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Harald Weimer Shares About Stepping in as Heidelberg's New President

Published on December 9, 2011

Patrick Henry and President of Heidelberg Harald Weimer discuss his background with the company and his recent appointment as incoming president of Heidelberg.

Pat Henry:  This is Pat Henry with WhatTheyThink and today we are very happy to have with us Harald Weimer.  Harald Weimer is the incoming President of Heidelberg USA.  Welcome.

Harald Weimer:  Thanks, Pat.

Pat Henry:  Mr. Weimer, I wonder if you could begin by telling us a bit about yourself, your background with Heidelberg, your other postings with the company, and your experience with Heidelberg.

Harald Weimer:  I’m since 13 years working now for Heidelberg.  Before that I have a background as an Industrial Engineer.  And before moving to Heidelberg I had five years working for Xerox in the sales area.  And in 13 years at Heidelberg I was the first year based in Germany responsible for an area of direct imaging, and then working in the digital equipment for the NexPress **** in the joint venture with Kodak

Pat Henry:  Oh sure, yes.

Harald Weimer:  And I was responsible in that time for Germany and Switzerland.  After Heidelberg took the decision to step out of the joint venture, I went up to Düsseldorf and have been five years responsible as a Branch Manager within Germany, responsible for sales, for service, and for administration.  And recently now, since a little bit more than two and a half years, I’m responsible for Mexico for the operation down there in Mexico, for the service, for everything for sales, everything included there.

Pat Henry:  You clearly have an international perspective and I wonder if you could tell us how you think that the American market, and I understand that this is all relatively new, but how you think the American market will be different from other markets that you’ve served, how it will be similar?

Harald Weimer:  Well, if we are looking right now to what’s going on, also from the customers, we will have more and more international customers, from Heidelberg prospective customers, demanding for serving their customers, like customers like Procter & Gamble at the end.  Obviously, talking about these kinds of customers, the demand in a country like Mexico or United States or Germany is not that different.  

But obviously, we are talking about a majority of our customers, especially in the commercial print.  We see another level of services which is requested from a country like United States or like Germany.  And I would rather compare for that point Germany with the United States and Mexico with the United States.  Mexico is still an emerging market demanding other services, finding another area than the United States, so we see much more services requested here, professional service.  Besides just fixing machines, we are talking here about consultancy, we are talking about education.  So we are talking about many of these things and I think we show quite some of them during the show.

Pat Henry:  I’m sure that as the incoming President of Heidelberg USA you are going to be spending a lot of time on the road meeting with Heidelberg customers, listening to their concerns.  I just wonder what message you were going to be bringing them from Heidelberg.  What do you want them to know about this company in 2011?

Harald Weimer:  I think you’re absolutely right, Pat.  I mean I was all of my life I was working very close with customers and I’m really looking forward now working now with customers here in the United States, working with our great organization that we have in the United States.  The thing that we had to focus on at the end is everything is about services.  I mean we have beautiful products and I got great feedback from our customers about the product, if it’s a pre-press press or post-press.  

But at the end we have to make sure, together with our customers, with the right services, that we bring the machine on a very productive and efficient level.  And this is talking about service, this is talking about education, this is talking about consulting; it’s talking about integrating solutions.  I mean at the end of the situation, many of the customers say that they have to diversify, that they have to bring new solutions in.  But the question is how to integrate, how to have color management over all of the solutions.  In that area, obviously, we at Heidelberg have to work on it, get more expertise, and then we have to bring it to the market.

Pat Henry:  And what are the difficulties, what were the challenges of bringing this message to the market?  Are printers receptive?  Do you feel that they understand the new directions that they have to go in?

Harald Weimer:  Well, at the end I have to say the printers are customers, and we are a mirror of our customers.  I mean we have to do some exercise in that respect, I have to say.  And obviously, then we have to bring it to the market and show lithographics for upcoming shows like the Drupa.  I mean it’s then obviously also a perfect platform to bring it into the market.  But we still should not forget that we still have 350 people in the technical service at the customer side, so we have not only, let’s say our account managers for the equipment and the consumables, but we have to run it through the entire company and to bring it to the market.  And I think we are making good progress.

Pat Henry:  Well again, Mr. Weimer, thank you.  Welcome once more to the U.S. market.

Harald Weimer:  Thanks, Pat.

Pat Henry:  And thank you for making your debut with WhatTheyThink.  We really appreciate it and we wish you the best of luck.

Harald Weimer:  Thanks a lot, Pat.  Appreciate it and looking forward to working together with everybody here in the United States.  Thanks, everybody.

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