Jan. 2, 2006—They live in different time zones, in different countries with entirely different climates. One drives a Ferrari, vacations in Europe, and stays at five-star hotels. The other has held onto his sensible American-made car for more than five years, and prefers the pace of a 70-hour work week.
Still, brothers James and Hary Gandy are a lot alike. They both have only daughters—three for James and five for Hary. They are known as straight-talking, honest businessmen. And they are revolutionizing a highly specialized industry as manufacturers and distributors of a remarkable grand-format class
The brothers head Gandinnovations, which produces, sells, and services the Jeti brand of grand-format printers. James used his technical know-how and years of experience in the print industry to create the solvent inkjet printer that he dubbed the Jeti.
"The Jeti offers good speed with high quality," Hary said in a written statement. "That's what has made us stand out in the industry."
James heads up Gandinnovations manufacturing in Toronto. That is where the highly specialized printers are manufactured in a 140,000-sq.-ft. plant. Hary is in charge of a worldwide sales and service operation based out of San Antonio, Texas, with satellite offices in Canada, Mexico City, India, Dubai,
Together, the two have tapped into a worldwide market of advertisers, sign print shops, and textile makers with four models of the Jeti. Since the debut of a 3.3 meter-wide printer in November 2002, more than 300 Jetis have been sold worldwide. In an industry where fewer than five companies produce similar printers, that is an accomplishment.
The Gandys' competitors offer mostly four-color, grand-format printers, with expensive eight-color models also available. As Hary explained it, "The quality of the color with an eight-color printer is good, but the problem is that they print at a tremendously slower speed, and the signs they produce are incredibly expensive."
For example, the Jeti 5000 is the fastest 5-meter printer on the market, capable of producing six-color 600-dpi images with crisp, clear graphics at 500 to 700 sq. ft. per hour, with no banding. If you have ever seen giant decals on automobiles in NASCAR races; advertisements that drape the sides of skyscrapers; or full-color, high-quality billboards and ads on the sides of city buses, then you realize the market for Jeti printers.
"We have a very simple business model: Make a good product and get the word out."
The bottom line is that James and his team of engineers created solvent inkjet printers that can produce digital-quality images at amazingly fast speeds, for much lower costs.
The most recent Jeti is a flatbed model that can print on rigid materials such as wood, foam, corrugated plastic, glass, and ceramic. Instead of printing onto a vinyl surface and attaching it to a rigid structure, customers can print full-color images directly onto the products, saving time and material costs.
West Meets East
James and Hary Gandy were born in Burma, India, but because their father was an international
businessman with interests in the diamond industry, money exchange, and the hotel business, they grew up all over the world—England, Canada, India, Belgium, and Lebanon.
They opened a business in Canada when the brothers were in their early 20s called Signtech, and later started Salsa Digital in San Antonio. After selling those companies, James said he used his experience in the industry to create "the best machine possible" in the print industry.
"We used the best printheads and electronic technology and know-how to drive the printheads at fast speeds," James said. "Without getting too technical, we optimized the Jeti printers so delays on the print carriage were minimal, and transfer of data to the heads would be lightning-fast compared to existing printers."
While James is the technical genius, Hary has the business savvy to market the product and make it a success. Although the company is fast approaching 200 employees, Hary keeps the operation lean so Jeti printers are the most competitive in their class without having to support an extravagant operation.
"The way that we have set up our business, we have spread out our money in our branches and we put the money in the machine and into service," Hary said with pride. "We cut out all the flair in between, and there?s a lot our competitors spend in between that is a waste of money.
"We don't have ivory towers with a lot of executives from big corporations sitting around. We have a very simple business model: Make a good product and get the word out." The word is out, with distributors worldwide reporting that customers have started asking for the Jeti by name.
When customers are working with expensive equipment like the Jeti, a day of lost production can mean tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue. It is important that the printer be reliable and trouble-free.
Jeti printers were also designed to be attractive. "They have a sleek, consistent, distinctive look," James explained. "You recognize any of the four models as Jeti printers the moment you see them."
The Jeti printers also have a set of distinctive fathers in the Gandy brothers.James and Hary remain independent entrepreneurs and operate one of the last privately owned manufacturing companies in the grand-format printing business.
Better than Good
While other companies have accumulated losses in excess of $43 million, Gandinnovations is at the top of its game, operating in the black. The company recently expanded its manufacturing facility in Canada by 40 percent.
Print shops are attracted to the workhorse production achieved by the Jeti. This can easily be witnessed by a visit to the Gandinnovation?s booth at any trade show. Image after image is printed at true production speeds, with the operator waiting to either cut the image from the machine or send more images to the queue.
In comparison, many other grand-format printer operators at trade shows do not have it this easy. "Our software is designed to do the tweaking during set-up," noted Hary. "We want to get it right before production, not during."