12 February 2017 Business

Hundsdörfer lays down challenge as Heidelberg Goes Digital

The new CEO is shaking up the press manufacturer accelerating the transformation into a business able to lead the transition of print into a digitally focused industry.

Heidelberg’s new CEO Rainer Hundsdörfer is pushing Heidelberg into a new strategy with establishment of new divisions for Digital Technology, led by Stephan Plenz and Digital Business and Digital Services under new recruit Dr Ulrich Hermann.

The headline, says Hundsdörfer, addressing analysts on the release of Heidelberg's Q3 figures is 'Heidelberg goes digital'. He has been in charge for 100 days after being appointed with the goal of increasing sales and profitability. “The challenge for the coming year as the new CEO is to drive up profitability and secondly the digital transformation must be carried forward and speeded up,” he says.

The line up of products at Drupa 2016 including the Heidelberg Cloud, Smart print shop concept and Heidelberg Assistant, are the basis for the transformation, but could also include bolt on acquisitions. In order to achieve growth targets Hundsdörfer says the company will require both “organic and external growth opportunities”. These are unspecified, though recent deals have tended to increase the range of consumables and sales network that Heidelberg has rather than the digital technology it might offer.

Changes to sales network will follow in the new financial year. Currently most activity is based on a relationship model, says the CEO. In future he wants to change this to a model “driven by facts, figures and data”.

He is building on a business that has been steadied into a profitable, albeit not vastly profitable business. The Q3 results show a huge backlog in orders, created by orders for more sophisticated presses at Drupa 2016 which have yet to be delivered. This will take place in the final quarter of the year and will take sales to €800 million to close the year on target for €1.9 billion.

The inability to fulfil the orders received resulted in a dip in sales to €608 million (€640 million), though the impact of efficiencies increased operating profit to €49 million (€40 million).

There will be growth from changing Heidelberg into a business that is faster, more flexible and more productive necessary for a digital future, according to Hundsdörfer. Much of this will fall to the new division with responsibility for marketing the strategy to both existing print customers and those outside the printing industry.

Hundsdörfer adds: “After 100 days I can see that Heidelberg is well positioned to become the leader in the digital transformation of the machinery industry.”

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Rainer Hundsdörfer

Rainer Hundsdörfer

Rainer Hundsdörfer has been CEO of Heidelberg for 100 days, He has devised a strategy involving the creation of two new divisions as part of a digital first direction. Stephan Plenz will head one of these, Ulrich Hermann the other.

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