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Koenig & Bauer’s New ‘Exceeding Print’ Strategy

Wurzburg-based press manufacturing giant Koenig & Bauer is setting itself sustainability goals with its new corporate strategy Exceeding Print. As a member of the UN Global Compact, the world’s largest sustainability initiative, the aim is to further its efforts to deliver ecological, social, and community responsibilities.

The German company is continuing to proceed with its transformation from a traditional manufacturer of printing press machinery into an agile technology group. Using global megatrends and intense discussions with customers and industry experts, the firm has defined its strategic direction for the next few years towards more digitalisation and a higher degree of modularity. The company aims for more success in the core business market, with packaging printing at the forefront – resulting in less material and energy being used in printing processes, making them more sustainable.

“By 2025, we are aiming to reduce CO2 emissions in our production plants by 75%, and intend to be completely carbon-neutral from 2030 on,” announces CEO Dr Andreas Plesske.

As a member of the 4evergreen alliance, Koenig & Bauer can work with manufacturers of paper and cardboard, folding carton producers, brand owners, technology and material suppliers, along with the collection, sorting, and recycling industry, at an early stage to find appropriate solutions. The company also maintains a partnership with ClimatePartner and VDMA-initiative Blue Competence to reduce carbon footprint, becoming the first manufacturer of printing machinery to become a member of the Healthy Printing initiative.

As the oldest manufacturer of printing machinery in the world, Koenig & Bauer has always considered its role to be that of an industry pioneer and an innovative force. COO Michael Ulverich stresses, “The modular principle ensures that the customers continue to benefit from tailor-made solutions. The standardisation opens up more opportunities for innovation and individualisation, while maintaining the same high quality at the same time.”

Digital services are becoming increasingly important for networking machines, collecting and analysing data, and controlling processes efficiently. Digital services based on highly scalable cloud platforms are made available to customers via a portal for collaboration. Analysis of machine data forms the basis of evaluating performances to set benchmarks in industrial scenarios.

“Koenig & Bauer made the switch to a cloud-based Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform, a leading industry product, back in 2010,” adds Ralf Sammeck, CDO and Director of Sheetfed segment. “Software is driving our transformation from a manufacturer of machinery to a technology company,” Sammeck continues. “Our customers benefit from the consistent process integration and from data-optimised job management processes that use data as a basis.”

The company is responding to the trend towards hybrid printing processes in the paper, board, corrugated board, and film segments by combining analogue and digital printing and finishing technologies. Christoph Mueller, Executive Vice President of Digital & Web is convinced that digital printing processes will be a catalyst for new business models. “We are assuming that most of the companies that will be our customers in future have not even been founded yet,” adds Mueller.

CFO Dr Stephen M Kimmich is convinced that by committing to deliver on ecological, social, and community responsibility, the company is sending an important signal to the capital market.

“Our Exceeding Print strategy allows us to promote sustainability as the greatest challenge that the packaging industry will be facing in future, and uphold our claim to leadership when it comes to digitalisation,” says Dr Plesske, summing up the measures that were decided on.

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