A global manufacturer of product identification equipment, Markem-Imaje can be found in more than 130 countries worldwide. The company offers marking and coding solutions to the food, beverage, cosmetics, electrical, and pharmaceutical industries. The CEO Magazine spoke to CEO and President of Markem-Imaje Vincent Vanderpoel about how he has tackled the past 12 months, how the company works with suppliers globally, and what his plans are for the future of Markem-Imaje.

The CEO Magazine: What has been your focus in the past 12 months as CEO of Markem-Imaje?

Vincent: I would say in the past year there haven’t been any big surprises that I wasn’t expecting. Of course, I had learned a lot in the course of last year, but in many ways we just enforced a strategic direction that we set a year into my tenure. It was late 2014 when the strategic direction really became solid, and most of what I have seen still points in the same direction. We have an opportunity for growth in new markets. I always like to avoid the term ‘emerging markets’; I say markets where we are underrepresented or markets where marking and coding for a host of different reasons is becoming more important. In some of those markets, we have an opportunity to grow our market share.

What is your philosophy on growing your shares in new markets? Global presence is essential to many of our customers. You can ask the Nestlés of this world, the Unilevers, the Coca-Colas; they will have plants in the most remote places in many countries around the globe and expect us to be able to serve them everywhere in the same manner. So this is increasingly important, that we are present even more globally than we are today. I am a firm believer that to achieve an even broader global footprint, partnerships are critically important. I currently do not have any plans to increase the number of direct operations.

What we are doing is increasingly putting more people on the ground to work with our partners, to support our partners, to have the technical pre-sales capability locally. That is the strategy we have chosen. I believe it is far more cost effective for us, but also far faster. We will be able to deliver that global footprint working with our partners.