EFI sharpens focus on local market
New hires under Daniel Aloi reinforce Australian and NZ support as the market gears up to meet the ‘next wave’ of print automation.
Frank Mallozzi, EFI vice president sales and a regular visitor to the region, came through this week to talk to customers and spread the word that the company has rebuilt its local service and sales infrastructure. Coming off a series of high-profile wins, such as the ground breaking Snap enterprise network installation, and the Officeworks Entrac self-service kiosk contract with Konica Minolta, he’s ready to deepen the EFI footprint throughout the region.
“When I’m in Australia there’s a lot to do. I visit partners such as Konica Minolta, Fuji Xerox, Ricoh and Canon as well as customers. It’s important to meet these people while I’m here,” he said.
He’s in town to introduce the new look EFI MIS/ERP sales and support, an expanded team recruited to operate seamlessly across the market in large and small enterprises. It’s part of the move towards the EFI Productivity Suite, an ecosystem of automated workflows addressing the universal concerns of printers.
“We had to pull back a bit from the market for a few years. We’d acquired numerous companies; we had multiple platforms and various solutions that were hard to leverage. Since then, Gaby Matsliach (general manager productivity software) has done a wonderful job in distilling a broad pallet of functionality into a suite of technology that allows us to build across small to medium businesses (SMB) as well as larger enterprises.
“I don’t need separate teams, I’ve a team here that can go in to SMBs, that can focus on enterprise, on packaging or on corrugated. Having Daniel on board with new talent is part of rebuilding our presence.”
For Aloi the challenge is to ensure that the uniform solution can be tailored to printing enterprises of different sizes. He believes printers deal with similar pain points no matter what their size.
“It’s the same talk track, whether for ma and pa shops or for enterprises. They have the same needs, albeit on different scales, they want the same functionality, the seamless handover to reduce the touch points,” he said.
Aloi points out that EFI has software modules to operate across all of its different systems. “iQuote is an engaged in-depth quoting system that can sit on top of Pace, Monarch or Technique. PrintStream on the fulfilment side can fit across all those as well. Then there’s PrintFlow, the scheduling component, which again can sit on top of them.
“These are the enhancements, the bolt-ons depending on needs. It all depends whether they can use the system as it stands or whether they need the enhancement provided by the additional modules,” he said.
The current round of consolidation in the top-end of the industry is likely to play to EFI’s strengths. Most of the major web companies, such as PMP and Hannanprint, AIW and Franklin Web already use EFI Technique, while Blue Star is a long-term Prism house. It’s likely to be a busy time ahead as these companies start to look for efficiencies across their common networks.
EFI also has the experience of servicing global customers such as packaging giant Orora, which is vigorously expanding in the Americas. Mallozzi sees EFI as playing the role of international facilitator between different subsidiaries of global corporations. With its single footprint the company is able to ensure disparate businesses are speaking the same language across the world.
“We touch the customer in every marketplace because of our reach. I don’t have separate operating companies. We like that flexibility,” he said.
He makes a special point of mentioning the recent rollout of the Konica Minolta Officeworks front-of-office success. Self service EFI Entrac kiosks feed over 600 Konica Minolta printers at 164 sites across Australia.
“It’s one of the largest self-serve implementations we’ve had across our entire network. We came in with our Entrac technology, a kiosk that sits at the copier. There’s a card dispenser. You want to print? You buy a credit card, walk over to the printers, swipe and print. It debits your account and you’re done,” he said “We deployed that at the same time as they deployed Fiery production servers.”
EFI is becoming evermore hardwired into the printing industry. It recently announced the acquisition of Xerox’s FreeFlow Print Server DFE business. This expands its reach into an even wider range of digital print operators.
“Why did we buy the FreeFlow group from Xerox? They didn’t want to spend cycles developing their own DFE, instead of using technologies that are already in the marketplace,” said Mallozzi. “When you look at customers such as Officeworks or Snap, they want access to multiple engines, having one UI across multiple platforms. They don’t want a DFE that’s exclusive to one.”
According to Mallozzi, EFI is the ‘go to’ provider when customers run up against hard to do projects. “Just take a look at our portfolio, we don’t tackle the easy projects. When our partners have a cookie cutter job, they don’t need us. But when it becomes challenging problems we’ve proven over and over again we’re able to go in and deliver.”