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Graphic Grab Bag – New Xerox and EFI CEOs face tough beginnings

Friday, 16 November 2018
By Patrick Howard

John Visentin

New Xerox CEO John Visentin is coming face-to-face with the fact that the presses that come out of the US are less popular than the ones developed by Fuji Xerox in Japan. In his first presentation since taking the top job he reported that sales on the US-made iGen and Versant machines fell by 17%, while there was ‘better than anticipated demand’ for the Japanese-made Iridesse.

His first quarterly figures were fairly dismal even as a New York court lifted the injunction against the two companies discussing their merger. Overall equipment revenue fell by 3.8% to US$511 million compared to $531 million 2017. Revenue for the quarter was 5.8% lower at $2.35 billion ($2.50 billion), delivering a pretax profit of $192 million ($167 million).

Not surprisingly he wasn’t happy with the result. Addressing analysts he said, “We were disappointed in the revenue in Q3. We have an action plan to improve revenues that include, among other things, simplifying the organisational structure, improving alignment of compensation and evaluating contracts that are not profitable.”

Reports are that part of the action plan includes reviewing the development of Xerox’s overall engagement with inkjet. “We are examining our RD&E investments in xerography and inkjet to ensure that we maintain technology leadership and that we have the best approach to realise the high rates of return that we require.”

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There was a similar result, if a different problem, for another new CEO in his first Q3 presentation. Bill Muir of EFI also faced disappointing financial results, despite declaring record sales and record revenue of $257 million for the quarter. A combination of delays in shipping the new Vutek superwide-format hybrid printers plus a slump in sales of existing engines as customers hold off waiting for the new machines, saw the company report a pretax loss of $2.3 million.

Add a drop in the rivers of gold that are the sales of ink due to a shortage and higher prices of essential photoinitiators from China and the outlook is challenging for the new boss who replaced long-term honcho Guy Gecht.

The bright spot comes with growing sales of Nozomi, the high-end inkjet packaging press. Seven machines shipped in the quarter with eight more expected before the end of the year. Revenue targets for the Nozomi have been lifted from an expected $50 million a year to $65 million and likely to go as high as $70 million. Next year EFI is banking on $120 million from the Nozomi, mostly from equipment sales. This is set to grow even further as users hit optimum ink usage of between $500,000 to $1 million per machine.

EFI is continuing to shift towards being an inkjet company: the industrial inkjet division has sales of $154.9 million up from $142.9 million, and software continues to grow to $40.4 million while the iconic Fiery RIP declines to $61.8 million.

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There goes ‘the cheque’s in the mail’ excuse.

Well OK, so few people mail cheques any more but for those that do a new innovation from the US Postal Service allows people to check if it the payment is indeed in the mail. Informed Delivery is a service where letters are scanned as they pass through the system and a greyscale image sent to the addressee.

This means you can see what’s coming your way in the mail, even when you’re away on holidays.

Users can get notifications through email, online dashboard or mobile app. They also have the ability to interact with digital content, such as special offers and related links. So far 13 million US Postal users have signed on to the free service.

Next year users will be able to sign electronically for their deliveries when away from home.

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Some marketing campaigns work while others crash and burn.

The Epson sponsorship of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Team is one of the more successful. The team secured its fifth successive FIA Formula One World Constructors’ Championship bearing Epson logos on the winning car. The victory came on November 11 after drivers Lewis Hamilton, who won the race, and Valtteri Bottas, combined to outpoint their nearest rivals at the Brazil Grand Prix in Sao Paolo.

“Everyone at Epson is delighted to see the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Team win this year’s championship,” said Munenori Ando, executive officer and general administrative manager of Epson’s Sales & Marketing Division.

And why am I telling you this?

The genesis of Epson’s engagement with Formula One came from a certain innovative Australian marketer and long-term Japanese resident, Nathan Fulcher. Now back at the company’s North Ryde HQ, I’m sure he’s very pleased with the result.

Congratulations.

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And finally … I came across this laudatory paean of praise for books from astronomer Carl Sagan.

What an astonishing thing a book is. It is a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts, on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person. […] Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. Books are proof that humans are capable of working magic.

 

 

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