As the economy edges into a downturn, it is not unusual to hear voices from all sectors of the ink industry decrying both shrinking margins and sales. You won’t here such talk, however, from executives at Elk Grove, IL-based Lyson Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Lyson Specialist Fluids, a privately-owned British company specializing in the development and production of fluids for the ink jet printing industry.
According to Simon Guest, sales and marketing manager at Lyson, Inc., despite the fact that U.S. operations were founded nearly five years ago, sales only became established in 1998. Since that time, the company has witnessed growth rates of more than 300 percent in 1999, and expects 25 percent growth in 2000.
“The ink jet market is experiencing tremendous growth at the moment, and this looks to continue over the next five to 10 years,” said Mr. Guest. “There are new applications opening up all the time, and the new products we have slated for release in the coming year should facilitate growth over and above 25 percent.”
While such a pleasant forecast is in part due to the fact that Lyson is a growing company in a market that is anything but mature, it is also helped along by Lyson’s approach to the ink jet market, which is akin to having a stake in every piece of the pie.
“Our competitors tend to focus on certain market segments rather than all of them,” remarked Mr. Guest. “I think it is a forte of Lyson that we have managed to get into more or less every market segment out there. We have a big advantage, because we are very, very diversified.”
While the company does have its hands in the industrial ink jet platter, it also focuses on everything from the SoHo to the semi-professional and high-end professional markets. Mr. Guest believes that because Lyson offers products that cover the gamut of color and black and white photographic inks, specialty photographic media, as well as protective coatings sprays for ink jet images, people will come to recognize the Lyson brand as synonymous with a complete system.
“It has been a focus of ours to provide a complete printing solution, rather than just throw inks at people and expect them to be able to use them,” said Mr. Guest. “We even have an instructional video that takes you through every step of the printing process from installing the cartridge into the machine through to producing a photographic image that is an exact reproduction of the original on particular substrates.”
Other areas of keen interest for Lyson at this time are the grand format and contract proofing markets, both of which the company believes hold the potential for a great deal of profitability.
“I believe we will exhibit exponential growth over the next two years with those two lines,” explained Mr. Guest. “I expect themto significantly increase our overall revenues in the coming year. Along with everything else, the volumes and margins in both these markets are very good.”
One major hurdle to succeeding in both markets was recently crossed with the completion of a self-contained ink manufacturing unit that was built specifically to support the expansion of Lyson into these and other markets. The unit, which was purpose built and is the only one of its kind in the world, went online Jan. 1.
“Lyson is truly an all encompassing ink manufacturer, said Mr. Guest. “We are now preparing for a big push into the grand format and proofing market for the outset of the new year and believe that this is an untapped market waiting to be tapped.”
Lyson, Inc.: In Every Piece of the Pie
By Tom Williams, Ink World Associate Editor