By Şükran Ceren Salalı, Value Art&Communication Fellow
Interview: Andreas Weber, CEO, Value Communication AG
In one of the previous blogs regarding with the success of Elanders AB, we explained several facts about Elanders´ ongoing achievement based on useful data and the interview that took place in 2012 between Value Communication AG and the CEO of Elanders AB, Magnus Nilsson. In the end, I mentioned about my curiosity towards whether Magnus Nilsson have the same spirit and the optimistic approach for 2014 and for the future of Elanders.
Magnus Nilsson responses showed that Elanders gives importance on best-in-class communication and customer satisfaction. They care about what customers expect such as quality, reliability, enhanced services and a good knowledge beyond printing. Also, they use their Twitter accounts properly and frequently for their business. And last but not least Elanders AB reached a milestone in its history because they acquired a leading supply-chain service provider, Mentor Media, in Asia at the beginning of the year 2014. Beside great synergy effects the deal just doubled the price for Elanders’ stocks.
When it comes to the data of quarterly report of 2014, it seems that Elanders still keeps its ongoing success. The Elanders Group is growing much faster than the market. For instance, in the first six months, net sales increased by 75% to MSEK 1,761 (1,005), the operating result increased to MSEK 77 (51), which is an improvement of 51% over the same period last year, the new issue was oversubscribed and generated MSEK 121 after issue costs and, a considerable improvement in profit compared to 2013 continues to be forecasted for 2014. In the second quarter, net sales increased by 78% to MSEK 910 (512). — See Elanders Q2 Report for more details.
Is Elanders ready for print innovation leadership?
Based on the comments made by Nilsson on quarterly report of 2014, Mentor Media’s offer is now being integrated into Elanders’ existing operations which will lead to both higher print volumes and more supply chain customers in the long run. He states that their Supply Chain and e-Commerce organizations have begun working together to produce joint and improve already existing platforms for ordering over the Internet. They are planning to offer current and new supply chain customers the best alternative on the market for this.
Elanders´global presence has a definite competitive advantage compared to most of their competitors. For instance, Elanders is winning market shares on several markets while other markets are more challenging and Elanders continues to consolidate and streamline functions and operations on those. Moreover, as in the year 2012, Elanders continues to coordinate operations in myphotobook with d|o|m / fotokasten in e-Commerce and they plan to continue this full effect as of 2015. As planned, printing volumes from myphotobook have been moved to Elanders’ production units during the second quarter.
Value Communication’s CEO Andreas Weber was able for an exclusive interview with Magnus Nilsson on July 17th., 2014. It was about if Elanders Group is ready to become the leading and most innovative print communication service provider.
„Our new business areas which combines supply chain,
commercial and packaging printing and e-commerce are
compatible to all kinds of social business trends.“
Andreas Weber: Magnus, you stated, that printing trade shows, which always have been important for printers’s market approach and strategy, have not too much affect on Elanders´s strategy any more. You said, it was good to see them, however. So do you think that technology is not solely enough for success?
Magnus Nilsson: Elanders’ target is to make it as easy as possible for a customer to get the best benefit out of our offering and solutions. So we act as a global service company which could manufacture and deliver high print volumes for customers. The combination of supply chain, packaging, e-commerce to create solutions is very important for Elanders. The best way to develop our strategy comes from our business insights and what we learn from our customers.
Andreas Weber: On a global scale, which are the most relevant markets for you?
Magnus Nilsson: Our presents in markets like China, USA, and new ones in Europe made Elanders very strong. But we see that even innovative applications like Photo books are not growing so fast anymore in our established market areas. So it is more in the consideration process on a high and solide level. We are planning to invest in new markets such as Asia and South America as well. And in new application areas wherever they are needed.
Andreas Weber: Regarding Elanders go-to-market approach, what is special or unique?
Magnus Nilsson: The important thing is for Elanders to reach the client in an easiest way. Crucial is if people want to get their print products in a smart way and it cannot take too much time to order and get it. And therefore they don´t need too much investment. We have really great optimized tools for business and consumer markets. And our solutions are accompanied by our Solutions Expert. We made sure by new global business management operation structure that we act with one face to the customers.
Andreas Weber: How is Elanders success in the packaging solutions business?
Magnus Nilsson: It works very well. Specially Elanders Germany is very successful for new solutions for packaging customers. Therefore we installed last year in Waiblingen/Germany our Elanders Packaging Innovation Centre. For sure our huge digital printing capacities have a great impact to convince major brands to innovate the packaging of there products on a high quality level.
Andreas Weber: 2014 is more than ever the year of Social Media, driven by Facebook, founded only 10 years ago. Do you think that Social Media and Social Business will influence your business?
Magnus Nilsson: It already does in a positive way. Social Media is very important for e-commerce, our team is working for it quite successful. Till now it has more impact on consumers behavior than in the B2B sector. But for sure: Business innovation is happening via the internet. Gaining more real time insights via social media and social media communication became crucial for success. We observe that exactly. But nevertheless we are still very optimistic about the future of Elanders like before. Because our new business areas which combines supply chain, print & packaging and e-commerce solutions are compatible to all kinds of social business trends.
Our Take: Elanders AB creates its leadership by …
- a unique combination of a clear business and management focus on customer needs in valuable market segments,
- a deep understanding of the right usage of relevant technologies
(IT, Digital print, E-Commerce),
- clever acquisitions (with almost a seamless integration into the group),
- a smart communication approach to keep investors and share holders up-to-date and highly motivated,
- and at least by a permanent approach to justify and optimize it’s go-to-market approach dedicated to customer satisfaction.