Atlanta Tech Center at Heart of Heidelberg’s Strategy
KENNESAW, GA—July 26, 2013—Heidelberg’s Atlanta-based North American Printing and Packaging Technology Center (NAPPTC) is the beating heart of Heidelberg’s newly revised marketing strategy.
In recent months, Heidelberg has redoubled its efforts to increase the value of Heidelberg products, services, and solutions to customers and prospects by providing them with convenient access to its expertise in a variety of intimate settings. Regional, application-specific road shows and themed quarterly open house events are among the ways in which Heidelberg has sought to create additional opportunities for 1:1 engagement with printers nationwide. For customers who are seriously contemplating the purchase of new equipment, however, no one-size-fits-all simulation can match the power of a live demonstration dedicated to satisfying the unique business requirements of the printer who requests one.
More Than A Showroom
“It’s clear to us that the Atlanta Tech Center is much more than a sales showroom. It‘s also, and maybe primarily, a learning center,” said Harry Jones, president of Jones Printing in Chesapeake, VA. “Demos give Heidelberg an opportunity to teach customers about the technologies and solutions that will work best for their businesses, rather than to just sell hardware. There’s a big difference between the two approaches that we think is very important.”
Word is spreading. So far in 2013, said Atlanta Demo Center Director Errol Moebius, the Tech Center has seen a significant uptick in the number of prepress webinars it conducts, typically one per day, and has hosted a number of postpress and digital equipment demos, most of which ultimately resulted in the sale of equipment.
At present, the Tech Center is a beehive of activity associated with the installation of several pieces of new equipment. Besides four offset presses, three of them brand new installations, a Stitchmaster ST 500 saddlestitcher, Diana foldergluer, Easygluer, and Varimatrix diecutter, the demo center soon will host three drupa-generation folders, a POLAR PACE cutting system, a POLAR 66 cutter, the Linoprint C751 and Linoprint C901 sheetfed digital presses, two VUTEk wide-format inkjet printers, two Suprasetter CtP systems, as well as fully integrated workflow from Web-to-print through press reporting. All of the installations will be complete by the end of August, when Heidelberg hosts the third of four open house events scheduled for the calendar year.
No Place Like Home
Heidelberg’s NAPPTC—the second largest such facility in the world outside of the Print Media Center in Germany—gives customers a leisurely opportunity to see and touch elements of Heidelberg’s entire print media portfolio, and to talk with some of the most dedicated and knowledgeable print media specialists in the business, who also are in a position to lend them their undivided attention for an extended period of time. This is rarely the case during a large, national trade show.
The advantages of this approach are specific and valuable, said Larry Fox of Fox Photographics in Hinton, WV.
“Heidelberg deserves a lot of praise for the way it conducts customer demos, and for the quality of its service and support before, during, and after the sale,” he noted. “We previously ran another manufacturer’s digital press, but turned it off when maintenance fees topped out at $36,000 per year, and individual click charges rose to 10 cents. As a result, when we started to investigate the Linoprint C901 as a replacement, we already had six years of digital experience to draw from. We knew our numbers and exactly what we wanted—and what we didn’t want. From the time we showed up on the appointed day with a live job, the demo was a mutual learning experience for both parties. Heidelberg’s thorough knowledge of the machine made it possible for us to collaborate on a configuration that would work best for the type of work we do.”
Sometimes Heidelberg’s longstanding reputation for top-flight quality and customer service is a drawing card in itself.
“We were looking to add our first digital machine,“ relayed Harry Jones. “We are an all-Heidelberg shop on the offset side, and went to the Atlanta Tech Center with the idea of sticking with Heidelberg if we could. The demo center staff were knowledgeable, well-prepared, and very accommodating. The ease of dealing with Heidelberg has always been a real plus for us.”
Getting It Right the First Time
The wisdom of Heidelberg’s emphasis on uniting customers with the right solutions is evident in both clients’ subsequent, trouble-free experience with their new digital presses.
“The Linoprint C901 we purchased is performing above and beyond our expectations as to speed, solid registration, outstanding color—everything we wanted and then some,” Jones affirmed. “And with Heidelberg color management on board, the prospect of printing precisely color-managed work across our offset and digital platforms is an exciting one.”
Likewise, said Fox, “Since the Linoprint C901 went in, we’ve seen a 41 percent increase in speed, up from 3200 pph on our previous digital machine to 5400 pph on the Linoprint C901, and saved 42 percent on click charges, without an annual maintenance agreement.” (Maintenance fees are included in the click charge.) “Once Heidelberg understood what we needed, and proved they could deliver, it was really a no-brainer. Heidelberg is far and away the most professional company I have ever worked with.”
Based on success stories like these, Heidelberg will continue to use the NAPPTC to provide existing and prospective customers comprehensive and targeted presentations of its solution portfolio.
NAPPTC services currently include customer demonstrations and special events like the annual SkillsUSA graphic arts competition, as well as application training courses for customers, in-house trainers, and salesstaff. It also provides support for research and development, including practical testing of Heidelberg Saphira consumable products. Heidelberg attaches particular importance to Prinect integration at the NAPPTC, and maintains a dedicated room in the facility for workflow training and demonstrations. The company continually develops technology- and application-specific webinars for the purpose of customer education.
“We certainly will be looking to increase our demo room activity and enlarge the knowledge we are able to share with our customers about the full range of Heidelberg products, integrated solutions, consumables and consulting services,” Moebius said.