The "DRUPA effect" is well known in the industry and can be easily recognized in the chart showing Heidelberg's new orders by quarter. Nevertheless, Heidelberg's increase in orders is impressive, given the numbers released by its competitors as well as the assumption that additional equipment orders are largely responsible for the increase. The publicly available data would suggest that Heidelberg improved its market position even further.
As Heidelberg Goes, So Goes the Sheetfed Industry.
Heidelberg's strong position warrants the adaption of the old saying about GM and a further look into the numbers could provide interesting clues about the future of the industry.
In my experience (and thanks to Alan Beaulieu from the Institute for Trend Research, www.itreconomics.com), looking at moving totals and rate-of-change (RoC) often provides better insight than the often volatile monthly or quarterly data. In the printing equipment industry, I found annual moving totals and the corresponding RoC most helpful. While the data is normally constructed using monthly data, it also works well with the quarterly figures available for Heidelberg.
The upper part of the chart shows the rate-of-change. The 4Q/12 shows the change of the current yearly data (4QMT) relative to a year ago. The Q/12 shows where the current quarterly data is realtive to a year ago. The zero line means there is no growth.
The 12/12 indicates where the company is in the business cycle. The blue line has turned up and shows positive growth. The 3/12 dotted red line has passed above the 12/12 and indicates a potential transition to a positive business cycle. The next two quarters will confirm if the company will see a positive cycle or whether DRUPA 2012 provided false hope as we have seen after the previous DRUPA in 2008.
Given Heidelberg's dominant position in the printing equipment industry, this will be of interest to the entire sector.