manroland web owner L. Possehl has split the company's production unit into a separate mechatronics company in order to address the "continuously shrinking" market for presses.
The restructure plans, which see press building "outsourced" to a new subsidiary to be known as manroland web Production Company, were made known to staff in January, with 280 of the company's then 1070 staff to be transferred.
A statement today about the reorganisation - aimed at offering "future security" - comes as manroland web is announcing a 16 million Euros (A$23.97 million) press and upgrade contract with Austrian printer Druck Styria & Co. Graz-based Styria is buying one new Colorman e:line newspaper press, retrofitting another Colorman, and has signed a ten-year service contract. Earlier this month, manroland also announced the sale of a Geoman e:line press to German daily Siegener Zeitung.
Uwe Lüders, chairman of Possehl - which bought manroland web out of insolvency in 2012 - says his company and manroland web have focussed on the "ambitious targets" of securing employment at the Augsburg location by providing both companies with their own identity and focussed objectives of business. "Ultimately both will be more independent of the continuously shrinking market for new printing presses," he says.
The new subsidiary, officially manroland web produktionsgesellschaft mbH, was formed January "to optimally exploit capacities and thereby guarantee stable employment".
It will be a complete supplier for mechatronic components, "meaning that they provide everything from design to manufacturing of components right up to assembly, cabling, commissioning and quality control, all from a single supplier.
"In detail, the company can boast competencies in production in the sectors of mechanical production, sheet metal technology, surface engineering, switch cabinet construction, measurement technology and assembly."
Talks with unions began in January ahead of a mid-year implementation. Staff have been offered similar terms to those they had with manroland web systems.
Possehl has named Franz Gumpp - a trained machine fitter and mechanical engineer who had previously been the board member responsible for production, purchasing and IT - as head of the new company. He says the high demands of quality and precision in printing press production, the wide range of performances expected in technologies and tooling machines and employees' excellent training and qualifications are "the basis for the competitiveness and success inherent in the new company."
Possehl is reacting to the market challenges outside of the printing press industry with this targetted investment and thereby securing a long-term perspective for the new company.
"In our very first quarter of results alone, we have posted new orders with a volume of about one million Euros as well as having initiated numerous new business relationships. I see very good chances of us reaching our ambitious targets by 2019, based on this," he says.
manroland web managing director Alexander Wassermann says the company will continue to be "the reliable and strong performing business and service partner to industrial printing houses, worldwide.
"The signing of the large volume Styria order signifies not only that they are placing their trust in us, but also that we are exactly on the right course with our strategy."
He says Industry 4.0 methods have determined its innovations for several years: "We therefore see our market opportunities on the one side as coming from complex system configurations and their automation and commissioning, and on the other side from expansion in the service and retrofit business sectors. Added to these are precisely tailored service provision throughout the life cycle of the respective system: preventative diagnosis, 24/7 TeleSupport, and manroland web Store, the marketplace for wear and spare parts, maintenance and repair."
He says the orders underline the company's position as market leader, confirmed in 2016 with a market share around 50 per cent mark. "Customers value the clear commitment shown by manroland web systems and their shareholder L. Possehl, to the printing press market"
In financial year 2016, manroland web registered orders of 214 million Euros (previous year 259 million Euros), with turnover at 242 million Euros (slightly higher than the previous year's 241 million Euros). Earnings before taxes and interest (EBIT) increased "yet again" to 6.5 million Euros (previous year 6.2 million Euros).
"In addition, with their entry into the packaging-printing sector in 2016, manroland web systems has opened up a new promising business segment," Wassermann says. manroland web group employees total around 1200 worldwide.
"These very good results mean that manroland web systems is once again at the forefront of the industry," he says. "The financial year of 2016 brought, in addition, a marked organic growth in the service sector, which leaves us as a company more independent of the cycles of plant engineering and more stable for future strategic orientation.
"More than half of our order intake is coming from the service sector and that is based on our customer oriented service strategy and the successes of our controls retrofits, even for third party presses, such as Pecom-X applications on Goss and other presses.
"On the basis of our excellent market position, we are investing further in future oriented technologies and service offerings as well as opening up new business segments."