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Man Roland's Finkbeiner: drupa 2004: Mixed Feelings

Press release from the issuing company

February 16, 2004 -- (statement by Gerd Finkbeiner, CEO of MAN Roland Druckmaschinen AG) -- Who is not anxiously awaiting the days in Düsseldorf with mixed feelings? An old German proverb says: “In May everything’s fresh and new”. Will drupa in May give the industry a big thrust forward, as it has so often done in the past? Will it mark a new start and put the print services providers on track for recovery and sustained growth? The present situation rather indicates that it won’t. The global economy is admittedly improving but growth rates are still not sufficient to stimulate the printing industry, even when some people are already talking about strong economic recovery. The advertising and publishing industries are still searching for concepts with which they can arrest the decline of recent years by their own efforts. And the printing industry? It’s right in the middle of a far-reaching transformation process which involves capacity adjustment and also demands new business models. Investments in Special Applications In view of this, are the prospects of a springtime revival in Düsseldorf dismal? Not necessarily, because many printing companies have already decided to move forward now and not wait for the economic recovery. They are transforming their companies into modern services providers which first of all analyse precisely what their customers want and need, and then have the courage to invest in the equipment they require for their specific applications. This makes them trendsetters, which many others can follow. Automation and Total Integration As they are doing this, these pioneers are utilising all the opportunities that automation offers. And digital workflows are increasingly overcoming the obstacles associated with separate production stages. Total integration of administrative, organisational and technical processes driven by software solutions also supports automation. A fully-automated production process from transferring data to the print form right through to the finished product is already reality. In the near future, JDF-based solutions will also help to make all the upstream, downstream and surrounding processes more efficient. And they will also guarantee that contracted quality is provided despite the fact that shorter turnaround times are demanded. Added Value for Inimitable Services This in turn creates latitude for the media services providers to concentrate more on creative applications, on the customers’ special wishes, and on refining their business models. They put themselves more and more in the position of their customers to understand what they really want and offer them print products tailor-made to the communications solutions they are seeking. The added value thus created makes their services inimitable and unique. drupa: Marketplace and Communications Platform drupa 2004 will focus very strongly on total integration. But it will also be characterised by a higher level of cooperation, communication, and advisory services. Merely parading high-tech items and gigantic machines would not help the printing industry and its supply industry to find the solutions needed for their future tasks. And so MAN Roland will have fewer exhibits in Düsseldorf than is normally the case. Instead it will be there with selected high-tech solutions, as an open cooperation partner in PrintCity, and as a total integration pioneer with printnet. The special emphasis on the topics of applications, automation and added value all interacting will change the character of drupa. It will be a marketplace for technical innovations, and a platform for communication and decision-making for more creative business models in the future. It’s not only the economic stalemate that makes for mixed feelings. The imminent changes to the business alignment of many companies in our industry will cause even more emotional ups and downs. But after having mixed feelings, one always makes a decision. Those wishing to move forward will experience a drupa that opens up previously unknown possibilities. The advance of total integration will see the printing industry positioned as a future-oriented services sector that plays a leading role in the communications business.