Thirlby started in his new joint role, as global senior vice-president, commercial segment, and head of subscription sales, last Monday (8 January).
He will report to David Schmedding, head of corporate and digital business development, while Juergen Grimm has moved into the role of head of digital solutions.
Thirlby will maintain a direct relationship with Grimm and his team, to carry on the message of Heidelberg’s Smart Print Shop and Push to Stop strategies, which aim to increase customers’ overall performance by integrating digital and offset technology using Prinect Digital Front End.
He told PrintWeek: “I’ve been heading up the software division for the last 18 months and more and more emphasis was coming onto the Smart Print Shop and Push to Stop operating systems and business models that we’ve been creating for customers.
“So the natural extension for that is that we have a new business channel coming out called Subscription, which will put everything together from a software, consumables and machinery perspective and give customers different eco-systems to guarantee certain levels of productivity.
“Then the emphasis would be having a more cost-effective solution for them to start their relevant journey into the Smart Print Shop and Push to Stop, and have a different revenue mechanism out of the back of the shared benefit as they grow and hit the guaranteed numbers.
“It’s a different infrastructure, but we’re seeing more and more customers have a huge requirement of adapting more technology into their businesses, but how and where do you start? I’ve been spending a lot of time doing different seminars and workshops with people to just try and understand what it is they see as their major pain points.”
Heidelberg first announced that it was looking to deviate from its current business model to a more performance-based business model related to print production volumes last summer.
Thirlby said the commercial segment element of his new role aims to give customers more of a voice within the business.
“This helps to ensure that we’ve got the right product development and the strategy around what our customers are telling us they need.
“It’s also about working internally within the different business units to ensure we’ve got the right support structure, not just for customers for today, but what their visions and viewpoints are in terms of how they need to adapt moving forward for the foreseeable future.”
Thirlby began working at Heidelberg in 2016, after taking on the role of general manager for Heidelberg’s worldwide Prinect business.
He had left Pureprint two months prior, after overseeing a raft of investments and productivity improvements at the group. Prior to joining Pureprint Thirlby was managing director at ESP Colour in Swindon, where he established himself as a worldwide authority on print automation, process improvement, and the industrialisation of printing processes.