Recently separated from EFI, Fiery is now to be operated independently.

What does this mean for dealers, resellers and end users?

Andy Slawetsky spoke with Fiery CEO Toby Weiss to find out What’s Happenin’ with Fiery.

SOURCE Industry Analysts Inc.

Full Transcript

what’s happening Andy here I’m joined by

Toby Weiss Toby is the fiery CEO how are

you today Toby I’m great Andy thanks so

much what’s happening what’s happening

thank you so much what a what a great

start to uh to an interview uh an

exciting day exciting time for you guys

I couldn’t wait to talk to you uh last

time I spoke to you you had a very

different role you were working at this

company called EFI who you are still

kind of working for but over the last

couple of weeks EFI has

um sort of split off by array from what

I can understand and I’d love to talk to

you today about that

um tell us what’s what’s happening at

EFI and at fiery and tell us about your

new role

that’s right thanks so much for asking

Annie it’s great to be with you and your

audience today so um if you look at uh

EFI we really had two businesses the

last year we had a business focused on

Industrial inkjet printing and we had a

business focused on fiery which is

digital front ends uh you know for

industrial for commercial for graphics

um and and they’re really what we

noticed is they’re two different

businesses uh one of the businesses you

know focused on on Industrial print the

other one’s focused on dfes and every

time you have a business and you’re

making a decision you know you’re making

that decision and maximize the value of

your business and I think what we

realized is we really have two very

strong businesses both uh you know

financially very strong both very strong

Market positions uh and so it made sense

really just given the amount that we

have to do the messages that we want to

deliver to maximize the value to create

two companies out of it and so we spun

off and created uh fiery uh which I am

really delighted I got the privilege to

lead an amazing team and so fiery has

become its own company and that’s that’s

really the message there and it’s for us

it’s all about focus and delivering

value to our customers our partners our

dealers and and you know EFI is the same


it’s it’s amazing to me we kind of

talked about it earlier before we

started uh started recording so I’ll

share those thoughts again but you know

we remember fiery from its early days

and and you know they

um funded the expansion and the in the

growth of what has become uh you know

had become almost a billion dollar I

don’t like I think you were dancing

around you might have crossed it at one

point but about a billion dollar

industry right a billion dollar company

I should say and and so to see it kind

of come back to its roots and spin off

on its own um very exciting because that

did start you know I’d say in our

Channel and in the channel That that my

um my readers and followers uh are are

you know part of right so fiery um

it has been an intricate part of the

dealer community and and honestly um I’d

love to hear what your thoughts are on

on going forward what does this mean for

uh for the Dior Community for big deal

or small dealers and for their customers

who are going to be you know continuing

to use your products going forward

uh thank you Andy I think first you’re

right I mean that their fiery does have

a special place in the industry going

back to the origins where it really

turned copy machines into Network

digital printers and you know not just

EFI the company was born but I think a

huge part of digital imaging

um you mentioned kind of the size of BFI

but if you look at the fiery business

for example you know it’s included

inside of digital printers bundled with

digital printers selected by end

customers and then those printers have a

big value the obviously consumables the

service and everything so at one point I

had measured kind of like what really is

the value of the entire industry that

that fiery serves and it’s

multi-billions and it’s a very very very

large part of the industry and and you

know we’ve always been very very proud

of that and take that responsibility

very seriously I think that ties into

kind of what’s in front of us now

because we look at fiery and you know

the growth potential that it has and and

think that it can be uh enormous uh we

you know we love our partners we love

our dealers uh and there’s really no

shortage of opportunity I think when

people think about fiery they think

about the digital front end that might

come with a 70 to 150 you know page per

minute printer but if you’re a dealer uh

you know you might not know that we’re

also a leader in direct to film and

direct to Garmin in apparel Printing and

why format uh and all of these different

areas and if you look at the end

customers you know every time I go into

a print shop or a print room you know

there’s more than just a cut sheet

production printer there there’s a lot

of opportunity and this goes back to you

know some of the reasons why to be a

separate company and to be a stand-alone

company uh which is you know we have a

lot to talk about uh and we have a lot

to focus on and we really really want to

bring a lot of value to the dealer so

you know if I’m a dealer uh you know

what what message does Toby want to give

uh to you uh well I think first off

there you know there’s a great great

opportunity in front of us

um certainly you know there’s some

headwinds uh going on we all know about

inflation we all know about the cost of

paper uh we all know about maybe

customers worried about interest rates

or Capital Equipment purchasing

um but with that said you know those

create a lot of opportunities customers

are looking to consolidate their

equipment in some cases a lot of them

are going to e-commerce right we’ve all

gotten used to that and so they want you

know equipment that can be automated

they want to know that the job can be

done right customers don’t necessarily

have the same skills about available to

them the labor Market’s tight and so

having technology that is going to work

out of the box is going to give a great

result is very automated and the support

that we provide you know you have a new

person in your shop I think fire is

always you know treated we love

operators too and the amount of training

that we have the certifications and the

fiery field support team that’s always

there for the dealers uh you know we

pride ourselves on on being able to take

a call uh and and help someone out and

so you know this for us is about going

back to Our Roots uh and and now there’s

just an enormous opportunity out there

for us and we want to help the dealers

and our partners capture it

so moving forward you’re going to have

um I would say Obviously much more

focused on the dealer Channel and it’s

not like you you really didn’t before

um but you know with all the different

areas of firing I did sometimes uh vfi

you know you could say you could make an

argument that fiery kind of uh would get

swallowed up in it a little bit and and

so now to be able to sort of break it

away and have it all focused on firing

um I just think is really uh you know

like you said getting back to Roots

getting back to where where it all

started where it all came from and you

know the dealers uh they’ve been using

you guys for 20 plus years at this point

and and you know you were the original

one of the original connectors to make

everything digital when we had analog

equipment right and I think a lot of


um and a lot of your competitors went

away uh when when the manufacturers the

printer manufacturers got good at making

their own controllers but you guys had

always been able to sort of stay above

that and say yeah your controller is

really good for a lot of Office printing

but and how did you um part of that out

going you know in in the past you broke

it down in the graphics and you broke it

down into commercial print

um where did where did um fiery sort of

I think or any EFI where where where did

you guys take that product

um and how did you sort of avoid that

collapse that you know the rest of the

industry uh your competitors really

experienced back in the in the 90s and

2000s you know when when it was booming

and then all of a sudden you know once

those manufacturers made their own you

guys a lot of your competitors didn’t

make it how did you guys get beyond that

I think the team did a great job in in

really being focused on you know the End

customer and what do they want and

um you know when you we ask customers

you know what they want we’re just

thinking about digital front end uh

that’s all we are we’re not talking to

them about fusers we’re not talking to

them about their click charge you know

we’re really talking to them about you

know what is their workflow what do they

need to get out of it and they’re always

telling us they want exceptional color

they want high performance they want it

integrated in with the rest of their

shop uh and they want great support and

and so you know I think for us it’s it’s

just being maniacal uh about that

um you know you’re right A lot of people

have tried to build a digital front-end

it’s really hard it’s frankly really

really difficult to build a good one I

think we have the scale because we work

on so many printers and so many devices

that you know we just get a little bit

more experience we have more resource

we’re a little bit more more focused on

it as you pointed out you know the the a

lot of the controllers really just

focused on Office printing and when you

get into wanting to do something in

production neither doesn’t work as well

or you know in order to get it to work

it’s like 65 steps and and not intuitive

and we’ve just always wanted to give

customers something that that works well

I think a lot of times about the

thermostat on my heater in my house even

though I live in California it gets a

little chilly sometimes here in the

mornings uh and uh you know you look at

something like nest and you say you know

it just works well it’s easy to use it’s

intuitive right anyone can probably make

a thermostat

um but you know people are willing to

pay just a little bit more to get one

that great and for their needs and you

know we look at fiery is that way we we

know that when you’re printing for a

living how how effectively you do that

and the tools that you have and how easy

and when you have a question when you go

online and ask the question and you can

see the answer all those things really

really matter uh and they pay for

themselves you know at the end of the

day so we’ve we’ve focused on that and

our partners have embraced it too you

know they’re they’re they’re in the

business of of you know selling printers

and and getting consumables and clicks

and service and their customers ask for

fiery uh and you know we value that

partnership along with them too

now you’re obviously legendary in

commercial print production print in

that area are your do you see

opportunities in the general office

still is that a place where where you

guys are still able to play and and

offer some opportunity for the dealers I

think at the high end of the office we

are you know I mean if you’re a um you

know big office uh you know big

corporate client and you’re probably

sending out some part of your print and

it’s costing you money and the idea that

you could buy

um you know printer from one of our

partners and by the way the new printers

at the high end of the office are

amazing the capabilities they have and

you really can do exceptional quality

work and you can bring it in-house and

so you know there’s deals that come all

the time thousands and thousands of

units frankly uh you know where a

customer might say you know instead of

sending out my my work for you know

whatever real estate brochures business

cards or flyers or you know posters or

banners or anything

um you know I can just get a printer

in my office with just the slightest bit

of training and I can save myself a ton

of money that’s a common theme I mean

this sometimes the work is outsourced

because people want to focus sometimes

it comes back in because they want to

save money and you know dealers sort of

asking that question investing a little

bit of time on the larger companies I

think can can really make a difference I

know I’ve given that message to the

dealers before and you know some of them

ping me and say we had a nice win uh you

know we just added uh you know fifty

thousand hundred thousand dollars more

than we thought we were gonna get uh you

know from a deal by doing something like

that so that’s uh absolutely uh a case

also I think if I look at offices

um they have other needs too you know

you see a lot of uh apparel you know

offices by t-shirts offices by uh mugs

uh you know one of the one of the really

neat things that might not be selling

directly to the office

um you know but there’s a lot of

services available now where you could

sell person things

from you know schwag almost from your

own company and you don’t need to do

anything you know you you just sort of

connect to some of these companies and

you can sell t-shirts with your logo you

can sell hats you can sell mugs uh you

know so on and so forth and that is a

big opportunity so we have a lot of

companies that we deal with uh to be

able to

um you know provide that that print on

demand for that so

um apparel’s blowing up direct to

garment direct to film uh all this

personalization even engraving actually

uh you know as a business we have we

don’t talk about it very much but you

know someone’s buying a watch they go

online they want it engraved guess what

that’s you know our technology behind

the scenes so I think office has pull a

lot of those products uh from from print

for pay but within the office there’s

still a good opportunity too

well you know it’s funny you mentioned

garment printing I’m not going to spend

too much time on it but it’s you’re not

the only company these guys are hearing

it from right they’re um they’re hearing

it from several of their other vendors

that are kind of getting into that some

at very different levels right and and

the reggiani stuff I’ve seen

um from you guys at previous connect

conferences that I’ve been at monstrous

machines I mean so the the span of

what’s available out there is really

um just start it’s it’s you know you’ve

got everything from the very very low


um transfer technology just to and I’ve

seen some of it um I think I had a tour

of your New Hampshire up in New

Hampshire you have a facility uh that’s

right EFI is an office so it was there

um I mean just big big big machines and

and it’s really pretty amazing to see

these things running uh Before I Let You

Go I do want to talk about DX you know

everybody’s digital transformation

what’s everybody doing with it and

um kind of getting the message uh from

across the industry it’s on everyone’s

website I’m sure it’s uh front and

center on yours at some point and you’ve

been talking about a long time but you

know what are the opportunities for you

guys going forward with the whole

movement and and you know classifying

digital transformation is DX and

um what’s the strategy like for you guys

and how do the dealers fit in there

we’ve always been about digital I mean

for us it’s been a hundred percent

digital all the time you know and so uh

we go in and look and say you know what

are the opportunities for for

digitalization and uh you know for us

that that’s been our sweet spot forever

um there’s still a tremendous amount

Believe It or Not of you know offset

work and it’s coming crashing down uh

right because people can’t find uh the

people to run the equipment

um you know people don’t want to have

inventory inventory you know that is is

cash that’s tied up people want to do on

demand they want to do personalized and

so that’s that’s just been all we’ve

done forever since day one

um and we really view ourselves as the

enabler right that the technology and

the staff and the know-how to help our

customers our partners you know our oems

uh you know and their customers uh you

know through that through that

transition it it means different things

to different you know companies uh for

sure and there’s some super neat

technology out there from devices that

are you know translating and marking

test scores and you know all that kind

of stuff like Roasters right I’ve seen

it at your back to connect I’ve seen I

remember one year you had giant size you

know wall sized posters that had some

sort of embedded technology in them that

was able to see who was walking by am I

crazy am I remembering this you had like

no we had yeah that was a neat thing and

like hybrid digital met hard copy right

it was

that’s right we have some other

technology as well where

um you know for signage for example

inside of stores and you tie it to

mobile apps uh so that you know

customers it’s not a QR code but

literally the whole image uh you know

that it can recognize these days because

you know the AI technology is so amazing

um and uh you know you can do a lot like

that and tie things into to retail but I

mean we’re working on some really big

projects where we’re you know it’s not

about print it’s about a customized good

coming off of a manufacturing line uh

and you know I know when people think

about fiery they think about that cut

sheet controller but it’s really it’s a

lot about personalization it’s about

about that digital uh Journey you know

um and and literally people have as I

was saying before that you have websites

selling products now that the product

doesn’t exist uh until the person hits


um and I think what we’ll see in the

future you get a lot of excitement

around chat GPT and all of that you’ll

see marketing content be created on the

Fly not just the actual ordering and the

creating of the product uh but you know

everything even the content within there

I think is going to start to be created

on the Fly and it’s going to be a super

exciting time for for our industry for

those that embrace it uh you know

they’ll always be those that talk about

print is dying or this or that but uh

you know the future looks bright from

where we stand yeah I would say um the

print is dying message uh maybe it’s a

little premature there’s there’s and

especially when you come to some of your

conferences that have been doing the

past where because I do you know I’m

very office focused and and a little

production but when I come to a show

like yours I see things that you know

and and shows from some of your partners

that I’ve been to

um you know when Canon used to have the

big cannon Expos and you’d see

everything in the world that they did

and you know Rico does a lot of big

shows and the dealer shows I’ve been to

in the past from you know HP and Xerox

all of them

um there is one common factor is you you

know when you do these big connect shows

every every and now it’s EPS owns

connect they keep talking about someone

else’s show but it was your show and and

and but one thing that always struck me

is pretty amazing was I mean I can’t

remember anyone who wasn’t at that show

right who didn’t have a booth and it was

literally all that Hardware

manufacturers that were playing in that

in that um in that space so you still

work with all of them if I’m correct yes

we we do absolutely and you know to your

point uh you know if you walk into and

office uh you know any dealer who walks

into an office and you just look around

the office and you see everything that’s

printed you know sometimes there’s glass

walls on the conference rooms and

they’ve got you know signage uh you know

people might not be handing out as many

business cards as they did before but

you know nobody wants to for example

order you know 20 000 training manuals

that you know people are working remote

and this and that but they’re ordering a

few for the you know and that means it’s

digital that means it’s on demand that

means they can do it in-house they can

do it cheap you know I see you’ve got a

cool what’s happening hat I think you’re

wearing right there right that was

probably uh digitally printed is going

to be my guess uh you know as well and

so there’s just

um you know all over the place I think

there’s opportunity Office printing got

hit hard there’s just no doubt about

that and I think everyone’s hungry and

looking for the new opportunities and

they are around they are around

absolutely yeah and you guys are a great

example that print is not always just

that document um you know that is coming

out of that a3a4 printer print is all

over the place and and I think I think

our followers are are you know our

um people watching this video there’s a

lot of opportunity out there right

outside of the traditional document and

you and just a quick visit to their

website I will have a link in in the uh

uh description of the video uh for to

get there but there’s you can see on

that website there is just so much out

there that is not in in that traditional

office so Toby this has been an absolute

pleasure thank you so much for taking

the time and chat with us and telling us

um you know everything going on and

what’s happening as you said with uh

with EFI with fire and congratulations

on your new role say hi to Jeff uh

Jacobs uh Jeff is now the um he’s the

board what is he uh chairman Jacobson

took the role of executive chairman and

so he’s the executive chairman of fire

he’s also the executive chairman of uh

EFI and and you know that’s great Jeff

is such great industry insights and you

know it’s such a great you know leader

and mentor and he’s looking forward to

this new role and I’m looking forward to

this new role and everyone on team fiery

is looking forward to uh to things as

well well this has been great thanks so

much for spending time with us and we

will catch up with you soon thank you

thanks so much