M Partners is to be the lead service partner in Europe for the B1 presses produced by Ryobi MHI Graphic Technology as well as the UK sales channel for the former Mitsubishi press line up, led by the now Ryobi Diamond V3000. The Surrey company will be European Technical Service Centre for Ryobi MHI, with focus on new B1 press sales and support for existing Mitsubishi presses.
It won the contract against competition from elsewhere in Europe and as a result has moved the Mitsubishi spares business from Holland to the UK. This serves Mitsubishi users in the UK and supports distributors across Europe. MPL will also provide training and support, including service management for presses under warranty. Iain Moxon has joined MPL from MHI to be European technical service manager.
The spares operation will hold €2 million of stock and will be meshed with spares in the US and Japan. It will also offer training for European dealers in the presses, but there is unlikely to be a press as a demonstration machine.
However, while the sales and support channels for Ryobi and Mitsubishi products have been combined in some countries, in the UK they remain distinct. MPL handles the B1 machines while Apex Digital Graphics sells the Ryobi presses up to the SRA1 920 series. Mark Stribley, joint managing director of MPL, says: “We have a strong track record of working with Mitsubishi products in UK since our appointment as a dealer back in 2010. We also bring B1 experience and expertise in sales, support, and marketing from our time spent in the industry.
"We submitted a strong set of plans for how we would expect to run the European operation. Our enthusiasm, industry knowledge, and cost effective plan won the day against a number of other European operations that were keen to manage the business.”
And while the business is not predicated on new press sales, MPL points to the swing in the value of the Yen changing the perceived value of Japanese equipment. But this is not the only factor in favour of Japanese machinery, says Stribley. “While the initial price is important, print companies also have to consider reliability of the press. Reliable Japanese products that break down significantly less frequently and require a fraction of the spares consumed by European made machinery offer a very cost effective package.”
The company has put together a package which caps the price of service and support (which Stribley says can mean an annual outlay of £50,000 on a German manufactured six-colour B1 press for spares and service) at a guaranteed amount. While there will be no demo facilities, and fellow joint managing director Murray Lock points out that the industry is moving away from showroom machines (“which are never the right specification in any case”), MPL will organise a network of customers able to show prospects the presses in operation.
“During the recession, Mitsubishi just hunkered down, but Ryobi has a different mentality, very much an attitude of wanting to make something of the joint venture and are a looking for growth in North America and Europe,” says Lock. “As printers are seeking more efficiencies and productivity, they are increasingly reliant on one machine, which is damaging if that machine is down on a regular basis which will make it very difficult to serve customers.”
Murray Lock and Mark Stribley flank Kohei Yatsumoto, head of sales Europe, and Keiji Katayama, general manager Ryobi MHI Graphic Technology.