Ryan comes to Heidelberg from the ITEC Group, a leading provider of office automation and telecommunication systems, where he served seven years as COO. Prior to that, he was FD at Kodak South Africa from 2005 to 2007.
‘I’m delighted to carry on the good work and initiatives that Jimmy has set in motion,’ he comments. ‘We’ve been fortunate to have a well-planned handover period, providing the opportunity to visit customers nationwide and gain feedback on the current situation and ideas for growth.’
One objective is to increase the current revenue stream by improving Heidelberg’s national presence in ways that benefit customers. ‘With our dynamic mix of expertise and youthful exuberance, we’ve got the right team to achieve this goal,’ Ryan maintains.
Other core projects, established during Jimmy’s tenure, include consolidating Heidelberg’s business framework, and ensuring the right sets of technologies and agencies to meet market demand.
‘This year has seen an upsurge in enquiries for new presses, digital printing systems, consumables and smart workflow software,’ Ryan continues, ‘and commercial printers looking for qualified advice on accessing fresh revenue streams, such as the packaging market. With our worldwide resources, we can advise on the right systems and services to take these businesses to the next level. Heidelberg equipment lends itself perfectly to this new space – for instance allowing printers to run commercial and packaging jobs on one device.’
Expanding Heidelberg’s footprint
Aside from new technology sales, Ryan sees a valid place in southern Africa for remarketed printing systems. ‘In an emerging market such as ours, tight operating budgets or timelines make new equipment purchases difficult, so there’s always a need for remarketed sheetfed presses and postpress equipment,’ he states.
The Heidelberg team takes a consultative approach with printers, guiding each responsibly to ascertain the right model for their needs. And, before being resold, every second-hand press undergoes an extensive refurbishment process at one of eight dedicated centres around the globe, where it’s fitted with genuine Heidelberg parts to ensure prolonged life.
On a recent visit to Europe, Ryan took the opportunity to visit commercial printing and packaging companies. ‘Growing companies in Europe’s highly-competitive market are those that have taken the initiative to investigate new opportunities and invest accordingly with the right advanced printing and converting equipment,’ he declares. ‘Likewise, in southern Africa there are many forward-thinking printing firms that have bravely invested in quality systems for growth. Customer demand is now dictating the sector’s next move. The danger is in remaining stagnant.’
Service and support
Heidelberg’s also staking a solid claim in territories outside South Africa such as Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe, where there’s a vibrant mix of established, highly-competent printing companies using advanced lithographic printing technology, and small- and medium-sized enterprises utilising the remarketed machine tier. ‘Collectively, they’ve been important contributors to our results in the last few years,’ Ryan remarks.
‘We have fast-growing service operations in these regions and there’s a drive to extend support to another level,’ he adds. Ultimately, he’d like to establish an all-encompassing supply ‘package’, whereby printers can purchase printing equipment, consumables and software systems directly from Heidelberg.
‘I understand that pricing is a real driver in the printing industry and that many printers shop around for the best offers on paper, printers and ink. However, if we can offer the right mix of products then this will assist in establishing consistent costs and margins overall.’
As Ryan sees it, nobody currently dominates the market and those companies that can consolidate and align with their suppliers of choice make great gains.
‘In a changing industry, only those printing firms who investigate new market opportunities and act accordingly will remain sustainable,’ he insists. ‘The good news is that they can bank on our expertise for growth. Whether it’s upgrading printing systems or developing complementary online marketing campaigns, they’re supported throughout the decision-making process.’