Robert Conway: Europlacer Business Update 2020.

Categories: NewsBy Published On: March 12, 2020

Now that we’ve nudged firmly into another decade, one of my responsibilities as Chairman of the Board at Europlacer is to review our progress over recent years, assess our goals for 2020 and our aspirations for the future.

The year 2020 is especially notable, as it marks 50 years in business since the formation of the company that we now know as Blakell Europlacer. On 8th July 1970, Pat Kellard incorporated Blakell Systems, based in the Dorset market town of Blandford Forum in southern England, to manufacture engineering and electronic products. We will be celebrating this half-century anniversary milestone throughout the year.

Fifty years on, I am delighted to report that the company is looking strong. Very strong. Business is good in every global territory. As I write this, economies around the world are bracing themselves for the impact of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) and we are already beginning to see the early effects in certain territories around the world. We are realists and expect that this may impede our progress to some degree. However, Europlacer is an agile, adaptable and resilient organisation which, I am confident, are virtues that will see us successfully navigate this distressing outbreak.

Our investment in leading-edge developments and resources for the new atom placement platform is showing healthy results. That was a five-year engineering programme. Over the past two years since the launch of the two products in the atom range, additional strategic investment has focused on subtle refinements and enhancements to those products. Success in our marketplace is all about the detail, and it’s often the smallest details that make the biggest difference. We’ve seen that in our world-leading customer support function, where attention to detail is everything. And we’ve won many, many awards for it, including a seventh Customer Service Excellence award this February for both Speedprint and Europlacer from respected industry publication Circuits Assembly.

On the subject of prestigious accolades, let me continue by pointing out that we also emerged as clear industry leaders in the biennial Frost & Sullivan assessment of the Global Pick & Place market. That’s the third time in a row, itself a momentous achievement. But here again, it’s the detail in the F&S report that’s telling. Compared to two of our nearest competitors, Europlacer stormed to pole position by a massive margin.

In its report, the respected firm of analysts also highlighted key differences that inevitably led to the conclusion. Frost & Sullivan points out that to receive the Company of the Year Award requires a company to demonstrate excellence in growth, innovation, and leadership. “This kind of excellence typically translates into superior performance in three key areas: demand generation, brand development, and competitive positioning,” says the firm, adding that these areas serve as the foundation of a company’s future success and prepare it to deliver on the criteria within Visionary Innovation & Performance and Customer Impact metrics that define the award.

Paying directly back to our investment in the atom platform, where our innovation is clearly evident, Frost & Sullivan specifically mentioned atom in its award conclusion. The firm believes the new platform “proves Europlacer’s technological leadership.” F&S also concluded that it’s our emphasis on customer satisfaction that has helped to drive our “rapidly growing customer base,” ultimately stating that “Europlacer provides best-in-class customer service and value.” So, another feather in our cap for attention to detail in service and support. I think our Oregon-based customer SisTech Manufacturing Inc. summed it up in its candid response to Frost & Sullivan: “Customer service is outstanding. We can be a very demanding and trying customer, but always receive only prompt and courteous service.”

I’m not quite done with awards: Europlacer was again listed as one of the top-performing mid-market businesses in the Central South of England – home turf for our headquarters in Dorset. That’s another hat trick with three consecutive years in a row. I was delighted to accept the award on behalf of the company from national Accountancy & Business Advisory firm BDO LLP.

Other key achievements for Europlacer over the last year include record growth overall, as well as in the Americas, in Europe despite the Brexit uncertainly that’s thankfully now a thing of the past, and in Asia despite several trade war spats between the US and China. That’s what I mean by the agility, adaptability and resilience of the organisation. We also expanded our global staff headcount by 4% and added a new direct office in Spain. Oh, and we set new records for revenue from new customers and from aftermarket sales. It was also hugely rewarding to see the milestone 500th iineo Pick & Place machine delivered to our loyal customer R&G in Poland.

To manage our continuing global growth most effectively, we recently reorganised our management structure, with the Wider Management Team remaining close to our customers in every territory and a new Executive Management Team reporting directly to the Board established to provide leadership in Group Customer Sales & Services, Group Operations and Group Finance.

As we progress into 2020, our product focus will be on the superb atom platform. We are now ramping up our marketing campaigns to articulate the unique benefits and distinct advantages of the atom range. The fact is, the speed of these machines opens up new surface mount assembly markets for us, so there’s work to do to inform customers and prospects in those sectors and geographic areas that there’s another option for them to drive productivity. And that they will also enjoy Europlacer’s legendary equipment flexibility as well as the fast placement rates needed in higher volume assembly applications.

Look out for our promotional initiatives that show the bald eagle, which is the emblem we’ve chosen to signify the virtues of the atom platform for this round of the marketing programme.

Robert Conway
On behalf of the Board of Directors.

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