The upward pressure on costs has worsened further for print shops in recent years. Although trends such as Web-to-Print open up new opportunities for our customers, they also confront them with new challenges. Fortunately, demand for printed products produced with minimal environmental impact has grown considerably in all areas.
We satisfy the requirements of our various customer groups both for printing presses as well as for service in the industrial and newly industrializing countries, supplying them from a single source – since the beginning of the current year, with Ricoh digital printing presses as well, which we integrate as part of our workflow. We measurably enhance the production and investment security of customers by means of a perfect interplay of all components. The cost structure of print shops is a key factor in the development of new products and services as well as their design. We make this clear in the graphic on top. Details concerning individual products and services are included in the Reports of the Divisions in this Annual Report as well as in the Internet.
Packaging print shops are subject to fierce international competition because the bulk buyers of packaging are generally internationally active groups that select their suppliers on a strategic basis. Our printing presses are more productive and offer various coating options for unique packagings. Our offerings in the finishing area also make it possible for our customers to set themselves off from their competition. Additional factors are the opportunities provided by our universally applicable, integrated solutions, which make it possible for customers to optimize all the processing steps of folding carton manufacture – beginning with administration, data preparation, printing, surface coating, die-cutting and gluing, and extending all the way to logistics. This has an even greater impact on the costs of the production and the quality of the final products for packaging printing than in commercial printing, among others because packaging printing is very materialintensive. With the help of our color management systems, print shops can ensure and guarantee absolute color fidelity on a cost-effective basis. In addition, environmental friendliness and food safety are playing an increasingly important role for the suppliers of packaging in the commercial marketing of their products. With our large format printing presses for prepress, printing, and finishing, we are increasingly penetrating industrial packaging print shops as a customer group.
Over three-quarters of all print shops around the globe are small and medium-sized commercial print shops. In the industrialized countries, their final customers are increasingly placing orders for such standard print jobs as flyers and advertising brochures to supra-regional print shops via the Internet. Small commercial print shops that serve regional markets usually offer a large range of products. Among others, through special applications that are possible based on our consumables, smaller print shops can differentiate themselves from the competition at low cost. With digital printing presses and using variable data, they can complete small print runs and print jobs at a profit. We offer standard printing presses with a low degree of automation and high print quality for our customers in newly industrializing countries. In the finishing area, we also rely on OEM products. Demand for our printing presses manufactured in China is quite high. Over and above the reliability of our solutions and the high print quality of our printing presses, our global presence as well as access by many customers in newly industrializing countries to our services are crucial factors in the competitive advantages provided by Heidelberg. Digital printing presses will supplement the portfolio of print shops in the newly industrializing countries as well.
industrial commercial printers also acquire customers nationwide and in some cases have branches in several countries. They also produce a large variety of printed products, albeit generally in larger print runs. The better the data and production workflow is organized, the more favorable are the answers to the questions: “How efficiently and appropriately are the individual printing presses utilized?” and “How high is profit per print run?” We recently improved our software Prinect as well as our business consulting offerings in order to ensure that this customer group can optimally distribute orders to various printing presses, boost the productivity of its printing presses, and ensure that fewer bottlenecks arise between the prepress printing, and finishing stages. We have developed modules for our large format printing presses that are specifically tailored to the requirements of this customer group.