A Talk With Alexander van Meeuwen--Capturing Critical Mass
Where to begin?
Van Meeuwen, taking barely a second, opts to start the conversation with the focus of Agfa today—its growing customer base and the dramatically proactive stance Agfa is taking with its customers.
Within the past 12 to 18 months, Agfa restructured its internal synergies, van Meeuwen reports, with a focus on internal training, increasing customer awareness and elevating the duties of top marketing managers to new heights.
Today, Agfa’s marketing and sales managers are 100-percent responsible for all areas of their specified businesses, including profitability. All figures are turned over to van Meeuwen, naturally, for evaluation. This, he swears, is a winning corporate strategy: empowering employees to empower the customers.
“We want to maintain the role of true consultants,” he says. “We are pushing to give advice and suggestions to our customers on a constant basis that will help them achieve new levels of seamless digital workflow, at whatever particular level they are ready for internally.”
Van Meeuwen pauses. He leans back in his chair and looks up for a second, as he ponders Agfa’s rejuvenated customer stance.
“We want to be partners with our customers,” he continues. “We are offering solutions, yes, but we are also offering expertise and assistance that go well beyond the scope of our expanding assortment of products.”
Van Meeuwen loves to talk about Agfa’s expanding product base—most recently given a jolt by the acquisition of DuPont’s graphic films and offset printing plates business units.
The acquired DuPont operation employs approximately 2,000 worldwide, with production facilities located in Germany and Great Britain. The combined international sales of the two units amount to more than $500 million. Agfa has integrated the former DuPont business units into its Ridgefield Park, NJ, corporate center.
“Our mission in the integration of Agfa and DuPont technologies is to be the undisputed leader in the printing and publishing industry by providing and supporting a complete range of world-class electronic and photographic imaging solutions,” van Meeuwen states with almost parental pride in his voice.