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Presstek's Stan Freimuth on his new position and the direction of the company

Published on September 10, 2012

Cary talks to Stan Freimuth, Chairman President & CEO of Presstek, about his new position within the company and gets his insight into the future direction of the company.

Cary Sherburne: Hi, I'm Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink. And I'm here with Stan Freimuth who is Chairman, President, and CEO of Presstek. And I just wanted to welcome you to your new role. You've been, obviously, working with Presstek for a while on the board, but relatively new in this position. And I just wondered what you're finding as you travel around the world, talk to employees, and customers, and what might change in terms of Presstek's strategic direction, and what might stay the same?

Stan Freimuth: Well, first of all Cary, things have not changed that dramatically since I came on board. We had a strategy for moving up market, in terms of the products that we offer, both in the press segment and in the CTP segment, which we're doing. And we have a plan to move geographically into more segments of the market, and into other segments such as packaging, where we have not really played historically.

Cary Sherburne: Okay, and does that mean you're abandoning the low end of the market? You're—

Stan Freimuth: Absolutely not. We’re very committed to the low end. We have a great organization that supports the low end in the U.S. and other parts of the world. And that’s going to continue. We have new products that we’re going to launch for that market over the course of the next year or two. And we just want to broaden our entire base as we try and grow the company back into a larger organization.

Cary Sherburne: And you do have quite a product portfolio, but really the flagship product is that 75DI.

Stan Freimuth: Yes it is.

Cary Sherburne: And I find it interesting that you’re leveraging that one to move into the packaging market a little bit. I understand you had a study done on DI presses to see kind of how they fit into the whole picture.

Stan Freimuth: Yeah, we had InfoTrends do a study, and it’s a very interesting study. I think people will find that the 75DI, along with the rest of our DI technology really fits into this middle space between offset and toner based technologies, inkjet. We are what we’ve been saying for a long time, we are the bridge between those two technologies. And we’re perfectly positioned right now, not just in the commercial printing market, but also in the packaging market.

Cary Sherburne: And now you have some variable data capabilities associated with ****

Stan Freimuth: We do. We will be able to offer variable data capabilities and those will be individually planned for each customer. But we already have the ability to do that, so we’re looking forward to being able to—

Cary Sherburne: Now, this isn’t your first job in the industry, right?

Stan Freimuth: No it’s not.

Cary Sherburne: And so you have a lot of experience in the industry, and probably know every printer in the country at least, in the U.S., but I’m wondering if you could sort of give us your two cents on advice for printers today. I mean, we’re coming out of a very bad period. We’re hopefully getting to a better period. What are the two or three top things that they should be thinking about as they look at their business for the future?

Stan Freimuth: Well I think they really have to look at what technologies, what production platforms make the most sense for where the industry is going in the future. And we’re seeing shorter and shorter run lengths, we’re seeing needs for variable printing capabilities. We’re seeing the kinds of things where we think our products fit perfectly right now. It’s finally coming into our space. The whole industry is moving into our space. And I think that’s the key message I would like to give, that the industry has changed dramatically. It’s not going to be what it was. It never will be what it was ten years ago, or even five years ago. And printers need to start thinking about investing again in those products that will allow them to be profitable and productive going forward.

Cary Sherburne: So they really need a hyper production platform in today’s world?

Stan Freimuth: Absolutely, absolutely. I don’t see how you can remain what you used to be and hope to survive long term.

Cary Sherburne: Yeah, I mean, I think people going into the recession in 2007-8, whatever, they were saying they were just going to wait it out. But those people that were trying to wait that out probably aren’t here.

Stan Freimuth: Probably not, probably not.

Cary Sherburne: Yeah, so if people want that InfoTrends study?

Stan Freimuth: Yeah, they can go to Presstek.com. They can just download it free and I think they’d find it very, very interesting.

Cary Sherburne: Thank you very much.

Stan Freimuth: Thank you, Cary.

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