Vendors Say: One Is Better Than Two
It had to happen. It's no secret that the overall shrinkage of the commercial print sector would eventually put a lot of pressure on the bindery systems manufacturers. The recent decision by Heidelberg to basically exit the finishing systems manufacturing business was a sign.
The fact is that times are not easy for bindery systems manufacturers, if you're primarily building the traditional iron for commercial finishing. The "action" in recent years has been much more on the digital side, with finishing being sold along with the many continuous inkjet presses. This has forced the major players that haven't pivoted to the digital market to do so.
But it is also forcing them to take a good hard look at their peers and thinking "maybe we should be in this together?" Let's look at it this way, if you're selling saddle stitchers and perfect binders, you've got your own dedicated sales force. If your selling (primarily) folders, you also have a dedicated sales force. And here's the kicker, your salespeople are calling on the same prospects. Given the current state of the business, wouldn't it make sense to combine these two entities into one to be more efficient and contain costs?
That's my thinking, but I would bet that these thoughts are being seriously examined by some of the leading finishing systems players out there. The opportunity space that is out there in the industry right now cannot support as many individual manufacturers as there are. Like any other industry facing the same problems, it may be time for some of these vendors to consolidate.