The 20th edition of EFI user-conference Connect has drawn to a close, following keynotes from new CEO Bill Muir, Cirque du Soleil, The Freeman Company, and 15-year old entrepreneur Ariel Swedroe.
With the new CEO has come a renewed focus on customers, as the company’s CFO, CEO, and division heads touted the goal of always meeting the customer where they want to be.
Muir is now 100 days into the role, and outlined his philosophy on day one, with his priorities being culture, and customers, noting, “If we get the employee experience right, with the dignity of each employee valued and respected, and every point of the customer’s interaction with the company being incredible, the capital structure of the business will take care of it itself.”
Modelling the experience closer to a trade show this year, EFI brought five different printers to the floor, including its Pro 24f and 32r, and Vutek 3r+, H5, and FabriVu 340i.
Joe Popolo, CEO of The Freeman Company was interviewed for the Fireside Chat segment, which sees the EFI CEO sit and discuss print in a non-formal question/answer format with an EFI user. The Freeman Company handles high-profile events, including running the most recent Republican National Convention. The US-based company grew from $600m in revenue to $3bn under his leadership, a remarkable figure for a privately-run, family-owned company, especially considering it had lost 30 per cent of its revenue in 2009.
The company uses EFI Vutek printers for its soft signage, producing 10 million square feet of graphics in the last year, across its 17 printers.
Popolo discussed the future of trade shows, noting, “People want to go to live events, it is the only way to experience something with all five senses, to be successful they have to be immersive. There has been a resurgence in bringing machinery to shows, how often can you get that many qualified buyers in one room? It is expensive, but there is a good ROI for doing so.”
The State of the Products session this year introduced the Bolt platform, a single pass, 90m per minute textile printer, first unveiled at the end of 2018. Mark Olin, CFO, EFI, described it as “Nozomi for textiles, also integrating analogue printing units inline, with a product quality that no-one else can match.”
A new cloud service called IQ was also foreshadowed, which will feature real-time press data across performance, calibration, also incorporating predictive maintenance.
On the software front, EFI is seeking to incorporate Digital Storefront, its W2P solution, with Market Direct, which is used in planning and executing cross-media advertising campaigns.
Market Direct Storefront brings together EFI’s e-commerce, order procurement, marketing communications, and inventory management solutions. Customers can specify, order, and transact any product across conventional printing, packaging, folding carton applications, wide-format, direct mail, and fulfillment.
Gaby Matsliach, senior vice president, general manager of productivity software says, “It will allow PSPs to quickly deploy online portals, with an all-in-one solution across multiple segments. For attracting big, national customers, it opens up a lot of value, particularly with streamlining inventory management, the 3D design tools.
The latest iteration of Fiery was also demonstrated, FS350 Pro, featuring a Fast Rip architecture that allows for GPU-accelerated processing, which EFI says will double its performance.
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