Record Numbers for EskoWorld 2012
EskoWorld 2012 wraps up tomorrow in New Orleans, where more than 500 people, including 42 Canadians, have come to see the latest developments from one of the world’s most powerful technology companies in the packaging sector.
Mark Quinlan, President of Esko Americas, points to three primary factors for the strong EskoWorld 2012 attendance, which equates to a 30 percent increase over last year’s record-setting 350 attendees, including: EskoWorld taking place just five weeks after drupa; Esko’s maturing product line; and the increasing need for printers and packagers to drive costs out of their business.
“A lot of the tools we have help them manage their costs better and also, in this business, if you don’t keep up with technology your competitors are going to leave you in the dust,” says Quinlan. “I see convertors being on the squeeze. The people they are selling to want a lower price and then their raw material costs, health care costs, labour costs, everything else is going up.”
Quinlan has a unique understanding of such pressures for a high-level vendor executive, after running the graphics division of NCR, where he oversaw 15 factories, 2,000 employees and $500 million in annual sales. He also spent 10 years as a Product Manager and, therefore, puts a strong emphasis on the EskoWorld user's conference to move the company forward.
“I feel the value that a company creates for its customers comes from the product managers, because they develop the solutions,” says Quinlan. “The rest of us are in deployment, carrying those solutions to customers, installing them, selling them. EskoWorld is very important to us.”
Esko received a boost in mid-2011 when it was purchased by Danaher Corp., a diversified technology company that generated US$1.9 billion in earnings in its most-recent fiscal year. While many technology suppliers in the printing industry have been cutting R&D and staffing, Esko has been growing its presence in both the United States and Canada over the past several months. Danaher's power in the graphic communications industry grew leaps and bounds at the end of May, when the company completed its US$625-million acquisition of X-Rite, which controls Pantone. The partnering technology platforms of X-Rite and Esko are sure to grow the presence of both in the industry.
“We sell more in the U.S. than in any other country,” says Quinlan describing Esko's presence in North America. “A few years ago we served Canada from the U.S., but my opinion is that you need feet on the street in the country, which is why we have hired people like Marc [Raad] and Jean-Francois [Lacombe] in Montreal.”
The Canadians attending EskoWorld 2010 are from some of the country’s largest printing operations when compared to the commercial-printing space. “They are looking at the whole portfolio and how it ties into what they already have or what they want to bolt on, because all of our products are modular,” says Esko Account Manager Marc Raad, when describing the Canadian contingent's interests here at EskoWorld. “They are looking to add more automation into their systems. We see an annual following of the same clients who come back every year to get an education from us. They want to see what the future holds for our products.”
Quinlan is also focusing on adding more service technicians in the Canadian market, largely spurred on by what he describes as a pent-up demand for Esko technology in the country. Esko drew over 100 people at its most-recent roadshow in Toronto, which caught the company’s attention. Such roadshow events typically draw between 30 and 50 people in major U.S. cities. “Canada is very important to us. We really need to keep adding more resources there and we will.”
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