Industry unfazed by Heidelberg move

Darryl Danielli
Monday, August 11, 2014

Heidelberg’s decision to withdraw from a clutch of post-press markets, in either a sales or manufacturing sense (and in some cases both) seems to have been met by a fairly muted response.

While the bulk of its post-press business centres around Stahl folders and Polar cutters, you might still expect, with 350 high-volume stitchers and binders in the UK, a fair few customers would be slightly concerned. However, the news has been met by little more than a Gallic-style shrug. 

Equally, Muller Martini will no doubt be swapping its usual Swiss reserve for a few new national stereotypes of its own, perhaps dancing a merry jig and possibly even letting rip with some whooping and a hollering.

And with good reason.

The Swiss manufacturer has had some tough times of its own in recent years. So to be gifted the cash-generative service, spares and support business of its biggest rival in the commercial stitching and binding market must be a welcome boon – and that’s before you even take into account the potential spike in new sales.

However, the deal must be incredibly complex for it to include service and support for machines under warranty and ensure the availability of spares for a decade or more. How Muller plans to beef up its service to accommodate for its army of new customers will be interesting too.

In fact, I’m guessing that even taking the German worker councils into consideration, the offshoring of its packaging post-press portfolio might turn out to be the easier part of the process. 

Then again, Heidelberg seemed to manage the transition well enough when it sold the web portfolio to Goss.

So perhaps customers have good reason to be relatively relaxed? 

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