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Heidelberg launches global Digital Unit

Thursday, 31 May 2018
By Print21
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Heidelberg has set up a 50-strong Digital Unit at its Wiesloch-Walldorf plant to oversee its digital products and services portfolio.

Offset press giant Heidelberg has stepped up its push into digital with the launch of a 50-strong Heidelberg Digital Unit (HDU) to coordinate the marketing of its expanding digital products and e-commerce business.

‘More direct communication to market’: Richard Timson, MD Heidelberg Australia

Branches have already been established around the world and Heidelberg Australia MD Richard Timson says the local unit is working closely with the HDU team in Asia.

“We had a meeting in Bangkok two weeks ago and company representatives were there from Germany to outline the new digital strategy. They’ve set up a complete marketing division to work on more direct communication to market, including using all sorts of different social media platforms, and they’ve pulled some specialist people out of social media companies to drive this increased marketing focus. We’ll feed off the Asia team to help us in our drive to market locally.”

Heidelberg says it is looking to use the HDU to significantly increase its global e-commerce sales, which currently amount to €100 million.

The HDU will operate as a subsidiary of Heidelberg at the company’s Wiesloch-Walldorf site. “It takes the form of a digital start-up with a modern workspace in an old factory building and harnesses synergies with the company’s IT and software expertise at this site,” the company said in a statement. Branches have already been established in China, the United States, and Asia.

“We founded the Heidelberg Digital Unit to create a platform that gives our customers the world’s leading digital ecosystem in the industry,” says Professor Ulrich Hermann, board member and chief digital officer at Heidelberg. “In an initial step, customers can order and pay for all key consumables, services, spares, and wear parts required for print shop operation online on dedicated websites. We’ll gradually be extending the portfolio in the direction of our new digital business models such as the subscription model.”

Heidelberg’s exclusive partner for the digital initiative is Munich-based IoT (Internet of Things) specialist iQ!, which will provide access to digital and e-commerce expertise.

The HDU will be headed by Rainer Wiedmann, owner and founder of iQ! and also chief marketing officer at Heidelberg. “We see Heidelberg as being ideally placed to create the print media industry’s number one ecosystem,” he says. “The company’s leading position on the global market and the executive management’s commitment to the digital transformation are key factors in this respect. We’re also contributing our experience from over 20 years of digital marketing, including the creation and operation of e-commerce platforms.”

Meanwhile, Heidelberg officially launched its Primefire 106 B1 inkjet packaging press.“With this range, Heidelberg cements its position as the leader in packaging printing and provides answers to current and future requirements in the age of digitization,” says CEO Rainer Hundsdörfer. “The answer to the trend towards declining run lengths and mass customization through personalization and individualization is the seamless integration of digital processes into existing offset landscapes.”

The Primefire 106 has been undergoing field testing since January 2018 and offers high-quality digital printing in combination with sheet finishing using existing die-cutting tools in 3b format.

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