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The last couple of months have been a period of intense activity for manroland in Australia, setting up the new organisation which succeeds its long standing agency arrangements and augments the 18-month-old MWSA web service operation.

At PacPrint, manroland had its own stand and corporate presence, with sales executive vice president Peter Kuisle here, not just to fly the flag, but also finalise key appointments.

Central to that has been the naming of Steve Dunwell – recently NSW manager of the predominantly sheetfed and digital focussed Currie Group – as managing director of the new manroland Australasia.

The Currie experience is relevant to the German maker’s desire to get back at the table for every sheetfed press order that’s up for grabs. But while there are those (including one or two who will work for him) to whom his name was unfamiliar, Dunwell also comes with impeccable credentials in the newspaper industry.

With Datronics Graphics and later the Media Tech operation he set up with Michael Joel, he was intimately involved with the newspaper industry and helped introduce pioneering technology into the country. Later, when Media Tech’s largest agency business, Scitex was absorbed into Creo, that connection continued with the extension of thermal CTP systems into newspapers.

And while he admits to having lost touch with some of the personalities involved today, “many of the people at News Limited, Fairfax and Rural Press are still around now,” Dunwell says, adding that he’s “really excited” to be working with the newspaper industry again.

He takes charge of the new fully-owned sales, marketing, and services subsidiary covering the whole of the Pacific region, which has been in operation since the beginning of June, replacing the longstanding agency agreement with MAN Ferrostaal and its predecessors. New offices in Sydney and Melbourne have been opened, and an established team of 29 – including director of technical services Graham Wickham – is being bolstered by four new appointments.

In advance of his official start at the beginning of August, Dunwell is just back from a week in Germany, where he admits he was impressed by the manroland plants in Augsburg and Offenbach, which were “as good as any I have seen anywhere, including Japan”.

It was also an opportunity to get to know Kuisle, with whom he will work closely: “He is the sort of guy you can talk to about any project, and definitely has an affinity with Australia,” he says.

An immediate challenge will be to build sheetfed sales to their former level, and Dunwell says the packaging market is an area in which the brand has much to offer: “This is somewhere where it’s not just about price, and manroland has made a good start.” He also hopes to bring back the idea that the company is after every press sale, regardless of size.

Despite the fact that there continue to be major projects in play, he says the web side of manroland in the region is in good shape, and he is “getting to know” all the customers: “There is not as much activity as there was, but still new projects and upgrades to consider, and it’s good to see that major players such as News Limited are still investing in newspapers,” he says.

While they might like a bigger share of the single-width market, “the reality is that you need to focus where your strengths are,” says Dunwell, “but if anyone’s buying single or double-width, we’ll want to be in there.”

Service and consumables are also a growth area in both sectors: “We’ve geared up for the web side and are also doing more on sheetfed – including proactive work such as inspections of machines to keep them at optimum performance.”

But while he says “we want to get more involved with our customers”, that’s not likely to extend to sometimes talked-of levels of facilities management – “working with their engineering teams, but not running our customers’ presses for them.”

Says Dunwell: “We want to replicate manroland’s worldwide success with huge efforts in sales and marketing, with the product range now offered directly from the source, and including the wide range of services with printservices, printcom, printnet, and printadvice.

“One of the main goals is to optimise the benefits of our presses and enable future opportunities for value-added processes.”

He says strengthening its focus on the market, customers, and service, will enable manroland Australasia to respond even faster and more efficiently, to meet the challenges faced by the industry in a dynamic and sustainable manner.
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