Jürgen Rautert — The View from ‘Hei’ Above
PI: Do you have plans to increase equipment parts sourcing and manufacturing from Europe to China? The U.S.?
Rautert: It is most important for Heidelberg to utilize all reasonable sources and some parts are better sourced in Europe, some in Asia and some in the U.S. Independently from the question of origin, it is mandatory for us to treat every single component as a Heidelberg part that has undergone a thorough inspection and has been designed, made and assembled according to Heidelberg’s quality and performance standards.
In order to do this, of course, we have to keep our eyes open to identify growth potential in different local markets. This is where China comes into the picture: Our Chinese factory near Shanghai was built to open and to serve the local market with machines such as the Stahlfolder KHC 66/78 and the Printmaster PM 52. Those products are well accepted by the Chinese customers and our throughput in the factory has increased steadily. We added PM74's and we plan further expansion.
Likewise, our manufacturing plant for the QM 46 in Sidney, OH, is also well on track. Staff training in Germany for the U.S. workers has been accomplished and we expect the first American-built machine to ship in August. The entire serial production should be ramped up at the end of this year.
What is paramount for us is that every customer receive the quality he expects from Heidelberg, and this goes for all our plants, whether in Germany, China or the United States.
PI: Can you comment on the assistance (loan) Heidelberg recently received from the German government.
Rautert: My short answer is that the financing for Heidelberg is warranted—even in this critical phase of the financial crisis. This will secure the future, the innovative strength and technology leadership of Heidelberg as a force in the printing industry.
Now let’s take a look at the details: The German government initiated a 120 billion euro support program to assist companies through the economic downturn based on the financial crisis. Any company can participate in this program if certain prerequisite criteria are met. The government loan and state guarantee is only granted to companies that can show that their business strategy is compelling and, consequently, their ongoing business is sustainable. To ensure that the criteria are met the government assigned public accountants—like PwC —to take a close look at each enrollee's request.