management processes that use data as a basis.”

Another of K&B’s plans is to enable full-colour digital printing on carton packaging.

“Digital printing processes will be a catalyst for new business models. We are assuming that most of the companies that will be our customers in future have not even been founded yet,” said Christoph Müller, executive board member for the Digital & Webfed segment.

Finally, K&B said more diversity within the company “in relation to gender, age, and internationality” has, as a social objective, been adopted as part of its strategic blueprint, with a particular focal point being the advancement of women, through mentoring and career programmes for example, as well as initiatives to combat discrimination and racism.

The business said the new strategy will contribute to the achievement of its financial goals for the medium term.

“Our ‘Exceeding Print’ strategy allows us to promote sustainability as the greatest challenge that the packaging industry will be facing in future, and uphold our claim to leadership when it comes to digitalisation,” said Pleßke.

“This means organic growth with our own business models and products, but does not rule out growth through acquisitions.”

K&B filed a big increase in orders in Q3, stating that “customers’ spending reticence is beginning to fade in many areas”.

The company's share price has risen steadily this week, up by 3.53% in the last five days to €29.30 (£25) at the time of writing.

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