People, partnerships and products key to EFI APAC strategy: Rodd Harrison

It’s no secret that EFI has recently been making plenty of inroads into the A/NZ print space. In the last 18 months alone, the company has not only expanded its product range, but also signed on Currie Group as its A/NZ distributor, invested in its people, and had 21 installations booked in Australia.

EFI Asia-Pacific vice-president of sales, Rodd Harrison told Sprinter that the combination of people, partnerships and products is what keeps its business going.

“The last 18 months is one of the best periods we’ve had in quite a long time. We’ve had a significant momentum building in A/NZ, largely because of the investments we’ve made in people, partnerships, and having great products. But the most important thing is, it’s great to see people recognising the value we can deliver,” Harrison said.

“We’ve been working really hard through this pandemic, across all of Asia Pacific, on a couple of things. One is strengthening our partnerships externally with our distribution partners, but also expanding the product portfolio quite significantly.  

“We’ve got a lot of stuff that’s very relevant to this particular region. We’re also always looking to improve things, so we recently struck a distribution partnership agreement for Australia and New Zealand with Currie Group.

“As real digital specialists, our partnership with the Currie team is pretty significant because it allows us to do a lot more for our customers – not just expanding the capabilities that they have by giving them a better product portfolio, but by also offering a high level of technical service support and great support infrastructure.

“That’s the real game changer for us and we’re looking to build on this going forward as Currie Group has an immense and rich history of taking care of their customers.”

A wide array of new products

In terms of products, the company recently took the wraps off its new VUTEk Q series in both 3m and 5m, an EFI Pro 30h hybrid printer, the VUTEk XT press, and a new EFI single-pass for display graphics UV LED inkjet printer.

The VUTEk Q series is EFI’s fastest-ever roll-to-roll printer offering, while its Pro 30h hybrid printer is a 3.2m hybrid printer that produces high-quality images and high value prints with CMYK plus two channels of white that come as standard.

The VUTEk XT, which will be commercially available early next year, is a UV printer that uses EFI’s pin-and-cure system with LED lamps, along with a new ink delivery system, called CP5G (complete ink Circulation, superior dot Placement, 5-picoliter drop size and Grayscale imaging).

“Compared to other display graphics inkjet printers, CP5G along with a slew of other technology advancements, like magnetic linear drives, and pallet to pallet auto media management, together provides a significant economic advantage to customers,” Harrison said.

As for the EFI Nozomi 18000+ LED single-pass printer for signage and display graphics production, it is a 1.8m printer scheduled to be available in A/NZ next year that leverages technology from EFI’s successful Nozomi corrugated printer, the Nozomi C18000 Plus, but designed for very fast production of signage at speeds up to 1,000 boards or sheets per hour.

Printing with up to seven colours, plus white, imaging quality on this remarkably fast printer has just earned it the 2021 Pinnacle Product of the Year Award for single-pass printers from the American industry association Printing United Alliance.

“Even despite the pandemic there has been a real positive take up. When EFI launches products, they’re not little incremental steps; they’re more often quantum leaps ahead relative to their predecessors,” Harrison said.

“We’re really good at integrating the best technology into our products and that, in turn, makes money for our customers because the solutions are better, faster and cheaper. Businesses also need machines that are very flexible like Swiss army knives, so we aim to integrate all sorts of different accessories to address wider applications that are beneficial to customers.”

The people behind its success

People is the third driver for EFI, we are heavily invested in R & D so that we can bring new and innovative products to market,” Harrison said.

“That, put together with our strong service and support infrastructure team, enables us to give our customers what they want – which is efficiency, reduced costs and to grow their businesses. That way, they’re able to offer their customers with a lot more value-added service and not just be print houses.”

Harrison said the aim for EFI, moving forward, is to continue doing what it has been doing, but better and investing in the business so that it can take a more consultative approach with its customers.

“We’ve invested a lot in staff and resources across the whole APAC region. We’re going to continue to do that. We’re putting more engineers on the ground to support existing customers and to support a bigger installed base in multiple markets,” he said.

“We’re still hiring, particularly in packaging, in different markets across the region as well. And Currie Group has been investing too – it recently hired some talented people that will take our products to market.

“Continuing to make that investment allows us to take a more consultative approach. We don’t hire salespeople anymore; we hire problem solvers. It’s more about them knowing how the customer’s doing and what their pain points are.

“If you go through that discovery with them, you will find a way to help them. And if you do that, then the commercial side will just happen anyway.”

With customers demanding for new applications beyond traditional display offerings and an increase in customisation of boxes, EFI has also committed to playing big in packaging as well as increasing the industrial applications its presses can offer by launching diversified technologies.

“The next three to five years are going to be really exciting based on what we’ve got coming. And we going to continue to grow into new areas and help customers diversify to make their businesses stronger, more robust and more recession proof,” Harrison added.

“We’re also planning to launch a cloud solution as well – not just in the cut sheet environment but also in display graphics space. EFI IQ is coming down the pipeline and that’s going to allow people to do things from job accounting to storing print settings, so they’re less impacted by disruption due to staff turnover. 

“So, in a nutshell, we will continue to push the boundaries in product innovations and to deliver value to our customers, to help them achieve greater efficiencies. That’s what EFI does best; that’s in our DNA.”

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