Coronavirus has accelerated the downward trend in the printing markets. Against this backdrop, the printing company Mohn Media has unveiled a package of measures to improve its competitiveness. It provides for investments in technical modernization and process optimization, but also stipulates the socially responsible reduction of around 470 jobs.
In a globally tight printing market, which has also been massively impacted by the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, Mohn Media is setting the course for the large printing company’s post-crisis period. Under the “3M” (“Modernization of Mohn Media”) strategy presented yesterday, investments in IT, new technologies, expansion of the machinery, and comprehensive process standardization are the first specific measures, to be taken as soon as possible to further strengthen the company’s growth businesses, reduce process complexity, and at the same time cut costs in structurally declining market segments. The aim of all the measures is to increase Mohn Media’s competitiveness across all relevant lines of business and secure the large printing company’s long-term future. An unavoidable component of the 3M measures is the reduction of production capacities and the associated gradual adjustment of the workforce to the changed demand situation. Over the next few years, 470 jobs out of a total of nearly 2,000 are to be cut in a socially responsible manner at the Gütersloh and Marienfeld sites.
The background to the planned measures is the situation in the print markets that are relevant for Mohn Media. It has been challenging for some years now and deteriorated further in 2019. Primarily due to the ongoing digitalization of society, print runs and volumes have been declining sharply for some time across nearly all product groups, from catalogs and magazines to phone directories and publishing books. This negative development is accompanied by an increasing drop in prices throughout the industry. The coronavirus pandemic has considerably exacerbated the overall situation. In the months from April to June, Mohn Media’s production output once again declined significantly.
Dirk Kemmerer, CEO of the Bertelsmann Printing Group and Chairman of the Mohn Media Management Board said: “The decision about the upcoming measures was not an easy one for us. However, the printing industry as a whole and Mohn Media as one of its leading protagonists currently face major business challenges. The measures we have successfully taken so far have enabled us to contain the negative consequences of market developments and withstand the additional shock of the global pandemic. The challenge now is to ensure that we all work together to take the necessary steps to position the company so that it can emerge from the crisis in good shape, and can remain successful and competitive in the marketplace long-term.”
3M, the strategy with which this is to be achieved, comprises a set of measures designed to reduce the increasing complexity within the company, strengthen market-driven structures, and ensure the necessary focus on profitable lines of business. It will also involve improving the cost structure in all areas, streamlining procedures and processes, investing in new technologies, and further intensifying sales activities.
All these measures will also be accompanied by job cuts at the Gütersloh headquarters and at Probind in Marienfeld, which Kemmerer says are unfortunately unavoidable. According to the plans now presented, around 470 jobs will either be cut or not refilled when they become vacant. To make these planned job cuts in a socially responsible manner, all available social measures, including voluntary departures, early retirement, and partial retirement, are to be used. In addition, it is planned not to extend temporary contracts, to minimize the use of temporary workers, and to make use of the opportunities offered by the Bertelsmann Transfer Company (BTG) at the Gütersloh site. Dirk Kemmerer adds: “The management team is determined to keep the social impact of the necessary adjustments to an absolute minimum. We want to and will do this in close collaboration with the works council and the entire workforce. I am convinced that Mohn Media has a good long-term future and will emerge from the crisis stronger than before.”