Heidelberg UK begins warehouse move; parent sells Belgian chemicals ops to Druck Chemie


Heidelberg UK is set to begin the relocation of its warehouse operations to the Miniclipper Logistics facility in Bedfordshire while parent Heidelberg has sold its Belgian production site for printing chemicals to Druck Chemie.

Part of Heidelberg UK’s ‘consumables and parts supply’ strategy, the warehouse move, which is starting on Monday (14 December), is expected to facilitate access to greater integrated systems for the manufacturer and help to enhance its order fulfilment.

Heidelberg UK said the partnership with Miniclipper will enable it to benefit from “best-in-class global supply chain technologies and systems” as well as an improved supply chain experience for UK and Irish customers, while maintaining its existing, reliable levels of service, security and safety.

“We need to be innovative with our supply chain to ensure that we support the changing needs of our customers with efficient digitised solutions that operate in an environmentally friendly way,” said Heidelberg UK managing director Ryan Miles, who had previously alluded to the business relocating its warehouse to a more central location in June.

“Any innovations must also complement our fast-growing e-commerce and Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) platforms. Ongoing support, consumables and spare parts availability are key factors in our customers’ purchase decisions.

“While we already focus on meeting UK and Irish customer expectations for rapid responses through digital transactions, our goal is to provide even greater visibility and flexibility that will further accelerate operations. The modern supply chain management solutions of Miniclipper Logistics deliver these goals.”

Miniclipper has already served Heidelberg UK for 20 years, as part of the delivery supply chain, through its own vehicle fleet and as a member of the Palletline and Hazchem network.

Heidelberg UK called this move “the next logical step in the association, to link the logistics facility in a project that has been supported by their dedicated team”. The company will still own its warehouse in Brentford, and its other UK operations also currently continue from Brentford.

The Miniclipper site is minutes away from the M1 motorway network and forms part of five warehouses amounting to over 32,500sqm of high bay warehouse space.

Heidelberg UK head of consumables Andrew Hall told Printweek: “The offices and the administration doesn’t change. If you were to ring and place an order for some ink or any consumables off us, it would be centralised at Brentford through the administration and sales team and then effectively that would print off at the warehouse down in Brentford. Our e-shop orders are very similar, although there’s no human or manual intervention, it just prints off into the warehouse.

“So now rather than that happening at the Brentford location, it will be at the Miniclipper fulfilment facility. We would [previously] pick, pack and dispatch and Miniclipper would form part of the logistics, but they’ll now be doing that picking, packing and fulfilment side for us as well and then going onto their transportation, which is all under one roof.”

Separately, parent company Heidelberg has announced that it has sold its Belgian production site for printing chemicals to Druck Chemie, a subsidiary of Langley Holdings, as part of its ongoing focus on core activities and portfolio adjustments.

The €20.5m (£18.8m) sale, which is effective today (11 December), includes the companies BluePrint Products and Hi-Tech Chemicals, located in Kruibeke, Belgium.

The site develops and manufactures high-quality printing chemicals for flexo and offset printing, primarily for the packaging and commercial markets, which will continue to be offered by Heidelberg as part of its overall consumables strategy.

The site and around 40 staff will be transferred to Druck Chemie.

“With the withdrawal from the production of printing chemicals, we are making good progress with our realignment and concentration on our core activities,” said Heidelberg chief executive Rainer Hundsdörfer.

“We will use the funds freed up by this to safeguard our liquidity in times of the Covid-19 pandemic and to push ahead with strategic investments in the future on the path of our digital transformation.”

Langley Holdings board director William Langley called the acquisition “an excellent fit [that] will further strengthen our offering to the print industry”.

In August Heidelberg sold its CERM narrow-web MIS business to an MBO team