On the Road: Customer Interaction Takes Center Stage at EFI ConnectFebruary 2013 By Mark Michelson
Gecht's keynote address earlier the same day, "Opening the Doors to Your Window of Opportunity," offered conference attendees four suggestions on how to take advantage of opportunities and continue to grow in the future: Find out what your customers will need (three-to-five years out). Never stop innovating. Work with companies that invest in innovation. Never stop increasing productivity.
Saying that EFI is "walking the talk" to help its customers open doors, Gecht pointed out that EFI continues to invest 20 percent of its revenue in R&D, with more than 800 developers and engineers in the United States and India. In addition to featuring VUTEk, EFI wide-format and Jetrion inkjet production printers, Connect technology highlights this year included a newly enhanced line of JDF-certified Fiery digital front ends, as well as a complete lineup of EFI Productivity Software products.
Although Gecht predicts that, in 10 years, total printed page output will be down 10 percent, he says digitally produced pages will grow 98.5 percent—and UV inkjet square footage output will skyrocket 156 percent.
Gecht also announced that EFI will seek out more strategic acquisitions in 2013, continuing the momentum the industry supplier has had from the deals completed last year to purchase Web-to-print and dynamic publishing firm Online Print Solutions (OPS) and print MIS/ERP provider Technique. He noted that the leaders from the last 10 out of 11 acquisitions consummated by EFI are still working at EFI today.
In a followup Q&A with journalists and analysts, Gecht also dispelled rumors that publicly held EFI is seeking to go private due to its strong balance sheet (including three consecutive years of double-digit growth), which is not reflected in its stock price or appreciated by Wall Street.
Frank Romano, RIT professor emeritus, moderated a printer panel featuring Christopher Calabria, Tukaiz; Ed MacLean, Daniels; Brett McNerney, Think Patented; Nick Olson, PVS In-Store Graphics; Greg Smith, Vector Printing; and Bill White, J.S. McCarthy.
EFI partners participating comprised 3M Commercial Graphics, Agile Network, Bunting Magnetics, Carlson Advisors, Esko, Honle UV America, KIP America, Kodak, Konica Minolta, MBM Corp., Metamation, Metrix Software, MGI USA, Pantone, Ricoh, SmartLinc, Xerox, xpedx and Zund.
The next Connect conference will take place Jan. 21-24, 2014, again at the Wynn Las Vegas Resort. PI