Speaking on a HP webinar about the flexible packaging market earlier this week, shortly after news about his surprise departure from the business became public knowledge, Bar-Shany said it was “an emotional period for me”.
“I’ve fallen in love with the industry in general, but as I said jokingly before I feel that Indigo is a very contagious disease that I’m happy to have.
“And now I’m going to have to somehow get rid of a little bit of my addiction, but my heart has always remained with this amazing group of people, the community of customers, partner channels and employees.”
He said the Covid-19 pandemic had resulted in “a very interesting time of human history”.
“For me we are in a period that demands reflection on things way beyond business. It’s not just a health crisis or economic crisis… and in terms of the business I think it's given us a time to reflect on what we could do differently – things we could never do [before] because we were afraid to lose, or maybe because we were just too busy,” he said.
Around 140 customers from EMEA, Latin America and North America joined the webinar, and Bar-Shany thanked the Indigo community of users for their support during his tenure, and urged them to continue sharing knowledge and best practice.
"Most of what I've learned through the years is from people like Jay at ILS [Jay Dollries, owner of Innovative Labeling Solutions in Ohio]. I just wanted to say thank-you."
"I really encourage everybody, both the Indigo employees, the channel partners and mostly the customers, to continue with this tradition of collaboration, sharing and community. Because the world needs us and this crisis has proven that – printing is not this old fashioned, who cares about it [industry].
“Printing packaging, flexible packaging are critical parts of our manufacturing supply chain, they bring jobs to the local community, they support health, they support foods. The world needs us the world needs small businesses, but to do this we have to work together… it’s all the customers on the line.”
Indigo founder and former boss Benny Landa, now chairman of Landa Corporation which includes Landa Digital Printing, heaped praise upon Bar-Shany, describing him as “the best”.
He told Printweek: “Alon’s departure from Indigo is indeed a shock – and a huge loss for the company. Alon is an awesome manager and CEO – in fact, the best I have ever known.
“His management style is deeply rooted in company culture and values, the keys to Indigo’s success. His honest and open manner, his humility and his genuine caring for people are qualities rarely found in executives so accomplished. It is no wonder that Alon is so loved and admired by Indigo employees and customers alike.”
“When you combine those qualities with his strategic vision and charismatic leadership, you can begin to understand how Indigo achieved such pre-eminence during his tenure. Alon has had a profound impact on the adoption of digital printing in our industry and I have no doubt that he will take on even greater challenges in his next role… whatever that may be.”
During the webinar Bar-Shany talked about some of the new products for labels and flexible packaging announced in March as part of a major revamp of the Indigo range.
He said that HP’s digital pouch factory was “a great example of customer-driven innovation”.
“We are in the early days of flexible packaging [with Indigo] and it’s scaling very nicely. But the best thing is it’s still zero point something of the total market, and if we get to 1.5% or 2% of the total market we can grow our business dramatically.”
He described digital printing as being complementary to flexo, rather than intending to replace it, and was “an enabler for different business models”.
“I’m not obsessed about the percentage of presses or even the volume or linear square metres… it’s more how much of the profit pool can we help our customers capture.”
“We can grow something like 20-25 times where we are today, and create billions of dollars of revenue for our customers.”
Bar-Shany said he would be working on a handover with his successor Haim Levit for a transition period.
The webinar was part of a series of ‘HP Indigo Live’ initiative, as a number of manufacturer including HP, Koenig & Bauer and Agfa seek to promote what would have been Drupa 2020 launches.
Speaking about the trade show landscape, Bar-Shany commented: “I’m still a big believer in face-to-face but there’s no doubt trade shows in general, their impact has gone down.
“There’s no doubt that in the short-term people are going to hesitate because there’s uncertainty and to drive a trade show there’s a lot of preparation. I’d be cautious committing to Drupa 2021, it looks too early. I really hope we have Labelexpo in Brussels in 2021 and have the V12 there as the star attraction. Until then we can do virtual demos and soon our demo centres around the world will be equipped with our new products.”
HP is currently the biggest-single exhibitor at Drupa 2021. The group’s HQ has not commented specifically on any revised plans for the show.
A corporate spokesperson told Printweek: “We have cancelled all HP-sponsored, live, in-person events through at least the end of January. In the interim, we are working to remain connected with our partners and customers in other meaningful ways, including hosting smaller virtual events.”