The printers are getting faster, better and cheaper
The vast global printing industry has immense scope for development in the ink segment. Guy Gecht, CEO of EFI talks about the global printing industry and the expectations of the company from this industry with Fibre2Fashion.com
What is the size of the global printing machinery industry? How much of it is claimed by the textile sector?
It is not easy to estimate that but let's look at the total value of printed material across all industries. It is estimated to be about one trillion US dollars, out of which textiles is about US$ 150 billion. So, it is about 15 per cent of total value. Of course, each industry is at a different stage of digital takeover from traditional equipment. In textiles, we are early in this transformation.
What percentage of your total revenue comes from the textile niche?
As a publicly traded company, EFI follows established reporting guidelines. So I can only disclose the percentage of our total industrial inkjet segment, which is about 60 per cent of the EFI revenue. We are predicting total EFI revenues to reach US$ 1 billion in 2016. The biggest part of our inkjet segment is the Vutek brand, which prints on what we call display graphics and includes signage, decorations and special high-quality printing on almost any material. Reggiani brand is our second-largest brand and the one actually growing the fastest, given the growing demand from around the world. The rest of EFI's business comes from our Fiery Color Management and business automation software we provide to customers to make them more productive.
What are the latest technological innovations taking place in the digital printing machinery industry?
There are so many! First of all, the printers are getting faster, better and cheaper, which is a great thing for the market. For example, we showed our Reggiani Next platform at ITMA for the first time, which is a great platform at a new price level for our premium Reggiani technology. Another area which is promising for technical innovation is ink, which has the ability to get better and print on more types of fabric. With a Silicon Valley-based company such as EFI getting deeply involved in textiles, the market is going to see a very meaningful innovation in software applications, helping colour to be accurate and improving efficiency in the printing process to save customers time and money. There is no doubt that this is an exciting time for innovation in the textile industry.
What is your say on robotics and Industry 4.0 in textile printing machinery industry?
Industry 4.0 - the concept of interconnected production chains with the potential for cloud or mobile- based management - speaks to the evolution path of technological innovation that textile professionals need. EFI has customers who are on the path to reaching that type of manufacturing in the commercial printing market. So, one of the big opportunities that EFI has to serve its textile customers is to take those types of automation efficiencies further in the textile space.
What are your expansion plans? Any more acquisitions lined up? Please share details.
EFI is still actively looking for and working on acquisitions. Our philosophy always was to invest a big portion of the money we make back into business - both in organic expansion of products and services and also by acquiring other teams, products and businesses where EFI can add value.
What is the USP of your products?
It is our ability to help customers add value to print and be more efficient while doing it. We help thousands of companies around the world -- most of them small to mid-sized, family-owned businesses -- achieve more sustainable business growth and a better bottomline.
What plans for fiscal 2016? What are your expectations from the coming two fiscals?
Our fiscal 2016 begins in end January. One of the unique things about EFI is the fact that we spend a lot of time at the beginning of each fiscal listening to and learning from our customers. We hold our annual users' group conference - EFI Connect, every January, where 1,000 or more customers speak with us about what they need, where we are delivering well and where we can do better. In 2016, we plan to have EFI Reggiani customers from the textile space participating for the first time. That will be a good opportunity to start the year, making sure that we are focusing on important issues in textile, our customers need us to address.
One of the promising aspects of textiles, in terms of 2016, is the overall rapid transition from analog to digital print in a textile market that is currently only about 2 per cent digital. And then within the broader definition of textile, there is a traditional industrial market for printed fashion and decor and a market for fabric-printed signage and display applications. Fabric printing for display applications is new and rapidly growing.
Fiscal 2016 has been so much in focus for the past few years, given our US$ 1 billion target. And the only way we will make our target, like we have done in the past, is to have our customers trust us with more of their investments in machinery, ink, software and services. But hitting the US$ 1 billion mark is not the ultimate goal. It is just a milestone for EFI. We are very excited about the opportunity to help so many customers around the world grow, modernise and transform their business. For us, it is not just a business plan, it is a mission.