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Bernhard Schreier provides an update on Heidelberg's packaging initiatives

Published on July 3, 2012

Pat Henry: This is Pat Henry, WhatTheyThink, and with us today is Bernhard Schreier. Mr. Schreier is Chairman of the Board of Management, Heidelberg Druckmaschinen AG. Thank you for being with us today, Bernhard.

Bernhard Schreier: Sure.

Pat Henry: I’d like to catch up a little bit on what’s been happening with Heidelburg and of course we identify Heidelberg most strongly with sheet-fed lithographic printing equipment, but in recent years the company has moved pretty aggressively in to being a supplier of machinery for package production. And I wonder if you could tell us what you have and how you’re presenting it to your customers?

Bernhard Schreier: I’m glad to do so. In fact, since 2004 we are positioning ourselves as being a solution provider. A solution provider for the commercial print as well as for the packaging printing. In terms of packaging printing, it was obvious for us that if you want to run a very professional and a very productive print shop today in packaging, it needs complete solutions. From pre-press press to post-press and post-press in packaging and folding carton packaging it’s mainly die cutting, it’s photo gluing and it’s also the integration of workflow, which plays a major role. And without having that combined, without having the opportunity to optimize the entire workflow it’s really difficult to enlarge productivity at the extent as it should be. And therefore, it’s our clear commitment we need to be a solution provider for high professional packaging printers.

Pat Henry: How much interest do you see on the part of printers who are not now doing packaging, but who would like to get in to it? Is there more interest than their used to be? Are they convinced it’s something that they need to do?

Bernhard Schreier: It’s a big step to do so.

Pat Henry: Right.

Bernhard Schreier: That means a peer commercial printer today has to invest a lot to become competitive and in the environment of packaging. And therefore, there are few niches to step in to, but if you want to be in a high volume packaging printer, that’s really another subject than commercial printing.

Pat Henry: To turn to a completely new area of opportunity for Heidelberg, the company made news at Drupa by announcing that it would license the future development of the new Nanographic Inkjet technology from the Landa Group. A lot of news circulating around that. I wonder, though, why Heidelberg would take the rather large risk of investing in the future development of an unproven technology, even Benny Landa himself says it’s at least about a year away from commercial availability? Why do you find it attractive? Why is that a risk worth taking for Heidelberg?

Bernhard Schreier: Look, Heidelberg is not in a position in doing such decision within a two days look at something. So since many months we are looking in to the technology, we are looking in to the risk factor, but also in to the opportunity factor. And what we have found out is that there is a big chance for the future, a big opportunity to drive this technology to a very high level. It’s not yet finished; there is a lot of work to do. There is a lot of fine-tuning to do in this technology, but if we are successful with this technology that might really introduce a new dimension of printing for the future. And this is why we embrace this technology and we made a corporation agreement with Landa to continue to develop together this technology. And everybody who knows Heidelberg is that we won’t bring something to the market which won’t work. And therefore, I think Heidelberg is the right one to look at it and to bring it to a good finish.

Pat Henry: Thank you for catching us up on the details.

Bernhard Schreier: Thank you very much for being interested.

Pat Henry: Okay. Well, we’re very interested.

Bernhard Schreier: Thanks a lot.

Pat Henry: Pat Henry, WhatTheyThink. Thanks for watching.

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Discussion

By Chuck Gehman on Jul 03, 2012

Just when we think we have it figured out, along comes a little entrepreneur with a new idea.

A little grocery store in Austin, TX thinks there should be no packaging, http://in.gredients.com/

I remember another little grocery store chain founded in Austin, called Whole Foods, which in a very short time went from 1 little store to more than 300 globally (and counting) and a $17 Billion market cap.

 

By Patrick Henry on Jul 03, 2012

Chuck, thanks for the link to in.gredients--it's a fascinating concept for food retailing.

Thanks also for the reminder that Whole Foods--a retail chain with an enormous commitment to conventional packaging--is doing well.

 

By Chuck Gehman on Jul 03, 2012

You are such a Koolaid drinker Pat! Me, too... but it's good to know trends are out there on the horizon!

It's not as simple as "packaging will always be necessary", which is the new mantra we are hearing chanted in the industry. Certainly it is very robust.

And I use the Whole Foods example of something unheard of, that quickly became extremely large.

Maybe Starbucks is a better analogy-- when they first launched (in the late 80s), Howard Schultz made presentations to more than 200 investors-- the vast majority said no, because consumption of coffee had been declining since the mid-1960s and people did not believe customers would pay $1.50 or more for a cup of coffee.

This kind of trend can catch on quickly these days; the adoption rate for new ideas is faster. The world can change overnight.

 

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