|With over 16 years of business-to-business marketing communications experience, John oversees strategic communications activities for the Industrial Color and Appearance group. Prior to joining X-Rite, Kowalski worked as senior marketing communications manager for Cascade Engineering, a manufacturer of engineered plastics products for the automotive, industrial and solid waste markets. Kowalski serves on the local American Marketing Association board and holds memberships on the Business Marketing Association and the Society of Plastics Engineers and consults with a variety of companies on corporate branding.
VertMarkets (VM): What are the biggest challenges for X-Rite in today's marketplace?John R. Kowalski (JRK): X-Rite, Incorporated is continually enhancing its product offering and meeting marketplace challenges through innovation and technology. Because color is a key element of a consumer's buying decisions, it is critical that color consistency and quality can be maintained in a global environment. It is also important to stay relevant and in touch with consumer color preferences, while ensuring color options are available and easy to reproduce.
To meet these challenges, X-Rite offers product solutions that connect color accurately throughout the entire workflow process. X-Rite solutions help manufacturers reduce scrap, production downtime, off-color product shipments and rework. Our products, technology and software help simplify the process of managing color throughout the global supply chain, whether with multiple locations or at a single facility.
VM: Explain how the acquisition of GretagMacbeth will help X-Rite in the color measurement industry?
JRK: The acquisition of GretagMacbeth provides an opportunity to integrate the best-in-class in terms of innovation, products and people. We are excited about the enhanced capability and flexibility of our solutions, which creates new opportunities to meet and anticipate our customer's needs. X-Rite's integrated product portfolio allows the company to offer solutions built on leading-edge technology throughout the supply chain. At the same time, we can continue to look for innovative solutions that break new ground through research and development.
VM: How does X-Rite assist potential clients in selecting color measurement equipment to accurately meet their requirements?
JRK: X-Rite's industry experts work to identify customer needs; recommending solutions based on the applications and markets served. For example, if you are in the textile industry, the color verification process, or QA process, it will be different than if you are in the plastics industry because you are dealing with different materials and processes. Every industry, and every customer has unique needs based on features that they require.
In the automotive industry for example, highlighting effects can dramatically a vehicle's design elements; such as micas which add a pearlescent effect or subtle hue changes and aluminum flakes that add sparkle making colors more vibrant. These effects can be managed with specific instruments that measure reflected light from the painted surface at multiple angles.
VM: Explain to our readers how the vast training, support and seminars that X-Rite conducts throughout the year will assist in their purchasing decisions?
JRK: X-Rites global and comprehensive support network is just one more way for us to meet and anticipate customer need. Through Color Services, which is the training division of X-Rite, we offer customers everything from basic color theory seminars to in-depth training and assistance on setting up, testing and implementing their X-Rite solutions.
We also provide classroom workshops, on-site consulting and technical support from our locations in North America and Europe. Our on-site training is integrated with the products and skills that make up the customer's workflow.
VM: Where do you see the largest growth potential in color measurement? Why?
JRK: X-Rite sees growth potential for non-contact solutions and currently is expanding our VeriColor technology. VeriColor technology features are easy to integrate and include a non-contact spectrophotometer that provides in-line color measurement for a variety of industrial manufacturing and assembly processes.
Consistent color is an integral component of overall product quality. This is especially true in today's global industrial manufacturing environments; it's critical to have an efficient system that reduces color-based errors. X-Rite views VeriColor technology driving the future of color measurement.
VM: What markets are the most important to X-Rite? Which markets do you see the most growth from in the next 1-2 years?
JRK: The high growth opportunities are in Eastern Europe, China and India. For customers around the world, X-Rite helps streamline color accuracy; reducing costs from scrap, production downtime, off-color shipment and rework. So every region is important to us, whether it's high growth or market stable.
VM: Is there a new product offering from X-Rite that you expect significant interest from in the next 3-6 months? If so, why?
JRK: The expansion of our VeriColor technology will be of significant interest in the next three to six months. A variety of industries around the world can benefit from VeriColor technology to verify and identify color in their industrial manufacturing and assembly operations.
X-Rite continues to explore new technologies as innovations evolve in the automotive, paints and coatings, plastics, and textiles industries.
VM: How would you characterize X-Rite's current position in the market?
JRK: X-Rite is an industry leader in color measurement solutions, with innovation leading the way to develop the most comprehensive customer solutions.
VM: What are the biggest obstacles for X-Rite in 2007?
JRK: As we continue to progress through integration, we will maintain our product innovation and excellence, we will continue through our integration to deliver the best product and service solutions for meeting and anticipating customer needs.SOURCE: X-Rite, Inc.