Ergo Asia chief executive Eugene Cora has moved on from the print management company he started a decade ago, a year after its acquisition by Konica Minolta.
Richard Wonders, formerly chief financial officer, succeeded Cora this week and is predicting continued growth of 10-15 per cent for the remainder of the year as the company expands its reach and services.
Wonders says Konica Minolta’s financial muscle has fuelled rapid expansion throughout Asia in the past year, opening in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan and now operating in 12 countries.
“Their backing has sped up investment, expansion, and fast tracked technology development to a pace we would not have been able to do as a private company, and it would also have gotten harder as we grew,” he says.
“Not much has changed except we now have a greater willingness and ability to expand. We run semi-independently and Konica Minolta is letting us get on with running the business.
“They are taking an active role in setting up our Japanese business and are leveraging their wide customer base. We now have the capability to pick up big multinational clients and sell to a global market.”
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The other big focus now is expanding its range of services beyond print into digital, as well as content creation and asset management services, and developing technology to improve client experience.
“Print management is still the core of our business, but these days clients expect a wider range of services,” Wonders says.
Growth has been strong in Australia, as the new services have proved popular in a market further along in its evolution to a more diverse channel mix.
Wonders says Australia makes up 45-50 per cent of Ergo’s more than $200m turnover, down from 50-55 per cent a year ago.
“Australia grew more than we expected as expanding services here has been quite effective and some clients grew with us or increased their print spend,” he says.
Wonders says another challenge is to keep Ergo’s processes and staff in check with its rapid growth so it can deliver value to clients with the same consistency.
“A big part of my role going forward will be to stay on top of the company’s structures as we expand. If you don’t keep investing in your teams and processes the business can get stretched too thin,” he says.
“As we get bigger we will need better trained staff and more of them, and they need to be empowered and supported to focus on their local markets.”
Cora will join a global Konica Minolta strategy group that brings together people from all its businesses to develop a strategic roadmap to expand capabilities and services within the management production business unit, which includes print management and related areas.
Konica Minolta says it will help fast track development of Ergo’s service offering and be an important platform in its continued growth.
Cora says the strategy unit was set up two years ago and he is excited to be ‘returning to his roots’ as a corporate strategy expert as one of its newest members.
“I spent 10 years as a strategist before starting Ergo so it utilises my core competencies and is something I really enjoy and have always been interested in,” he says.
“I would like to acknowledge the client, printer and staff contributions that have helped to build Ergo over the past 10 years.
“I will remember it as a time of great friendships, rapid innovation and many laughs. Ergo is in good hands to continue the journey into the new marketing world, with strong support from Konica Minolta.”
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