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The Business As Usual

The news regarding the changes in Heidelberg has triggered discussions and speculations. Based on Heidelberg’s announcement few weeks ago the German giant will no longer manufacture saddle stitchers and perfect binders; however the company is still involved in production and sales of postpress equipment. To shed light on what all these changes mean for printers in the Middle East we sat down with Mazen El Tibi Director of Sales & Marketing for Heidelberg Middle East. Here are the excerpts:

Heidelberg is slashing its post press offerings, what does this mean for Middle East region in particular?
Heidelberg is not slashing Postpress offering! We are still very much involved in postpress. We have restructured the business according to the market and our customers’ demands. Heidelberg continues the production of folders and cutters with new additional offerings. We also continue postpress packaging production in partnership with Chinese manufacturer Masterwork Machinery (MK).

We sale and service the equipment and MK will be involved in R&D and manufacturing. Heidelberg will continue offering Varimatrix, Easygluer and Diana. As well as services for installed base of binders and stitchers. Meanwhile Heidelberg discontinues production and sales of stitchers and binders.

Based on Heidelberg press release Muller Martini is picking up the ongoing service business on Heidelberg’s installed saddle stitchers and perfect binders globally, how do  youplan to make this transition in our region?
Heidelberg distributors remain responsible for service and supply of spare parts of the  of Heidelberg stitchers and binders.

Since Heidelberg has been focusing on service as a means of generating more revenues it seems odd that you actually are now outsourcing the service operation for your packaging postpress equipment and saddle stitchers and perfect binders to third party?
Heidelberg has never announced to stop sales and service for postpress packaging. This is a core competence of Heidelberg.

Heidelberg distributors will also remain responsible for the service of folders, cutters, stitchers and binders as up to now.

What will happen to machines that are still in guarantee and the availability of spare parts?
All warranty and service responsibilities will remain with the Heidelberg distributors. Heidelberg distributors will supply spare parts for at least 5 years after installation of the machine.

Can you give me more details about your cooperation with Masterwork Machinery? Does this cooperation means that they will manufacture a brand new diecutting machine under Heidelberg brand or they sell their existing range of products under Heidelberg brand?
Not all details of the cooperation with Masterworks are decided. MK will offer some of their existing machines under Heidelberg brand and will not develop new products based on Heidelberg know-how. Heidelberg will continue to supply Diana folder gluer from their own manufacturing site. Varimatrix and Easygluer will be available without change and will be developed further.

Does your cooperation with Masterwork means there will be more cooperation with Chinese manufacturers in area of press manufacturing as well? Since you already have a factory in China this cooperation seems a logical next step?
Heidelberg has a wholly owned manufacturing site for presses in China. There will be no change, however a manufacturing site for parts is under discussion jointly with MK.

Heidelberg is determined to have a bigger share of lucrative digital printing as well. Heidelberg’s strategic cooperation with Ricoh has already been extended to the Middle East. Have you already introduced these machines to the Market?
We are starting to launch Ricoh products which we sell under Linoprint brand. We have already appointed a dedicated sale and service team for our digital offerings.

But your competitor Giffin Graphics is also selling similar products from Ricoh. Don’t you think this will lead to some sort of clash of interests?
No. Not at all. First of all we are only selling Ricoh ProTM C901 Graphic Arts Edition and not the whole range. Also our machine comes with Prinect workflow which adds value to the whole print engine.

We are not just selling the engine. As I already mentioned we are targeting our existing customers and also prospects.  But they all are printers and familiar with end to end digital workflow. For those who already have Prinect our Linoprint machine is a perfect solution for their short run, variable data and quick turnaround digital printing jobs.

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