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Jürgen Rautert — The View from ‘Hei’ Above

August 2009
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WTH THE printing industry, and global economy, in turmoil, Heidelberg perhaps best represents a case study of an equipment manufacturer facing difficult times, tight credit markets and the challenge of how to best position itself within the industry’s digital future. 

In an exclusive interview with Printing Impressions, Dr. Jürgen Rautert—member of the Management Board responsible for sales, customer- and market-focused activities, product management, services, consumables and marketing for Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG—talks candidly about the challenges and opportunities. Below is the complete transcript of the interview. 

PI: Do you see a recovery in process or do you expect that business will continue to be depressed through the end of Q4 2009? What practical signs of recovery do you see in Heidelberg’s business now?

Rautert: As a global company with a presence in more than 170 countries, we are facing local markets with different economical situations. While business was already down in the U.S., other countries continue to enjoy good business. Here is an example from Central Europe: During the last open house in Switzerland, we closed approximately U.S. $6.5 million—and this was in June 2009! The markets in Asia are also different. Following “Print China” in May 2009 we are also confident, because the business exceeded our expectations. If you ask about future development there is no global answer, but we are prepared to adjust to the situation.

PI: What potential do you see for worldwide sales over the next 12 months? 

Rautert: The financial year 2009/2010, which sees us through April 2010, will remain difficult. However, in the last six months we’ve had customers approach us seeking guidance in the areas of workflow, print color management and business development, which is very encouraging. Many of our customers want to improve their business by improving their existing equipment—and they’re doing it by partnering with us. This is another clear indication that attention to quality in all areas is what counts at the end of the day. 

Now it’s important to add that our strategy remains viable for the future: Of course, the sheetfed offset market is our core market, and our strength in that market over the years is a growth potential for us now. Our broad portfolio of installed equipment is a tremendous asset in today’s difficult economic environment

 

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