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Àngel Perez Vico, director de marketing y e-commerce en Heidelberg

Heidelberg, a leading supplier to the global printing industry, returns to Graphispag to listen to customers and graphics professionals to identify the market’s main needs and concerns in the current context and provide tailor-made solutions. The German multinational offers efficient and reliable production processes, optimal investments and easy access to all necessary materials. Equipment, services and consumables designed to generate added value for the customer. We interviewed Àngel Perez Vico, director of marketing and e-commerce at Heidelberg, to find out about the latest developments in the company and how they are preparing their presence at Graphispag.

Heidelberg has recently experienced new appointments, both in Spain and at the head office. Have you noticed any changes as a result of the management changes?

It is too early to judge, but Heidelberg is evolving rapidly and steadily. Cooperative relationships with new partners such as Munich Re, new business lines such as eMobility and, of course, a changing business environment require new approaches and new strategies. In this context, it is logical to think that managers also have to change. Dr. Ludwin Monz has succeeded Rainer Hundsdörfer as Chairman of the Executive Board of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG since 1 April. Dr. Ludwin Monz holds a PhD in Physics and is a recognised leader in German industry. He comes from Karl Zeiss and has had a long and successful career in technology companies. His track record and CV can tell us something about his inclinations when designing strategies. The path is well defined. Now it is about using Heidelberg’s technological strength to generate new business.

Locally, Gunnar Vogt started as the new CEO of Heidelberg Spain, taking over from José Luís Gutiérrez last January. Gunnar started his career at Heidelberg in 1999 as an engineer and has extensive experience in international markets. He has worked in China, Korea, Indonesia and many of the Latin American markets coordinating the actions of the different distributors. His technological profile and in-depth knowledge of our product portfolio will surely help our customers to direct their investments towards the right equipment and technologies for their needs. Spain is a varied market with a wide spectrum of company types, and a global catalogue such as ours will surely be a good tool in his hands.

The company is developing new business lines and is focusing on markets such as e-Mobility. Can you explain the key points in this regard?

The key to success lies in the synchronised interaction between people, machines, materials and processes. Hence, the importance of working with global suppliers. We are increasingly positioning ourselves not as a solution provider for the graphics market, but as a reliable and competent partner for all aspects of the printing process. For the printing industry, we offer user-friendly systems, tailor-made products and innovative services that simplify the control of complex processes, deliver the highest finishing quality and help to prevent errors along the entire production chain. The result is summed up in the Push to Stop concept and its meaning is to achieve maximum efficiency at the push of a button. Our aim is to turn our printing presses into intelligent graphic production plants, beyond their mechanical capabilities.

In 2018 we opened the new Innovation Centre (IVC) in Wiesloch-Waldorf, an open centre for innovation. Today, Heidelberg seeks to accelerate the digital transformation of the market by focusing on the concept of “Industry 4.0”. The digitalisation of the graphic arts industry is advancing at full speed, and we are actively driving this process forward with our “Heidelberg goes digital” strategy. Our new Innovation Centre plays a key role in our global strategy.

In other markets, Heidelberg has already delivered the 50,000th Energy Control Wallbox. This charging station for electric cars already has four production lines and after only one year of its launch has proven its success. The opening up to new markets stems from the need to diversify risks and to remain faithful to the sustainability policies that the company defends, not as a sales argument but as a social commitment.

Digitalisation is a key concept in your company. How are you implementing it?

Digitalisation, automation processes, robotisation and Big Data are, broadly speaking, the pillars on which the economy of the future is built. Only those who have the tools and know how to handle data quickly will be able to keep their businesses running.

End-to-end spectral control, patented colour measurement and an enhanced Prinect workflow will manage and automate repetitive jobs, make job changes easier, safer and faster, and minimise waste. Our printers must know where they are losing in order to gain more. In today’s environment of raw material shortages, rising fuel prices and instability that is becoming endemic, Heidelberg has never stopped developing and improving metering, autonomous printing and data control technologies in order to optimise processes and move towards a smart printing model.

What role does sustainability play in the company’s strategic plan?

As I said before, sustainability is part of our commitment to society, as a company and as a partner to our customers. Our aim is to move towards climate-neutral printing, and we demonstrate this with environmental projects such as Sodo, a reforestation programme in Ethiopia directly linked to our customers’ purchase of a CO2-neutral certified machine.

Indeed, more and more of the company’s facilities are being built or modified under the strictest environmental policies and are already equipped with energy-saving systems. Our global goal is to become a partner our customers can rely on for their energy and environmental transformation.

Consumers are increasingly critical, especially of plastics, and the trend is towards more sustainable packaging and manufacturing processes with a lower environmental impact. That’s why reducing waste, energy loss and process efficiency is also important to us. A case in point is our Speedmaster XL106, a machine that consumes little energy, reduces waste and waste, minimises emissions and, to top it all, remains the leading machine in productivity.

There is still some way to go and we must continue to work towards being CO2 neutral in our actions. Renewable energies, self-generation, emission control, recycling… We will not tire of saying it, all these terms should be a source of inspiration and pillars of our projects for the future, not mere arguments in our marketing campaigns.

Speedmaster XL106 In-mold Generation 2020

Can you give us a preview of some of the new machinery you will be presenting at Graphispag?

It is complicated in terms of costs and logistics to set up one of our teams at a trade fair that lasts four days. We intend to be at Graphispag with our portfolio of solutions because Heidelberg is not just about machines; Heidelberg’s portfolio includes service contracts, training programmes, remote support services, software, a wide range of consumables specially tested by our engineering teams, equipment ranging from PrePress to Post Press, including our star presses, the unbeatable Speedmaster XL 106 and the Flexible CX 104. We want to be at Graphispag, more to listen than to propose. Our mission is to listen carefully to the needs of the market, in order to be able in the future to offer solutions for all those requirements that will be the seed of the technologies of the future.

You have a busy schedule of events in the coming months: Label Day in April, the Prinect user meeting in May and Innovation Week in October. Can you give us the main features of each of them?

In April, Label day will be held with a section dedicated to Immold technologies and packaging finishing. And in May we will be holding the Prinect User, an event focused on our subscription-based software and very results-driven. During the day, both novel applications and developments on well-known tools will be presented in depth.

In October we look forward to seeing our customers at the third Innnovation Week, a week full of new technologies, conferences, workshops and live demonstrations with the possibility to follow some sections online. The pandemic has taught us that we must use our imagination in the face of limitations, and at Heidelberg we try, with these events, to be closer to our customers in any situation and in the face of any contingency.

Heidelberg is a regular at the show. What do you expect to find at a show like Graphispag?

Graphispag is our must-see trade fair and we have always believed that its exhibition space defines the Spanish graphics market. Everything evolves and Fira de Barcelona has also understood that there are new trends and needs and for this reason, Graphispag has become a meeting and exchange space and, of course, an opportunity to meet customers, friends and also competitors.

Our aim will be precisely to turn our stand into a house with its doors wide open to welcome visitors and to be able to exchange doubts, questions and solutions with them. With the addition of Hispack to the exhibition space this year, many of our customers will also attend as exhibitors and we will therefore enjoy a new dimension this year.

Cristina Benavides, Graphispag contributor