With EFI Connect in full swing, Printer Magazines Group sat down and spoke with EFI CEO Guy Gecht, to get his opinion on the state of the industry, and what is coming next for EFI.
Gecht says, “We are aiming to do multiple things at the conference. The first is to connect with customers, listen to them, see what is new in their business. It is a once a year opportunity to speak to them, try to understand what they are trying to accomplish, and what their customers are trying to accomplish, what opportunities they are seeing, what they want from us going forward.
“We also want to share our thoughts. Where we are taking the products, where we are taking the company, what we believe is going to happen in the industry, and see what feedback we are getting.
“Connect used to be a place to talk about the next year road map, and get training on current products. We took it to a more strategic level, talking about longer term objective and vision, trying to figure out how customers see their business. After Connect we come together to talk about what we learned from customers, what they like and do not like. It became a lot more two-way.”
EFI has made big investments in R&D, alongside acquisitions to expand its product range, and now is across labels with Jetrion, textiles with Reggiani, wide-format with Vutek, with its latest addition being digital corrugated print with its Nozomi press.
Gecht says the plan for the company now is not to branch out into newer markets, but instead go deeper in the markets it currently operates in.
“The goal is to get a lot deeper in packaging, textiles, display graphics, commercial print, and give more to the customers. We find it more rewarding and interesting to do more with existing customers than to try and get new customers in new industries.
“Clearly commercial print has a lot of challenges. A lot of things which were printed are moving to electronic media, maybe not as fast as people think, with some areas seeing a bounce back. There is definitely pressure, the question is where is the gulf, where is the value?
[Related: EFI introduces ten times faster Fiery]
“Printing on things beyond paper is definitely going somewhere, and has a lot more value. If you speak at people that print display graphics they will tell you business is going well, and that it is a lot more profitable than commercial print. We are seeing that as a trend.
“Commercial print has tremendous talent, and a lot of passion given that it is normally a family-run business, and a great customer base. So the question is how do you take that and build different applications.
“You have to follow the money, and follow the trends. What kind of things can you do beyond printing documents for customers? What kind of things they do, and how can you accommodate their desire to customise, to have shorter runs, to not hold inventory. Normally that means digital printing in our industry.
“Can you take out some of the waste and inefficiency in your system? That generally means automating business processes using software that you were previously doing manually.
“We have smart people in the industry, and the people that invest in the right things, and have modernised are doing really well.
“You need to think about print in a much broader definition. It is about putting great images on any material. If you think that is print, I have the creative skills to do what it takes, what can I do for my existing customers, what can I do with the people I get comfortable with and how can I do that, who can I learn from? That is what makes Connect a great event, being able to learn from your peers.
“For print shops looking to expand offerings, it is about being open minded with taking your skills to different applications.
“Everybody wants to customise things faster. Marketing today is about tying things to a certain time, area, age, gender, and mass marketing is almost gone.
“The next big trend is short run. No one wants to keep inventory, they want things to come in, then out, and then change it.”
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