«Print Has a Future, However, the System Needs to Be Rethought!”

Bruno Müller, CEO of Müller Martini, gave a keynote speech as part of GetTogether on the eve of the Druck Medien Day in Bregenz, Austria. He demonstrated how Müller Martini's current innovations can create new business models and significantly reduce personnel costs. The importance of the issue of labour shortages for the industry was also demonstrated on the second day of the event on 13 October 2023, which was held under the motto "Solutions for the working world of tomorrow".
The last few years have not been easy for the entire industry and also for Muller Martini itself, but the company is now on the right track. The company is convinced that the printing industry has a future. “However, we all have to rethink on how we can run this business successfully.” Bruno Müller demonstrated the approaches that Muller Martini is pursuing here with a fully automated, barcode-controlled book production line.
A vision becomes reality
"Our vision is to manufacture print products without any manual intervention in the finishing process", the CEO asserted. "This requires automated processes and networked machines that adjust fully automatically to new formats, contents, circumferences and papers via barcodes". Solutions that are already available today were shown by the company at its Open House event at the end of September 2023 in Zofingen. A digital book production line that produces 2,000 individual books per hour was among them. Needless to say, a higher-level workflow is required to process the data accordingly. Muller Martini has created a unique solution for the industry with the Connex workflow.
The complexity of production has been reduced to an area of 175 m2 which is about one third of an analogue production area with the digital book production line. Only two people are required to operate the entire system - a machine operator and an assistant - which drastically reduces personnel costs. The solution is not the only cure-all, Bruno Müller assured, but it shows the direction in which the development is going. A line has already been successfully started up at a customer in France, producing books in runs of 100 fully automatically. Taking this opportunity, Bruno Müller felt it was important to point out that they would continue to manufacture saddle stitchers and adhesive binders that are geared towards analogue production.
Employees are the best recruiters
Bruno Müller also concluded his presentation by addressing the topics of "the modern work environment" and "apprenticeship training". In principle, he said, it is important to show employees opportunities and to accompany them on their way at eye level. "Employees are the best recruiters when they are convinced that they are employed by the right company." Of course, one also has to be in step with the times in order to remain an attractive employer. For instance, a four-day week or a company kindergarten could be appropriate starting points. The employees of Muller Martini voted their company one of the best employers in the machine and plant construction sector in Switzerland in 2023, despite the difficult years behind them, which also involved a reduction in the workforce. “Surely this shows that, despite everything, we have done a few things right.” In conclusion, Bruno Müller emphasises that if you believe in your business model and can also convince your employees of this, they will remain loyal to the company in the long term.