There are opportunities even in times of crisis

Manroland Sheetfed CEO Rafael Penuela’s speaks exclusively to Print Romania, Magazine

A world in crisis can be daunting for most people but not for Manroland Sheetfed CEO Rafael Penuela, who sees opportunity amid the gloom. A slowdown in the global economy resulting from the US-China trade war, the prospect of a no-deal Brexit and many other challenges add to the current uncertainty. However, Mr. Penuela is confident that Manroland Sheetfed can ride out the storm through careful planning and by sticking to the core values that have stood the company well through the years.

A crisis is always an opportunity!

In a wide-ranging interview with Print Romania, Penuela said Manroland is well positioned to handle the economic turbulence that's because of a clear business strategy and the company's reputation for high quality. Despite some markets are currently being reluctant to commit to new investment, the ongoing trade war initiated by the US with China, Brexit and a general decline in worldwide growth is clearly impacting our business volume, Mr. Penuela says.

Confidence is high amongst customers who are looking to extend the life span of their existing equipment. “Our well-developed after-market portfolio allows us to support those customers with all types of retrofits, upgrades and repairs. Combined with our maintenance and performance programs, these increase the productivity of the existing equipment. They also maintain or re-establish the exceptional print quality of our machines.”

Sales in new equipment is driven largely by the flagship ROLAND 700 EVOLUTION, a cutting-edge technology that has found favor among printing companies who know a good product when they see one. Since its launch in 2014, the ROLAND 700 EVOLUTION has become a popular brand because of the possibilities it offers printers and their customers.

European printing companies have been fundamental in installing the ROLAND 700 EVOLUTION as a way of enhancing their competitiveness. Roughly one-third of the demand for new presses comes from the continent, which includes Romania and the rest of Eastern Europe.

"Satisfied customers are our best marketing approach".

When talking about configuration, the ROLAND 700 EVOLUTION goes from a 2 colour-perfector up to a highly customised configuration thanks to its platform and modularized design.

According to Mr. Penuela, the reality shows that customers running Manroland Sheetfed’s latest technology are positively surprised by the solutions. “We always try to exceed expectations when it comes to the productivity of our machines.”

Over 1,200 units of the latest-model ROLAND 700 EVOLUTION have been installed. One of the milestones, the #1,000th unit was installed at Belgian Packaging printer Impritex Packaging is nothing new to Manroland.

"While when other manufacturers are discovering the importance of the packaging industry only now, it's different at Manroland. We have traditionally a very intensive focus on packaging. Double-coater, InlineFoiler, UV, 3B plus format, these are among the options we developed specifically for this industry" he said.

Being a pioneer in the packaging industry is one of the advantages Manroland has over its competitors. Before other companies began turning their attention to packaging printing, Manroland had already done extensive research and experience in this field, and today, continues to build upon its achievements by putting more energy into developing new technology for the future.

“Over the years we have developed specific knowledge about customer applications for packaging and we are continuously exploring further demands from packaging customers in order to set up our research and development plans for the future.” Mr. Penuela stressed.

With the launch of the ROLAND 700 EVOLUTION, the company also created ProServ 360 Performance, a new model for maintenance offered with all new machines. This program supports the customer with two years of services following the purchase of a press. Apart from free spare parts and technical services, ProServ 360 Performance offers two new important items - regular preventive maintenance (via physical inspections of the machine or tele-diagnostics) and assistance in keeping the level of performance and productivity of their presses.

Based on real data from daily productions we can help the customer to improve the output of our machines, says Mr. Penuela, adding that the ProServ 360 Performance targets “voidable limitations for a maximum output on sellable sheets.”

What about digital?

There’s a bit of hype on digital printing in this day and age, but Manroland is not joining into the the rush. Ahead of next year’s drupa Trade Fair at Dusseldorf, sheetfed offset continues to be Manroland’s priority as the company sticks to what it knows best. And apart from the fact that the digital printing market is relatively saturated, Mr. Penuela believes sheetfed offset provides best value for customers.

“Our focus is clearly on sheetfed offset print”, Mr. Penuela says. In the past Manroland had its initiatives, e.g. Dicoweb, in the digital area like other manufacturers. Nowadays we are convinced that digital printing is so specific and different from offset that the established manufacturers of this technology are well placed and I wonder if new products and/or players will succeed in this relatively saturated market.

Additionally we can say that when it comes to cost per copy for a minimum industrial production of printed products, offset is still unbeaten when compared to other technologies. In case of personalization, there is a clear advantage for digital print but even this market is not growing as fast as predicted by many.

Having seen this our focus in digitalization is combing more automatic technologies into offset process, i.e. One-Pass, and smart quality as well as job management process.

And as for Brexit? Mr. Penuela says there’s no cause for worry, as far as Manroland and its parent company Langley Holdings are concerned.

Brexit will not hurt Langley's business significantly, he assures. Of course, the general negative impact on the industry/economic growth is to be expected but Langley's activities are mainly located and generated in continental Europe (Germany, France and, recently, Italy) despite larger activities in the US. So “neither in business nor currency is the Langley Group especially exposed to risks.”

Manroland Sheetfed CEO, Rafael Penuela, speaks frankly during a recent interview with Print Romania, Magazine


About Manroland Sheetfed

Manroland Sheetfed GmbH is a leading German producer of sheetfed offset litho printing presses. Founded in 1871, the company is one of the oldest producers of printing presses in the world. Today the company has its own subsidiaries in over 40 countries and is a global watchword for supreme quality and reliability. Manroland Sheetfed GmbH is a wholly owned subsidiary of the privately owned UK engineering group, Langley Holdings plc.