Heidelberg makes progress with UK restructuring


Heidelberg UK’s restructure is taking shape with a number of employees opting to leave the business, a potential partnership on consumables logistics in the works, and the possibility that it could relocate from its Brentford HQ.

The manufacturer began a 30 day consultation over proposals that would see the business reshaped at the beginning of the month, with 40 roles out of 200 likely to go.

Printweek understands that a number of long-serving employees have opted to take voluntary redundancy or early retirement on enhanced terms, and the company has now moved on to discussions with employees whose roles may be made compulsorily redundant.

Managing director Ryan Miles said the business was in “sensitive and confidential discussions with certain staff” and the restructure should be completed by mid-July.

“It is tough for the business and from a human perspective. We have a lot of high quality employees and having to separate from some of those people is very emotional for everybody.

“We are very confident in our structure going forward, mirroring what our group is doing from a group structure point-of-view,” he stated.

The business has also told employees that it could sell its Brentford site if it receives a suitable offer.

“It’s no secret that over the years we have had approaches about the building. There’s a lot of development in the town and we are almost the last semi-industrial site left,” Miles added.

“There is no clear timeline and we are under no obligation to sell it, but it is inevitable we will sell it at some point. Brentford is going to become very residential and is already very traffic-congested.”

The Middlesex town is located on the Thames mid-way between central London and Heathrow Airport, and is the subject of a huge amount of residential redevelopment at present. Heidelberg’s waterside location would be appealing to developers.

Miles said that sites in the area with planning consent for residential development were fetching £4,000-£5,500 per square metre.

The Heidelberg facility is 13,000sqm, and could be worth as much as £71.5m.

Miles had previously said that the Brentford showroom would be an even more important asset in future because customers that would previously have visited its giant Wiesloch site in Germany may prefer not to travel. 

The firm is currently considering various options, including relocating its warehouse to a more central location “that could speed up customer service”.

It could also partner with someone for consumables logistics.

“At the moment the products are located in our warehouse. We might put them in an external warehouse facility. One gets to a point where there’s a lot of technology available to improve logistics, and we can either invest in that technology or we partner with someone who’s already invested successfully,” Miles said.

“Customer interaction and the call centre we will always retain.”

He reiterated that no decisions had been taken as yet.

“We could remain in Brentford from a showroom and office perspective, that’s an option, or one day sell the site and relocate all or part of it.”