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Andy interviews Heidelberg's Dr. Christian Compera about their digital printing strategy

Published on April 12, 2011

Andy holds an interview with Dr Christian Compera, Senior Vice President, Digital Printing of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG to discuss some of the Heidelber/Ricoh digital printing strategy recently announced.

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Discussion

By Rossitza Sardjeva on Apr 13, 2011

When Heidelberg sold their digital department to Kodak (Nexpress), it was wrong, and now they acknowledge it!

 

By Andrew Tribute on Apr 13, 2011

Hello Rossitza

I'm afraid you are wrong on this and not Heidelberg. The Nexpress was a great piece of equipment but with limitations. It was designed for very high volume production and the typical Heidelberg customer did not fit this profile. It also had too high a manufacturing cost for the price it could sell for and every sale was probably at a loss. Heidelberg sales staff at the time were not trained well for selling digital and often tried to switch a customer to offset. Heidelberg had to get out of digital to help save the company and they were losing a huge amount with Nexpress. This time they have taking a real look at the market and have come forward with a far more suitable market driven solution and a partner that has the capabilities to move them forward to be a significant player in the digital market.

 

By Chuck Gehman on Apr 13, 2011

Good interview, thanks Andy.

I don't think you are completely correct in your answer to Rossitza. Their staff was actually quite good at selling the Nexpress, and many printers felt very comfortable buying the machines from Heidelberg.

I can name several companies off the top of my head who were big sheetfed Heidelberg customers who added the digital gear because of the trust they had in the company and the reps (than so than in other digital equipment vendors)-- they felt extremely safe buying their first digital press from the same rep who took care of them on the offset side.

Then they were pretty much betrayed by Heidelberg. I recall it being extremely painful and scary for those customers.

I think it's a little bit too easy to look back and say "it was smart of them to divest" the Nexpress and the digital business.

I think it is going to be very interesting to see if they really do understand the market and do have a real solution.

And to see if people will trust them again for these needs, or fear that they are not going to commit to this over the long haul.

Or not see the value add of the organization since so many commercial printers now do have digital equipment and very good relationships with other vendors.

 

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