26 February 2018 Analogue Printing Technologies

Pay by use model will boost appeal of new presses says Heidelberg

Heidelberg UK has developed Impression Plan as a means for printers to pay by use if they choose to invest in one of its new Speedmaster B2 and SRA1 presses.

Heidelberg UK is aiming to win back market share lost to Komori in B2 and to RMGT in SRA1 sectors with a new financing model for its CX75 and CS92 sheetfed presses.

Both were introduced to the UK at the Brentford open house last week, along with Impression Plan, a scheme to reduce the initial cost of investment by bundling service, consumables and training to bring the capital cost down by 30%. Printers will need to sign a five-year contract promising to buy consumables from Heidelberg to cover the element not covered by conventional finance. The press supplier will also provide its Prinect software, six days' training a year and full service and maintenance.

This is akin to Heidelberg's recently announced Subscription model, which will not be offered in the UK, says HUK managing director Gerard Heanue. This is because a concept aimed at raising the productivity of litho printers with a boost to sales of Saphira branded consumables has little appeal in the UK where press productivity is higher than in any other country and where Heidelberg already has 12% share of the market for consumables. There is little upside in adopting the Subscription is it would apply in the US, for example.

But there is an opportunity, Heanue says, with these two presses where users may not be as efficient as customers for XL series machines. A customer with 12 million impressions a year will end up paying 1.8p per sheet printed, falling to 1.3p a sheet as print volumes rise above 15 million impressions a year thanks to efficiency gains and training.

“We have lost market share in these two areas, and want to win back that share,” says Heanue. In B2 this is to Komori and to RMGT dealer Apex in SRA1. Heidelberg had previously considered SRA1 to be too niche a market to be of interest, but RMGT has sold more than 20 presses in this format, while Komori can also count on SRA1 installations.

With the CX75 there is also recognition that not every printer needs the performance, nor can afford the XL75. “We have been pushing for the CX75 for a number of years,” says Heanue. It is expected to replace sales of the SX74 at the entry level. While the CS92 lacks the compact format of its RMGT rival and the perfecting option, it has the advantage of printing nine A4 pages, three six-page leaflets, for instance, to view.

The Impression Plan scheme will be offered after an audit of print volumes, ink coverage, average run lengths, consumables usage and shifts operated to calculate the benefit to the customer. This will lead to an offer based on improvements in productivity from the existing levels as well as the financial commitment required. Should there be a poor month where volumes dip below the 1 million impression minimum, Heidelberg will be willing to take a three-month view on trends. Equally a break clause will be part of the contract.

While no guinea pig has been announced for the scheme, Heidelberg had spoken to target customers ahead of the open house and also to finance companies. The financial risk for its element is taken on board by Heidelberg, which means it will be careful about qualifying companies, and will ease the risk for the finance companies. Not only is their exposure reduced, the machine they are funding will be serviced maintained by the manufacturer.

After five years the printer will either take full ownership of the press, or can sell it as a relatively low impression count full service history press. The challenge for Heidelberg now is that by taking this approach it may be competing not only with Komori, but with dealers handling secondhand XL75s.

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Gerard Heanue

Gerard Heanue

Heidelberg is offering Impression Plan to introduce an element of pay as you print for companies purchasing its new Speedmaster CX75 or CS92 presses. Along with a negotiated payment per sheet, printers gain consultancy, training and from the use of Heidelberg's consumables. Heidelberg UK managing director Gerard Heanue explains that as British printers are already among the most competitive in the world, there is little appeal to the full Subscription announced recently.

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