Frankly, the business model for print equipment manufacturers used to be simpler. Sell the press, provide training, furnish parts and field service support when needed, and sell the customer another press when the time arrived to replace the equipment with something newer. And that, more or less, was the extent of the manufacturer’s involvement.
What the customer actually did with the press wasn’t always the vendor’s primary concern. When it came to operating the equipment efficiently and profitably, the end-user was often on his, or her, own.
This “hands-off” model prevailed for a long time, but now printing businesses need more than just a reliable machine for prosperity in today’s ultra-competitive environment. This is what has prompted Heidelberg to reconnect with its customers in an entirely new role: as a partnering provider of coordinated resources it calls Lifecycle Solutions.
Heidelberg still makes graphic production machinery – the finest available from any source. But now, as a “solutions factory” as well as an equipment manufacturer, Heidelberg adds something equally valuable to its product offerings: optimizing machine productivity to maximize customers’ return on investment (ROI).
Lifecycle Solutions delivers ROI by bringing together consumables, technical support, workflow, training, and business advisory services in coordinated packages that are specific to each customer’s situation and need. The common denominator is performance: helping customers do whatever it takes to maximize overall equipment efficiency (OEE) and achieve optimal productivity goals.
In Heidelberg’s experience, the first step toward “optimal productivity” is often the customer’s recognition that additional capability may already be there. This is why Lifecycle Solutions projects typically start with an individual analysis of how the plant is operating and where opportunities for improvement lie.
In this way, Heidelberg specialists can help set realistic benchmarks for the customer to work toward: spending less time in makeready, for example, or running the press closer to its top rated speed. Included in the analysis are calculations that quantify what the customer stands to gain in terms of jobs produced per shift, profit per job, and other key performance indicators (KPIs). These KPIs become the key building blocks in developing the customer’s targeted return, providing a benchmark for the success of the project.
Now the Lifecycle Solutions consulting team can make the right recommendations for the package of products and services that the customer will need in order to hit the targets. That could include a recommendation for new equipment, but might also include Saphira consumables, preventive maintenance, operator evaluations and training, repairs to existing equipment, parts replacement, or some combination of these services.
The window into the ongoing progress is the Heidelberg Assistant portal, which serves as the medium for the customer’s interaction with Heidelberg throughout the course of the Lifecycle Solutions engagement. A browser- and app-based digital interface, Heidelberg Assistant converts performance data into management intelligence on which profit-enhancing business decisions can be based.
In everyday use, the interactive portal updates Lifecycle Solutions customers on the status of their operations in a host of meaningful and useful ways. It can, for example, display OEE and net productivity data at a glance. Acting as the channel for service notifications and Predictive Monitoring reports, the portal helps to minimize the cost of unplanned downtime. The portal also is an e-commerce channel where customers can manage orders for parts, services, and consumables available from Heidelberg.
Heidelberg Assistant is a 24/7/365 resource, and so is Lifecycle Solutions as a whole. The “Life” in its name means what it says: a cooperation that continues throughout the entire life span of equipment ownership and use, delivering measurable benefits to the customer at every stage.
Many Heidelberg customers have already had a partial introduction to the benefits of Lifecycle Solutions as users of Saphira consumables and also as participants in SystemService contracts for equipment maintenance. Heidelberg now will unite everything it offers under one banner of accessibility, responsiveness, and customer care – an approach unique among print industry suppliers.
To be sure, launching Lifecycle Solutions will require some adjustments on Heidelberg’s part as it brings together what had been separate areas of its business in a cohesive, well-coordinated program of support. But, if reorganizing internally is what it will take to build one team working for the betterment of the lifecycle journey for its customers, that is exactly what Heidelberg is prepared to do.
The Lifecycle Solutions relationship can begin with the purchase of a new press, or it can be built around existing Heidelberg equipment. Either way, Lifecycle Solutions customers will increase their profits by raising the efficiency of their pressrooms and extending the useful lives of their Heidelberg production machinery.
After more than 100 years of serving customers in virtually every country on earth, Heidelberg has learned that there aren’t many printing plants where “good performance” can’t be turned into “peak performance” with the right combination of technology, consumable supplies, and management advice.
From now on, through Lifecycle Solutions, Heidelberg will provide that end-to-end support as an active stakeholder in its customers’ productivity. In this way, closing the sale of a press opens a door to a new kind of engagement between vendor and end-user – a realignment that delivers benefits all around.
Heidelberg wants all of its customers to learn what Lifecycle Solutions can do for them. For more information, contact your Heidelberg sales representative or call (800) 437-7388.
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