Heidelberg USA

Heidelberg Acquires Belgian Software Specialist CERM

Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) has acquired Belgian software specialist CERM. The company, headquartered in Oostkamp, specializes in the development, sale, and implementation of management information systems (MIS) for commercial and label printing and employs a staff of 26. Effective immediately, Heidelberg plans to launch and sell CERM's existing portfolio worldwide and integrate it into the Prinect production workflow. Management information systems are used to manage all the commercial processes of a print shop.

"By acquiring CERM, a well-known software specialist in Western Europe, Heidelberg is expanding its portfolio of management information systems. We aim to present a fully integrated MIS solution with central data management in combination with our Prinect print shop workflow at drupa 2012 and start the worldwide roll-out step by step," says Marcel Kiessling, member of the Management Board responsible for Heidelberg Services, explaining the strategy behind the takeover. "CERM is an excellent addition to our existing solutions, thanks to the strengths of the company's products and the customer segments it serves."

Tom Musschoot, former owner and new Managing Director of CERM stated: "We'll continue to serve all our existing customers in all our markets. Additionally, as part of Heidelberg, we will be able to extend our business to a truly global level by making use of Heidelberg's worldwide presence and international sales channels."

The global market volume for MIS in the print media industry is estimated at around EUR 200 million.

CERM's product portfolio also covers the extensive MIS requirements of larger print shops involving complex management processes. Heidelberg plans to integrate the CERM solutions step-by-step into the Prinect print shop workflow. The aim is to launch a fully integrated management and production workflow for controlling all commercial and production processes in a print shop, irrespective of the business model and size of the company. This will eradicate any potential problems with interfaces between the management and production workflows. The new development will allow customers who initially opt for a CERM solution to switch to a comprehensive integration solution at a later date.

Existing users of the MIS solution Prinect Prinance will be supported also in the future. With the acquisition of CERM these customers will have the opportunity to upgrade on a high-end technology with additional functions.

So far, Heidelberg has successfully connected around 50 third-party MIS solutions to the Prinect print shop workflow. At last year's IPEX trade show, the company also established an MIS partner program with four leading MIS manufacturers, including CERM. The aim is to enable users to boost their productivity by further improving interfaces between third-party MIS systems and the Prinect print shop workflow that have already been implemented successfully in customer projects. This program will continue to be an essential part of the company's strategy.

The success story of the CERM MIS for narrow web printers in Europe will now be extended all over the world. "Heidelberg's worldwide presence including the sales channels of Gallus for the label business will create a unique platform for our very specialized narrow web solution," Musschoot said, explaining the advantages of the acquisition of CERM by Heidelberg. "We are already serving our first US customers, and will now be able to reduce the time-to-market considerably." CERM's existing partnerships will remain in place.

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