Prior to the announcement of a new partnership, The Cannata Report spoke with LMI CEO Gary Willert to put things in perspective.
LMI SOLUTIONS, the Managed Print Services Infrastructure provider, has announced that Turnspire Capital Partners has made a strategic investment in LMI that it says will further position the company for long-term success in the marketplace. Turnspire is an investment firm with substantial operational competencies and an extensive network of strategic resources, according to an LMI press release.
This new partnership will reportedly enable LMI to accelerate its expansion and investments in manufacturing high-quality products for its vast network of dealers in North America. In addition, the partnership, the press release noted, will further solidify LMI’s position as the leading provider of MPS Infrastructure (tools, resources, software and solutions) to enable dealers to successfully sell and operationalize services-based selling models.
In an exclusive interview with The Cannata Report the day before the announcement, LMI Solutions CEO Gary Willert discussed what the partnership means to LMI and its customers. Asked to clarify if this was an acquisition or a partnership, Willert said this is a significant partnership and Turnspire is investing a significant among of money into LMI to grow the company.
“Their background and expertise is one of the things we’ve always done well at, but they’re in the position to take this to the next level,” said Willert. “They’re very focused on manufacturing operations and streamlining operations and workflows. They’re very good at it and I can already attest to that firsthand.”
LMI interviewed many companies before selecting Turnspire, who Willert described as an extremely good fit.
“Culturally and personality wise, we felt comfortable with them and they felt comfortable with us,” he said. “They loved [that we are a] family business and it was a good fit from that standpoint as well.”
Besides enhancing manufacturing and operations, the Turnspire investment will provide LMI with financial stability and allow it to continue to produce what Willert says are the highest quality products across its products segments””cartridges, printers, and parts.
“On top of that, we want to continue to be the MPS solution provider we’ve always been known for and Turnspire is committed to supporting that,” said Willert. “There’s enormous opportunity there. We have unique programs and software we’ll be introducing shortly that we think are game changers.”
For dealers and resellers doing business with LMI, Willert reports that first and foremost LMI will have all the right products in all the right distribution centers to make sure customers are supported completely and thoroughly.
“And for potential customers, the same thing, we want to make sure we support them with the highest quality product which has been a little bit overlooked in recent years, not by us, but by the industry in general,” stated Willert. “We’ve never faltered on our quality initiatives.”
Willert is honest about the challenges LMI has encountered recently, but encourages existing, former, and new customers to consider LMI.
“We’ve been through some hard times, there’s no hiding that. The message is we’re here for the long haul, for the future, and companies that maybe weren’t too sure whether we were going to be around or not around, we want to put that all behind us. We’re not going anywhere, we’re here to be a high quality, low-cost North American remanufacturing company.”
LMI also expects that this strategic partnership will enable it to participate in the consolidation of the market over the coming months and years. LMI and Turnspire believe that strategic investments and acquisitions can drive increased breadth and depth of products and services that will enhance LMI’s dealers’ long-term success and growth in the printing and imaging industry.
“Our partners have said we want you to not only grow the business, and as partners we’re going to look at opportunities for the right acquisitions that make sense for the company,” stated Willert. “We will be looking to expand via acquisitions as well as organically.”
Willert sees value in providing dealers and resellers with multiple choices.
“There are only two low-cost North American manufacturers left””us and Clover””and we think it’s critical our dealers have choices,” he emphasized.
Under the new partnership, existing LMI management remains in place. The only addition is Sebastian Bretschneider, the former Katun CEO, who has been hired as an advisor by Turnspire and will sit on the LMI Board.
“He brings a lot of value to the organization and is well connected and I’m excited to have him on our team,” said Willert.
We ended our interview by asking Willert what LMI might look like a year from now.
“We’re going to be a much stronger company, we’re going to be growing, we’re going to be much larger, and we will be run very efficiently,” he said. “And once again, I can’t stress enough, the importance of maintaining that high quality alternative in the marketplace that our industry has lost sight of a little bit. That’s our commitment.”
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