For Eva Boll, a typical working day involves all kinds of meetings and topics. “We might kick off the morning by discussing the new photovoltaic system that is being installed on the roof of the production building, for example. An hour later, we will be sitting with our diversity manager and analyzing the level of female representation. And then I might meet with the purchasing team to work on a training concept on the new Supply Chain Due Diligence Act for our suppliers.” The climate crisis and the war in Ukraine have turned CO2 and energy consumption into omnipresent topics for HEIDELBERG and its customers.
“Although the implementation of our climate strategy is a key objective, my role is much more complex than that,” says Eva Boll. She is responsible for the Company’s strategic ESG orientation – and, more importantly, for its integration at departmental level. To achieve this, she engages in a continuous dialog with networks and managers in the Group, with employees who contribute ideas, and with external bodies like the Fraunhofer institutes or the German Mechanical Engineering Industry Association.
“My goal is to raise awareness of sustainability throughout the Company and kick-start the various implementation processes.” She is very clear about the question of whether the term is losing its meaning due to overuse: “If anything, we need to talk about sustainability even more if we want the necessary action to be taken. I am keen to prevent greenwashing.”
A doctor of industrial engineering, Boll joined HEIDELBERG ten years ago. One thing that impressed her at the time: “HEIDELBERG was already calculating the carbon footprint of its products before I joined the Company. This meant it was ahead of its time within the mechanical engineering industry.” In her two years as Head of Corporate Sustainability, she has worked tirelessly to ensure that HEIDELBERG continues to play a leading role. Her commitment to the cause is what keeps her motivated. “Sustainability is not just a job requirement, but something I truly believe in.” She cycles the 12 kilometers to work whenever she can, and her home is largely self-sufficient thanks to solar heating, battery storage, and its own photovoltaic system.
In addition to a desire to do something for future generations, Eva Boll understands the strategic benefits of sustainability: “To date, the financial payoff for many industries has been limited, but this is in the process of changing.” In the meantime, she is keen to ensure that more and more HEIDELBERG employees become aware of the social, ecological and economic aspects of the Company’s day-to-day business. This is why Eva Boll is happy to dedicate 100 percent of her day to the topic of sustainability.
Hans-Jürgen Fink describes himself as a “truffle hunter” – but he is not in the business of rooting out culinary fungus. A qualified technical business administrator, Hans-Jürgen Fink is a management consultant. His particular truffles are potential improvements, which he seeks to leverage for the financial benefit of his clients. He and his four colleagues are tasked with examining every single print shop process. “Our clients want to synchronize people, machines, systems and processes, and we help them to achieve this,” Fink explains.
Since 2022, one of his focal points has been energy efficiency. “When the war in Ukraine led to a particularly sharp rise in energy costs for our clients in 2022, we decided to take action by developing a consulting concept aimed specifically at resource consumption and energy-efficient production,” says Hans-Jürgen Fink. For print shops, this also represents an opportunity to become more sustainable. Fink starts by analyzing data on waste, set-up times and downtimes, printing speeds and energy consumption, as well as job data. He then examines the local processes and monitors several production runs until he has an overall picture.
His experience shows that energy requirements can be reduced in a number of areas. For example, clients can reduce their downtimes and set-up times, or lower their energy costs per sheet by achieving a higher printing speed. Smart shift handovers and eliminating leaks can also help to save energy.
The first successful projects identified potential of between 5 and 17 percent in terms of electricity costs and between 2 and 5 percent in terms of total production costs. “Because people have a big impact, it is all the more important to involve employees and managers in the ideas and solutions at an early stage so that they are encouraged to change their behavior.” This is Fink’s particular strength: With 20 years of consulting experience under his belt, he is an expert when it comes to change management. “My aim is to future-proof our clients’ business and make it more profitable through cooperative consulting.” Hans-Jürgen Fink and his colleagues will have plenty of opportunities to achieve this – because HEIDELBERG is expanding its successful consulting program internationally.
Almost no one at HEIDELBERG combines technological expertise and forward thinking as rigorously as Ulrich Grimm. The CEO of the HEIDELBERG subsidiary Amperfied is currently driving the development of Wallboxes for e-mobility. The qualified automation engineer can draw upon 35 years of experience, including as head of electronics production at HEIDELBERG. “When it comes to printing presses, I have seen everything that has anything to do with electricity,” says Ulrich Grimm. Around 12 years ago, it was this insight that helped him to identify the potential for new business areas. After all, the power electronics and control technology in HEIDELBERG’s printing presses are a perfect fit for use cases in e-mobility.
It began with the production of charging cables for the first generation of hybrid vehicles. Surfing the wave of e-mobility, Wallboxes from Wiesloch-Walldorf were successfully launched in 2018. Since then, well over a hundred thousand units have been sold.
For Grimm, the next step is to develop Amperfied into a system provider. “In addition to pure charging technology for residential buildings and companies, this means gradually expanding our energy management portfolio,” he explains. For example, this will allow photovoltaic systems or storage batteries to be connected to the Wallbox and, in the next stage, controlled by smartphone. “Smart software is the only way to set ourselves apart from the competition in the long term and optimize our customers’ energy usage.” Ease of handling is already one of the product’s strengths. It can be installed more or less as a plug-and-play solution, which Grimm believes will be important for the future.
When it comes to the equipment in his own home, however, he is happy for things to be less straightforward. He himself installed the wood pellet heating system that has been in operation for a number of years. And his latest project also demands specialist expertise. Ulrich Grimm is combining a photovoltaic system and two water tanks in order to heat the water using solar power. “I’m doing it a bit differently than normal. I’m too much of a tinkerer not to,” Grimm explains. Technology aside, the Amperfied CEO and self-proclaimed tinkerer believes there is another important reason for HEIDELBERG’s long-term success: “A healthy culture of human interaction. Over the past 35 years, this is what has consistently helped me to think outside the box.”
Franziska Liebel and the purchasing team are extremely busy right now. The reason is a new law that is as challenging as its name suggests: the Supply Chain Due Diligence Act, which came into force at the start of 2023. It defines requirements for environmental protection and human rights throughout the supply chains of companies domiciled in Germany.
“We have 19,500 suppliers worldwide, and we are responsible for handling any anomalies that occur,” says Franziska Liebel in a simplified explanation of the mammoth task facing her and her team. She has been the Global Head of Purchasing since October 2022. Her department’s responsibilities include risk analysis and the corresponding tasks.
To ensure that employee awareness is as widespread as possible, the purchasing team has arranged information events for more than 500 people around the world. The objective is clear, as Franziska Liebel explains: “At the end of the day, our aim is to create flexible yet robust supply chains so that we can ensure delivery capacity for our customers.”
Liebel herself previously worked in process design for HEIDELBERG’s printing press production. For years, she explored the questions: “How do materials flow within the Group? Are our processes and IT systems designed appropriately?” This experience means she understands the importance of digitization when it comes to making supply chains fit for the future: “Digitized processes are the only way to achieve transparency throughout all phases. At the same time, we need data that we can use to perform risk assessments, for example.” One reason why the mother of two is so passionate about sustainability in supply chains is her general awareness for the topic. She makes a point of buying sustainable products whenever she can. “Through our adult sons, my husband and I are in close contact with ‘Generation Z’, where this attitude is far more established than it is among my generation,” Liebel explains.
To this end, she believes it is important for the Company to increase the visibility of its sustainability activities as a sign of its commitment to younger generations. At present, sustainability is mainly a question of cost, as the efforts cannot be monetized directly. As Franziska Liebel puts it: “For a mechanical engineering company with such high quality standards as HEIDELBERG, cost and quality are decisive factors. But sustainability will increasingly pay off in the future.”
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