Ten Guy Gecht mantras to attain one-billion in 2016 - The Noel D'cunha Sunday Column

In a 90-minute session, Gecht, EFI's chief executive officer, sipped his triple shot coffee, and talked about notching a billion-dollar revenue by 2016. Plus he shared his firsthand experience with customers in various countries, deals, and the industry.

08 Mar 2014 | By Noel D'Cunha

Ten mantras from the man who loves cats and was placed second in Europe and fifth globally in the World Junior Bridge Championships.


Ten Guy Gecht mantras

1.    Today, the biggest risk for a printer is not doing a thing. Standing still is no longer an option. EFI's customers are growing faster than ever, which explains EFI's double digit growth. Group revenues grew 13% in Q4, to $197.2m, and 12% for the full year, to $727.7m.

2.    Today's printers are super smart and passionate; with high energy levels. This is EFI's strongest growth area. Most of these print firms are family-owned enterprises. This means, they are not in this industry to improve their resume stats. Gecht said, they are addicted to print.

3.    Inkjet is the future. And inkjet performance continues to improve, Gecht said UV ink volume was up 33% in Q4 and 20% for the year, which he described as "an outstanding number". He added: "That means our customers are really doing very well with our inkjet product and obviously all the inkjet printers we shipped in Q4 - most of them at least – will start to generate ink revenue for us during Q1".

4.    Wastage is key. Print had lot more waste. And was less efficient. This was because there was very little data about the process. Gecht pointed to the Toyota manufacturing model. "They know exactly what’s the cost of every car, when is it going to be ready. And the car won’t change, when you do it today, tomorrow or next week, unless the part change. In print it’s almost guaranteed that if you print the same thing you printed today, it will cost you differently, because of the varying inputs. At EFI, we love data because it brings efficiency, and key for running a business successfully, `as a result a good print plant reduces overburden and inconsistency, and eliminates waste."

5.    A customer does not ask you how many sales people do you have in your team or how big is your stall at the next trade show? Gecht said, customers want to know how much you spend on R&D. (EFI's R&D spends are in the range of 20%; and 40% of employees dwell on R&D).

6.    The Indian printer must go up the value chain. Once you climb the quality ladder you never go back on quality. It's the theory of life. A person who lives in a poor neighbourhood moves to a better area of the city. Once this person is accustomed to the comforts, it will not be easy for him to return to his older ways. So it is with quality.

7.    We give our customers the tools. We cannot teach our customers about what is printing. Nor create the applications for them. Gecht said, "Some print applications that I have seen are print on a bulletproof vest, personalised print on a coffin. One thing that EFI is seeing is print moving to areas where there is high volume as well as high-value printing." He added, “For instance, labels, say on the packaging, or water bottle. Fifteen years on, we are not going to get a bottle of water without labels, saying, we will email the label to you. Actually there will be more regulation and details sought on the labels. More than anything else, labels are selling the products. My guess is, 10 years on we may not see many visiting cards, but labels and packaging, yes as also painting, tabletops, tiles, which are high-value printing giving aesthetic looks.” Printing is honest. People use the term: Internet of things; I call it: imaging of things.

8.    First nail it. Then scale it. This is Gecht on EFI's method for launching a new product.

9.    A different level of productivity exists in print. That's how Cretaprint has notched up 200 in India. Here Gecht mentioned that a new LED printer, India's first, is being installed even as he spoke. He spoke about the nascent 3D printing market.

10.  Mumbai is a cool city. And India is where EFI has a home court advantage. This is because of an engineering and development centre. (Gecht said, MIS is the next big thing in India. Be it: Monarch at Repro India or PrintSmith for the SME sized print firm).


PrintWeek India’s view on the wide-format segment
GroupM, the leading media investment planning conglomerate in India, released their annual estimated advertising expenditure report called the This Year, Next Year (TYNY) 2014.

Print advertising is projected to grow at 8.5% thanks to the growth of regional print publications across India.

Based on these facts, the OOH (Out of Home) advertising industry in India is estimated to be around Rs 2000-cr. According to a report published by FICCI and KPMG, marketers spent approximately INR 16.5 billion in 2010 on OOH advertising which amounts to 6.2% of total advertisement spends.

This is expected to get a boost.

Consider Times OOH.

Times OOH is a major player in out of home advertising with presence in six metros. They have also acquired advertising rights for the Delhi International Airport, Mumbai International Airport along with Delhi and Mumbai Metros. They also have wide presence in the public furniture space.

The Mumbai Metro is India's first public private partnership metro project in which all the phases were given to a private player. Times OOH offers unique advertising opportunity with 147 digital signboards and 375 static units at the 12 stations along with pillar wraps, train wraps and naming rights for the stations. 

Around 80% of the wide-format market in India is still driven by solvent printers. But players like Times OOH are eyeing the work produced on the UV flatbed and eco-solvent wide-format printers.

This segment has been gaining traction.

Total number of machines in India (estimate)


No. of printers


Solvent (production systems) printers


Gandi Jeti, Vutek, HP XLJet

Eco-solvent printers


Roland, Mimaki and Mutoh

UV printers


Rastek, Dilli, Anapurna, HP Colorspan, Solara, Vutek QS, HP 6100, Jeti & Chinese makes

Latex printers



Company-wise distribution of machines in India (estimate)




250 (12 UV, 7 Turbojets, 75 XLJets, 150+Latex






50 (5 Annapurna, 45 Jeti)

Gandy (new)

1 Pred8tor




26 (Vuteks – QS -6, GS-2); Rastek (18)


Wide format business - forging ahead

Wide-format business has always been seen as a different line of business in India. A large part of this can be attributed to the users, who dealt with the shorter format products and their venders different from the large-format counterparts who deal in the bigger stuff.

But there could be a change in that perception, with brand managers starting to think big and small on equal footing when it comes to buying.

During the recently concluded Media Expo in Mumbai, wide-format manufacturers and suppliers like HP, Apsom, Roland DG, Fujifilm, Epson, UV Printers, Macart, Arrow digital displayed a range of direct-to-textile applications as well as applications beyond vinyl, which included paperboard, glass, wood, ceramics etc.

This is what Guy Gecht seemed to be suggesting when he said, “The margins in such jobs are high, around 35-40%, which is a delight to see compared to the traditional gross margin. It’s an area that is really growing because more and more retail clients that are looking at these work.”

Long live print (in one of the many new avataars) ...