It is fantastic that the topic of paper and paper processing has (finally!) become the focus at the drupa. This is an important sector and it has more to offer than ever even though it has been previously seen as secondary because all spectacular innovations had come from the printing press industry. During the course of digitalization with networking and automation of all processes (keyword Industry 4.0), paper and processing specialists have updated their business from the ground up. This was specifically evident during the business press conference of the VDMA on 04 April 2016 in the Frankfurter “Haus des Buches” — and it received excellent feedback.
As paper specialist, BW Papersystems takes on the global lead, through its innovative company structure with customer-orientated solutions in line with the market conditions. This is reason enough to talk to one of the top managers, who is close to the customer on a global scale. As Vice President Global Mill Sales, Patrick Walczak is responsible for the global sales activities at BW Papersystems.
Patrick Walczak’s key messages: Customer orientation
- “Our top priority: We focus on individual customer desires.”
- “We communicate with suppliers and partners of our customers about all processes over the entire value chain.”
- “We are more than just a supplier of individual technological components. For our customers and their customers, we become more and more the problem-solver by offering innovative and successful solutions. This will be even more intensified by drupa 2016.”
Patrick Walczak’s key issue: Added value for customers
“To generate added value for our customers, it is not enough to offer innovative and good products. Three things are essential for us:
- Act with the solution in mind. Always to look beyond the rim of your tea cup!”
Interview by Andreas Weber | German version
The name of the trade fair drupa stands for the abbreviation of the German words for print and paper, i.e. “Druck und Papier”. Both offer the platform for a new business model of BW Papersystems. What has happened to this day?
Patrick Walczak: Only today, new technologies are truly accepted in the printing industry. The trend of promising a dynamic growth has long been anticipated. However, its effects are only seen today. Our special challenge: Thus far, processing paper was so to speak an “unwanted stepchild”. As necessary evil, we were somewhat isolated. We were stuck in this dilemma. Therefore, we have changed many things. Finally, we were able to expand our world of ideas. Business units of the Körber Group such as Will and Pemco went to the Barry Wehmiller Group and they were combined with other companies, even acquisitions. Many changes happened at the structural and cultural level. Now, we are able to look beyond the rim of the teacup…
… in other words, you underwent a pretty strong financial crisis?
Patrick Walczak: Yes. The period following the drupa 2012 was very tough for us. Our former market activities were unilateral. At the same time, the demand decreased. The business in Asia failed. Investments in North America dropped. We were searching and we did find a new home, which became a very good home. The Barry Wehmiller Group [in short: BW Group] is listed on the stock exchange. It consists of 80 companies in machine and system engineering, which are divided into four platforms. Now, we have a solid financial structure and our product structure is positioned more broadly; and the paper division of Bielomatik, WillPemco’s strongest competitor became part of the BW Group. In addition, there were changes in the environment: Today, digital printing is ever more influential than before. All participants in the entire print production value chain communicate with one another and collaborate intensively. — from the manufacturer of technology and paper to the paper dealer and end customer.
What are the effects of this fresh start in the paper industry?
Patrick Walczak: Delivery times in near real times are the standard in the paper business. At least smaller quantities are ordered and delivered within 24 hours. This creates new challenges, with which we are dealing. Our business model changed completely: We are more than just a supplier of individual technological components. For our customers and their customers, we become more and more the problem solver by offering innovative and successful solutions. This will be even more intensified by drupa 2016. There will be joint appearances with paper suppliers, dealers, and users. We focus on close cooperation and perfect teamwork. We communicate with suppliers and partners of our customers about all processes over the entire value chain.
What makes your new business model consistent with the changes in the marketplace?
Patrick Walczak: Globally seen, the use of paper does not decrease to the degree that printing of paper decreases specifically for consumer purposes. With our new business model, we facilitate and master a market environment that is in the midst of change. This is not anything new when seen in the historical context. There have always been changes; however, the speed by which things happen has increased significantly. Accordingly, our communication and collaboration skills have to fulfil completely different requirements. Top priority: We focus on individual customer desires.
Can you give me one example?
Patrick Walczak: Just look at the booming market of digitally printed photo albums. It requires mastering strong seasonal fluctuations with regard to formats and types of paper. Accordingly, our processes such as cutting and binding solutions are optimized and in line with customer needs. In the course of our new strategy, we have not only consolidated us but we have advanced proactively. In our Corporation, we call it customer trust and customer care initiative. This allows us to focus with competent teams in the market ‘beyond sales’ namely precisely on the customer and the customer’s specific requirements. Therefore, the achievement of customer satisfaction is not the final objective. Rather it is relevant to build permanent trust. To me it is very important: Can our customer be assured, if we are the partner or as the saying goes “are we game for anything”? This is how we are in the end able to develop and realize joint visions.
What effect does this have on the corporate culture?
Patrick Walczak: Our customer orientation to create trust and sustainable partnerships should not simply be the introductory paragraph in an image brochure but it should guide day-in and day-out the thoughts of each employee. All of our customers must feel it each day, each hour. The spectrum of our customers ranges from five employees in a family business to global players with tens of thousands of employees worldwide. This is what unifies us: In the end, what counts are personal connections and perfect customer relationships. Our Chairman & CEO Bob Chapman (personal information about him: http://www.barrywehmiller.com/our-business/leadership-team/bob-chapman) wants to know each month where exactly we stand. The good and the bad. Therefore, all processes are continuously evaluated and perfectly aligned with the customer’s needs. This includes costs and machines/solutions.
In this context, what added values do your customers or new customers expect and which ones do you wish to achieve?
Patrick Walczak: To generate added value for our customers, it is not enough to offer innovative and good products. Three things that are essential for us:
- Act with the solution in mind. Always look beyond the rim of your teacup!
Just the machine technology has so to speak a secondary effect; in the end, it must ultimately create something else and something greater for customers. We must move something in business and in society, something that is fun. The motto of our Company is: Building a better world through business.
What advantages do you see for BW Papersystems?
Patrick Walczak: We serve on a global level various industry dealing with paper, cardboard, and print. Suitable products and solutions are the result of our comprehensive trend observations and trend shaping. For example, the customer specific modification of a machine can be the solution. Our global perspective permits us to serve large markets and niche markets alike; in any case, it is important to recognize global accentuations to be able to respond swiftly to heterogeneous market requirements. Cultural closeness is important. We assure it through local contact persons. Our infrastructure has grown significantly since we are part of the BW Group. Therefore, we are well equipped to satisfy best customer desires.
Are there any cross-sectorial role models, which you use?
Patrick Walczak: We do see the automotive sector including the supplier market as role model. Specifically, with regard to the industry 4.0 standards, which were already achieved. The following counts in machine and system engineering: Machines must fulfil their purpose; they must run smoothly and they must support customers in their work perfectly. The expectation of dependability increased beyond physical framework conditions. Therefore, it is extremely important – even if we are talking special machinery – to have spare parts available locally along with local service technicians. As I have mentioned, our guiding principle in the business of our customers, who have deliver to their customers within 24 hours.
What characterizes the technical services at BW Papersystems?
Patrick Walczak: We are the leader in remote maintenance. We recently relaunched our ‘ExpertOnline’ system, which had been established for the past 8 years. With our own software, we now have a significantly improved access to analyse machine data, particularly to diagnose errors. Initially, we use a remote service to start up new installations more quickly. Now, we can offer customers for flat rate novel services, which reduce the required maintenance or repair times of 30 to 40 hours to 3 to 4 hours.
Paper manufacturers are rather conservative and they do not like to let someone else handle sensitive issues. How do you deal with it?
Patrick Walczak: Of course, you have to remove barriers. Our approach with ExpertOnline is for the majority of this conservative sector such as paper mills unusual. Therefore, we need new forms to communicate this new system. In addition, it requires a strong trust in us because the customer does give a lot out of the hand. Therefore, we expected a flat start-up curve but some started immediately and they were highly satisfied. Important is: New functions are added such as production optimizations and quality improvements. A wealth of production data is created. We can process them in a structured manner and we can analyse them intelligently.
What do those quite complicated new approaches look like in terms of the discussed benefit and added value?
Patrick Walczak: On the one hand: We rely on social media communication and for example, we have an explanatory video uploaded to YouTube. On the other hand, we use kiosk systems at the drupa 2016. These deal with the topics in a structured manner, whereby one deals with ExpertOnline. These multimedia contents are supported by consultations and meetings, including statements of users/customers. Authentic customer evaluations and dialogues are important for us. This provides entirely new ideas to show additional opinions and get new input through social media (via forums, blogs, etc.). This applies to the products and specifically to services, remote maintenance or spare parts, etc. According to our customers, these open and informative communications lead to benefits and effects to make purchase decisions transparent for business decision-makers or even controllers.
What makes it particularly worthwhile to visit BW Papersystems at the drupa 2016?
Patrick Walczak: I believe the primary incentive is to meet people: Customers and employees/experts all communicate with one another. Business is conducted through relationships by people as acting persons. Therefore, the concept of the remote maintenance ExpertOnline also encourages the ExpertPersonal experience. — Second: Trust is created by expertise, dependability, and personal contacts. Drupa offers the best opportunities for it. Through meetings/consultation, we demonstrate a very well structured mixture of an in-depth expertise (keyword: “Meet the Expert”) and personal perspective, e.g. through selected exhibits and process sections for cutting and packaging of paper and we also consider small investments into niche markets. In addition, we show that our solutions are highly flexible and rapidly available. Today, we only need 6 to 8 weeks to deliver and 1 week for the installation instead of the previous delivery term of 8 to 9 months and 6 weeks for the installation.
Who can benefit particularly from the offer of BW Papersystems or rather which impulses are created for the market in the medium-term and in the long-term?
Patrick Walczak: This is clearly the result of our large portfolio of solutions, which caters to print shops and specifically to digital print users, paper mills and the paper shops as well as the packaging industry. In addition, we address professionals, which deal with special topics such as office supplies/stationary, note pads, copybooks, digital books and specialty segments such as banknotes, security documents, etc.
Last but not least: What is your personal motivation in your job and what does drupa mean for you?
Patrick Walczak: My professional and personal motivation in a nutshell: Days such as these. Interaction with different people. The exchange, meeting, at wonderful places on special occasions. My job as global head of sales provides me with an excellent mirror image of what our customers and we will expect to find at the drupa 2016 — a global, intercultural, linguistically divers meeting. The trade fair grounds and the city of Düsseldorf as location provide a dynamic while offering ONE place for all to meet. The drupa is so to speak a kind of home turf for the paper industry during a specific temporal rhythm. To be better equipped for new challenges. I still remember vividly the experiences I made in 2012. Through various personal meetings and in-depth discussions, we were have been able to transform a situation of “ignoring one another” for many years into an excellent business friendship, which led to new joint appearances at congresses on the topic of value-chain and value-innovation in niche markets in addition to a high investment. Anyone who wants to find out particulars can talk to me personally at our drupa stand!
—Thank you for this extensive and interesting interview!
About the person
Patrick Walczak is Vice President Global Mill Sales — responsible for the global sales activities at BW Papersystems. His team covers all-important regions in North America, South America, EMEA, and Asia. This is what he says about his responsibilities: “It is fascinating to work in an internationally orientated team and to have responsibilities within an important global corporation, which focuses customer oriented on new solutions that are sustainable in the future.”
Education and professional experience: Patrick Walczak has a Bachelor Degree in business administration, controlling, marketing, and human resources management. He has been working as Vice President Sales & Marketing for five years. He has previously worked for 16 years as Marketing Director and Sales Manager for the Körber Group in Hamburg. Before this position, he has worked for six years as Sales Director and Commercial Director at the Thyssen Krupp affiliate Harburg-Freudenberger Maschinenbau GmbH (business sector of edible oil industry).
About the Company
BW Papersystems, is a division of Barry-Wehmiller. It combines under one roof strong brand names, innovative technologies and many years of experience in cutting and packaging of paper and cardboard, the processing of stationary as well as corrugated cardboard.
About BW PAPERSYSTEMS
BW Papersystems unites the five strongest brands of the paper industry: WillPemcoBiolematik, MarquipWardUnited, SHM, Wrapmatic, Kugler-Womako, BW Bielomatik, and JAG Synchro. According to Company information, it offers market-leading solutions for cutting and packaging of paper, cardboard and other materials in the large format, small format and digital format sector as well as solutions for the stationary sector, the production of passports and special paper processing applications. Customers in the corrugated cardboard production and processing industry are supported by the well-known brands MarquipWardUnited, Curioni, and VortX. A global service network and “ExpertOnline” for remote maintenance reduce maintenance and repair times drastically and they provide new analysis methods to optimize production and quality.
Barry-Wehmiller is a global provider of comprehensive engineering services and production technologies for the packaging, corrugated cardboard and paper processing industries. An employee orientated management style and operative strategies combined with sustainable growth led Barry-Wehmiller to become a Company, which today generates more than USD 2.4 billion in sales. Its 11,000 employees have one joint vision: To create a pleasant togetherness through respectful conduct. Building a Better World through Business. For more information, go to barry-wehmiller.com.
Further links to the Company:
About the presentation at the drupa 2016
BW Papersystems unites for the first time leading brands for stationary and digital print processing machines and large format cross cutters.
Hall 10, Stand D 20
One highlight of BW Papersystems will be the presentation of an eCon large format cutter. This eCon format cutter, which was developed with the latest construction methods, offers the high cutting quality of a dual rotary cross-cutter. Due to the attractive price, the investment should become profitable for print shops and cardboard manufacturers in a short time, while reducing inventory, making pile turners are thing of the past, reducing material costs and increasing the efficiency of the print machines.
In addition, we will show at our stand an automatic Wrapmatic GREC, a huge wrapping machine for large format materials. This machine is designed for an average production rate. It is the perfect flexible solution for paper processors and smaller paper mills with the desire to produce the highest quality of packaged reams. It uses as wrapping material traditionally coated papers that protect against moisture or wrapping paper. Due to the rapid format change options, the GREC is ideal for processing small order quantities efficiently.
Furthermore, visitors of the stand can discover the significantly expanded product portfolio of WillPemcoBielomatik, BW Bielomatik and Kugler-Womako for the processing of stationary, digital print and digitally printed books, the binding of books as well as for RFID applications. For the first time, the best technologies of the former E.C.H. Will and the paper-processing sector of Bielomatik and Kugler-Womako are combined. Now, customers can choose between ideal machine solution for simple or for highly automated production requirements. The product portfolio includes solutions for the production of notebooks, for glued products or for products bound with plastic, wire or even paper.
For the rapidly growing digital print market, BW Papersystems offers flexible cutting systems for digital paper formats, book-on-demand binding solutions for the very small book editions as well as innovative systems based on single sheets to process large volumes of digitally printed books. Systems for speciality applications such as the processing of RFID technology and the production of passports compliment the impressive range of products.